Numbers 31, Psalms 75-76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 22, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 31

Numbers 31:21–24 (ESV) 21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded Moses: 22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. 24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”

The men who had gone to battle against the Midianites had to be cleansed and purified along with the spoil they had collected. Even though the war was commanded by God (Num. 31:2), as Matthew Henry points out, there was need to “preserve in their minds a dread and detestation of shedding blood.” Regarding the spoil, because it had once been used the Midianites but now belonged to the Israelites, it needed to be purified by fire or water. Only when all of this had performed could they come into the camp, demonstrating a stark separation of God’s chosen people from other nations.

Psalms 75-76

Psalm 75:2–3 (ESV) 2 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. 3 When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah

The psalmist speaks of God’s justice and then of His steadiness directly following, denoting a significant relationship between the two characteristics of God. His steadiness and stability are seen through His perfect justice. A world without justice would be one of chaos and perpetual tumult. It is a testament to our God of all constancy and trustworthiness, judging creation with equity and steadying the earth’s tottering pillars along with its inhabitants by His mighty hand.

Isaiah 23

Isaiah 23:8–9 (ESV) 8 Who has purposed this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth? 9 The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth.

By way of question and answer, Isaiah tells of how it was God who purposed the destruction of Tyre. The Chaldeans would be the instrument of their downfall, but it would ultimately be by God’s hand. The purpose was to defile the pride of Tyre and dishonor the honored of the earth, a warning to the nations that all who exalt himself will be brought low. The scale of this is very large, but carries a personal message as well. In the final analysis, the humble will exalted and the prideful to come to ruin.

1 John 1

1 John 1:1–2 (ESV) 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—

John gives testimony that what was from the beginning concerning the word of life was heard and seen with their own eyes, revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is a proclamation of eternal life that was with the Father and now made manifest to them. This life-giving message was that the word became flesh and dwelt among us, that we may share in the fellowship with our brethren, with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. There is no more glorious news than that of the coming of our Lord and Savior.

Carson on Psalm 75-76

Thus the recital of what God has done is a means of grace to bring God near to his people. Believers who spend no time reviewing and pondering in their minds what God has done, whether they are alone and reading their Bibles or joining with other believers in corporate adoration, should not be surprised if they rarely sense that God is near.

Carson elicits a sobering reminder that our adoration of God and intimacy with Him is strongly associated to our remembrance of what He has done. Affection soars when we enjoin our hearts and voices to His wondrous deeds.