Provision of land….of food….of salvation

6 04 2011

DAY NINETY-TWO : Numbers 33 v. 1 – 34 v. 29; Luke 9 v. 10 – 27; Proverbs 8 v. 22 – 31

Israel’s Journey – Moses records the stages of the journey from Egypt (the day after Passover) to the promised land. ‘Elim’ stands out as a special place, with twelve springs and seventy palm trees. Moses traces the path of their journey all the way to the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.
Once at the plain of Moab, the Lord instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to seize the land, destroy the idols, and drive out all the inhabitants. ‘Take possession of the land and settle in it’
Then distribute the land, giving the largest portion to a larger tribe.
There is a warning if they fail to drive the inhabitants out, there will be trouble in the land.

Canaan’s Boundaries – then the Lord gives Moses the boundaries of the land promised to them. The southern boundary was to be the Desert of Zin; the western boundary being the ‘Great Sea’; the northern boundary from the ‘Great Sea’ across Mount Hor and through a few other named places; the eastern boundary ultimately being along the path of the Jordan to the ‘Salt Sea’ (Dead Sea). This land is the inheritance of God’s chosen people, given to nine and a half tribes (two and a half tribes have already been allocated land east of the Jordan). Eleazor and Joshua are the key leaders to allocate the land, and God chooses one leader from each of the  clans to join them in agreeing the allocation, including Caleb from the tribe of Judah.

God is precise about the limit of the land they are to inherit, and about the individuals who will make up the team of leaders to allocate the land…..I wonder how easily that allocation was agreed.  

Feeding 5,000 – The disciple return excitedly, reporting all that had happened when Jesus had sent them out. I love that sense of God’s people gathering and telling of all that has happened through God being at work within them. Jesus seeks to invest some quality time with His disciples at Bethsaida ‘BUT’ the crowds found out and followed them. Mmm. Interesting, of course, that Jesus doesn’t chase them all away; rather, He welcomed them and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and He healed the sick.
After a long day, the disciples encourage Jesus to send them home to find food and a place to sleep.
Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.” – that line makes me smile every time. How ‘out of the blue’ that comment must have sounded. However, they’ve just returned with stories to tell of God’s provision, and His miraculous work in and through them, and Jesus is constantly pushing them deeper into a faith and trust in God’s miraculous provision.
Jesus tells the disciples to get the multitude into groups of around 50.
Jesus takes the bread and the fish they’ve gathered, looks up to heaven, gives thanks and breaks them into pieces.
The disciples share it out amongst the 5,000 plus people.
“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces left over.”
As I read this passage today, I’m reminded of the symbolism of Jesus taking bread, lifting it heavenward, blessing it and breaking it and giving it to His disciples. This ‘feeding of the 5,000’, then is also a deeper message about Jesus being the ‘bread from heaven’, like manna to the Israelites – many thousands will be ‘satisfied’ – and the symbolism of twelve baskets of broken pieces left over, is a perfect reminder of the miraculous provision for the twelve tribes of Israel….

Peter’s Confession – some time later, that key conversation happened, between Jesus and the disciples, about who He really is. Firstly, Jesus asks who others say He is. John the Baptist; Elijah; the return of an OT Prophet.
Then, Jesus asks who the disciples say He is.
Peter’s reply, “The Christ of God”.
What a moment of revelation. Peter’s got it! They have seen enough to believe that Jesus is the chosen Messiah, the anointed one, to herald the new kingdom of God.
Jesus immediately teaches them of the suffering the Son of Man must endure, rejection, being killed. He tells them that He will be raised to life on the third day.
And so there is a cost to their discipleship – it’s not all going to be plain sailing; it will mean denying self, taking up the cross daily, and following closely.
“…whoever loses his life for me will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
This conversation is pivotal in the three years Jesus spends with the disciples – it’s a key turning point, as the disciples begin to confess who Jesus is, yet also the point where Jesus begins to spell out the suffering and death which is before Him, and consequently before them. These words of Jesus today have such depth as part of our Lenten pilgrimage – Jesus is making a direct link between His own suffering, death and resurrection, and the disciple’s path of surrender, sacrifice, cross-bearing, as the way to inherit true, authentic, eternal life. 

speaks of being there before creation, ‘appointed from eternity’, before the mountains and the hills, the oceans and the streams, Wisdom was.
Wisdom saw the whole of creation as it was put in place by the Creator.
Wisdom was ‘filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in all humanity’.

How easy it is to see Jesus in these words – the pre-existent “Word of God”, the divine wisdom personified – delighting and rejoicing as creation takes shape.




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