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April 10: Numbers 28 | Proverbs 20 | John 1


Reading 1 - Num 28

Now that the people were about to take possession of the land, the sacrificial ordinances were repeated and once more commanded to the Israelites, with fuller details added. The daily morning and evening sacrifice had already been instituted in connection with the altar of burnt-offering (Exo 29:38-42). To this daily consecration of Israel were now added the special sacrifices of the Sabbath -- symbolic of a deeper and more special dedication on God's own day. The Sabbath and the other festive sacrifices were always brought in addition to the daily offering.


Again, the beginning of every month was marked by a special sacrifice, with the addition of a sin-offering, while the blast of the priests' trumpets was intended to bring Israel's prayers and services in remembrance before the Lord. If the beginning of each month was thus significantly consecrated, the feast of unleavened bread (from the 15th to the 21st of Abib), which made that month the beginning of the year, was marked by the repetition on each of its seven days of the sacrifices which were prescribed for every new moon. The Passover feast (on the 14th of Abib) had no general congregational sacrifice, but only that of the lamb for the Passover supper in each household.


Lastly, the sacrifices for the feast of weeks were the same as those for the feast of unleavened bread, with the addition of the two "wave loaves" and their accompanying sacrifices prescribed in Lev 23:7-21. This concluded the first festive cycle in the year.


Reading 2 - Pro 20:14

" 'It's no good, it's no good!' says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase" (Pro 20:14).

"Having mentioned such a buyer [who showed little enthusiasm when seeking to purchase the article] we may observe his methods and then follow him home. He has not said much during the negotiations and all that he has said has been to depreciate the value of the thing offered. It is a poor beast and he is not at all anxious to buy. When the sale is effected, however, and he goes home with his purchase, it is quite probable that his tone will change completely. It was the best animal in the market and he only gave such a figure for it! Just as Solomon observed three thousand years ago. 'It is nought, it is nought, saith the buyer, but when he has gone his way then he boasteth' [AV]" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").


Reading 3 - John 1:14

"The Word became flesh" is here a straightforward reference to Christ's nature, not merely his birth (cp 1Jo 4:2). God manifested Himself in the flesh of humanity (1Ti 3:16), not in stone (Exo 34:6). Jesus was of David's seed (Rom 1:3); under a curse (Gal 3:13); being born of a woman, under the law (Gal 4:4); and made "sin" (2Co 5:21). He was of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3); in the likeness of men, of no reputation (Phi 2:7); and like his brethren (Heb 2:17).


The conception of Jesus in the virgin womb is likened to the original "Creation" of Genesis; in fact, it is the beginning of the new, spiritual "creation": cp Gen 1:2 (the Spirit of God hovering over the waters) like a mother bird brooding over her young: Deu 32:11 (cp Exo 19:4). The words portray the energy-giving presence of God -- wrapping, protecting, and caressing the chaos of the unfinished earth as He prepared to complete His creation. And THIS SAME ENERGY IN CREATIVE PROCESS is described in Luke 1:35 (the Holy Spirit will... overshadow you...): The language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen (cp Gen 1:2, LXX); the Spirit of God "overshadowing", or "moving upon" the face of the waters to bring forth life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and then her chicks.


A direct parallel to the natural creation -- this is the beginning of the spiritual, or new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative power, yet nonetheless tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who sustains all things by His omnipotence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no man can understand, much less question, His prerogative. But also it is a picture of a God who is a Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies unnumbered upon those who can never hope to repay Him. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us..."


 





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