Numbers 30:1-31:54; Luke 4:1-30; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 11:20-21
Thirsting for Righteousness
The reading in the book of Numbers is a reminder of the burden of the Law and the uncertain nature of life in the time of Moses and Aaron. In the later history of Israel, the lot of women had improved somewhat, but a widow with no man to protect her was dependent on charity. The rigorous requirements of purification ostracized many from common life and worship. Those who were not accepted in society no doubt thirsted for wholeness, for kindness, and for the everyday social relationships enjoyed by others.
When Jesus reads the prophecy of Isaiah, He announces that the Lord is fulfilling the promise of freedom from poverty, captivity, and subjection, from separation caused by physical affliction or disfigurement. But He makes it plain that not everyone will receive this freedom.
Thinking they should have special privilege because Jesus had grown up in their town, the people in the synagogue angrily rise up against Him. His scolding reminder points to the time when He will say to those who assume their salvation, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom… I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you…’” (Matt. 7:21-23).
We have a duty to obtain freedom and opportunity for the disenfranchised. It is those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6) who will be satisfied.
Victoria L. Collins, Deacon