Today’s reading: Num 26:1–65, 1 Cor 8:1–9:27, Ps 22:1–13
Today’s theme: Love builds up
In today’s reading we see the faithfulness of God to His own plans and to those who trust in Him. We are exhorted to love and serve one another rather than use knowledge in a selfish way, to outdo each other or lord it over others. Let us build up our Messianic community (the church), by serving one another in love.
God’s plans cannot be thwarted
This was the list of the people of Israel, 601,730. Numbers 26:51 (ESV)
The total numbers in the new generation were not far from that of the first census (603,550 in the first compared to 601,730 in the second). If we are unfaithful to the Lord, it will not reduce the size of the Lord’s army but it will cause the size of our reward to diminish or to be completely lost. God’s plans and purposes always come to pass.
God proves Himself faithful
But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the LORD had said of them, “They shall die in the wilderness.” Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Numbers 26:64–65 (ESV)
It had been 40 years since the last census and all of the unbelieving generation had died in the wilderness. God proved Himself faithful in three ways:
1) He passed judgement as declared
2) He preserved the people through the wilderness journey
3) He kept the faithful Joshua and Caleb alive
As believers in Jesus, we are warned against being unbelieving and so never entering His rest, in Hebrews 3:7–4:2. We also learn that we lose nothing through faithfully waiting on God. We must find ourselves counted with the new believing and conquering generation, not with the unbelieving, wandering ones.
1 Corinthians 8:1–9:27
Love, over and above knowledge
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1 (ESV)
Paul is teaching the Corinthians that true Christianity is founded in love, not in knowledge.
Knowledge without love can lead to an elitist type of faith community, where those in the know are seen as superior to the ignorant. This is the opposite to the teaching of God’s word.
Self sacrificial love patterned after the love of Christ (shown in His death on the cross), builds up the church. Just because we know something does not mean we should act on that knowledge, we must first ask; “will this build up or hinder my fellow believer(s)?”
Today’s culture tells us that knowledge is power and that power gives us rights, but the bible teaches us that the real power is in serving one another, in love.
There is one God
yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (ESV)
In an increasingly pluralistic society where it is popular to say that all religions lead to God, or that there are many gods, or even that we are gods – this verse is a refreshing reminder that the lying demons, false religions and wicked men are not really gods and cannot be compared to the one true God.
Idols are empty and without power, except over those that believe or fear them and the spirits behind them.
The prophecy of the cross
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Psalm 22:1 (ESV)
Jesus quoted this verse from the cross and in doing so, He points us to look at this psalm as prophetic and to understand His suffering, in light of it.
Prophecy fulfilled at the cross
“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Psalm 22:8 (ESV)
This is said to the Lord Jesus when He is on the cross, in Matthew 27:39–44. This also points to the fulfilment of prophecy. We can learn a lesson from Jesus’ response to those who dealt so cruelly with Him.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Love Builds Up