Believing

Daily Scripture readings for August, set #1:

Numbers, chapters 1-2
Psalm 48
Matthew 21:23-32
Romans 1:1-17

Well, Leviticus is all wrapped up and it’s on to Numbers… and the two books are on roughly the same level when it comes to being interesting. Today’s reading regarding the census lives up to the hype, but I noticed something this year that I didn’t notice as I read last year. God himself tells Moses to give a census, which is apparently not a wrong or sinful action. The OT later records King David taking a census, but the incident is condemned by God as sin. The apparently non-sinful nature of Moses’ census would suggest that such an action is not sin in itself. Moses is acting in obedience to God, but David evidently had sin in his heart while taking his census. Hopefully this will be clearer wen we get to 2 Samuel and Chronicles.

Psalm 48:8 notes the origin of the city of God: “In the city of our God, which God will establish forever.” God is the one who establishes his city. What a privilege it is for us as believers to be a part of what God is doing!

In today’s section of Matthew 21 Jesus tells the chief priests/elders that “the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you” (vs 31). I think Jesus’ point is that their “obedience” to the law gets them nowhere, because their hearts are not about the Kingdom. But what’s most interesting to me is verse 32, where Jesus hinges his whole point on BELIEVING. I feel like a lot of voices in contemporary American Christianity are trying to dodge or supplement the act of believing, but Jesus sure doesn’t.

The Epistle reading schedule moves on from Acts to Romans today. Verses 16-17 form the thesis for the book. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles.” I’ve been working through Romans for the past few months with a buddy on Monday mornings, and I’m noticing how much the book revolves around the inclusion of Gentiles in the Kingdom. It’s so heavy for me to think about the generations of people in the OT, living and dying in enmity toward God because they weren’t Jews. Wow am I thankful for the message of Romans.

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