Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 31:1-24

The Slaughter of Midian

31 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people.” Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may [a]go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.” So there were [b]furnished from the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. So they made war against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. The sons of Israel captured the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their cattle and all their flocks and all their goods they plundered.10 Then they burned all their cities where they lived and all their camps with fire.11 They took all the spoil and all the prey, both of man and of beast. 12 They brought the captives and the prey and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest and to the congregation of the sons of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan opposite Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 And Moses said to them, “Have you [c]spared all the women? 16 Behold, these [d]caused the sons of Israel, through the [e]counsel of Balaam, to [f]trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man [g]intimately. 18 But all the [h]girls who have not known man [i]intimately, [j]spare for yourselves. 19 And you, camp outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves, you and your captives, on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 You shall purify for yourselves every garment and every article of [k]leather and all the work of goats’ hair, and all articles of wood.”

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to battle, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded Moses: 22 only the gold and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin and the lead, 23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, but it shall be purified with water for impurity. But whatever cannot stand the fire you shall pass through the water. 24 And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may enter the camp.”

It’s almost incredible that the soldiers somehow thought it would be a good idea to let the women live. These were the very women who had seduced the men of Israel previously, and caused a plague to kill many of the Israelites.

Almost, because we can be guilty of the same, with things that lure us into sin. Instead of putting away from us anything that draws us into temptation, we leave it conveniently close. It’s not really THAT bad, we might say. But God says we should have nothing to do with anything that will lead us into temptation.

This will be different for various people, but the message is the same. If something sucks you into sinful behavior, have nothing to do with it. Banish it from your life, and destroy it if possible. Let nothing draw you away from God, see Him first in everything.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 30

The Law of Vows

30 Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the word which the Lord has commanded. If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

“Also if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by an obligation in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and her father [a]says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand.But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her.

“However, if she should [b]marry while [c]under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which [d]she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her.

“But the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, everything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. 10 However, if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an obligation with an oath, 11 and her husband heard it, but said nothing to her and did not forbid her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband indeed annuls them on the day he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the obligation of herself shall not stand; her husband has annulled them, and the Lord will forgive her.

13 “Every vow and every binding oath to humble herself, her husband may confirm it or her husband may annul it. 14 But if her husband indeed says nothing to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all her obligations which are on her; he has confirmed them, because he said nothing to her on the day he heard them. 15 But if he indeed annuls them after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.”

16 These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses, as between a man and his wife, and as between a father and his daughter, while she is in her youth in her father’s house.

Men and women are meant to work together, and here is an example of that in action. Now, this deals with women making impulsive decisions, but we certainly can’t say that men are immune to that.

However, dealing with what we have, men are supposed to be a protection for their wives, and for their daughters. Really, if there’s a woman in your life, it’s your role to protect her (even if she acts like she doesn’t want it).

And yes wives, we need your help to prevent making stupid decisions too. So work together and communicate to make sure you don’t make foolish commitments (vows & pledges).

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 29:12-40

12 ‘Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the Lord for seven days. 13 You shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the Lord: thirteen bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old, which are without defect; 14 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an [e]ephah for [f]each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for [g]each of the two rams, 15 and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.

17 ‘Then on the second day: twelve bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 18 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 19 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

20 ‘Then on the third day: eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 21 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 22 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

23 ‘Then on the fourth day: ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 24 their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 25 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.

26 ‘Then on the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 27 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 28 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

29 ‘Then on the sixth day: eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 30 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 31 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offerings.

32 ‘Then on the seventh day: seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 33 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 34 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.

35 ‘On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work. 36 But you shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect; 37 their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 38 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

39 ‘You shall present these to the Lord at your appointed times, besides your [h]votive offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings and for your grain offerings and for your drink offerings and for your peace offerings.’” 40 [i]Moses spoke to the sons of Israel in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

Sometimes we get so focused on the “mandatory” offerings, we lose sight of the “voluntary” offering. In our day, we would typically call the tithe a mandatory offering, even though many churches don’t actually require it, the tithe is a direct command from the Bible.

But as we talked about giving this weekend, someone said, “the tithe is the minimum, it’s the baseline.” It’s not the finish line, and it doesn’t necessarily build a spirit of generosity in us. Giving our tithe builds faithfulness for sure, but if it’s mandatory, and we want to cultivate generosity in our lives, we need to go further.

Just as these festivals had offerings that were required, but separate from voluntary offerings, so we need to build generosity into our lives, into our budget, and do more. You can always give more than a tithe once you get your focus off yourself and see God’s heart for people, letting it move you with compassion.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 29:1-11

Offerings of the Seventh Month

29 ‘Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets. You shall offer a burnt offering as a soothing aroma to the Lord: one [a]bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect; also their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an [b]ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, and one-tenth for [c]each of the seven lambs. Offer one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you, besides the burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering, and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord.

‘Then on the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall humble yourselves; you shall not do any work. You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a soothing aroma: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old, having them without defect; and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an [d]ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram,10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 11 one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

These two special days were an important part of the Jewish year. In fact, the first was considered the Jewish “New Year”, though it happens in September of October usually. As with many people, the New Year celebration is a time to reflect on the past year, and set goals for the next. Goals to do better, be better, etc.

So it was that this day began a 10 day “call to repentance”. Looking back, they would remember things they had done wrong, the times they had broken God’s law. This culminated in the Day of Atonement, where the priest would enter the Most Holy Place to make sacrifices for all the people. Having remembered their wrongs, and repented of them, now they had to make restitution for their short-comings by the sacrifices on this day.

We no longer offer sacrifices, but we are not exempt from sinning against the God we love. But because he loves us so much, we should repent daily, searching our lives for any trace of the sin that so easily entangles us. Seek His face, and ask for His forgiveness and mercy to abound in your life. Do not wait for the new year to come, make every new day be a day to correct our course to chase after God.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 28:16-31

16 ‘Then on the fourteenth day of the first month shall be the Lord’s Passover. 17 On the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast, unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. 18 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 19 You shall present an offering by fire, a burnt offering to the Lord: two [h]bulls and one ram and seven male lambs one year old, having them without defect. 20 For their grain offering, you shall offer fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an [i]ephah for a bull and two-tenths for the ram. 21 A tenth of an [j]ephahyou shall offer for [k]each of the seven lambs; 22 and one male goat for a sin offering to make atonement for you. 23 You shall present these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering. 24 After this manner you shall present daily, for seven days, the food of the offering by fire, of a soothing aroma to the Lord; it shall be presented with its drink offering in addition to the continual burnt offering. 25 On the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work.

26 ‘Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the Lord in your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 27 You shall offer a burnt offering for a soothing aroma to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs one year old; 28 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an [l]ephah for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 29 a tenth for [m]each of the seven lambs; 30 also one male goat to make atonement for you. 31 Besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall present them with their drink offerings. They shall be [n]without defect.

A big part of these festivals and offerings was to remember. To remember what God had done years ago (or even hundreds of years ago), but also to remember His continual blessings.

We need to take time to remember the things we have heard God do, as well as the things we have seen him do. Give God praise and thanksgiving in everything, small or large. For all we have is from Him, and without Him, we would not be.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 28:1-15

Laws for Offerings

28 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall [a]be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at their appointed time.’ You shall say to them, ‘This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs one year old without defect as a continual burnt offering every day. You shall offer the one lamb in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer [b]at twilight; also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering which was ordained in Mount Sinai as a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. Then the drink offering with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb, in the holy place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord. The other lamb you shall offer [c]at twilight; as the grain offering of the morning and as its drink offering, you shall offer it, an offering by fire, a soothing aroma to the Lord.

‘Then on the sabbath day two male lambs one year old without defect, and two-tenths of an [d]ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and its drink offering: 10 This is the burnt offering of every sabbath in addition to the continual burnt offering and its drink offering.

11 ‘Then at the beginning of each of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord: two [e]bulls and one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect; 12 and three-tenths of an [f]ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, for each bull; and two-tenths of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, for the one ram; 13 and a tenth of an [g]ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering for each lamb, for a burnt offering of a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. 14 Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull and a third of a hin for the ram and a fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. 15 And one male goat for a sin offering to the Lord; it shall be offered with its drink offering in addition to the continual burnt offering.

We don’t often think about God as one who has senses, smell, touch, taste, etc. But whether he does or not, here several of the sacrifices are mentioned as being a “pleasing aroma” to God. I don’t know how else you interpret that.

It begins to make sense, when you think of all the things he made to fascinate our senses. The incredible sights we see, the amazing foods to taste, and the smells, oh wow. It makes sense that the God who created us to enjoy so many different things with our senses would pattern that after himself.

So the next time you bake a pizza or cake, think of him. Let the smell waft around the kitchen for Him to enjoy. And even if that seems to far out, thank him for giving you the sense of smell. Thank him for giving us pizza AND cake, and everything else that is so incredibly delightful to our sense.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 27:12-23

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother [a]was; 14 for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My [b]command [c]to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)

Joshua to Succeed Moses

15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 17 who will go out [d]and come in before them, and who will lead them out and [e]bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.” 18 So the Lord said to Moses, “[f]Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. 20 You shall put some of your [g]authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him21 Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his [h]command they shall go out and at his [i]command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” 22 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the Lord had spoken [j]through Moses.

“so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” This is why we have Pastors, and this is why we need to belong to a church. Without a church and a Pastor to guide us, we tend to be like sheep without a shepherd.

Our church family builds us up, and no one person can do it alone. We need each other for encouragement, for fellowship, and for direction. We help each other to keep moving forward, instead of getting stuck in a rut. Not that a church can’t get stuck in a rut, but it’s harder to get a whole flock stuck than one lone sheep.

Mind the flock, stay close, and stay connected as you seek God.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 27:1-11

A Law of Inheritance

27 Then the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph, came near; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah and Hoglah and Milcah and Tirzah. They stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the leaders and all the congregation, at the doorway of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness, yet he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but he died in his own sin, and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be withdrawn from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.” So Moses brought their case before the Lord.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in their statements. You shall surely give them a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer the inheritance of their father to them.Further, you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his nearest relative in his own family, and he shall possess it; and it shall be a statutory ordinance to the sons of Israel, just as the Lord commanded Moses.’”

As you might be aware, in ancient time, women did not have the same social status as men. For the most part, their role was to gain wealth for their father (by marriage), and then to produce children for their husband… the daughters to gain more wealth for the husband, and the sons to carry on the family name.

But this is an early peak at the value that God places on women. Moses isn’t sure what to do, but God responds with no hesitation that the women are to carry on their father’s inheritance. God created us to be different, to (typically, but not always) have different roles, but he did not create women as inferior by any stretch.

He values all of us greatly, so much that he sacrificed his own son for us. In a culture that publicly denounces the devaluing of women, but privately debases them at every turn, we can show God’s love and remind each other how much he values and loves each individual.

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 26

Census of a New Generation

26 [a]Then it came about after the plague, [b]that the Lord spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, “Take a [c]census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers’ households, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel.” So Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, Take a census of the people from twenty years old and upward, as the Lord has commanded Moses.”

Now the sons of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt were:

Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, the sons of Reuben: of Hanoch, the family of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the family of the Palluites; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. These are the families of the Reubenites, and those who were numbered of them were 43,730. The son of Pallu: Eliab. The sons of Eliab: Nemuel and Dathan and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram who were called by the congregation, who contended against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the Lord, 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up along with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, so that they became a [d]warning. 11 The sons of Korah, however, did not die.

12 The sons of Simeon according to their families: of [e]Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; of [f]Jachin, the family of the Jachinites; 13 of [g]Zerah, the family of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites. 14 These are the families of the Simeonites, 22,200.

15 The sons of Gad according to their families: of [h]Zephon, the family of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the family of the Haggites; of Shuni, the family of the Shunites; 16 of [i]Ozni, the family of the Oznites; of Eri, the family of the Erites; 17 of [j]Arod, the family of the Arodites; of Areli, the family of the Arelites. 18 These are the families of the sons of Gad according to those who were numbered of them, 40,500.

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan, but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 20 The sons of Judah according to their families were: of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Perez, the family of the Perezites; of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites. 21 The sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. 22 These are the families of Judah according to those who were numbered of them, 76,500.

23 The sons of Issachar according to their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites; of [k]Puvah, the family of the Punites; 24 of [l]Jashub, the family of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. 25 These are the families of Issachar according to those who were numbered of them, 64,300.

26 The sons of Zebulun according to their families: of Sered, the family of the Seredites; of Elon, the family of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites. 27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those who were numbered of them, 60,500.

28 The sons of Joseph according to their families: Manasseh and Ephraim. 29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites; and Machir [m]became the father of Gilead: of Gilead, the family of the Gileadites. 30 These are the sons of Gilead: of [n]Iezer, the family of the Iezerites; of Helek, the family of the Helekites;31 and of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites; 32 and of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 33 Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but only daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 34 These are the families of Manasseh; and those who were numbered of them were 52,700.

35 These are the sons of Ephraim according to their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthelahites; of [o]Becher, the family of the Becherites; of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites. 36 These are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites. 37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those who were numbered of them, 32,500. These are the sons of Joseph according to their families.

38 The sons of Benjamin according to their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; of [p]Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites; 39 of [q]Shephupham, the family of the Shuphamites; of [r]Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. 40 The sons of Bela were [s]Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites; of Naaman, the family of the Naamites. 41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were 45,600.

42 These are the sons of Dan according to their families: of [t]Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan according to their families. 43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those who were numbered of them, were 64,400.

44 The sons of Asher according to their families: of Imnah, the family of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the family of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the family of the Beriites. 45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites. 46 The name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. 47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those who were numbered of them, 53,400.

48 The sons of Naphtali according to their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the family of the Gunites; 49 of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites. 50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were 45,400.

51 These are those who were numbered of the sons of Israel, 601,730.

52 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 53 [u]Among these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. 54 To the larger groupyou shall increase their inheritance, and to the smaller group you shall diminish their inheritance; each shall be given their inheritance according to those who were numbered of them. 55 But the land shall be divided by lot. They shall [v]receive their inheritance according to the names of the tribes of their fathers. 56 According to the selection by lot, their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller groups.”

57 These are those who were numbered of the Levites according to their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites; of Merari, the family of the Merarites. 58 These are the families of Levi: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korahites. Kohath [w]became the father of Amram.59 The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and she bore to Amram: Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam.60 To Aaron were born Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 61 But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire before the Lord. 62 Those who were numbered of them were 23,000, every male from a month old and upward, for they were not numbered among the sons of Israel since no inheritance was given to them among the sons of Israel.

63 These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. 64 But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had said [x]of them, “They shall surely die in the wilderness.” And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

If you compare the numbers with the first registration, it is interesting to note the tribes who went down in numbers, sometimes 10-20k, as opposed to those who flourished in the desert and increased, sometimes in similar amounts. While the record only makes note of one of the first rebellions with the sons of Korah and leaders from the tribe of Reuben, there were several times where God’s wrath was poured out, and this record serves as a stark reminder of that.

The most significant of these was when God was ready to take them into the promised land, and God promised not a man of them would enter the promised land. Thus, in this registration, there was no need to limit the count to those under 55. There were none found over 55 except for Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb.

What a huge price they paid for not trusting in God, and entire generation died and was laid to rest in the wilderness bordering the promised land, but only 2 would enter. They would do so leading a new generation, who would have another chance at trusting God.

Don’t miss out on God’s plan because of fear. Trust in Him, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Categories
Uncategorized

Numbers 25

The Sin of Peor

25 While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to [a]Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them [b]in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to [c]Baal of Peor.”

Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his [d]relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting.When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the [e]tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the [f]body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. Those who died by the plague were 24,000.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace;13 and it shall be for him and his [g]descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’”

14 Now the name of the [h]slain man of Israel who was [i]slain with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s household among the Simeonites. 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was [j]slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, [k]who was head of the people of a father’s household in Midian.

16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them; 18 for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor.”

Now, this might just be coincidence, but first the king of Moab (Balak) tries to get the Israelites cursed by Balaam. When that doesn’t work, we find Moabite women inviting the Israelite men to their feasts and to worship the gods of Moab.

I doubt Balak knew quite the ramifications of this act, but it would be only logical. If you can’t beat them, try to get them on your side (by seduction). The end result would be mass casualties for Israel, and the destruction of this Midianite clan (apparently a sub-section of Moab).

But what’s that to do with us? Well, there were two sins here: one was sexual (unfaithful to their wives), and the other was being unfaithful to God by worshiping idols. While we have plenty of the first in our society (and sadly even among those who call themselves Christians), we would be quick to say that we certainly don’t worship statues/idols.

I was reminded last night that we can often be hasty to point fingers at Israel. I mean, it seems like they really were good at messing up and forgetting God’s commands. However, would we be so different in their shoes? Are we so different even now?

What things do we worship instead of God? How about big-screen TVs, and cars, our careers, jewelry, etc. Everyone has something they struggle to keep from taking priority #1. That position belongs to God, and we must fight to keep him in that place in our lives. Putting God first doesn’t happen by accident, we must be intentional. That was the trap they fell into, and it is still the trap we so easily fall for today. Be on your guard, don’t live life on accident!