Scripture Reading: Luke 2:4-7 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Reflection: There was no room in the inn. Can you imagine? How could that happen? Immanuel, God with us, the infant Lord Jesus born in a stable because no one would give up their room to a young couple who were desperate for a place to stay. I’m sure to Mary that the whole situation was out of order. This is completely opposite of the number ten in Scripture. Ten is also viewed as a complete and perfect number. As such, it signifies testimony, law, responsibility and the completeness of order.
When we read the first chapter of Genesis we find the phrase “God said” ten times. This speaks to the order of His creative power. Ten generations of men lived on the earth before the flood waters came and swept away all those who were disobedient. Noah, the tenth generation, was 600 years old when he and seven other family members entered the ark.
God’s order can also be seen in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. God brought about ten plagues. The Plagues of Egypt, also called the ten calamities, were inflicted by the God of Israel upon Egypt to harden and persuade the Pharaoh to release the ill-treated Israelites from slavery. The Passover lamb was selected and offered as a sacrifice on the 10th day of the 1st month (Exodus 12:3). After Israel’s deliverance God gave them the Ten Commandments.
The number played a prominent part in later Jewish life and thought. The Ten Commandments are God’s “words” or “directions,” given to Israel to teach them what He required of them in the matters of life. God wrote the first copy Himself on tablets of stone and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai, accompanied by smoke, earthquakes and the blast of a trumpet to emphasize the importance of His law.
Within the law God included a requirement for Israel to follow Abraham’s example in giving. In Genesis 14:18-20 Abraham received Melchizedek’s blessing and responded by giving him a tenth or tithe of all. A tithe is a tenth of our income we give as a testimony of our faith in the Lord and as a sign of our gratefulness for His abundant blessing. The Lord promises to “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” to we tithe in Malachi 3:10.
I encourage you to read about the ten servants of Gideon (Judges 6:27); the ten elders who accompanied Boaz (Ruth 4:2); ten servants entrusted with 10 pounds (Luke 19:13), the most capable of whom was placed over 10 cities (Luke 19:17); and the 10 days' tribulation predicted for the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:10).
The number ten can be seen in other places in Scripture, such as, the ten stringed instrument mentioned in Psalm 33, the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten coins in Luke 15 are all instances where the Word of God speaks to the concept of order.
The ten “I Am’s” of Jesus are recorded in the Gospel of John.
1."I am the Bread of Life" (6:35).
2."I am the Bread of Life which came down from heaven" (6:41).
3."I am the Living Bread" (6:51).
4."I am the Light of the world" (8:12).
5."I am One that bear witness of Myself" (8:18).
6."I am the Door of the sheep" (10:7,9).
7."I am the Good Shepherd" (10:14).
8."I am the Resurrection and the Life" (14:6).
9."I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (14:6).
10."I am the True Vine" (15:1,5).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, only You can bring order out of chaos. Say the word, All-Powerful God, and the seas will be calmed, and I will be safe. You, the God of my life are the God of order. Bring order to my life, and in doing so, take care of all those concerns that rise up around me like the thunderstorm.
Calm the seas of my busyness; still the winds of any doubt, fear or unbelief that blows my way.
Help me rest on the gentle swells of Your love and care. In Jesus’ Name. Amen