Devotionals

  • March 8: Complaining and Faith

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 18-20; Psalm 55; Matthew 23:25-39; Romans 6:1-14 Numbers 18-20: The chapters begin with a reaffirmation of the priestly role which had so recently been challenged. Aaron and the Levites have a highly significant role, and chapters 18 and 19 reaffirm this in various ways that are not only core to the identity of Israel, but central to the honor of God as holy before their eyes. Chapter 20 begins with what must have been sadness for Moses: the death of Miriam (20:1). Barely is she dead, before God’s people are complaining again (20:2-5). Perhaps Numbers could be renamed the book of complaining? The results of the complaints are more bitter than the bitter water about which they had once complained and the lack of water about which they now complain. Moses and Aaron are driven to their knees in supplication, seeking the face…

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    March 7: Sacrifice and Authority

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 15-17; Psalm 54; Matthew 23:13-24; Romans 5:12-21 The section begins innocuously enough with laws about sacrifices (15:1-21)—perhaps indicating an intended return to normal after the people's rebellion previously, or a pointer to the means of atoning for such sins. The most remarkable part of chapter 15 is the insistence that the same rules of sacrifice pertain to the sojourner, the one temporarily living among them, as for the Israelites themselves (15:15-16). God is no minor tribal deity, but the God of the whole earth, and his way is the way for all. As if to underline the importance of finding such atonement, the chapter includes the putting to death of a Sabbath breaker (15:32-26). Once again, it is important to remember that we are dealing with a theocracy. The New Testament church has as its motto “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and…

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    March 6: Believe

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 12-14; Psalm 53; Matthew 23:1-12; Romans 5:1-11 Numbers 12-14: Why is it so much harder to believe that God intends good for us rather than that some nefarious evil will befall nonetheless? We are given by our fallen nature to be more likely to believe the worst of God’s intentions than to humbly receive them as best. Moses, though, esteemed by the Lord, a follower of God with spiritual integrity, was not like that. Even when opposed by Miriam and Aaron (12:1-2), Moses is still described as the meekest person on the face of the earth (12:3). To be meek does not mean to be a wimp; it has the sense of power under control. Moses knew he had no need to defend himself by attacking his opponents. It was God’s honor at stake, as God had called him, so he kept his…

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    March 5: Leadership and Complaining

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 9-11; Psalm 52; Matthew 22:34-46; Romans 4 Numbers 9-11: The Passover is celebrated (9:1-14), and is to be celebrated even by those who are ceremonially unclean (9:6-12) and by the sojourner who wishes to celebrate as well (9:14). All this is done according to the Lord ’s command (9:5), and that emphasis on following God’s Word continues with how the people moved: “At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped” (9:18, 23). And so, chapter 10, they set out with trumpets and with a remarkable ceremonial blessing at the start of the day and then again at the end: “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you” (10:35); “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel” (10:36). The…

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    March 4: Mercy, Service and Sacrifice

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 7-8; Psalm 51; Matthew 22:15-33; Romans 3 Numbers 7-8: The tabernacle, having been completed in terms of its setting up, is now consecrated (7:1) with generous, costly offerings to the Lord by the heads of the tribes of Israel (7:2-3). Chapter 7 details the extent of these offerings as consecration of the tabernacle, and then concludes with a couple of sentences that reveal the significance of what was taking place: And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him. (Num. 7:89) The “mercy seat” is the place where blood sacrifice is daubed and where atonement and the necessary sacrifice to approach God’s presence is indicated. At the mercy…

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    My New Life as a Chimera

    By Josh Moody

    Alec Hill, President Emeritus of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and a friend of God Centered Life Ministries, reflects on being a bone marrow transplant recipient in his piece "My New Life as a Chimera." You can read it in the latest issue of The Behemoth, a biweekly magazine published by the editors of Christianity Today.

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    March 3: Vows and Blessing

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 5-6; Psalm 50; Matthew 22:1-14; Romans 2 (Note: If you are using the YouVersion app, the dates are one day off from our scheduled readings because of Leap Year. The YouVersion app will begin to match our readings again on April 1.) Numbers 5-6: The test with which these chapters begin seems passingly strange—a test for adultery (5:11-31) that would not hold up in any court of law, or judgment of peers, or public opinion in any modern context. What is more, the necessity of drinking this “bitter” drink (5:24), which looks like it would have tasted horrible even to the innocent, and hardly have been clean with dust from the floor (5:17), seems, well, odd. It certainly does not appear to be a gold-standard test. One is also tempted to wonder why there is not in the same place a test for…

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    March 2: Guards

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 3-4; Psalm 49; Matthew 21:33-46; Romans 1:18-32 Numbers 3-4: These chapters consist of more organizing and logistics. This time there is some extra particular theological rationale: as God redeemed his people at the Passover, so his people are to live like redeemed people. The firstborn son which is, in a sense, Israel, redeemed by God, is God’s, and the Levites operate as token of that in their special service to God in the temple. What is striking about this part of the organization is the necessity for guarding the tent of meeting from God’s people. There is a barrier, and unholy things cannot touch the holy. Moses and the priests camp on the east (3:38), the Kohathites to the south (3:29), the Merarites to the north (3:35), and the Gershonites to the west (3:23) (those being the sons of Levi, 3:17). Special guard…

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    March 1: A Journey in the Wilderness

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 1-2; Psalm 48; Matthew 21:23-32; Romans 1:1-17 Numbers 1-2: The book of “Numbers” describes how God’s people journey in the wilderness, first to the border of the Promised Land, and then, because of their disobedience, in the wilderness another forty years instead of entering the Promised Land. The Hebrew title, then, for the book is in many ways more exact: “in the wilderness.” (The English title “numbers” comes from the prominent censuses in the book.) That said, the book begins with a lengthy census of the tribes and clans of Israel (1:1-46), and a description of how they are to be organized according to each clan (2:34). Evidently, Moses had an extraordinarily large responsibility in taking care of this number of people, this congregation being a massive group of individuals, families, and children. There is the necessity of organization, and they set out…

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    February 26-29, 2016

    By Josh Moody

    In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as "free days." February 26-29 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for February 26-29, but will pick back up on March 1, 2016, with the Book of Numbers. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you've found during the first 25 days. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.

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