OYB March 12
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Mar 12
16:41, 45 Can you get any denser? No wonder we are called sheep. Good it was Moses dealing with them—I would have moved aside.
17:8 When he went into the Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, he found that Aaron's staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds! Here's a weird thing I came across today. So I was looking for the symbolism in this verse, and obviously it is a Messianic prophecy of some kind. We've got the staff of leadership, the priest from the tribe of Levi, and the blessing on the staff (branch) of ripe almonds producing overnight. In verse 10, we see the staff is also a "warning to rebels."
So I researched "almonds" on Wikipedia and found that the Arabic word for almond is "laws." That reminded me of "Jebel Laws," the mountain in Saudi Arabia where many believe Moses got the 10 commandments. And remember in the video we watched in January and how the top of the mountain appears to be blackened as if burned to this day? So I discovered that in English, it is translated, "Mountain of Almonds!" I don't know if there is any connection of the English word coming forth as "laws" from "almonds," (that would be an interesting word study) but I do see some kind of connection here. Here is more information about the symbolism of almonds in the Bible from Wiki:
In the Old Testament, the almond was a symbol of watchfulness and promise due to its early flowering, symbolizing God's sudden and rapid punishment of His people (in agreement with verse 10, which we talked about when we related the three items in the Ark of the Covenant to the reminder of people's sins in February); in Jeremiah 1:11-12, for instance. In the Bible the almond is mentioned ten times, beginning with Book of Genesis 43:11, where it is described as "among the best of fruits."
In Numbers 17 Levi is chosen from the other tribes of Israel by Aaron's rod, which brought forth almond flowers. According to tradition, the rod of Aaron bore sweet almonds on one side and bitter on the other; if the Israelites followed the Lord, the sweet almonds would be ripe and edible, but if they were to forsake the path of the Lord, the bitter almonds would predominate. The almond blossom supplied a model for the menorah which stood in the Holy Temple, "Three cups, shaped like almond blossoms, were on one branch, with a knob and a flower; and three cups, shaped like almond blossoms, were on the other...on the candlestick itself were four cups, shaped like almond blossoms, with its knobs and flowers" (Exodus 25:33-34; 37:19-20).
17:12-13 Without the New Covenant, this is very true!
16:7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. The fact that the angel (or Jesus Himself?) mentioned Peter had to be a move of compassion. Peter was probably grief-stricken beyond measure for denying His Lord, and Jesus sent His encouragement and acceptance to Peter.
One of the things I love about this passage of Jesus after His resurrection is what clues it gives us to our future resurrected bodies. He was still a physical person with a physical body, He fully remembered His friends and their history together, He interacted with them, He was changed in appearance enough that He was not recognizable (probably much more beautiful in His resurrected state), He was able to suddenly appear through walls (Read Luke 24 & John 20 for even more descriptions).
Questions for reflection:
Have you ever felt God's encouragement or kindness in the middle of your rebellion or when you didn't deserve it? There have been many times while I've been in rebellion that God would speak to me and assure me of His love for me. Those were the most life-changing times for me.
Have you ever thought about what your resurrected body will be like? I was taught lies about it growing up that made me not want to be resurrected. Things like, I would be a ghostly spirit, I wouldn't remember my previous life or relationships from this earth, etc. Thank goodness none of it was true!