Caution Lights and Teachable Hearts
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Week 9 in the Word
Mary and I live in a rural area of Virginia, about 15 miles from Roanoke where we worship, shop, dine out, and meet friends. There is a 60 miles per hour limit on the highway to the city, so we may legally drive 60 mph until we hit a traffic light. The highway department wisely put up a warning signal a half mile before the first traffic light. If I am driving at top legal speed and the caution light starts flashing, I know the green light will turn red just before I get to it. So, I am faced with a choice: accelerate above the legal limit and speed through the light before it turns red, or slow down and prepare to stop safely and in time.
To me Bible reading is a lot like that caution light. It warns me to prepare to make a decision before I do something which God forbids or before I neglect to do something which God commands. I have learned to stop when I see the flashing caution light on my ride to Roanoke, but I admit it is always a temptation to see if I can somehow make it through and not get stopped. It would be risky to speed through a red light on a major US highway, how much more to ignore a flashing caution light in God’s word?
This past week we began Numbers and continued in Mark’s gospel. How did you manage those long lists of names and the tribal contributions for the tabernacle? The ceremonial law required much precision, but we can be grateful that law was meant to point us to Christ who completely fulfilled it for us. The incident at Kadesh Barnea with the fearful spies is a sad chapter in which Israel ignored a flashing caution light. That decision resulted in a delay of 40 years before the people passed into the Promised Land.
Did you get an ominous feeling in the gospel of Mark as the opposition to Jesus heated up? The Lord endured much as He taught with authority challenging the religious and political powers of His day, but He stayed faithful to the end which, we will see, led to the cross. Meanwhile, His enemies ignored lights that should have cautioned them that they were on the wrong road in their plot to kill Jesus.
This week we will continue the saga of Israel in the wilderness. They still struggle with rebellion, jealousy, complaining, idolatry, and immorality, yet God shows them His unchanging wisdom, patience, and faithfulness. They see some important victories as they get closer to Canaan, their destiny. Read along in Concealed and Revealed to see how their experience sheds light on some of the difficulties we face today.
The gospel of Mark takes us through more of Jesus’ miracles and important teaching. We will see the glory of Christ displayed in His Transfiguration contrasted with the pettiness and unbelief of His disciples. Jesus warns them and us that all our problems come from our hearts. Sin hatches there, defiles us, and can hurt others too.
Tip of the week
Be teachable. To get the most out of your Bible reading, check your heart as you begin. Are you willing to let the Scriptures expose your need for repentance and obedience?
Our society is not characterized by a willingness to be instructed. Someone said, “I like to know, but I hate to be taught.” Not all teachers are reliable, of course, but God’s word correctly understood is certainly the one reliable source of truth and guidance. If there is anything we can learn from our readings, it is that God warns His people. When they ignore His instructions they suffer, and so will we. Let us be receptive, teachable students of the Word of God always seeking to observe caution lights and to maintain teachable hearts.
Week of February 26-March 4, 2021
February 26 /Day 57 The Fearsome Presence of God (Numbers 16-17; Mark 6:33-56) Audio here. February 27 /Day 58 When Leaders Fail (Numbers 18-20; Mark 7:1-13) Audio here. February 28 /Day 59 Was God Unfair to Balaam? (Numbers 21-23; Mark 7:14-8:10) Audio here. March 1 /Day 60 A Man in Love with the World (Numbers 24-27; Mark 8:11-38) Audio here. March 2/Day 61 Can We Trust the Bible? (Numbers 28-29; Mark 9:1-29) Audio here. March 3/Day 62 A Warning about Causing People to Sin (Numbers 30-31; Mark 9:30-50) Audio here. March 4/Day 63 The Obedient Life: Cost and Rewards (Numbers 32-33; Mark 10:1-31) Audio here. If you do not have a copy of my book you may want to order one here. However, you may also access the daily audio recordings generously provided by my friend and pastor Charlie Evans below.
This week let us watch out for the caution lights and keep teachable hearts.