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April 1, Day #92 – Faith Rightly Directed in God

From our readings today, we can see that special emphasis is given to the Feast of Tabernacles in Numbers 29:12-40. For example, we note the amount of text given to this feast and the diminishing number of bulls to be sacrificed each day of the feast – beginning with the “fifteenth day of the seventh month,” thirteen bulls were to be sacrificed on the first day, twelve on the second day, and so forth - down to one bull to be sacrificed on the eighth day (cf., Numbers 29:12-38).  This feast points forward to Israel’s place in the Kingdom Age – anticipating a finished redemption – and a future time when such sacrifices will no longer be necessary. With His death on the cross, Jesus became the One perfect Sacrifice Who abolished the need for continued and future sacrifices (cf., Hebrews 9:13-10:18). Now, here in Numbers 30, we see the regulations that govern vows. A man “must not break his word” (verse 2). People are known to be careless about their words, and this is especially true in our own day and age. Nevertheless, God is not pleased when we don’t keep our word, so He established specific laws to govern our promises.  In this section, we notice that particular emphasis is given to women, young women, wives, widows, and divorced women. This reflects God’s special concern for women, and it represents His special protection for women, who, from the very beginning – in the Garden of Eden – experienced the abuse of deception. The law was designed to protect women.

In Psalm 39, David says “I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence” (verse 1). This is a good principle to follow and a good practice for a prudent person. We have already seen in the book of Numbers – especially in today’s reading – that our tongues can quickly get us into trouble - especially when we are in the presence of unbelievers. In such a situation, like David, we are reminded how “fleeting” our lives are - even if we are “secure,” we are “but a breath” (verse 11).  Like David, we should call upon “the LORD to hear our prayer and to listen to our cry for help” (verse 12).

In Luke 8:19-39, we see the disciples’ fear for their lives in the storm, but actually they are as secure and safe in the storm and have nothing to fear as surely as Jesus is God.  God wants us to revere (i.e., “fear”) Him, but He also wants us to trust Him, which implies that our faith rightly directed in Him should set aside our natural fears of anything less than God. If we set ourselves properly under God’s authority, care, and protection, then nothing else can harm us. At first, the disciples didn’t see this, but in the presence of the demoniac (verses 26-39), they saw it immediately.  Of course, I personally realize how difficult it is for us to apply this truth to our daily lives - deep down inside - like everyone, I also struggle with fears.

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