Children of the Promise

Daily Scripture readings for August, set #14:

Numbers, chapters 33-36
Psalm 61
Matthew 25:31-46
Romans 9:1-18

The 4th verse of Numbers 33 is an interesting one: “On their gods also theLord executed judgments.” Scripture sometimes refers to false gods as demonic spiritual forces, but also as merely deaf/dumb/blind objects of wood and stone. I’m wondering which sense is intended in this verse, and what “judgment” against Egypt’s “gods” looked like.

I was appreciating and admiring the Psalmist’s commitment to his king in vs 6-7 of Psalm 61, until I realized that this Psalm was written by David. “Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!” Did David write this about himself? If so it definitely loses some of it’s punch. presumably this Psalm was written before David was king, which would mean Saul (a man constantly posturing himself as David’s enemy). That certainly would make more sense. An any rate, this is a good reminder to pray for our leaders, even if we view them as enemies.

I had a friend suggest to me a few years ago that the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 taught that those who are saved don’t know they are being saved. This seems like quite a stretch to me, although I will admit that I don’t fully understand why the parable hinges on ignorance. Honestly, what does being unaware of Jesus’ presence have to do with anything? It’s confusing to me.

Romans 9 again visits the topic of who the “true Jews” are, and verses 6-8 are pretty significant game-changers when it comes to understanding who it is that God made his covenants with: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” This redefining of the word “Israel” (promise rather than bloodline) is an INCREDIBLE development in the history of salvation, made even more incredible when delivered by Paul, a bloodline Jew. It makes my head spin.

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