NUMBERS 36:1-13 | DEUTERONOMY 1:1-46 | LUKE 5:29-6:11 | PSALM 66:1-20PROVERBS 11:24-26
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The inheritance laws for women had been established not too long ago—this, at the initiative of the women themselves. If there were no sons in the family, the property would be inherited by the daughters, and that was all fine and dandy, only, someone else had the bright question of what might happen when the women married– wouldn’t the property then be willed into another tribe?
Of course, it would, and why should that have been such a big bother? Well, it apparently was, and so the people have to go off yet again to seek Moses’ advice, who in turn, goes to God to get more specific directives. And so, the clarified laws are these: the women are to marry within their own tribes so as to keep their inheritances within their own tribes!
Was all this really that important or even necessary? And so ends the book of Numbers.
We now commence the fifth and last book of the Pentateuch, authored by Moses, titled Deuteronomy. The first chapter is one long summary of the last forty years, and we aren’t finished with it yet. Everything that the people of Israel have encountered and endured over the years in their long and slow journey out of Egypt is recorded by Moses. A reminder, if you will, of how far they’ve come already.
Turning next to our reading in the Book of Luke, we continue with the account of Jesus’ ministry among the people.
Yesterday, Levi the tax-collector had been recruited by Jesus, and today, Levi gives a big party in his house and invites all his friends. And sure enough, those who must talk about this, certainly do. All the self-righteous teachers and scholars are quick to notice and point out that Jesus is dining with “sinners”. But Jesus just carries on, and tells them that he has come for those just like them—for everyone, for Gods’ sake!
We have here again a few times that Jesus seems to make a point of the Sabbath. That one day of the week that is so very sacred, Jesus says, is only as good as you make it. And if that means doing work in order to do some good, well then, do it. This, of course, is in gross violation of the Law as the people know it, and they are unwilling to consider the mere thought of breaking it.
They see for themselves the miraculous acts performed by Jesus on the Sabbath, and yet the notion of it being done on the Sabbath is more outrageous to them than the wondrous miracle of seeing a man with a shriveled hand made whole.
It is time to move on to our next reading, and we find David’s psalm for the day is one of utter praise. His account of all the many praiseworthy things is reminiscent of the long exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. And true to form, David doesn’t hold back in his praise and devotion for the Lord. He says:
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
And finally, in our Proverbs for the day, these two verses penned by Solomon, the wise king of Israel are loaded with wisdom, indeed:
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.