Day 91

Follow Jesus

Wisdom Psalm 40:1–8
New Testament Luke 8:40–9:9
Old Testament Numbers 31:25–32:42


Curious to know what all the fuss was about Pippa and I eventually entered the world of Twitter and now Instagram. It is a world where you ‘follow’ other people and are yourselves ‘followed’.

Many celebrities have huge followings. People become avid spectators of their lives, relationships and lifestyle, diets and fashion choices. They want to know all about them, interact with them and be like them. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It is natural to want to follow those we admire. Following celebrities on social media can be fun and even enlightening.

However, following people on Instagram or Twitter is one thing; being a true follower of someone is quite another. It means fully devoting yourself to their cause, living by their example and even doing what they tell you to do. Choose the right people to follow. It really does matter who you follow. Millions, for example, followed Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Still today, millions follow evil dictators, terrorists and gang leaders.

Some people are sceptical about tradition and institutions and do not know whom to follow. The traditional models, which often came from or were championed by our families, institutions and political leaders, have, to some extent, broken down. This leaves many people unsure of who to follow.

Jesus said many times, ‘Follow me.’ Of all the people who have ever lived, Jesus has the largest number of followers. Over 2.4 billion people in the world today profess to follow Jesus. Jesus’ followers are called ‘disciples’. They want to be with him, to know him, to be like him and to do everything that Jesus asks them to do.


Psalm 40:1–8

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in him.

4 Blessed is the one
   who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
   to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, LORD my God,
   are the wonders you have done,
   the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
   were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
   they would be too many to declare.

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
   but my ears you have opened—
   burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
   it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
   your law is within my heart.”


Follow Jesus’ example

When you are going through difficult times you will be strengthened as you remember past blessings and the times that God has delivered you.

David writes about the time when he was in ‘the slimy pit’, full of ‘mud and mire’ (v.2a). He may be describing some experience of sin, sickness or the depth of depression. Corrie ten Boom said, ‘There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.’

‘The pit’ of depression can be a terrible place. In these times we remember all our failures and disappointments. We start to believe that nothing good could ever happen to us. We feel miserable and helpless. We start to think that we will never rise above our problems and fulfil God’s call in our lives.

In his helplessness David says, ‘I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud’ (vv.1–2a, MSG).

After God lifted him out of the slimy pit, David recounts, ‘He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip’ (v.2b, MSG). God put a new song of worship in David’s mouth and his witness led many others to ‘put their trust in [the Lord]’ (v.3).

David describes the great blessing of ignoring ‘what the world worships’ (v.4, MSG) and following the Lord: ‘Blessed are those who make the Lord their trust... The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare’ (vv.4–5).

David writes, ‘You have given me the capacity to hear and obey’ (v.6, AMP). The secret of his success was praying and obeying.

David offers himself to follow God’s will in its entirety. He says, ‘Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart’ (vv.7–8).

This too was Jesus’ secret of success. According to the writer of Hebrews these verses found perfect fulfilment in Jesus. He tells us that Jesus himself quoted verses 6–8 in this psalm (see Hebrews 10:5–10). Jesus prayed and he obeyed. He said, ‘I have come to do your will, O God’ (v.7). The writer of Hebrews continues, ‘And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (v.10).

Follow Jesus’ example and offer yourself to do God’s will. David says that those who make the Lord their trust will be blessed. You will see all kinds of ‘wonders’ (Psalm 40:5) and ‘things you planned for us no one can recount… they would be too many to declare’ (v.5).


Lord, thank you for the times when you have lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, set my feet on a rock, given me a firm place to stand, put a new song in my mouth and enabled me to testify so that others put their trust in the Lord. Help me today to pray and to obey.
New Testament

Luke 8:40–9:9

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.


Follow Jesus’ instructions

Jesus did not have social media, broadcast capacity, big screens or even a simple microphone with which to get the message out. He did not need them. He had ‘power and authority’, which he gives to his followers (9:1).

While it is fine to use every available means to get the message of Jesus out, we must not get so caught up with modern means of communication that we forget what is at the heart of it all. Follow Jesus’ example and his instructions, which we read about in this passage.

Jesus healed a woman who had been subject to bleeding and raised Jairus’ daughter back to life. Jairus and the woman are two very different characters: one male, the other female; one an individual, the other part of a crowd; one influential, the other seemingly insignificant; one told Jesus about his daughter, the other was called ‘daughter’ by Jesus; one was healthy and the other was sick.

Yet both were dependent on Jesus’ power and authority, and both reacted in the same way on approaching Jesus. Jairus ‘came and fell at Jesus’ feet’ (8:41) and the woman ‘came trembling and fell at his feet’ (v.47).

Both had the right response to Jesus. They recognised his power and were prepared to follow his instructions and believe that Jesus had the power to heal. Jesus said to the woman: ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace’ (v.48). And he said to Jairus: ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed’ (v.50). These are stories of both extraordinary power, and extraordinary compassion.

It was said of Jesus, ‘All who touched him were healed’ (Mark 6:56). When the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years touched him, he said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me’ (Luke 8:46). She was ‘instantly healed’ (v.47). Jesus then raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. People were ‘astonished’ (v.56). Jesus ministered with great power and authority.

It is even more astonishing that he passes this on to you. Power and authority are words we rightly associate with Jesus’ ministry. However, they are not unique to Jesus. Jesus called his disciples together and ‘gave them power and authority… to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick’ (9:1–2). This is the ministry to which every one of Jesus’ disciples is called (Matthew 28:18–20). His power and authority are available to you today.


Lord, help me to follow your instructions – to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Help me to follow your example closely and to learn to minister with power and authority.
Old Testament

Numbers 31:25–32:42

Dividing the Spoils

25 The LORD said to Moses, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. 27 Divide the spoils equally between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community. 28 From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the LORD one out of every five hundred, whether people, cattle, donkeys or sheep. 29 Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the LORD’s part. 30 From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether people, cattle, donkeys, sheep or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the LORD’s tabernacle. ” 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.

32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys 35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was:

337,500 sheep, 37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675;

38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72;

39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61;

40 16,000 people, of whom the tribute for the Lord was 32.

41 Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the LORD’s part, as the LORD commanded Moses.

42 The half belonging to the Israelites, which Moses set apart from that of the fighting men— 43 the community’s half—was 337,500 sheep, 44 36,000 cattle, 45 30,500 donkeys 46 and 16,000 people. 47 From the Israelites’ half, Moses selected one out of every fifty people and animals, as the LORD commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, who were responsible for the care of the LORD’s tabernacle.

48 Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—went to Moses 49 and said to him, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.”

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted from them the gold—all the crafted articles. 52 All the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds that Moses and Eleazar presented as a gift to the LORD weighed 16,750 shekels. 53 Each soldier had taken plunder for himself. 54 Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds and brought it into the tent of meeting as a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD.

The Transjordan Tribes

32 The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. 2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon — 4 the land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. 5 If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan. ”

6 Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? 7 Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the LORD has given them? 8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. 9 After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the LORD had given them. 10 The LORD’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: 11 ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — 12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ 13 The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the LORD even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction. ”

16 Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. 17 But we will arm ourselves for battle and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has received their inheritance. 19 We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.”

20 Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for battle 21 and if all of you who are armed cross over the Jordan before the LORD until he has driven his enemies out before him — 22 then when the land is subdued before the LORD, you may return and be free from your obligation to the LORD and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the LORD.

23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised. ”

25 The Gadites and Reubenites said to Moses, “We your servants will do as our lord commands. 26 Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants, every man who is armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the LORD, just as our lord says.”

28 Then Moses gave orders about them to Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and to the family heads of the Israelite tribes. 29 He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the LORD, then when the land is subdued before you, you must give them the land of Gilead as their possession. 30 But if they do not cross over with you armed, they must accept their possession with you in Canaan. ”

31 The Gadites and Reubenites answered, “Your servants will do what the LORD has said. 32 We will cross over before the LORD into Canaan armed, but the property we inherit will be on this side of the Jordan. ”

33 Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan —the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.

34 The Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran as fortified cities, and built pens for their flocks. 37 And the Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38 as well as Nebo and Baal Meon (these names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave names to the cities they rebuilt.

39 The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out the Amorites who were there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair. 42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.


Follow Jesus wholeheartedly

God’s power and authority are given to those who follow the Lord wholeheartedly (32:22). Caleb and Joshua are picked out as the exceptions from the Israelites because only the two of them ‘followed the Lord wholeheartedly’ (v.12). This is what God’s people are called to do.

Moses warned the people not to ‘turn away from following him’ (v.15). He warned them not to sin against the Law: ‘you may be sure that your sin will find you out’ (v.23). The constant challenge of the Scriptures is to follow the Lord with all our hearts and not to dabble with sin.

Reading this through the lens of the New Testament, to ‘follow the Lord’ is to follow Jesus. ‘Jesus is Lord’ is the central claim of the New Testament. (See for example Romans 10:9.)

We see in these passages how much is available to those who follow Jesus wholeheartedly, put their faith and trust in him and offer themselves to do his will. This is what you are called to. As you do this, Jesus sends you out into the world with power and authority to proclaim the gospel and heal the sick.


Lord, I want to be like Caleb and Joshua and follow you wholeheartedly. Today I want to follow your example and offer myself to do your will. Help me to minister with power and authority, to proclaim the gospel and heal the sick.

Pippa adds

Luke 9:2–3 says:

Jesus ‘sent them out to preach the kingdom of God… He told them: “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no tunic.”’

We are totally incapable of travelling lightly, anywhere, even if it is only for one night. Not only does Nicky take loads of books, but he also wants to take his workout hand weights too!

Verse of the Day

Psalm 40:4

‘Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord.’



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Cartoon © Charlie Mackesy.

Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004) p. 196

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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