Day 112

Hello God!

Wisdom Psalm 49:1–20
New Testament Luke 20:27–21:4
Old Testament Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12


The Vicar of Dibley, a UK TV sitcom featuring a woman vicar played by Dawn French, is based on the life of one of the first women vicars – Joy Carroll Wallis. A few years ago, Pippa and I met Joy. She told us a story about when she was an Anglican priest in London.

One of the congregation members was a very godly eighty-seven-year-old woman, called Flory Shore, who underwent serious surgery. Flory had been told that her prospects of recovery were very slim.

Thankfully, she survived the surgery. As she opened her eyes, one of the first things she saw was the blurred image of her doctor, dressed in his white jacket.

She smiled and said, ‘Hello God! I’m Flory Shore.’

Joy commented that this demonstrated two things. First, it showed Flory’s humility. She did not expect God to know who she was. Second, it showed her absolute certainty about the resurrection and where she was going.

Her certainty about the resurrection was based on the cornerstone of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first Easter day. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you through the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:18–23). One day, you too will be raised and be able to say, ‘Hello God!’


Psalm 49:1–20

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 Hear this, all you peoples;
   listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
   rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
   the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
   with the harp I will expound my riddle:

5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
   when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
   and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
   or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
   no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
   and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
   that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
   leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
   their dwellings for endless generations,
   though they had named lands after themselves.

12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
   they are like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
   and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die;
   death will be their shepherd
   (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
   far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
   he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
   when the splendour of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
   their splendour will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
   and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
   who will never again see the light of life.

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
   are like the beasts that perish.


Life beyond the grave

There is a stark contrast between life without God, and life with God.

1. Life without God

Those who live without God tend to end up trusting in either wealth (v.6a) or themselves (v.13a). This trust is characterised by a search for status. The wealthy may ‘boast of their great riches’ (v.6b) and use money to impress others with their possessions (v.16). They may even name lands after themselves (v.11a).

They enjoy the praise of others (v.18b) and they count ‘themselves blessed’ (v.18a). They may try to use their wealth to ‘buy off’ their own death (v.7). Yet no amount of money is ever enough (v.8). In the end, it is all futile as wealth gets left to others (v.10b). ‘So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them’ (vv.16–17a, MSG). What is this all worth if we ‘decay in the grave?’ (v.14).

2. Life with God

By contrast, if you live a life with God there is no need to search for status. This is because your status is determined not by your success in accumulating wealth, but in knowing to whom you belong and how precious you are to him.

Your ransom has been paid (v.7b) and you have been redeemed – your future is secure: ‘But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death, he reaches down and grabs me’ (v.15, MSG).

A life with God means you will ‘live on for ever and not see decay’ (v.9). The psalmist says, ‘Why should I fear?’ (v.5). Fear is a natural human emotion. But, with God you can face your fears with confidence because you are able to have complete trust in God for this life and the life to come.

Here is one of the few hints in the Old Testament of life after death. The writer is confident that ‘God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself’ (v.15). Life with God does not end with death but continues on into eternity. The psalmist was confident in this, even though he did not know how it was possible. The answer is revealed through Jesus’ resurrection.


Lord, thank you for the power of your resurrection, which now lives in me. Thank you that you will snatch me from the clutch of death and take me to yourself.

New Testament

Luke 20:27–21:4

The Resurrection and Marriage

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

41 Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
43 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Warning Against the Teachers of the Law

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

The Widow’s Offering

21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”


The dead will rise

When we start to think about the resurrection and life after death, it is hard to imagine what it will be like. What will people look like? What kind of body will you have? How will we relate to one another?

Sometimes, people use these kinds of questions to suggest that the idea of the resurrection is fanciful or even absurd. The Sadducees belonged to a ‘party that denies any possibility of resurrection’ (20:27, MSG). They came to Jesus with this kind of trick question about a woman who had had seven husbands, asking mockingly how it would all work out with the resurrection.

Jesus answered by explaining that their question is flawed because they are working with a this-worldly mindset. The resurrection will transform all our human relationships and the need for marriage as a means of continuing a family line will be removed (vv.34–36).

Jesus answers the question, but then goes on to address the real issue. The Sadducees were unimpressed by the hints of the resurrection in the Old Testament because they placed far greater weight on the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch).

Jesus takes them on, on their own territory, by quoting from one of these books: ‘Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive’ (vv.37–38).

Jesus is absolutely clear that he believed, not only in his own resurrection, but also in a much wider ‘resurrection from the dead’ (v.35). Those who rise ‘can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection’ (v.36).

Of course, it all depends on Jesus being who he claimed to be. Jesus points out that he is not only a son of David, he is David’s Lord (vv.41–44). If Jesus is Lord, you can be confident in his assurance that ‘the dead rise’ (v.37).

If you really believe in the resurrection it changes your attitude to everything in life, including your possessions. Like the widow (21:1–4) you are challenged to give generously, hold your possessions lightly and, ultimately, to be willing to give up everything you have in this life.

Furthermore, you have a whole different perspective on this life. There is real hope in the face of the tragedy of death. This life is only the beginning.


Lord, thank you so much for dying for me and thank you for the amazing hope that I have through your resurrection. Thank you that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will raise us also.

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12

Moses Blesses the Tribes

33 This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. 2 He said:

   “The LORD came from Sinai
     and dawned over them from Seir;
     he shone forth from Mount Paran.
     He came with myriads of holy ones
     from the south, from his mountain slopes.
  3 Surely it is you who love the people;
     all the holy ones are in your hand.
   At your feet they all bow down,
     and from you receive instruction,
   4 the law that Moses gave us,
     the possession of the assembly of Jacob.
   5 He was king over Jeshurun
     when the leaders of the people assembled,
     along with the tribes of Israel.

   6 “Let Reuben live and not die,
     nor his people be few.”

7 And this he said about Judah:

   “Hear, LORD, the cry of Judah;
     bring him to his people.
   With his own hands he defends his cause.
     Oh, be his help against his foes!”

8 About Levi he said:

   “Your Thummim and Urim belong
     to your faithful servant.
   You tested him at Massah;
     you contended with him at the waters of Meribah.
   9 He said of his father and mother,
     'I have no regard for them.’
   He did not recognize his brothers
     or acknowledge his own children,
   but he watched over your word
     and guarded your covenant.
   10 He teaches your precepts to Jacob
     and your law to Israel.
   He offers incense before you
     and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
   11 Bless all his skills, LORD,
     and be pleased with the work of his hands.
   Strike down those who rise against him,
     his foes till they rise no more.”

12 About Benjamin he said:

   “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
     for he shields him all day long,
     and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders. ”

13 About Joseph he said:

   “May the LORD bless his land
     with the precious dew from heaven above
     and with the deep waters that lie below;
   14 with the best the sun brings forth
     and the finest the moon can yield;
   15 with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains
     and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills;
   16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
     and the favour of him who dwelt in the burning bush.
   Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
     on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
   17 In majesty he is like a firstborn bull;
     his horns are the horns of a wild ox.
   With them he will gore the nations,
     even those at the ends of the earth.
   Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim;
     such are the thousands of Manasseh. ”

18 About Zebulun he said:

   “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
     and you, Issachar, in your tents.
   19 They will summon peoples to the mountain
     and there offer the sacrifices of the righteous;
   they will feast on the abundance of the seas,
     on the treasures hidden in the sand.”

20 About Gad he said:

   “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad’s domain!
     Gad lives there like a lion,
     tearing at arm or head.
   21 He chose the best land for himself;
     the leader’s portion was kept for him.
   When the heads of the people assembled,
     he carried out the LORD’s righteous will,
     and his judgments concerning Israel.”

22 About Dan he said:

   “Dan is a lion’s cub,
     springing out of Bashan.”

23 About Naphtali he said:

   “Naphtali is abounding with the favour of the LORD
     and is full of his blessing;
     he will inherit southward to the lake.”

24 About Asher he said:

   “Most blessed of sons is Asher;
     let him be favoured by his brothers,
     and let him bathe his feet in oil.
   25 The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
     and your strength will equal your days.

   26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
     who rides across the heavens to help you
     and on the clouds in his majesty.
   27 The eternal God is your refuge,
     and underneath are the everlasting arms.
   He will drive out your enemies before you,
     saying, ‘Destroy them!’
   28 So Israel will live in safety;
     Jacob will dwell secure
   in a land of grain and new wine,
     where the heavens drop dew.
   29 Blessed are you, Israel!
     Who is like you,
     a people saved by the LORD?
   He is your shield and helper
     and your glorious sword.
   Your enemies will cower before you,
     and you will tread on their heights. ”

The Death of Moses

34 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.


The everlasting arms

If ever a person had a good end to their life it was Moses: ‘Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step’ (34:7, MSG). He had lived a life of knowing the Lord ‘face to face’ (v.10).

Moses had been greatly used by God: ‘For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did’ (v.12).

One of the great challenges in life is to finish well. Part of finishing well is planning succession.

Moses finished well. He had planned for Joshua to be his successor: ‘Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD commanded Moses’ (v.9). This is one of the few examples of the anointing of God passing from one generation to the next.

Before he died, Moses blessed all the different tribes with some extraordinary words. For example, about Benjamin he said, ‘Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders’ (33:12).

As he comes to the end, having blessed each tribe, he says, ‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (vv.26–27a).

Moses perhaps realised that death was not the end. He trusted the eternal God and he knew his arms were everlasting.

This does not entirely remove the pain and sadness of death. The people wept and mourned when Moses died (34:8a). It is natural and important to grieve and vital that we do so. Your emotions are God-given and should not be repressed.

However, there is a difference between grief with no hope, and the grief of the believer who has hope in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

I have been at many funerals and memorial services over the years and often the opening words are these great, reassuring, comforting and powerful words: ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27a).


Lord, may I, like Moses, live in a close relationship with you, and know that the eternal God is my refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Pippa adds

Deuteronomy 33:26 says:

‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ (vv.26–27a)

Words of great comfort when facing difficult times.



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The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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