Numbers 32 – 33 A Synopsis:
Numbers 32 specifically deals with Reuben and Gad setting in new land. The Midianite people had just been destroyed to prevent them from seducing Israel to sin and there was land left as a result. Reuben and Gad had much livestock and needed a place to let them graze. The conquered land was suitable for this and Moses agreed to allow their tribes to settle there so long as this land was their possession before the LORD where they would honor Him.
Numbers 33 is an account of the Israel’s wondering in the wilderness. It includes the names of 40 places that they camped after leaving Egypt before entering Canaan. The last portion is more specific. The Lord spoke to Moses in regards to their actions when entering Canaan. They are to drive out the inhabitants and destroy their metal images and their high places. The phrase high places is in reference to the foreigners’ placement of their shrines and altars in the hills.
Mark 10:1 – 12 A Challenge to Search My Heart:
“And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”
There are multiple aspects of this passage that make it interesting to look at and evaluate.
The first piece of information is the setting. This takes place in Perea which was ruled by Herod Antipas who was the man who imprisoned John the Baptist for his views on divorce and remarriage. The Pharisees hope was to publicly discredit Jesus and to break apart his following by bringing up a touchy subject and that perhaps Jesus would even befall the same fate as John the Baptist (MacArthur Bible Commentary).
With the setting in mind the next thing to consider is Jesus’ response. He takes a controversial topic and he points the Pharisees back to what marriage is intended to be. They wanted to catch Jesus by poking at interpretations of scripture and Jesus simply speaks based on truth regarding what marriage should look like.
After Jesus and the disciples have left the Pharisees the disciples bring up the topic again and Jesus speaks in further detail about adultery giving grounds for divorce. None of this was mentioned in the presence of the Pharisees.
Knowing this information it is possible to consider the importance of Jesus’ choice to share what marriage is meant to be with the Pharisees and talk about divorce with the disciples. The heart and intent of the Pharisees was much different than the heart and intent of the disciples. The Pharisees were prodding to test and damage while the disciples were asking to learn and understand.
This can be applied in my own life – what is my intention when I come before Jesus? Is my intention to be with my God and learn from Him or to prod and test Him because I am looking for something?
May I come before my God in humility so that I can be in a place to hear and learn because I want to KNOW HIM.
Sam said it well yesterday, “I think the trick to learning true humility, is to not think about whether or not I’m being humble or prideful, but to begin to only think of God and of others. I’d argue that every action of Jesus was motivated either by his Love for God, or his Love for people, but never by love for himself.”
LORD – May I be motivated by a pure heart where I die to myself and my desire is to know you and to bless my neighbors according to your word.