April 4: Numbers 19 | Proverbs 14 | Galatians 5-6
Reading 1 - Num 19:7
"After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening" (Num 19:7).
In the offering of the red heifer, as a means of cleansing from the defilement of death, the priest becomes so much associated with the sacrifice, that he becomes unclean himself. Thus the lesson is taught: to remove death, he must first become subject to it (Rom 8:3; Heb 2:14).
"The ashes of a slain heifer applied to a man defiled by death, was a curing of death by death. This is precisely what has happened in the antitype: Christ, 'through death, destroyed that having the power of death, that is, the devil' (Heb 2:14). How could he do this if he had not in himself the power of death to destroy by dying? He has destroyed death. But in whom? In himself alone as yet. Believers will obtain the benefit by incorporation with him at the resurrection: but, at the present time, the victory is his alone. The fact is plain to everyone. Some who admire Christ are horror-struck at the idea of his having been a partaker of the Adamic condemned nature -- a nature defiled by death because of sin. Their horror is due wholly to too great a confinement of view. They fix their attention on the idea of 'defilement' without remembering that the defilement was undertaken expressly with a view to removal.
"We must have God's revealed object in view. The power of death was there that it might be destroyed. If it was not there, it could not be destroyed. This is the mischief of what may be truly called the Papal view. By denying that Jesus came in the very dying flesh of Adam, it changes the character of the death of Christ into a martyrdom or a punishing of the innocent for the guilty: instead of being what it is revealed to have been -- a declaration of the righteousness of God that He might be just, while the justifier of those who have faith in it for the forgiveness of their sins (Rom 3:24-26)" (RR, Law of Moses 264,265).
Reading 2 - Pro 14:1
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down" (Pro 14:1).
"Perhaps this has a meaning even on the most material plane. Some women take steps to improve their houses as time goes on, while others let everything go to ruin. We have even heard of people breaking up some of the woodwork of their houses and burning it through foolish indolence or still more foolish anger. On a slightly less material plane we have noticed the extraordinary difference between the woman who builds a home of confidence, unselfishness and love and the one who pulls a home to pieces by suspicion, jealousy and a generally negative attitude. On a higher plane still, the saying is true of the corporate woman formed through the ages. Those who desire to be constituent members of the bride to be, must be wise. They must build the house and not pull it down" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs" 134).
Reading 3 - Gal 5:22,23
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Gal 5:22,23).
Love is THE 'fruit' of the Spirit. Love is the basis of every other aspect of Spiritual fruit. Therefore, there are not nine separate fruits; rather, there is ONE fruit, in eight separate manifestations:
JOY is love exalted.
PEACE is love in repose.
PATIENCE is love enduring.
KINDNESS is love in society.
GOODNESS is love in action.
FAITHFULNESS is love overcoming.
GENTLENESS is love in submission.
SELF-CONTROL is love under discipline.