I’m going to restrict myself for now to reflections on the Psalms and NT readings as Anne is far better equipped than me to comment on Numbers!
Christians are not spared the afflictions common to man, but they do have God’s promise that He will sustain them in their weakness (v3). How often have you proven this to be true in difficult times? Similarly, we are blessed if we help those in need (v1). This psalm also speaks of the pain we feel when someone close to us lets us down (v9). There are times (hopefully rare) when we feel, as David did, as if whole world is against us – or at least doesn’t understand us. At times like these, we can rest in the certain knowledge that God knows us completely, sympathises with us and understands our anxieties and fears (see Psalm 139).
This chapter takes us from Jesus’ encounter with Pilate to His crucifixion. The crowd who had so recently welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with palm branches now cry for Him to be crucified, thus revealing the fickleness of human beings and the fleeting nature of fame and popularity. Why does Jesus remain silent before Pilate as the chief priests bombard Him with false accusations? How quick are we to react or retaliate when accused? Jesus’ quiet dignity in the face of undeserved hostility reveals His steadfast trust in His Father and His perfect submission to the Father’s will. This is a painful chapter to read and for those who witnessed these events, it seemed all was lost. But note verse 38 which is pregnant with meaning: the curtain is torn, the barrier of sin between God and man is removed and our salvation is assured!
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