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March 31, Day #91 – God Gives the Increase

In Numbers 27:12-29:11, we read about God telling Moses before his death to go up in the mountains to “see the land He has given to the Israelites” (verse 12). God reminds Moses of his disobedience to His command “to honor Him as holy” at the waters of Meribah (verse 14). Here, we see that Moses was truly a humble man in that his first major concern was for his people – the Israelites - that Israel would not be left “without a shepherd” (27:17) - a dreadful situation. He was thinking – not of his own interests – but of the interests of others. This concern foreshadows Christ’s loving concern for the same thing (cf., Matthew 9:36). “So the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun … and commission him” (verses 18-19). Thus, Joshua is to replace Moses as leader of the Israelites, and in God’s timing, he will lead them into the promised land. In Numbers 28, we see God’s commands regarding the offerings, the Passover, and the Feast of Weeks. We note the emphasis on the direction of these offerings - presented “to me … for my offerings … pleasing to me … to present to the LORD” (verses 2-3). The phrase “to the LORD” is repeated ten times in the chapter so that the Israelites might know the One to Whom they are sacrificing and His importance. Numbers 29 continues with these sacrificial regulations by addressing the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. We recall that, in our earlier Leviticus readings, we saw the importance and meaning of these special times for Israel as a nation (cf., Leviticus 23).

Personally, our reading today from Psalm 38:13-22 provides me with special comfort and particular assurance. All of us stand helpless before our God, and we “can offer no reply” (verse 14). As individual sinners, we have no merit in and of ourselves to stand in God’s presence. We can do nothing to improve our lost estate. Potentially, our feet always “slip” (verse 16), and we are all ever “about to fall,” (verse 17). This is our true natural state. But because God is our “Savior,” Who alone can and will save (“help”) us, He promises that He will “not forsake” us (verses 21-22). I thank God for these promises which enable us to understand the wonder of our salvation and how incredibly awesome God is. We need to lay hold of the truth contained in this Psalm.

In Luke 8:1-18, we come again to the parable of the Sower. Personally, I’m also thankful for Luke’s special observations on the ministry of Christ - that Jesus entrusted to women such an exalted place in His life and work. By name, Luke specifically mentions three women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna – “who traveled about with” Jesus, and “many others who helped to support them with their own means” (verses 1-3). These women held an important place in our Lord’s heart and ministry. I want to emphasize that Luke’s inclusion of women, and Christ’s recognition of their special place in His life and work, show us that godly women play a vital part in the eternal plan and purposes of God. We must never under-value women like much of our culture seems to do today. We see here in the parable of the soils some of the reasons why we face such difficulties and discouragements in trying to reach others for Christ. However, in spite of the difficulties, we are called simply to be faithful in our responsibility to sow the seed of God’s Word and then to remember - God gives the increase.

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