Reading #1 – Numbers 31:1-20
Reading #2 – Psalms 139
Reading #3 – Job 41
Reading #4 – Mark 7
Reading #5 – 1 John 4
Numbers 31:21-52 – Distribution of the Plunder. The precious metals that were taken from the Midianites were purified by fire and the impurities were washed away with water. The warriors were instructed to wash their clothes on the seventh day and then they would be pure (21-24). In Israel, everyone got a portion of the plunder whether they had gone to war or not. To agree to withhold a portion from those who watched the camp and portion for the Lord would make the G-d we serve no better than the G-ds of Midian (25-31, ). The portion for the Lord and the memorial portion was given to the priests for the performance of their duties (32-41). The warriors who brought a portion from their plunder to the tabernacle were above and beyond what was asked of them (48-54).
Psalms 139 – Search Me, O G-d, and Know My Heart. The word “know” as it pertains to this Psalm is “Yada” or “to ascertain by seeing through the lens of our actions”. The Lord knows all about us and yet loves us. There is no place we can go to physically, spiritually, or morally that He is not there (1-6). The reason for this is that G-d is a Spirit so He is not limited by space or time (7-12). From the time we were conceived to our birth and death, G-d has and will always have a plan and purpose for our life (13-16). When we consider His thoughts and insight, it will blow our minds as to how deep and wide they are (17-18, Ephesians 3:14-19). It would really nice if every wicked person was removed and all that remained were righteous people but, that is not a reality (19-22). Search me, O G-d, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (23-24).
Job 41 – The Leviathan. The leviathan, according to Jewish mythology, was a fire-breathing crocodile (18-19). The point to be made here is that if Job were incapable of wrangling this creature, what made him think he could wrangle G-d? The creature was fearless and answered to nobody but its creator. In the same way, G-d is fearless and answers to nobody (1-11). This creature, just like mankind, is intricately made for its environment and is not something you want to tangle with no matter how skilled a hunter you may be (28-30). From this illustration, you can get an idea about who the Devil is and no one would dare to enter his lair (31-34). The thing is, although man fears the Devil, the Devil fears G-d and shakes in His presence (James 2:19).
Mark 7 – What Constitutes “Being Defiled”? The Pharisees had been watching what Jesus was doing and noticed that his disciples did not give their hands a ceremonial cleaning (1-2). According to an online article, the procedure includes taking off all rings, pouring water over each hand from a cup, and then drying them and finishing by saying a mitzvah (Hand Washing). Of course, there is nothing wrong with this procedure unless the tradition overrides scripture (6-8). The thing is, defilement begins first with the seeds you plant in your heart which gives way to your words and actions (14-23). The Pharisees were known for their corruption and how they stretched Mosaic law to fit their design (9-13). The Syrophoenician woman who came to Jesus was a gentile and by all rights would have had nothing to do with the Jews. The problem was, her child was dealing with a demon or, most likely, extremely ill. The woman could have said to herself “I would never go to a Jew” but then the child she dearly loved would never get well so she swallowed her pride and went to Jesus (24-30). The deaf man who got healed was an example of how Jesus was different from the Pharisees (37).
1 John 4 – Test the Spirits. In the 1st century church just as it is in the 21st-century church, multiple spirits are vying for our attention and the control of the church’s message. For this reason, as members of the church and of the Kingdom of G-d, we are encouraged to test those spirits to see if they are purporting a good message or a corrupt one. The message of the Christ and the Anti-Christ are 180 degrees out of sync with one another (1-6). Because the foundation of G-d’s Kingdom is “love”, we are to love another with the same type of love “Konineah” (7-12). To say, “I have the Spirit of G-d”, is liken to saying “Son of David” (Luke 18:38) or the “son of Nebuchadnezzar” (Daniel 5:2) and the implication is, “we do the things that the individual did”. If we do not do the things the individual did, we might be like the person in name only like the admonishment of Amos to the nation points out (13-21, Amos 6:1-6).