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The Bible In A Year: Day 54

Numbers 9
Job 15-17
Psalm 51
Mark 12:1-12

So now the Israelites have been in the wilderness for one year, and are about to celebrate the second Passover. A question arises for what some is to do that is unclean on the day the Passover is observed, and Moses asks the Lord for an answer. God replies that there will be a make-up Passover one month later for anyone unable to observe it the first time around due to ceremonial uncleanliness.

They’re getting ready to set out to the border of Canaan from Sinai and there’s an explanation of how the cloud led them by day, and the fire by night, just like during their flight from Egypt. Now that the tabernacle is erected the cloud and fire settled over the tabernacle and when it moved they moved.

Job 15-17

Now Eliphaz takes Job to task for refusing to confess whatever has brought this upon him. And he says that Job’s insistence on innocence is just making him further from God and deeper in sin.

Chapters 16 and 17 are Job’s response to Eliphaz and his complete frustration at his friend. His friend is right, once again, that the wages of sin are death, just like Saint Paul tells us later on in the New Testament, but he completely discounts the idea that an innocent man could suffer like this.

It’s similar to the man born blind in the Gospel of John, that when the apostles see him they ask Jesus if his blindness is due to his parent’s sin or his own, and he replies that it’s not due to sin at all, but that God could be glorified. That man had been blind all his life, and was a full grown adult by that point, but he had no idea that his suffering had a higher purpose. Job also has no idea, but insists it’s not due to any unconfessed sins. (Question; Offering up Suffering)

Psalm 51

I usually don’t do commentary on the psalm of the day, because they’re pretty straight forward and don’t require any words of explanation or context. This one is a little different.

Not to spoil the story, but I think it’s pretty well known by everyone anyway, but after David becomes king, he comes to a point where he seems to be just drifting through life. I mean he was anointed king of Israel by Samuel at a very young age, he killed a giant in his youth, he married a princess and then went on the run from her father for many years. Then he finally becomes king and captures the city of Jerusalem as his capital.

But now here he is, with his armies out in the field and doing battle, and he’s just lounging around the palace. Even the text of 2 Samuel calls him out by saying “at a time when kings were at war” but then immediately notes that David was not at war with his army. And while lounging around the palace he sees this beautiful woman named Bathsheba.

Eventually (and we will cover this later in 2 Samuel) David is called out by the prophet Nathan, and during his repentance and reconciliation he pens this psalm.

Circling back to Job, since he was a righteous and upright man, much in the mold of king David, he would’ve sounded more like this psalm if he was indeed aware of any transgressions that he was guilty of. Considering that his friends know his character, it must’ve been extra frustrating for him that they refused to believe his pleas of innocence.

Mark 12:1-12

Jesus tells the parable of the wicked tenants to the gathered crowd, and let’s just say it didn’t go over well with the Jerusalem authorities who apparently understood it as intended.

There’s a lot of symbolism in the parable so I’ll just run through it quickly here. The vineyard that is planted is the Israelites who are placed in the land of Canaan by God himself and then the hedge around is the walls of Jerusalem and the tower is the temple. The owner (God) leaves people in charge, those are the priests and Temple authorities, and eventually he sends servants, who are the prophets, to call the, to repentance.

But the servants and their messages are not well received, so they are beaten and killed. Eventually the son is sent and they don’t just do injuries to him, they conspire to kill him so they can inherit the vineyard for themselves. This all came to pass that very week and verse 12 says they knew he was speaking about them. It’s somewhat amazing that they understood this parable so well, and yet continued to do exactly what they were going to by killing the Son.

The vineyard of Israel signifies every Christian, whose duty it is to cultivate his new life given in Baptism. The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms are sent as messengers one after another, and finally, as recounted in the Gospels, the Father sends his Son. Should we despise these servants in pride, and even spurn the Son of God through sin, the graces we forfeit will be given to others more willing to receive them.

Saint Bede

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Numbers 10
Job 18-19
Psalm 52
Mark 12:13-27

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