Scraps and Spears

Day 60

Prayer for the day

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.

Scripture for the day

Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37

Why does God seem so mad at the other nations surrounding the Israelites in the First Testament and then seem to reverse his opinion in Jesus in the Second? Why is the woman who approaches Jesus allowed not only to live, but to have her daughter healed, while the other nations around Israel have to be slaughtered? Why is God so happy with a man that drives a spear through a canoodling couple?

At first glance it seems like we’re either dealing with two different gods or at least one God with very different approaches to people depending on their timing.

However, what we miss at first glance is the historical setting and the heart of God in both cases. God’s desire for the purity of the Israelite people, God’s knowledge of their moral frailty, and God’s desire to keep them in covenant, drives God’s anger at the Israelites and surrounding nations in the First Testament. The Israelites are supposed to be a people who bring blessing to the surrounding nations by showing the surrounding nations the goodness of God and the character God is trying to develop in them. Instead, at every instance, they seem bent on deserting God for the “next big thing,” be that other gods, other nations, or simple whining.

God looks for people among His people who carry the same flame for purity that God carries. In killing the Midianite woman and the man she was with, Phinehas was trying to prevent Israel from falling away from God.

In the Second Testament, however, Jesus is calling the nations to join the kingdom, starting with the Jews and moving to other nations around them. The woman who asks for her daughter to be healed seems to know that Jesus was sent to the Jews first, but is drawn to the work of God, and so believes. Instead of drawing others away, she is drawn in to Jesus.

Let us be the kind of pure people who attract others to the kingdom, not through force, nor through trickery, but by lives and words that point to Jesus.

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