April 11: Numbers 29-30 | Proverbs 21 | John 2-3
Reading 1 - Num 29; 30
The second cycle of feasts took place in the seventh or sacred month -- seven being the sacred number, and that of the covenant. It began with new moon's day when, besides the daily, and the ordinary new moon's offerings, special festive sacrifices were brought (Num 29:1-6). Then on the 10th of that month was the "Day of Atonement," while on the 15th the feast of tabernacles began, lasting seven days. All these feasts had their appropriate sacrifices.
The laws as to sacrifices appropriately close with directions about "vows" (Num 30). In all the ordinances connected with the sacred seasons, there is evident the symbolic significance of the number seven -- alike in the feasts themselves, in their number, their sacrifices, and in that of the days appointed for holy convocation. Indeed, the whole arrangement of time was ordered on the same principle, ascending from the Sabbath of days, to the Sabbath of weeks, of months, of years, and finally to the Sabbath of Sabbath years, which was the year of Jubilee. And thus all time pointed forward and upward to the greatest "Sabbath," or sacred rest, that remains as the hope of God's people (Heb 4:9).
Reading 2 - Pro 21:31
"Victory rests with the LORD" (Pro 21:31).
Or, as KJV, "Safety is of the LORD."
"Hold fast. All present things will pass. God never changes. The Truth never changes. All evil is temporary. All good is eternal. The present is but for a moment. The future is forever. Regardless of the sorrow, the disappointment, the griefs, the losses, the betrayal of those we trusted, the pettiness of those we respected, the antagonism of those we looked to for friendship, the weakness of those we looked to for strength -- still all is as it should be, all things are working together for good. All we need to do is hold fast in faith, in unwavering assurance, in calm confidence, yea, in thankful joy and cheerful rejoicing. The dross is a mountain: but the gold is but a handful. All we see at present is the mountain: the gold is there, and will endure when all else is gone. Just leave it all to God to work out in His time -- and labor and pray every moment that you may be part of that which at last endures" (GVG).
Reading 3 - John 2:9,10
"And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, 'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now' " (John 2:9,10).
Natural life is usually what is pictured by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them' " (Ecc 12:1). "The days of trouble" describes life lived on a material level... which can be more and more of a struggle as the years go by, and physical and mental ailments and weaknesses and afflictions take their toll. And we discover, sadly, that -- physically speaking -- the "choice wine" came first, and we hardly realized or appreciated it until it had all been drunk.
But when we go to the wedding feast with Jesus, we discover that the "best wine" of our lives will be the last served! And, together with Christ, we will BE that "wine"! The grapes of life, harvested and crushed, the juices extracted... and through the fermentation process bringing forth a new life -- more glorious and rewarding -- in him.
As the old song goes: "Come with me; the best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first was made!" Except, in this case, "the last of life" will never end. The "best wine" with Jesus goes on and on... and on and on....