Violence! Lots of violence today.
The Canaanites attack the Israelites. The Israelites ask God to help them. He does, and the Israelites completely destroy the Canaanites and all their towns.
The Israelites continue their travels and, of course, complain,
Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!God punishes the people with poisonous snakes,
So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.Fortunately, God listens to Moses' prayer.
Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!Frankly, I find that whole story to be a bit weird. It would, however, fit perfectly in a story book of myths.
The Israelites continue their travels, and, for once, God gives them water before they start complaining about it. Maybe he's learning!
Then back to violence. King Sihon of the Amorites refuses to let the Israelites pass through his land. Instead, he attacks them.
But the Israelites slaughtered them with their swords and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River.A similar thing happened with King Og of Bashan (he he, Og).
The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, along with all his people and his land. Do the same to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.” And Israel killed King Og, his sons, and all his subjects; not a single survivor remained. Then Israel occupied their land.The rest of today's reading deals with how Balak, the son of the king of Moab, tried to get Balaam, a dude good at blessing and cursing people, to curse the Israelites. Balaam refuses because God tells him that the Israelites have been blessed.
The birth story of Jesus in Luke is quite elaborate compared to that in Matthew (Mark, if you remember, has no birth story). The angel Gabriel, who earlier visited Zechariah, visits Mary and tells her she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Mary visits Elizabeth, and the baby in her womb (John the Baptist) jumps for joy. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth. She praises Mary. Mary praises God.
Psalms and Proverbs
Much of the time, Proverbs annoys me greatly, especially when the writings reflect negative attitudes that I have experienced at the hands of Christians. From today's reading,
With their words, the godless destroy their friends,This is not a verse I have had quoted at me (thankfully), but I have certainly had someone pull away from me because I was an atheist and, therefore, not fit to associate with. It is a painful experience to be on the receiving end of.
but knowledge will rescue the righteous.