Numbers 3 & 4
Joy will come!
Our Light Affliction
Verse 5, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
John MacArthur calls this verse “… one of the most worshipful testimonies from the Scriptures.”
In John 16.20-22 Jesus said:
Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
Sometimes life can be difficult, but this world is not our home and this life is short in comparison to eternity. Jesus is coming back for us and someday we will spend eternity ruling and reigning with Him. Paul said:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4.17).
Faith allowed Paul to weigh the sufferings of this present life against the glories of eternity and declare that, in comparison, the troubles of this world are light.
We, too, can count it all joy when we encounter various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and that endurance produces spiritual maturity (Jas. 1.2-4). Then like Paul, we’ll be able to look back and say “our light affliction” was only for a moment because we no longer remember the anguish, for joy!
Today’s Other Readings:
I guess there’s no doubt as to why this book is called “Numbers”! It can be hard reading some of these sections. This is one reason why it’s good to read through the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs simultaneously, as we are, so you don’t get bogged down.
Even so, we need to remember that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3.16). All of God’s Word is written for His divine purposes and we should read it with an open heart, asking God to reveal Himself to us.
In Exodus 13 after God had delivered the people from Egyptian bondage He told Moses:
¹ Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”
But here In Numbers 3 God commanded Moses to set aside the tribe of Levi in place of the firstborn in each family.
This was to be so precise that each group was counted and the additional firstborn males had to be redeemed, bought back from God.
Jesus, who paid the price for our redemption, did so completely, as well. But He paid the price with something much more precious than silver or gold. He paid with His precious blood.
What’s comes out of your mouth?
Verses 31-32, “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”
The mouth is where sin often shows up most quickly and most obviously. Let’s pray that God would help us hide His Word in our hearts (Ps. 119.11) and that wisdom would come out of our mouths and not what is perverse.
The Leaven of the Pharisees
11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?
At times it must have seemed like even His disciples were never going to “get it”! But Matthew 16.12 tells us they did:
“Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
So there’s hope for us, as well.
Help us to trust you when life is difficult, knowing the joy will come and help us to hide Your Word in our hearts, Lord, so the words we speak will be pleasing to You, in Jesus name, amen.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.