Israel divides the spoils….Jesus shares His authority and power to heal

5 04 2011

DAY NINETY-ONE : Numbers 31 v. 25 – 32 v. 42; Luke 8 v. 40 – 9 v. 9; Psalm 40 v. 1 – 8

NUMBERS
Dividing the Spoils – care is taken to divide the people and animals taken when the Midianites were conquered; there is a share for the soldiers who fought, and a share for the Israelites, half and half – and from each a portion is reserved for the priests (‘the Lord’s part’), a five-hundredth and a fiftieth respectively.
Loads of sheep, cattle, donkeys and women were shared out, and the Lord’s part given to the priests.
When the Israelite army is counted up, not one man has been lost in battle. The commanders are moved to offer all the gold the soldiers had acquired as an atonement offering to God. The gold (16,750 shekels in weight) was kept in the Tent of Meeting as a memorial.


The Transjordan Tribes – mmm, tricky this. The people of God have been pretty united in their journey towards the Promised Land, and in this passage, two of the tribes, the Reuben clan and the Gad clan request they stay in the land east of the Jordan, and don’t make the crossing. They’ve eyed this land up for its extensive pasture for all their livestock.
“Let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”
Moses is concerned this will put the other clans off pushing into the promised land, and weaken the troops (their number and their morale). Moses reminds them of their ancestors who discouraged the Israelites from entering the land, spreading fear, and causing God’s anger to burn against them, such that none (except Caleb and Joshua, who ‘followed the Lord wholeheartedly’) would live to see them enter the promised land.
The Gadites and Reubenites pledge to support the push into the promised land, the men will stick with the army, but their women, children and livestock will settle in this land to the east of the Jordan. They will make no claim of inheritance on the land still to be possessed.
Moses approves the plan, such that when all the promised land belongs to the Israelites, then they will be free to return to their land, which will be their possession before the Lord. Failure to support the full mission will be a sin against the Lord.
The Gadites and Reubenites agree, and Moses shares out this land east of the Jordan between the Gadites the Reubenites and the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph.

LUKE
A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman – these two stories show God’s power over sickness and death. As Jesus returns to the other side of Galilee, He meets a great crowd. One of the synagogue rulers, Jairus, begs Him to come to his sick daughter. The woman who had had a constant bleed for twelve years (same number of years as the sick girl’s life – twelve, a significant number in Jesus’ ministry), simply touched Jesus’ garment, in the faith that she would be healed. Jesus felt power leave Him, and halts the progress to Jairus’s home.
“Who touched me….I know that power has gone out from me.”
The woman, who had hoped to have remained incognito, comes forwards and falls at Jesus’ feet. She knew she had received her healing, and told her story to all present. Jesus’ words are comforting, and He dismisses her with His blessing of ‘peace’.
When the news arrives that Jairus’s daughter has died, Jesus is undeterred, and presses on to the house where the mourning and wailing can already be heard. They laugh their scorn at Jesus when He suggests they can stop their wailing, for the girl is merely sleeping.  
Jesus takes Jairus and his wife along with Peter, James and John in to where the girl lies.
Jesus took the girl’s hand and said, “My child, get up!”
Her spirit returned and she stood up.
Jesus immediately instructs them to get her something to eat – it’s been a while since she’s eaten a decent meal !

How her parents were going to keep this quiet, I just don’t know. However, Jesus is only too aware of the dangers of His growing popularity…..‘he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.’

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve – off the back of these miracles – calming the storm, healing the demon-possessed man, healing the woman with bleeding, and raising Jairus’s daughter – Jesus commissions the disciples to go with His power and authority to ‘drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’
They were to travel light (including no bread, no money) – they were to be totally dependant upon God’s provision through accepting hospitality.
So the disciples went from village to village. Creating quite a stir.
Herod is hearing reports of all of this, and is beginning to ask who this Jesus is (having recently finished off John the Baptist, Herod is wondering whether the reports are true that this is John back from the dead, or Elijah, or another of the prophets).

In Luke’s account, it’s the gentile Herod who asks the crucial question, “How is this I hear such things about”….in tomorrow’s reading we get Peter’s confession !

PSALM – one of King David’s great songs :
The Lord lifted me out of the miry pit and put my feet upon solid rock.
He gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Blessed is the one who puts makes the Lord their trust…..

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire….
rather ‘I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.’

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