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Week 22 August 26,2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, August 26, 2020):

• Numbers 31-36 ~ Deuteronomy 1

• Ezekiel 25-31

• 1 Corinthians 15-16 ~ 2 Corinthians 1-5

• Psalms 148-150

We finish up the Book of Psalms this week. Don’t feel like you can’t keep reading it just since we have gotten through it. If you start over and read through it again, you will finish the second time about two months before we are done with the entire read!

Notes on Numbers

The Israelites exact revenge on Midianites in chapter 31, who along with the Moabites led them into sexual immorality back in chapter 25. I made a mistake last week in saying we would not find out about Balaam’s contribution to this enticement until the Book of Revelation. However, we read about his involvement (and his death) in this chapter.

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In chapter 32, the two-and-a-half tribes opt out of their promised home in the Promised land, and settle for land east of the Jordan.

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The stages of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land is given to us in chapter 33. I counted a little over forty stops. That comes out to an average of about one move per year, if my math is correct.

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Borders of the Promised Land are laid out in chapter 34.

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In chapter 35, we find that the Levite families would be scattered throughout the territory of the other tribes. As the pastor tribe, they would thereby be geographically available to everyone.

Six cities were to be designated to be cities of refuge, sanctuary cities for those accused of murder, where they could go and live safely until a proper investigation of their alleged crime could be completed.

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The case of Zelophehad’s daughters appears again, as promised last week, in chapter 36.

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Notes on Deuteronomy

The fifth and final book of the Torah opens with Moses beginning a long narrative on their history from Mount Horeb forward.

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Notes on Ezekiel

With Judah’s fall and destruction imminent, God seems to be on a judgmental roll. In chapter 25, he goes after Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philisita. In chapter 26, the focus turns to Tyre. In chapter 27, a lament is spoken over Tyre’s demise.

Then in chapter 28, there is prophecy against the King of Tyre, who is a type of Satan. This typology actually swings around to speak to Satan himself beginning in verse 12. We get much, maybe even most of our theology of the devil from these verses.

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Next, in chapter 30, the attention goes to Pharaoh in Egypt. While the others were lambasted by God for their actions and attitudes toward Israel, Egypt is in a little different place.

As we have seen, as Babylon was knocking on the door, many of the Jews were hoping to escape to Egypt. The prophets continually warned them not to do this, but they did so anyway. Even so, here Pharaoh is rebuked for being poor help for them: “You have been a staff of reed for the people of Israel. When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched” (29.6-7).

But Egypt has a special place in God’s heart. Following judgement of a dispersing of their own, God promised for a return of her people as well forty years later (29.13).

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A lament for Egypt follows in chapter 30. A lengthy rebuke of Pharaoh follows in chapter 31.

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Notes on 1 Corinthians

In chapter 15 there is some very important theology on the resurrection not only of Jesus, but us, including our new bodies.

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Paul ends the book with some internal housekeeping issues regarding his itinerary and some personal greetings.

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Notes on 2 Corinthians

I find this the most unusual of all of Paul’s books. He gets really emotional at places. It gets personal.

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Chapter one deals with his schedule recent past and present, scattered with some very practical and powerful applications of faith.

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This theme continues on into chapter two. He goes into a situation involving forgiveness (5-11), and again we see a very personal application.

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At the end of the chapter, Paul begins a short segment on being ministers of the new covenant that will spill over into chapter three. He presents the metaphor of being the aroma of Christ.

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The new covenant is contrasted with the old in the latter half of chapter 3. I am especially drawn to these kinds of comparisons, finding the shadow covenant of the Old Testament fascinating with all of its implications for the new.

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The analogy of jars of clay is presented in chapter four.

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Paul talks in chapter five about our new resurrected bodies again. And we find the very powerful words of verse ten: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

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So much of the gospel is packed into the second half of this chapter: the ministry of reconciliation. God reconciles with us, then gives us the power to do likewise to others.

“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (5.17-20).

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Notes on Psalms

We have come to the end of this most wonderful book!

The last three are splendid songs of praise. This is a great end to such a magnificent book. Of course, we are always free to go back to it anytime!

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