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March 20, Day #80 – Treasures of the Heart

Today’s readings encourage me that God “knows how we are formed, and He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Numbers 7:66 continues the record of the tribal offerings of various gifts to the tabernacle and the Levites who had the responsibility to manage it. Verses 84-88 itemize and summarize these gifts, and as we pointed out yesterday, the voice of God Himself came to meet with Moses and to speak with him – certifying His receipt and approval of all these various gifts (verse 89). I want to point out here, that we have a personal God Who “speaks” – He vocalizes His will and His Word in words. We do not serve an impersonal god – an amoral entity of some kind – a powerful and popular but impersonal “force.” Our God is intensely personal – He sees, He hears, He speaks, He feels, He can sense aromas, and He experiences joy, sorrow, grief, and laughter. He creates. He reasons. He knows. He not only knows the difference between right and wrong, but also He determines that difference. He is not amoral. He places expectations on His creation, and He holds His creation accountable. He loves, and He hates. Why is all this important? Because each of these characteristics and senses define personhood or personality. Personhood is exclusively and innately designed into one creature – and only one creature – in whom He has infused His image – His likeness – and that creature is man. If we possess any of these capacities at all, it is only because He gave us those capacities that reflect His personhood. To ascribe anything less than personhood to God (and He is a Trinity - three Persons!) is dishonoring to Him and discrediting to man. This is the point on which Numbers 7 concludes.

Psalm 35:11-18 further informs us that we live in a hostile world with “ruthless” people (unfortunately sometimes, even believers!) who mean to harm us (verse 11). It’s easy to become discouraged when we “stumble” or when we face “bereavement, grief, mocking, malicious slander,” etc., or when it seems that our prayers return to us “unanswered” (verse 13). Sin affects us this way, but in truth, God’s love for us is higher than the highest heavens (Ps 103). David calls on God to “rescue” him because he believes and looks forward to the promise that God will rescue him (verse 18). David expects God to “vindicate” him (35:24). We should pray for and expect no less than the same.

In Luke 2:41-52, I am encouraged – literally with tears in my eyes as I write this - to find myself in good company with Joseph and Mary - who accidentally and unknowingly left their Son, our Lord Jesus, behind. Have you ever done anything like that? I recall our horror when we lived in Vienna, Austria, and as we were on our way home from school, we drove off and left our youngest child behind (she was about 12 years old). We assumed that she went home with her older siblings on public transportation - only to find out later after we arrived home - that we left her behind, and she was still back at school. Terri and I could identify with Joseph and Mary’s fear, consternation, frustration, and embarrassment. As parents, we felt SO unworthy and irresponsible! Yes – we chalked it up to experience – a bad one then, but today – a treasured memory in my heart for the safe outcome and the lesson I learned from it. “His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (verse 51). Praise God for His patience, His long-suffering, His lovingkindness … and for His treasures of the heart!

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