Day 84

God Wants to Amaze You

Wisdom Psalm 37:10–20
New Testament Luke 5:17–32
Old Testament Numbers 16:36–18:32


‘The Eagle has landed,’ said Neil Armstrong. President Nixon, watching the events on television, described it as ‘one of the greatest moments of our time’. The Pope greeted the news by exclaiming, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will!’

At 3:56 am on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder from the Eagle and onto the moon’s surface. ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,’ he said, as he became the first man to walk on the moon.

Due to the recent invention of television, this remarkable event was the first of such historic significance to be seen so widely and known so immediately. The whole world watched with awe and amazement.

James Irwin, another astronaut who walked on the moon, said, ‘Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.’ When people saw what Jesus did, their response was awe and amazement: ‘Everyone was amazed… They were filled with awe’ (Luke 5:26).


Psalm 37:10–20

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
   though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
   and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous
   and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
   for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
   and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
   to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
   and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
   than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
   but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,
   and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
   in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
   Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
   they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.


Stand in awe and amazement at the choice of God

Do you ever stand in awe and amazement at the sort of people God chooses? Whereas the world tends to be impressed by people of ‘wealth’ (v.16) and ‘power’ (v.17), it is not so with God. ‘God chose the foolish... the weak... the lowly... the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him’ (1 Corinthians 1:27–29). God chooses:

1. The unassuming

The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace’ (Psalm 37:11). Meek does not mean weak, spineless or feeble. It is the word used of Moses (Numbers 12:3, RSV). Jesus described himself as meek (Matthew 11:29, RSV). It means gentle, considerate and unassuming.

It is the opposite of being arrogant and self-seeking. It is the word used of a horse that has been ‘broken’, that is, tamed. It means strength under control. Jesus seems to be quoting this verse when he said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5).

2. The poor and needy

God is concerned for ‘the poor and the needy’ (Psalm 37:14). Those who treat them badly are ‘wicked’ in God’s eyes: ‘Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous’ (vv.16–17).

3. The persecuted

The theme of these verses in Psalm 37 is that the wicked plot against the righteous. As the psalmist contrasts the ‘righteous’ and the ‘wicked’, it is not that they are merely two separate categories of people, but one is proactive in its hostility to the other: ‘Bad guys have it in for the good guys’ (v.12, MSG).

These verses remind us that it is not for us to retaliate if we are persecuted because God has it all under control and he will ensure that justice is done in the end. We do not need to take revenge into our own hands (see Romans 12:17–21).


Lord, I stand in awe and amazement at the people you choose. Help me to see people as you see them – not by the world’s standards but with your eyes.

New Testament

Luke 5:17–32

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal those who were ill. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”


Look with awe and amazement at the ministry of Jesus

Have you wondered how people must have felt when they saw Jesus perform a miracle? His ministry led to amazement and awe: ‘Everyone was amazed... They were filled with awe’ (v.26). The Amplified version captures this sense of excitement: ‘An overwhelming astonishment and ecstasy seized them all, and they recognised and praised and thanked God; and they were filled with and controlled by reverential fear and kept saying, We have seen wonderful and strange and incredible and unthinkable things today!’ (v.26, AMP).

1. Healing the sick

Even in the ministry of Jesus there seemed to be ebbs and flows in terms of healing. Sometimes, when there was unbelief, Jesus healed fewer people (Matthew 13:58). At other times, as we read here, ‘The power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal those who were ill’ (Luke 5:17).

2. Forgiving sins

We tend to find healings amazing. But we can take the forgiveness of sins rather for granted. Jesus demonstrates here that forgiveness is even more amazing and awesome than healing. He first forgives the man’s sin (v.20) and then shows that he has the authority to do so by healing him (v.24). Forgiveness was the priority.

3. Reading people

Jesus read their minds. He knew what they were thinking in their hearts (v.22). To forgive those who have sinned against others is something only God can do. When Jesus claimed the authority to forgive the sins of those who had sinned against others, in their hearts they accused him of ‘blasphemy’ (v.21a), ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ (v.21b).

In a sense they were right; Jesus was claiming the authority of God to forgive sins. No wonder ‘the people rubbed their eyes, incredulous – and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, “We’ve never seen anything like that!”’ (v.26, MSG).

4. Choosing outcasts

Jesus’ choice of Levi the tax collector as his follower was amazing. He chose an outcast. But he made the right choice. Levi ‘got up, left everything and followed him’ (v.28). He then gave a great banquet for Jesus at his house and a large crowd came. Levi was clearly an influential leader. People were fascinated by what had happened to him and wanted to meet Jesus.

Jesus’ choice was shocking and startling. Whenever I go into prisons, I see that Jesus is still calling as his followers people who are rejected by society, and I am filled with awe and amazement.

5. Befriending sinners

Once again Jesus amazed people. They asked, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and “sinners”?’ (v.30). Jesus replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (vv.31–32).

This is the heart of the good news for all of us. Joyce Meyer writes about this passage; ‘So often we feel we must hide our weaknesses and always pretend we are strong and in need of nothing… [but] we all have weaknesses and inabilities… Jesus came for those who were sick (needy) not those who were healthy (not needy) … Go ahead and be needy. Tell God everything you need. He already knows anyway and is waiting for you to ask for help.’


Lord, thank you that you are the same yesterday, today and forever. I ask that your power would be present to heal the sick. May people be struck with awe and amazement as they see you continuing to do remarkable things.

Old Testament

Numbers 16:36–18:32

36 The LORD said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy— 38 the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.”

39 So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned to death, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, 40 as the LORD directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before the LORD, or he would become like Korah and his followers.

41 The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.

42 But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD said to Moses, 45 “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown.

46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started.” 47 So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. 48 He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. 49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.

The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

17 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. 3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. 4 Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. 5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”

6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. 7 Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the covenant law.

8 The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the LORD’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

10 The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We shall die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?”

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 The LORD said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood. 2 Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the tent of the covenant law. 3 They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar. Otherwise both they and you will die. 4 They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting—all the work at the tent—and no one else may come near where you are.

5 “You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. 6 I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the tent of meeting. 7 But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death. ”

Offerings for Priests and Levites

8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion, your perpetual share. 9 You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons. 10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy.

11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.

12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the firstfruits of their harvest. 13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the LORD will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.

14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours. 15 The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.

17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of a ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Splash their blood against the altar and burn their fat as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 18 Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours. 19 Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring.”

20 The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.

21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting. 22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the tent of meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the tent of meeting and bear the responsibility for any offenses they commit against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

25 The LORD said to Moses, 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering. 27 Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. 28 In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest. 29 You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’

30 “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress. 31 You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the tent of meeting. 32 By presenting the best part of it you will not be guilty in this matter; then you will not defile the holy offerings of the Israelites, and you will not die.’”


Meditate in awe and amazement at the wonder of forgiveness

We have a tendency to take forgiveness for granted. The poet Heinrich Heine once said, ‘Dieu me pardonnera. C'est son métier.’ (God will forgive me. It is his job.) In one sense, nothing could be further from the truth. Sin has a very high cost (16:38). Many of the things we read about in the Old Testament strike us as ‘awful’ in the sense that they seem to be appalling.

However, another sense of the word ‘awful’ is ‘filled with awe’. One dictionary definition of ‘awful’ is ‘worthy of or commanding profound respect or reverential fear or wonder… solemnly impressive, sublimely majestic’.

The language in this passage shows the seriousness of sin – its cost and the reaction of God to it: ‘Wrath has come out from the Lord’ (v.46). God is not pleased at, for example, ‘constant grumbling’ (17:5).

Sin required atonement (16:46). There was a need for redemption (18:15–16). Sprinkling of blood was required (v.17). The setting up of the Levitical priesthood was necessary to foreshadow and prepare the way for Jesus, the great high priest, whose blood was sprinkled and who made atonement to redeem us from our sins (Hebrews 4:14; 12:24; 2:17).

Unless you understand the seriousness of sin and the Old Testament background, which shows the difficulty and complication of receiving forgiveness, you will not understand how wonderful, awesome and amazing God’s forgiveness is. Forgiveness is not automatic, but it is made possible by Jesus. As you meditate on what God has done you should be filled with wonder, awe and amazement.


Lord, thank you that through Jesus’ death and resurrection I can know that I am forgiven. Thank you that I live in the age of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for how the events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit have transformed my life and transformed this world. May the eyes of the whole world be opened to see these remarkable events with awe and amazement.

Pippa adds

As we see in Luke 5:17–26,

It is not always easy to bring our friends to Jesus. It takes perseverance, it takes persistence, obviously prayer and even thinking outside the box (or, in this case, dismantling roof!)



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Joyce Meyer, The Everyday Life Bible, (Faithwords, 2018) p.1615.

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.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel

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