Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 58

The scriptures read are Numbers 24-26, Psalm 48, and Luke 6.

Numbers 24. Balaam blesses Israel real good. It really ticks off Balak. And Balaam gives a Messianic prophesy.

Numbers 25. If you think God has been coming off a tad irritable lately, this latest screw-up by the Israelites might make you sympathize with him a bit, or at least, wonder just how dumb these people are. What part of an idolatrous orgy did they think was not violating God's law? After all this time, they just don't get it, do they?

The less said about Phinehas' aim the better.

Numbers 26. Another census. Interesting to check the numbers against those in chapter 1, to see which tribes have grown and which have shrunk.

Psalm 48. A paean to Jerusalem as God's city.

Luke 6. Wanna get religious people riled up? Break a religious rule in order to do a good deed. The contradiction frustrates the heck out of them.

Jesus picks his team. 2 Simons, 2 Jameses and a couple of Judases are among them.

The Sermon on the Plain. Overlaps with the Sermon on the Mount a lot. What's different is as interesting as what's the same. In addition to Beattitudes, there are Don't Be-attitudes.

As for similarities, I don't imagine Jesus made up all-new stuff every time he preached. He probably repeated key teachings and restated the same ideas as he traveled to different places. It's not like there were newspapers or video cameras that could let people in, say, Capernaum know what he said in Cana. So it's instructive to get different versions of his stump speech. Luke, as usual, emphasizes what Jesus says about the underdogs and outcasts, as well as his warnings to the well-off, stingy and self-righteous.

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