Day 43 – October 27, 2023: Deuteronomy 6-10 and Mark 8

We begin our reading with one of the greatest commandments, certainly one of the best known in the entire Scripture, known as the Shema in chapter 6 of Deuteronomy. The title of this commandments comes from the Hebrew: to hear, or to listen. Shema comes from vs.4 which begins: “Hear, Oh Israel” That command to hear, to listen, and which is then followed with a command to not only follow the commandmens of the Lord which were given back in chapter 5, but to teach them to your children for all generations is a reminder that the word of the Lord is not just for us in this time and place, but is for all times and all places and all peoples.

Sometimes I get the question of why did God choose the people of Israel and not another group. We have a sort of answer in chapter 7:8 where God says that it is because of the covenant that he made with the ancestors of the people of Israel that he has maintained his covenant with them. It isn’t because of their power, and certainly not because of their obedience, but because God is loyal and he promised Abraham and those who followed him that their people would be his people.

We get a great warning from God in chapter 8 against giving ourselves too much credit when prosperity comes our way. He tells us not to exalt ourselves. When prosperity comes remember from where it came. This is such a crucial reminder to all of us that we do not think that it is by the power of our own hands and of our own work and skill that we find ourselves where we do today. It is completely up to God as Job reminds us. At any time our lives and our things may be required of us.

In Mark 8 we have a compilation of events from Jesus healing and again telling people to not telling anyone, to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is, the Messiah. He then follows this up with a denial that Jesus will die and Jesus calling him Satan. Not bad for a single day’s work.

2 thoughts on “Day 43 – October 27, 2023: Deuteronomy 6-10 and Mark 8

  1. Jeffrey Marsh

    Few things struck me from this reading. First, I loved Deut. 10:12-22. Just a beautiful passage. Second, maybe I haven’t paid attention to it, but I was thrown off when God addressed the people as “O Israel” in Chapter 6. I wondered if it was the first time. But then I saw it in Chapter 4. Maybe it is semantics, but it confused me. God renamed Jacob as Israel, but my NIV kind of went back and forth between calling him Jacob and calling him Israel. So I figured they were called Israelites because they were direct descendants of Jacob. Is that right? I just didn’t understand why they were addressed as Israel, which is like addressing them as Jacob. Descendants of Israel makes sense. I don’t know, but I just never thought about it until I read this. Israel isn’t a place yet, so why is God calling them that? As for Mark, the feeding of 4000 and 5000 is peculiar. Is this the only Gospel that includes both feedings? And who is Mark exactly? How would he have knowledge of Christ’s ministry? I was also bothered by my translation of Mark 8:33 “But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.” Would he not rebuke Peter if it were not in front of the disciples? Is it to be an example for the others at Peter’s expense? Jesus just seemed a little salty in Mark 8. Look at 17-21. I’m not sure what to make of his responses.

    1. Bob Bronkema Post author

      So, yes, they are direct desdendants from Jacob who was renamed Israel and that is why they are called Isrealites. There is a bit of a hangover of the name Jacob even after he is renamed Israel. No explanation for that except people are writing Scripture and periodically we see that not everything consistently flows as we would expect the Word of God to flow. That happens. Israel as a place is actually a much less commong demarcation than Israel as a people. Similar to the whole discussion of church which is technically a gathering of people but we have coopted it to mean more than that: a place, a way of thinking, etc.
      Evenn today while Israel is considered a place we have not very clear geographic boundaries in mind. Before the 1940’s Israel was not a place except in the days of old.
      Mark and the double feeding. Yes, he is the only one who has two accounts. Interestingly enough all of the other Gospels have at least one feeding account which makes this event in Jesus’ life one of the rare events that all four Gospels reflect. It goes along with Palm Sunday and a few other accounts, but not many.
      Who is Mark? There are some text criticisms that describe Mark not as a person but as a source of the Gospels. I’m not into text criticisms so I’m going with the unproven, but popular approach that Mark was the John Mark mentioned in Acts 12:12 and again by Peter in I Peter 5:13, who even calls him his “son”. It is generally agreed that it is the first Gospel written and after which potentially some of the Gospels got their information.
      I think Jesus would have definitely rebuked Peter even if the disciples were not there, but it was important to Jesus that his disciples recognized that this fact that he was going to die and rise again is a non-negotiable. Without Jesus’ death and resurrection there is no salvation. Anyone trying to prevent that, no matter how pure their motives, needs to stand down.
      I give Jesus the latitude to be salty, as God was more than salty with the Israelites as they disobeyed time, after time, after time, after time….


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