Numbers 33, Psalm 78:1-39, Isaiah 25, 1 John 3

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 24, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 33

Numbers 33:55–56 (ESV) 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. 56 And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”

The LORD told Moses to speak to the people that they were to fully drive out the inhabitants of the land they had been given for their possession. Their disobedience would not only result in those remaining being a snare but that God would do to the Israelites what he thought to do to them. This stern warning identified the temptation the people would face as they entered the land to ensure that they keep from adopting the idolatrous practices of the native people. This is as much for us as it was for the nation of Israel, realizing that we will face the same temptation to follow idols and the need to keep our focus on the Lord who alone is worthy of our worship.

Psalm 78:1-39

Psalm 78:32–39 (ESV) 32 In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. 33 So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. 34 When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. 35 They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. 36 But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. 37 Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. 38 Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. 39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

These verses beautifully encapsulate man’s fickle nature and God’s grace. The people sinned and God responded by making their days vanish like a breath. The people turned back to God in remembrance, but it only by lip service and shallow flattery. Their turning was more a reaction to their plight than of true repentance and hearts steadfast toward Him. And yet, God had compassion on them and atoned for their iniquity, remembering that they were but flesh. God knows the depth of our corruption and still sees fit to work with His sinful creatures. How praiseworthy it is that we worship the God of all patience and longsuffering.

Isaiah 25

Isaiah 25:1 (ESV) 25 O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

Isaiah’s powerful proclamation is one that beckons to be spoken aloud in earnest worship and adoration. He is our God and there is none other. His is the name we exalt and praise, the One who has done wonderful things from plans formed of old, faithful and sure from beginning to end.

1 John 3

1 John 3:16–18 (ESV) 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

John speaks of how we know love and how to love others, that Christ laid down His life down for us. It is by the unfathomable grace demonstrated on the cross that we are called to lay down our lives in like manner for the brothers. The closing of one’s heart to such a love stems from a lack of being properly crushed by the gospel and the love displayed by our Lord.

Carson on Psalm 78

Third, Asaph understands (1) that deep knowledge of Scripture and of the ways of God means more than knowing facts, but also grasping the unfolding patterns to see what God is doing; (2) that at any time the covenant people of God are never more than one generation from extinction, so it is utterly vital to pass on this accumulating insight to the next generation.

Carson’s third of three observations elaborates Asaph’s understanding that knowledge of God is more than mere facts as well as the great need to provide future generations with insights regarding God’s progressive revelation. These are not to be carried forward simply as a list of dry details but by diligent prayer that it would lead to a deep love and affection for our Lord.