1607.) Numbers 12

June 30, 2015
tapestry by Anna Kocherovsky

“Miriam Dancing” — Miriam in better days! — tapestry by Anna Kocherovsky

Numbers 12

Miriam and Aaron Are Jealous of Moses

12. jealous

Proverbs 27:4 (NIV)

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?

1-3Although Moses was the most humble person in all the world,

Numbers 12:3 (NIV)

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.

from Wishful Thinking:  A Seeker’s ABC
by Frederick Buechner

Num12 bridge

HUMILITY

Humility is often confused with the polite, self-deprecation of saying you’re not much of a bridge player when you know perfectly well you are.  Conscious or otherwise, this kind of humility is a form of gamesmanship.

If you really aren’t much of a bridge player, you’re apt to be rather proud of yourself for admitting it so humbly.  This kind of humility is a form of low comedy.

True humility doesn’t consist of thinking ill of yourself but of not thinking of yourself much differently from the way you’d be apt to think of anybody else.  It is the capacity for being no more and no less pleased when you play your own hand well than when your opponents do.

Miriam and Aaron started complaining, ” Moses had no right to marry that woman from Ethiopia!  Who does he think he is? The LORD has spoken to us, not just to him.”

The complaint against Moses’ wife was just a cover; the real problem was their taking offense at Moses getting more credit than they. It’s pride.

Matthew 10:36 (NIV)

A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

The LORD heard their complaint 4and told Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to come to the entrance of the sacred tent. 5There the LORD appeared in a cloud and told Aaron and Miriam to come closer. 6Then after commanding them to listen carefully, he said:

” I, the LORD, speak to prophets

in visions and dreams.

7But my servant Moses

is the leader of my people.

8He sees me face to face,

and everything I say to him

is perfectly clear.

You have no right to criticize

my servant Moses.”

9The LORD became angry at Aaron and Miriam. And after the LORD left 10and the cloud disappeared from over the sacred tent, Miriam’s skin turned white with leprosy.

12. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam

When Aaron saw what had happened to her, 11he said to Moses, ” Sir, please don’t punish us for doing such a foolish thing. 12Don’t let Miriam’s flesh rot away like a child born dead!”

12. man-w-hand-over-mouth

Proverbs 30:32 (NIV)

“If you have played the fool and exalted yourself,
or if you have planned evil,
clap your hand over your mouth!”

_________________________

12. oops

Aaron’s action of turning to Moses as the only one who can help is in itself an ironic confirmation of what Aaron and Miriam had earlier denied—Moses’ unique relationship to God.

13Moses prayed, ” LORD God, please heal her.”

14But the LORD replied, ” Miriam would be disgraced for seven days if her father had punished her by spitting in her face. So make her stay outside the camp for seven days, before coming back.”

This was appropriate, because Miriam had done something even more shameful than spitting in her father’s face; she tried to bring down a leader of God’s people with petty, false, and self-interested criticism.

15The people of Israel did not move their camp until Miriam returned seven days later. 16Then they left Hazeroth and set up camp in the Paran Desert.

Micah 6:4 (NIV)

Listen to what the Lord says:

I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.

_________________________

Music:

Having just read one of the most shameful and saddest chapters in the Old Testament, let’s take a break.  Now  HERE  is an odd connection to the whole Numbers story — do you remember the “Moses Supposes” sequence from the movie Singing in the Rain?  As you watch Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor sing and dance, you may start to feel more cheerful!

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Kocherovsky.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/12-miriam.jpg?w=450
jealous.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/12-jealous.jpg?w=450
cards.   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Anglo-American_card_suits.png
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  http://www.marshotelonline.com/SFGsigns.JPG
man with hand over mouth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/12-man-w-hand-over-mouth.jpg?w=450
oops!   http://www.faithandfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/oops.jpg
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1606.) Numbers 11

June 29, 2015

Num11 quail
Numbers 11

The Israelites Complain

1One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The LORD heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.

11. fire_flames

2When the people begged Moses to help, he prayed, and the fire went out. 3They named the place ” Burning,”  because in his anger the LORD had set their camp on fire.

__________________________

Music:

“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind — forgive our foolish ways” — sung  HERE  by Katherine Jenkins to the British tune, Repton.

__________________________

The People Grumble about Being Hungry

4One day some worthless foreigners among the Israelites became greedy for food, and even the Israelites themselves began moaning, “We don’t have any meat! 5In Egypt we could eat all the fish we wanted, and there were cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic.

11. cucumber, onion, garlic salad

6But we’re starving out here, and the only food we have is this manna.”

The complaining heart romanticizes the past but it also exaggerates the problems of the present. Just how wonderful was life in Egypt, when they were slaves?  How can they be starving when they have manna every day?

7The manna was like small whitish seeds 8-9and tasted like something baked with sweet olive oil. It appeared at night with the dew. In the morning the people would collect the manna, grind or crush it into flour, then boil it and make it into thin wafers.

10The Israelites stood around their tents complaining.

Oh, you Israelites!

Oh, you Israelites!

Moses heard them and was upset that they had made the LORD angry. 11He prayed:

I am your servant, LORD, so why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this? You’ve made me responsible for all these people, 12but they’re not my children. You told me to nurse them along and to carry them to the land you promised their ancestors. 13They keep whining for meat, but where can I get meat for them? 14This job is too much for me. How can I take care of all these people by myself? 15If this is the way you’re going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life!

Oh, Moses!

Oh, Moses!

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant?”
–Numbers xi.11.

Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith.  If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test.  It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden.  A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” is heaven-born faith.

The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, which are His own handiwork.  When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honored by these growing virtues.  We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the wine-press; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed.  The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass.

Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy.  There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the light.  Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth?  Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil?  Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified?  There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation; let us muse upon it all day long.

11. Stop Whining

Oh, my own heart!

Seventy Leaders Are Chosen To Help Moses

16The LORD said to Moses:

Choose seventy of Israel’s respected leaders and go with them to the sacred tent. 17While I am talking with you there, I will give them some of your authority, so they can share responsibility for my people. You will no longer have to care for them by yourself.

The elders were there to help Moses carry the spiritual load — to help him care for and minister to the people, and to be a support for him in the ministry. God’s help was going to come to Moses through the support of godly men. This is a customary way for God to meet our needs.

18As for the Israelites, I have heard them complaining about not having meat and about being better off in Egypt. So tell them to make themselves acceptable to me, because tomorrow they will have meat. 19-20In fact, they will have meat day after day for a whole month–not just a few days, or even ten or twenty. They turned against me and wanted to return to Egypt. Now they will eat meat until they get sick of it.

21Moses replied, ” At least six hundred thousand grown men are here with me. How can you say there will be enough meat to feed them and their families for a whole month? 22Even if we butchered all of our sheep and cattle, or caught every fish in the sea, we wouldn’t have enough to feed them.”

23The LORD answered, ” I can do anything! Watch and you’ll see my words come true.”

24Moses told the people what the LORD had said. Then he chose seventy respected leaders and went with them to the sacred tent. While the leaders stood in a circle around the tent, Moses went inside, 25and the LORD spoke with him. Then the LORD took some authority  from Moses and gave it to the seventy leaders. And when the LORD’s Spirit took control of them, they started shouting like prophets. But they did it only this one time. 26Eldad and Medad were two leaders who had not gone to the tent. But when the Spirit took control of them, they began shouting like prophets right there in camp. 27A boy ran to Moses and told him about Eldad and Medad.

28Joshua  was there helping Moses, as he had done since he was young. And he said to Moses, ” Sir, you must stop them!” 29But Moses replied, ” Are you concerned what this might do to me? I wish the LORD would give his Spirit to all his people so everyone could be a prophet.” 30Then Moses and the seventy leaders went back to camp.

The LORD Sends Quails

Num11 God-send-quail
31Some time later the LORD sent a strong wind that blew quails in from the sea until Israel’s camp was completely surrounded with birds, piled up about three feet high for miles in every direction. 32The people picked up quails for two days–each person filled at least fifty bushels. Then they spread them out to dry. 33But before the meat could be eaten, the LORD became angry and sent a disease through the camp.

34After they had buried the people who had been so greedy for meat, they called the place ” Graves for the Greedy.”

Proverbs 28:25 (NIV)

A greedy man stirs up dissension,
but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

35Israel then broke camp and traveled to Hazeroth.

11. He cares for you

Psalm 105:39-41 (NIV)

He spread out a cloud as a covering,
and a fire to give light at night.

They asked, and he brought them quail
and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
like a river it flowed in the desert.

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
too many quail.   https://924jeremiah.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/7.jpg?w=630
fire flames.   http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/h/hu/huibidos/1093985_fire_flames.jpg
spicy cold cucumber salad (with cucumbers, green onions, and garlic).   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3277/2577344164_60bd12efc9.jpg
Stop whining.   http://edbatista.typepad.com/edbatista/images/2005/02/Stop%20Whining.jpg
quail.  http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/god-send-quails-for-the-israelites.jpg
He cares for you.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/34-he-cares-for-you.jpg?w=450

1605.) Numbers 10

June 26, 2015
silver trumpets

silver trumpets

Numbers 10

The Silver Trumpets

1The LORD told Moses:

2Have someone make two trumpets out of hammered silver. These will be used to call the people together and to give the signal for moving your camp. 3If both trumpets are blown, everyone is to meet with you at the entrance to the sacred tent. 4But if just one is blown, only the twelve tribal leaders need to come together.

5-6Give a signal on a trumpet when it is time to break camp. The first blast will be the signal for the tribes camped on the east side, and the second blast will be the signal for those on the south. 7But when you want everyone to come together, sound a different signal on the trumpet. 8The priests of Aaron’s family will be the ones to blow the trumpets, and this law will never change.

9Whenever you go into battle against an enemy attacking your land, give a warning signal on the trumpets. Then I, the LORD, will hear it and rescue you. 10During the celebration of the New Moon Festival and other religious festivals, sound the trumpets while you offer sacrifices. This will be a reminder that I am the LORD your God.

10. trumpets red

Psalm 81:1-4 (CEV)

Be happy and shout to God

who makes us strong!

Shout praises to the God

of Jacob.

Sing as you play tambourines

and the lovely sounding

stringed instruments.

Sound the trumpets and start

the New Moon Festival.

We must also celebrate

when the moon is full.

This is the law in Israel,

and it was given to us

by the God of Jacob.

_________________________

Music:

Today is a day for trumpet music!  And who better than Phil Driscoll?  He sings with that unmistakable gravel in his throat, but you forgive him for that once you hear him play his instrument!  HERE  he is with “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

_________________________

The Israelites Begin Their Journey

-- one theory about the route followed by the Israelites --

— one theory about the route followed by the Israelites —

11On the twentieth day of the second month  of that same year, the cloud over the sacred tent moved on. 12So the Israelites broke camp and left the Sinai Desert.

This was the first time Israel marched as an organized, prepared nation. They were not the same group that escaped Egypt as a mob. They had been fully prepared to walk as Promised Land people:

  • They were ordered and organized
  • They were cleansed and purified
  • They were set apart and blessed
  • They were taught how to give and how to function as priests
  • They were made to remember judgment spared and deliverance brought
  • They were given God’s presence as a guide and the tools needed to lead the people

One would be tempted to think that after such extensive preparation — a virtual transformation from slave people to Promised Land people — the actual entering into the Promised Land would be easy. This was not the case. The preparation was exactly that, preparation. Ahead of them are the greatest challenges, challenges that can only be met by faith. A soldier might think boot camp finishes something, but it doesn’t. It only prepares for a greater challenge: the actual battle itself.

–David Guzik

And some time later, the cloud stopped in the Paran Desert.  13This was the first time the LORD had told Moses to command the people of Israel to move on. 14Judah and the tribes that camped alongside it marched out first, carrying their banner. Nahshon son of Amminadab was the leader of the Judah tribe, 15Nethanel son of Zuar was the leader of the Issachar tribe, 16and Eliab son of Helon was the leader of the Zebulun tribe.

17The sacred tent had been taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites carried it, marching behind the Judah camp.

18Reuben and the tribes that camped alongside it marched out second, carrying their banner. Elizur son of Shedeur was the leader of the Reuben tribe, 19Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was the leader of the Simeon tribe, 20and Eliasaph son of Deuel was the leader of the Gad tribe.

21Next were the Kohathites, carrying the objects for the sacred tent, which was to be set up before they arrived at the new camp.

22Ephraim and the tribes that camped alongside it marched next, carrying their banner. Elishama son of Ammihud was the leader of the Ephraim tribe, 23Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was the leader of the Manasseh tribe, 24and Abidan son of Gideoni was the leader of the Benjamin tribe.

25Dan and the tribes that camped alongside it were to protect the Israelites against an attack from behind, and so they marched last, carrying their banner. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was the leader of the tribe of Dan, 26Pagiel son of Ochran was the leader of the Asher tribe, 27and Ahira son of Enan was the leader of the Naphtali tribe.

the tribes marched in the same order as they had been placed around the tabernacle.

The tribes marched in the same order as they had been placed around the tabernacle.

28This was the order in which the Israelites marched each time they moved their camp.

29Hobab the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses, was there. And Moses said to him, ” We’re leaving for the place the LORD has promised us. He has said that all will go well for us. So come along, and we will make sure that all goes well for you.” 30” No, I won’t go,” Hobab answered. ” I’m returning home to be with my own people.”

31” Please go with us!” Moses said. ” You can be our guide because you know the places to camp in the desert. 32Besides that, if you go, we will give you a share of the good things the LORD gives us.”

33The people of Israel began their journey from Mount Sinai.  They traveled three days, and the Levites who carried the sacred chest led the way, so the LORD could show them where to camp. 34And the cloud always stayed with them. 35Each day as the Israelites began their journey, Moses would pray, ” Our LORD, defeat your enemies and make them run!” 36And when they stopped to set up camp, he would pray, ” Our LORD, stay close to Israel’s thousands and thousands of people.”

10. Candle_Dripping

Psalm 68:1-3 (New International Version)

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
may his foes flee before him.

As smoke is blown away by the wind,
may you blow them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
may the wicked perish before God.

But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
silver trumpets.  http://www.templeinstitute.org/vessel_images/silver_trumpets.jpg
red trumpets.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/10-trumpets-red.jpg?w=450
map of the route of the exodus.    http://www.bible-history.com/maps/Map-Route-Exodus-Israelites-Egypt.jpg
tribes around the tabernacle.  http://www.yashanet.com/images/tribes.gif
candle dripping wax.  http://www.acornadvisors.com/Kitchen%20Newsletters/2007-09-06%20Setting_the_Table/Candle_Dripping.jpg

1604.) Numbers 9

June 25, 2015

9. Passover

Numbers 9

Regulations for Celebrating Passover

Num9 Passover food

1During the first month of Israel’s second year in the Sinai Desert,  the LORD had told Moses 2to say to the people, ” Celebrate Passover 3in the evening of the fourteenth day of this month  and do it by following all the regulations.” 4-5Moses told the people what the LORD had said, and they celebrated Passover there in the desert in the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month.

Passover was meant to be a reminder of God’s “passing over” Israel in the judgment of the firstborn at the Exodus from Egypt.

The blood of the lamb, applied to the door posts of the home, would be seen by the angel of God’s judgment — and seeing the blood, the angel would “pass over” and spare the home covered by the blood. Passover was meant to be a continual reminder of this occasion of being spared judgment, and of the deliverance that followed in the Exodus.

Jesus fulfilled the Passover sacrifice by His death on the cross (1 Corinthians 5:7); the covering of His blood causes the judgment of God to “pass over” us. We are commanded to continually remember our occasion of being spared judgment and the deliverance that followed, by remembering Jesus’ work on the cross through the Lord’s Supper.

–David Guzik

6Some people in Israel’s camp had touched a dead body and had become unfit to worship the LORD, and they could not celebrate Passover. But they asked Moses and Aaron, 7” Even though we have touched a dead body, why can’t we celebrate Passover and offer sacrifices to the LORD at the same time as everyone else?”

8Moses said, ” Wait here while I go into the sacred tent and find out what the LORD says about this.”

9The LORD then told Moses 10to say to the community of Israel:

If any of you or your descendants touch a dead body and become unfit to worship me, or if you are away on a long journey, you may still celebrate Passover. 11But it must be done in the second month,  in the evening of the fourteenth day. Eat the Passover lamb with thin bread and bitter herbs, 12and don’t leave any of it until morning or break any of the animal’s bones. Be sure to follow these regulations. 13But if any of you refuse to celebrate Passover when you are not away on a journey, you will no longer belong to my people. You will be punished because you did not offer sacrifices to me at the proper time.

14Anyone, including foreigners who live among you, can celebrate Passover, if they follow all the regulations.

The Cloud over the Sacred Tent

10. cloud covering

1 Corinthians 10:1 (NLT)

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them.

15-16As soon as the sacred tent was set up,  a thick cloud appeared and covered it. The cloud was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen in it.

This was more than proof of God’s presence. The cloud by day and the fire by night were actual helps and comforts to Israel. The fire at night was obviously a comfort to Israel in the midst of a dark wilderness, and the cloud by day would be a shade from the hot wilderness sun.

17-19The LORD used this cloud to tell the Israelites when to move their camp and where to set it up again. As long as the cloud covered the tent, the Israelites did not break camp. But when the cloud moved, they followed it, and wherever it stopped, they camped and stayed there, 20-22whether it was only one night, a few days, a month, or even a year. As long as the cloud remained over the tent, the Israelites stayed where they were. But when the cloud moved, so did the Israelites. 23They obeyed the LORD’s commands and went wherever he directed Moses.

Num9 followme

Numbers 9:23 (ESV)

At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out.

Matthew 4:18-22 (ESV)

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

_________________________

Music:

I have decided to follow Jesus . . .  HERE  is a song of offering ourselves to the Lord — “Christ is enough for me,” by Hillsong.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Passover blood on door.  http://www.glory-of-zion.org/outmail/Passover.jpg.png
Passover matzah and wine.   http://wendythomasrussell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/matzaver1.jpg
cloud covering.   http://revelationofjesuschrist.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/thunderstorm_1.png
follow me.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/6-followme.gif

 


1603.) Numbers 8

June 24, 2015
the golden lampstand

the golden lampstand

Numbers 8

Aaron Puts the Gold Lamps in Place

2 Peter 1:16-19 (New International Version)

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

1The LORD said to Moses, 2” Tell Aaron to put the seven lamps on the lamp stand so they shine toward the front.”

3Aaron obeyed and placed the lamps as he was told. 4The lamp stand was made of hammered gold from its base to the decorative flowers on top, exactly like the pattern the LORD had described to Moses.

8. GoldenCandlestick

The light of the candlestick points to the Lord Jesus Christ, who said,

“I am the light of the world” (John 9:5),

and to the spoken and written Word of God, as David said,

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

and to the church, as the First and the Last said,

“As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20).

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Jesus, the Light of the World,” a Christmas song from the late 1800’s.   I think it will raise your spirits if you sing along!

_________________________

Instructions for Ordaining the Levites

5The LORD said to Moses:

6The Levites must be acceptable to me before they begin working at the sacred tent. So separate them from the rest of the Israelites 7and sprinkle them with the water that washes away their sins. Then have them shave their entire bodies and wash their clothes.

8They are to bring a bull and its proper grain sacrifice of flour mixed with olive oil. And they must bring a second bull as a sacrifice for sin.

9Then you, Moses, will call together all the people of Israel and have the Levites go to my sacred tent, 10where the people will place their hands on them. 11Aaron will present the Levites to me as a gift from the people, so that the Levites will do my work.

Num8 workforchrist

Reflection:

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary, first published in 1721:

All who expect to share in the privileges of the tabernacle, must resolve to do the service of the tabernacle. As, on the one hand, none of God’s creatures are his necessary servants, he needs not the service of any of them; so none are merely honorary servants, to do nothing. All whom God owns, he employs; angels themselves have their services.

What is your service for God today?

12After this, the Levites are to place their hands on the heads of the bulls. Then one of the bulls will be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin, and the other to make sure that I am pleased. 13The Levites will stand at my altar in front of Aaron and his sons, who will then dedicate the Levites to me.

14This ceremony will show that the Levites are different from the other Israelites and belong to me in a special way. 15After they have been made acceptable and have been dedicated, they will be allowed to work at my sacred tent. 16They are mine and will take the place of the first-born Israelite sons. 17When I killed the oldest sons of the Egyptians, I decided that the first-born sons in each Israelite family would be mine, as well as every first-born male from their flocks and herds. 18But now I have chosen these Levites as substitutes for the first-born sons, 19and I have given them as gifts to Aaron and his sons to serve at the sacred tent. I will hold them responsible for what happens to anyone who gets too close to the sacred tent.

The Levites Are Dedicated to the LORD

"Levites at the Temple" papercut by Canadian and Israeli artist Naomi Spiers

“Levites at the Temple” papercut by Canadian-Israeli artist Naomi Spiers

20Moses, Aaron, and the other Israelites made sure that the Levites did everything the LORD had commanded. 21The Levites sprinkled themselves with the water of forgiveness and washed their clothes. Then Aaron brought them to the altar and offered sacrifices to forgive their sins and make them acceptable to the LORD. 22After this, the Levites worked at the sacred tent as assistants to Aaron and his sons, just as the LORD had commanded.

23The LORD also told Moses, 24-25” Levites who are between the ages of twenty-five and fifty can work at my sacred tent. But once they turn fifty, they must retire. 26They may help the other Levites in their duties, but they must no longer be responsible for any work themselves. Remember this when you assign their duties.”

A Levite’s time of active service was to begin at age thirty and last until fifty according to Numbers 4:3, 4:23, and 4:30. Yet their formal training began at age twenty-five, with a five year apprenticeship.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
menorah.    http://www.templeinstitute.org/vessel_images/menorah.jpg
golden candlestick.  http://gbcdecatur.org/files/GoldenCandlestick.jpg
Work for Christ.   http://www.fbct.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/workforchrist.jpg
Spiers.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/8-levites_papercut.jpg?w=450

1602.) Numbers 7

June 23, 2015
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible)

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible)

Numbers 7   (CEV)

The Leaders Bring Gifts to the Sacred Tent

1When Moses had finished setting up the sacred tent, he dedicated it to the LORD, together with its furnishings, the altar, and its equipment. 2Then the twelve tribal leaders of Israel, the same men who had been in charge of counting the people,  came to the tent 3with gifts for the LORD. They brought six strong carts and twelve oxen–one ox from each leader and a cart from every two. 4The LORD said to Moses, 5” Accept these gifts, so the Levites can use them here at the sacred tent for carrying the sacred things.”

6Then Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites, 7-8who were under the leadership of Ithamar son of Aaron. Moses gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites for their work, and four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites for their work. 9But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were in charge of the sacred objects that had to be carried on their shoulders.

10On the day the altar was dedicated, the twelve leaders brought offerings for its dedication. 11The LORD said to Moses, ” Each day one leader is to give his offering for the dedication.”

12-83So each leader brought the following gifts:

silver bowl

silver bowl

a silver bowl that weighed over three pounds and a silver sprinkling bowl weighing almost two pounds, both of them filled with flour and olive oil as grain sacrifices and weighed according to the official standards;

7. frankincense

a small gold dish filled with incense;

"Ram and Goat"  painting by Moya.

“Ram and Goat” painting by Moya.

a young bull, a full-grown ram, and a year-old ram as burnt offering sacrifices to please the LORD; 

a goat

a goat

a goat as a sacrifice for sin;

Philipp Peter Roos:A Rocky Landscape With A Bull, Goat, Ram And Sheepdog

“A Rocky Landscape With A Bull, Goat, Ram And Sheepdog” by German Baraque painter Philipp Peter Roos

and two bulls, five full-grown rams, five goats, and five rams a year old as offerings of well-being, sacrifices to ask the LORD’s blessing.

The tribal leaders brought their gifts and offerings in the following order:

On the first day Nahshon from Judah,

on the second day Nethanel from Issachar,

on the third day Eliab from Zebulun,

on the fourth day Elizur from Reuben,

on the fifth day Shelumiel from Simeon,

on the sixth day Eliasaph from Gad,

on the seventh day Elishama from Ephraim,

on the eighth day Gamaliel from Manasseh,

on the ninth day Abidan from Benjamin,

on the tenth day Ahiezer from Dan,

on the eleventh day Pagiel from Asher,

on the twelfth day Ahira from Naphtali.

84-88And so when the altar was dedicated to the LORD, these twelve leaders brought the following gifts:

twelve silver bowls and twelve silver sprinkling bowls, weighing a total of about sixty pounds, according to the official standards;

twelve gold dishes filled with incense and weighing about three pounds;

twelve bulls, twelve full-grown rams, and twelve rams a year old as sacrifices to please the LORD, along with the proper grain sacrifices;

twelve goats as sacrifices for sin;

and twenty-four bulls, sixty full-grown rams, sixty goats, and sixty rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the LORD’s blessing.

89Whenever Moses needed to talk with the LORD, he went into the sacred tent, where he heard the LORD’s voice coming from between the two winged creatures above the lid of the sacred chest.

8. ark

Psalm 80:1-3 (New International Version)

Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock;
you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a reminder about an important gift for us to bring to the Lord every day — “We bring the sacrifice of praise.”

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
illustration from the Holman Bible.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Holman_The_Tabernacle_in_the_Wilderness.jpg
antique Gorham silver bowl.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/7-silver-bowl.jpg
frankincense.    http://www.billcasselman.com/frankincense_captioned.jpg
Moya.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/7-ram-goat-moya.jpg?w=450
goat.    http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0809-warm-goat-breath-aphids/8451649-1-eng-US/0809-warm-goat-breath-aphids_full_600.jpg
Roos.    http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/347502/1/A-Rocky-Landscape-With-A-Bull,-Goat,-Ram-And-Sheepdog-Before-A-Set-Of-Ruins,-A-Shepherd-And-Flock-Beyond.jpg
Ark of the Covenant / “sacred chest.”    http://www.wildolive.co.uk/images/ark.jpg

1601.) Numbers 6

June 22, 2015

Num6 benediction

Numbers 6   (CEV)

Rules for Nazirites

The vow of the Nazirite was to express one’s special desire to draw close to God and to separate one’s self from the comforts and pleasures of this world.

From G. J. Wenham: “The English word Nazirite transliterates Hebrew nazir, meaning “set apart.”

–David Guzik

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:

If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, 3you must no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don’t drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins– 4not even the seeds or skins.

5Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must never cut your hair.

Num6 Samson

Judges 13:1-5 (NIV)

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless.  The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.  Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean,  because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

6During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.

So — The Nazirite was forbidden to eat or drink anything from the grape vine; this was a form of self-denial connected with the idea of a special consecration to God. Generally speaking, wine and grape products were thought to be a blessing (Proverbs 3:10), something to be gratefully received from God (Psalms 104:15). So one’s diet was consecrated.

The hair was to be allowed to grow all during the period of the vow, and then cut at the conclusion of the vow. This was a way of outwardly demonstrating to the world that this man or woman was under a special vow. So one’s appearance was consecrated.

Dead bodies — even those of a close relative — were not to be approached during the vow of a Nazirite. Separation from death — the effect of sin — was essential during the period of the vow. So one’s associations were consecrated.

–David Guzik

9If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10Then on the next day, bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11He will offer one of the birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a burnt offering, a sacrifice to please me.  You will then be forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12But the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the sacrifice to make things right.

13When you have completed your promised time of being a Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with them: a year-old ram as a burnt offering, a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice for sin, and a full-grown ram as an offering of well-being, a sacrifice to ask my blessing.  15Wine offerings and grain sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin wafers brushed with oil.

The vow of a Nazirite ended with a public ceremony, with extensive sacrifice.

16The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the wine, grain, and bread.

18After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head,

Num6 shaved head

and put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.

19Once the meat from the ram’s shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20You will hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up  in dedication to me. Then he can eat the meat from the ram’s shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink wine. 21These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer more, you must do so.

The Blessing for the People

"Aaron's Blessing"  by Philip Ratner

“Aaron’s Blessing” by Philip Ratner

22The LORD told Moses, 23” When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they must say:

24I pray that the LORD

will bless and protect you,

25and that he will show you mercy

and kindness.

26May the LORD be good to you

and give you peace.”

6. benediction

27Then the LORD said, ” If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give them my blessing.”

The three-fold repetition of Lord does not prove the Trinity, but it certainly illustrates it.

  • God the Father blesses and keeps His children
  • God the Son makes God’s face to shine on us and brings us grace
  • God the Holy Spirit communicates God’s attention to us, and gives us peace

2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  the Concordia College Band sings (!) “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”  by Peter C. Lutkin.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Aaronic benediction.  http://www.godhealing.net/i//tn_aaronic_final_-_Copy_1.jpg
Samson.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/4d/82/7f/4d827f5c037cee5cf6e9e3f73506c9fa.jpg
shaved head.   http://z.about.com/d/menshair/1/0/t/-/-/-/thinning05.jpg