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

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Numbers 31, Psalms 75–76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalms 75-76.

It is interesting how some of these readings intersect with each other at times. Numbers 31 described how God ordered Moses to attack and defeat the Midianites as the just penalty for seducing the Israelites back in Numbers 25. Isaiah 23 records God’s prophecy against Tyre, declaring to them the judgment they will receive for their sins (vv. 17-18). In between those two readings, we read Psalm 75-76 which sing praises to God for his sovereign justice. As his chosen people Israel praised God for his favor to them (75:1). In verses 2-10 the Psalmist explains that God’s justice happens in his time (v. 2) and that those he judges are powerless to avoid the judgment he brings (vv. 3-8). In the middle of Psalm 75, the Psalmist sings, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” (vv. 6-7). We think that military might or political success are matters of human strength and ingenuity; this Psalm mocks our foolish assumptions and tells us that God sovereignly and precisely rules over the affairs of humanity. No one can become powerful unless God allows them to become powerful (vv. 6-7); no one can hold on to power if God determines to take it away (vv. 3-5). While obedience to God should cause us to do all we can to bring righteousness and justice in our world, God has his own plans and those plans sometimes involve exalting the wicked so that his will can be done. But justice will be executed in God’s time. 

Given all this, does it make sense to worry so much about who will be elected President this fall? Yes, we want righteous leaders who will make righteous laws and enforce them justly, so we should vote biblically and conscientiously. But what if God allows a wicked man or woman to be elected because of his own purpose? If that happens, can you join the Psalmist in singing, “As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, who says, ‘I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.’” Can we trust God—and praise him—even when we don’t understand why he allows troubling things to happen? Can we wait for him to do justice according to his will in the time that he chooses?

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.