Bible Readings and Devotion for August 2, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for August 2, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Many times, but not every time, numbers have meaning in the Bible. Today’s reading from Mark 12 points to one of these meaningful uses of number in God’s Word.
The special number used is 3. We see noted the following in Mark 12:26 which shows us the three: Jesus said, “And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?”
While the word “three” nor the numeral “3” is specifically noted here, we have a set of three used. We have the name of God listed as the Lord notes, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” It lists the truth of the three Patriarchs of Ancient Israel. The names point to a connection with the Lord.
The number 3 is the number for things of God and heavenly things in the Bible. The most prominent examples of this are times when God reveals his names. We have the one above from the Old Testament. We have the name revealed by Jesus for God in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
The number 4 is the number of things of earth. We think of the four points of the compass, North, South, East, and West. We have the historic elements of the ancient world, earth, air, water and fire. We have this in Revelation 5:6, “Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures…” as part of God’s connection to things we understand in the world.
Then we have two special combinations of three and four which tell us about God’s connection with us in the world.
3 + 4 = 7
3 x 4 = 12
So, when you see a 7 or 12 in the Bible, consider how this is telling us about a connection between God and humanity.
When you see multiplications of these main numbers (3, 4, 7, and 12), such as 7×7, 77, 7X70, 144, 144,000, etc. these are simply amplifications or hyperbole of things of heaven, earth, or of God’s connection with us. Sometimes these multiplications are a way of saying, “a great multitude,” or, “a long time,” as these relate to God and the world.
The number 6 is less than 7, and it is typically a sign of something not of God or contrary to God. See the reference to 666 in Revelation 13:18.
These are simply some pieces of information to give you more insight into God’s Word. You are invited to pay attention to the words and numbers in scripture, for these things matter more than we might think at first. God’s Word is given to us so that we can be shown the great things the Lord has done for us, especially the work of Jesus Christ. He is the one who suffered, died, and was raised from the dead for the forgiveness of our sin. These are given to us so that we might have life in his name.
On a related note, the verses and chapters of scripture were placed in the books centuries after the books were written. These are not part of the revealed word of God, and there is no reason to look to chapter and verse numbers as magical or mystical messages. There may be some interesting coincidences, but not special meaning. The chapters and verses are a tool to quickly find a specific passage within the various books. This universal system works between different languages and translations. The chapter numbers in the Psalms are like the hymn numbers in a hymnal, and these have more historical connection to the book being assembled.
O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.