Through the Word in 2020 / March 7 – Grace! Grace! Marvelous grace!


We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 23:13-24; Romans 5:12-21; Psalm 54, Numbers 15-17.

The Word of God is multi-layered. Eph. 3:10 reminds us that God has ordained that His “manifold wisdom” be revealed through the Church. That His truth is not flat and mere precept, but is much richer and deeper than that. So it is, sometimes, a lesson appears in a passage which is picked up by how the flow of the narrative works on top of what the text itself is communicating. Such is the case with the transition from the end of yesterday’s reading in Numbers 14 – as it transitions into Ch. 15. Read it without the chapter break to see what I mean.

Numbers 14:39–15:2 (ESV) — When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? Do not go up, for the LORD is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you…

Did you see it? Did you catch the extreme display of grace in this passage? In 14, the Israelites had listened to the spies who said Canaan would be too difficult to conquer and they decided not to go. As a result God rebuked them for their unbelief/disobedience and told them everyone over the age of 20 would die in this Wilderness during the next 40 years of wandering. So the people decided that was really bad news and that they would try to go up and take the land after all. But it was too late. The Canaanites beat them badly in battle.
So now read the last sentence of the last verse of 14, and then go right into the first of 15: “Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you…”
Grace! Grace! Marvelous grace! They disobeyed Him. They suffered horrible consequences. But the very next words out of God’s mouth are words reiterating His promise that the nation would still inherit the land, and He goes on to tell them how to serve Him rightly when they get there.
Mind-boggling. His promises do not fail, even when we do. Horribly. Yes, He chastens, but He also comforts. And makes them to know that even in His “hot displeasure” He will not fail to make good on every promise.
Just as He does with you and me over, and over, and over again.
What an amazing God of grace He is.

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