March 20, 2018
Written by Larry Stockstill
Jesus spent His first forty days after baptism in the wilderness east of Jerusalem. Far from the distractions of life, He passed through the fires of temptation and learned total dependence upon God.
Moses said to Israel, "Anything made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead-that is, metals that do not burn-must be passed through fire in order to be made ceremonially pure" (Numbers 31:22-23). Nothing is acceptable to God unless it has been passed through the fire. Temptation proves the quality of your "metal." Though Jesus was severely tempted three times by the devil, He came forth as purest gold.
While Jesus was passing through the temptation, a second dynamic was taking place in His life: He was drawing into close communion with the Father. His soul and His body, though fasting, were satisfied with "more than the richest of foods" (Psalm 63:5) as He learned to cling to God (v. 8) in close communion.
These two lessons are our greatest challenges: "Resist the Devil" and "draw close to God" (James 4:7-8). Are you ready for the lessons of the wilderness?
1 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the LORD has commanded.
2 If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
3 “If a woman vows a vow to the LORD and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth,
4 and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand.
5 But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her.
6 “If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself,
7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand.
8 But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her.
9 (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.)
10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath,
11 and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand.
12 But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the LORD will forgive her.
13 Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void.
14 But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them.
15 But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.”
16 These are the statutes that the LORD commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father’s house.
1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”
3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian.
4 You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.”
5 So there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand.
7 They warred against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every male.
8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.
9 And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and they took as plunder all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods.
10 All their cities in the places where they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire,
11 and took all the spoil and all the plunder, both of man and of beast.
12 Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.
13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the chiefs of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.
14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war.
15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live?
16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD.
17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.
18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.
19 Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
20 You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”
21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded Moses:
22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead,
23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water.
24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
25 The LORD said to Moses,
26 “Take the count of the plunder that was taken, both of man and of beast, you and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation,
27 and divide the plunder into two parts between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation.
28 And levy for the LORD a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks.
29 Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a contribution to the LORD.
30 And from the people of Israel’s half you shall take one drawn out of every fifty, of the people, of the oxen, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all the cattle, and give them to the Levites who keep guard over the tabernacle of the LORD.”
31 And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
32 Now the plunder remaining of the spoil that the army took was 675,000 sheep,
33 72,000 cattle,
34 61,000 donkeys,
35 and 32,000 persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.
36 And the half, the portion of those who had gone out in the army, numbered 337,500 sheep,
37 and the LORD’s tribute of sheep was 675.
38 The cattle were 36,000, of which the LORD’s tribute was 72.
39 The donkeys were 30,500, of which the LORD’s tribute was 61.
40 The persons were 16,000, of which the LORD’s tribute was 32 persons.
41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the contribution for the LORD, to Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses.
42 From the people of Israel’s half, which Moses separated from that of the men who had served in the army—
43 now the congregation’s half was 337,500 sheep,
44 36,000 cattle,
45 and 30,500 donkeys,
46 and 16,000 persons—
47 from the people of Israel’s half Moses took one of every 50, both of persons and of beasts, and gave them to the Levites who kept guard over the tabernacle of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.
48 Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, came near to Moses
49 and said to Moses, “Your servants have counted the men of war who are under our command, and there is not a man missing from us.
50 And we have brought the LORD’s offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.”
51 And Moses and Eleazar the priest received from them the gold, all crafted articles.
52 And all the gold of the contribution that they presented to the LORD, from the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, was 16,750 shekels.
53 (The men in the army had each taken plunder for himself.)
54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tent of meeting, as a memorial for the people of Israel before the LORD.
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness
2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.
7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
10 for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”
24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,
26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
30 But passing through their midst, he went away.
1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
Source for scripture texts: www.digitalbibleplatform.com