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16 April - Numbers 35; Proverbs 26; John 8


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 11:00 AM

First Portion

Numbers 35


35:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 35:2 “Command the children of Israel that they give to the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and you shall give suburbs for the cities around them to the Levites. 35:3 The cities shall they have to dwell in; and their suburbs shall be for their livestock, and for their substance, and for all their animals.

35:4 “The suburbs of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall be from the wall of the city and outward one thousand cubits around it. 35:5 You shall measure outside of the city for the east side two thousand cubits, and for the south side two thousand cubits, and for the west side two thousand cubits, and for the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the midst. This shall be to them the suburbs of the cities.

35:6 “The cities which you shall give to the Levites, they shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to: and besides them you shall give forty-two cities. 35:7 All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities together with their suburbs. 35:8 Concerning the cities which you shall give of the possession of the children of Israel, from the many you shall take many; and from the few you shall take few: everyone according to his inheritance which he inherits shall give of his cities to the Levites.” 35:9 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 35:10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 35:11 then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person unwittingly may flee there. 35:12 The cities shall be to you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer not die, until he stands before the congregation for judgment. 35:13 The cities which you shall give shall be for you six cities of refuge. 35:14 You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and you shall give three cities in the land of Canaan; they shall be cities of refuge. 35:15 For the children of Israel, and for the stranger and for the foreigner living among them, shall these six cities be for refuge; that everyone who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.

35:16 “‘But if he struck him with an instrument of iron, so that he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:17 If he struck him with a stone in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:18 Or if he struck him with a weapon of wood in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death: when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 35:20 If he thrust him of hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died, 35:21 or in enmity struck him with his hand, so that he died; he who struck him shall surely be put to death; he is a murderer: the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.

35:22 “‘But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or hurled on him anything without lying in wait, 35:23 or with any stone, by which a man may die, not seeing him, and cast it on him, so that he died, and he was not his enemy, neither sought his harm; 35:24 then the congregation shall judge between the striker and the avenger of blood according to these ordinances; 35:25 and the congregation shall deliver the manslayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he was fled: and he shall dwell therein until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

35:26 “‘But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the border of his city of refuge, where he flees, 35:27 and the avenger of blood find him outside of the border of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kill the manslayer; he shall not be guilty of blood, 35:28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return into the land of his possession.

35:29 “‘These things shall be for a statute and ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

35:30 “‘Whoever kills any person, the murderer shall be slain at the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person that he die.

35:31 “‘Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death.

35:32 “‘You shall take no ransom for him who is fled to his city of refuge, that he may come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.

35:33 “‘So you shall not pollute the land in which you are: for blood, it pollutes the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him who shed it. 35:34 You shall not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell: for I, Yahweh, dwell in the midst of the children of Israel.’”

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 11:02 AM

Second Portion

Proverbs 26


26:1 Like snow in summer, and as rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.
26:2 Like a fluttering sparrow,
like a darting swallow,
so the undeserved curse doesn’t come to rest.
26:3 A whip is for the horse,
a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools!
26:4 Don’t answer a fool according to his folly,
lest you also be like him.
26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
26:6 One who sends a message by the hand of a fool
is cutting off feet and drinking violence.
26:7 Like the legs of the lame that hang loose:
so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
26:8 As one who binds a stone in a sling,
so is he who gives honor to a fool.
26:9 Like a thornbush that goes into the hand of a drunkard,
so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
26:10 As an archer who wounds all,
so is he who hires a fool
or he who hires those who pass by.
26:11 As a dog that returns to his vomit,
so is a fool who repeats his folly.
26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
26:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A fierce lion roams the streets!”
26:14 As the door turns on its hinges,
so does the sluggard on his bed.
26:15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish.
He is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven men who answer with discretion.
26:17 Like one who grabs a dog’s ears
is one who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own.
26:18 Like a madman who shoots torches, arrows, and death,
26:19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “Am I not joking?”
26:20 For lack of wood a fire goes out.
Without gossip, a quarrel dies down.
26:21 As coals are to hot embers,
and wood to fire,
so is a contentious man to kindling strife.
26:22 The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels,
they go down into the innermost parts.
26:23 Like silver dross on an earthen vessel
are the lips of a fervent one with an evil heart.
26:24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips,
but he harbors evil in his heart.
26:25 When his speech is charming, don’t believe him;
for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26:26 His malice may be concealed by deception,
but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
26:27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall into it.
Whoever rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts;
and a flattering mouth works ruin.

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 11:03 AM

Third Portion

John 8


8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 8:2 Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. 8:3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the midst, 8:4 they told him, "Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act.. 8:5 Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such.* What then do you say about her?" 8:6 They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of.

But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger. 8:7 But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." 8:8 Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.

8:9 They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. 8:10 Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, "Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?"

8:11 She said, "No one, Lord."

Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more."

8:12 Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world.* He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life."

8:13 The Pharisees therefore said to him, "You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid."

8:14 Jesus answered them, "Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don't know where I came from, or where I am going. 8:15 You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. 8:16 Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 8:17 It's also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid.* 8:18 I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me."

8:19 They said therefore to him, "Where is your Father?"

Jesus answered, "You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." 8:20 Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 8:21 Jesus said therefore again to them, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. Where I go, you can't come."

8:22 The Jews therefore said, "Will he kill himself, that he says, 'Where I am going, you can't come?'"

8:23 He said to them, "You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world. 8:24 I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins."

8:25 They said therefore to him, "Who are you?"

Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 8:26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world."

8:27 They didn't understand that he spoke to them about the Father. 8:28 Jesus therefore said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 8:29 He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn't left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him."

8:30 As he spoke these things, many believed in him. 8:31 Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, "If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."*

8:33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's seed, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How do you say, 'You will be made free?'"

8:34 Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin. 8:35 A bondservant doesn't live in the house forever. A son remains forever. 8:36 If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 8:37 I know that you are Abraham's seed, yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 8:38 I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father."

8:39 They answered him, "Our father is Abraham."

Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. 8:40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn't do this. 8:41 You do the works of your father."

They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God."

8:42 Therefore Jesus said to them, "If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven't come of myself, but he sent me. 8:43 Why don't you understand my speech? Because you can't hear my word. 8:44 You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn't stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father. 8:45 But because I tell the truth, you don't believe me. 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 8:47 He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don't hear, because you are not of God."

8:48 Then the Jews answered him, "Don't we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?"

8:49 Jesus answered, "I don't have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 8:50 But I don't seek my own glory. There is one who seeks and judges.. 8:51 Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death."

8:52 Then the Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, 'If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.' 8:53 Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?"

8:54 Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. 8:55 You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, 'I don't know him,' I would be like you, a liar. But I know him, and keep his word. 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad."

8:57 The Jews therefore said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"

8:58 Jesus said to them, "Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM."

8:59 Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through their midst, and so passed by.

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 12:05 PM

16 April 2009

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:36 AM

16 April 2010

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8

THE ORIGIN OF MANSLAUGHTER

Our reading in Numbers illustrates how the law regarding manslaughter originated. This is a law that is to be found in much of the world – as an alternative to charging someone with murder. It is used where someone causes a persons death, but claims he did not do it deliberately. This law originated about 3,500 years ago as part of the laws God gave to Moses. Numbers 35:9 tells us, "the LORD spoke to Moses saying, speak to the people of Israel … when you cross the Jordan into the land … then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there." There are to be 6 of these cities in all, they "shall be for refuge for the people of Israel and for the sojourner among them" [Numbers 35:15].

There follows definitions of how deaths can occur by accident. These 6 cities have a special responsibility, "the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood" [Numbers 35:24] The "avenger" being the family member who feels the death needs to be avenged, who does not see it as accidental. Witnesses are needed, and the principle is established "no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness." [Numbers 35:30] Further, someone who is found guilty of murder cannot 'buy' his freedom by paying a 'ransom." [Numbers 35:32].

As the Bible became printed and more widely read these principles influenced the whole world. Godly principles have been a vital part of life on this earth for hundreds of years, but today many of them are being forgotten or ignored, but we can be thankful that enshrined within the laws of this country, many still remain.

In our reading in John's Gospel today we have Jesus saying, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" [John 8:31] But so many today seek to be "free" of all restraints and laws to do as they please, and even followers of Christ can be influenced by this attitude forgetting what Paul wrote, "the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death" [Romans 8:2] Have you been set free? Are you using that freedom in the right way?
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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:36 AM

16 April 2011

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8

"NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU"

One of the best known and most quoted incidents in the life of Jesus is when “the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery” [John 8:3] and hypocritically asked him what judgement should be made. We deduce that their wily minds reasoned that if he agreed with their statement that “in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women” [John 8:5] they would carry this out and then put all the blame on him before the Roman authorities, for the Romans had taken away their right to put anyone to death – that is why later they had to bring Jesus to Pilate.

If on the other hand Jesus said she should not be stoned, they would make a big point of this before all the people – saying he did not uphold the Law. They expectantly asked him, “So what do you say?” [John 8:5] He did not answer but “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground” [John 8:6]. We are tempted to speculate what he wrote, maybe some account of her accusers sins!

Then comes the sequel which most Christians know well, “he stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” [John 8:7]. The result was that “they went away one by one beginning with the older ones” [John 8:9]. Alone with the woman, Jesus asks, “ ‘has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither to I condemn you’ ” But then he adds, “go, and from now on sin no more.” [John 8:10,11]

What a wonderful testimony to the mercy and compassion of Christ toward those conscious of their sins.

But how is it possible to “sin no more”? Was Jesus asking the impossible? John’s First Letter provides us with some words to think about as we look at this question. He writes, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil” [1 John 3:8]. We read 2 days ago Jesus said to his 12 disciples, “one of you is a devil.” [John 6:70], he knew Judas Iscariot had sold his soul to sinful ways.

Those who have not done so, but struggle with sin, should note what John writes in his epistle, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” [1 John 3:18-20] It is good to read the whole context of the point John is making.
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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:14 AM

16 April 2012

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8


THE ORIGIN OF THE CHARGE OF MANSLAUGHTER

Our reading in Numbers illustrates how the law regarding manslaughter originated. This is a law that is to be found in much of the world, certainly the western world – as an alternative to charging someone with murder. It is used where someone causes a person’s death, but it appears he or she did not do it deliberately. Few realize this law originated about 3,500 years ago as part of the laws God gave to Moses. Numbers 35:9 tells us, “the LORD spoke to Moses saying, speak to the people of Israel … when you cross the Jordan into the land … then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there.” There were to be 6 of these cities in all, they “shall be for refuge for the people of Israel and for the sojourner among them” [Numbers 35:15].


There follows definitions of how deaths can occur by accident. These 6 cities have a special responsibility, “the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood” [Numbers 35:24] The “avenger” being a family member who feels the death needs to be avenged, who does not see it as accidental. Witnesses are needed, and the principle is established “no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” [Numbers 35:30] Further, someone who is found guilty of murder cannot ‘buy’ his freedom by paying a ‘ransom’.” [Numbers 35:32]. Today we would say, a fine.

As the Bible became printed and more widely read these principles influenced much of the world. Godly principles have been a vital part of life on this earth for hundreds of years, but today many of them are being forgotten or ignored, but we can be thankful that enshrined within the laws of this country, many still remain.

In our reading in John’s Gospel today we have Jesus saying, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” [John 8:31] But so many today seek to be “free” of all restraints and laws to do as they please. Even followers of Christ can be influenced by this attitude forgetting what Paul wrote, “the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” [Romans 8:2]. Have you been set free? If not, why not?
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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:01 AM

16 April 2013

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8

"THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE"

What did Jesus mean, “The Truth will set you free?” Free from what? John 8 today contains aspects of the teachings of Jesus that we have to think around and put into context to get the correct meaning.

The critics of Jesus were usually those whose thought processes were mechanical. This is illustrated at the beginning of today’s chapter which describes them bringing to him a woman taken in adultery. They thought they had him cornered, if he said the Mosaic law should be observed and she should be stoned they would probably have done so, or got others to, and then blamed Jesus before the Roman authorities because the Jews had no right to put anyone to death - that is why they brought Jesus before Pilate.. See John 18:31.

If Jesus has said something different, they would have denounced him before the people for not upholding the law! His reaction confounded them – and after he said “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” [John 8:7] they slunk away from Jesus, no one was without sin among them.

Only Jesus was without sin – and he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, ‘No one Lord’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’” [John 8:10-11] Notice how she addresses Jesus as “Lord”! She saw him as far more than a “teacher” which is how the Jews addressed him.

Jesus speaks to all who come to him – in the same words as he spoke to the woman – whatever our failures have been, and the closer we come to “the light of the world” the more we are aware of those failures – but we also learn the truth of his words, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” [John 8:12] and all the “darkness” in our character will be obliterated, indeed Christ will then be “formed in you.” [Galatians 4:19]

Jesus went on to tell them, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” [John 8:31-32] The key action on our part is to “abide” in the word of Jesus. John uses the Gk word for ‘abide’ more than 40 times in his gospel and the translators render it variously as ‘continue’, ‘dwell’ ‘remaining’ etc. Are you abiding in his word? Is the word ‘abiding’ in you? If the answer is ‘Yes’ – you have been set free!

Jesus made the point, “ … I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” – it has become part of their character. But “if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed” [John 8:36] He told the religious leaders, “…you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.” [John 8:37] May it have found a place in us – in you – or will soon do so. Remember Jesus said, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” [John 8:47] – and as we read – we “hear.”
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Posted 16 April 2014 - 02:11 PM

16 April 2014

Numbers 35
Proverbs 26
John 8

“YOU ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL”

John’s gospel records in greater detail the sayings of Jesus. Sometimes Jesus did not speak in a straightforward manner, especially to those who were jealous of his popularity and who were trying to challenge him; often he uses figures of speech: these were beyond their ability to understand. Our chapter 8 today is full of this kind of language. His opponents claim, “Abraham is our Father” causing Jesus to say ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did … you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil … He was a murderer from the beginning….” [John 8:39, 43, 44]

The way Jesus uses the word ‘devil’ challenges our understanding, it becomes clearer when recall that in John 6 we read, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil” [John 6:70] clearly referring to Judas Iscariot.

There is no neutral position in Bible language. The first murderer was Cain, he was the first to make himself an ‘enemy’ of God – even before he murdered his brother, he wanted to set his own standards in approaching God. It has been so ever since! We show our genuineness in acknowledging God in the way we live. In those early centuries, the acknowledging of God descended to virtual nothingness by Noah’s day. And today?

Let’s give more thought to the word “devil”! Sometimes the translators do not render the Gk word ‘diabolos’ as devil. Remember Paul’s description of attitudes in “the last days …(when) people will be lovers of self, lovers of money … unholy … slanderous … lovers of pleasure …” [2 Timothy 3:1-4]. The word ‘diabolos’ occurs in the Gk., but the translators choose use the word ‘slanderous’ to translate it – the A V has “false accusers” – those whose heart is “false” – as Judas’s became. How many today have ‘true’ hearts?

We sense more and more that we are living “in the last days” and the world seems to have many “devils” But the vital point we grasp is that we must think and live as “children of God” – a greater vision still than the Jews wanted to have as “children of Abraham.” Let us strive to succeed, where they failed,

Do you remember what we read in Luke’s Gospel last month? Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and who ever does not gather with me scatters.” [Luke 11:23] The place to “gather” is in God’s word, notice how often Jesus quoted from it, let us do the same and show that we are children of our heavenly Father.
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