“Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Speak to the Israelites and tell them, “When you cross over the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must then designate some towns as towns of refuge for you, to which a person who has killed someone unintentionally may flee. And they must stand as your towns of refuge from the avenger in order that the killer may not die until he has stood trial before the community. These towns that you must give shall be your six towns for refuge.”’” (Numbers 35:9-13 NET).
God is a God of mercy. We can see this in his providing towns of refuge for the Israelites. These towns were so designated to allow someone who had accidentally killed another person to be safe from any ‘avenger’ who might come after them to take their life. If they were within these towns they were safe. In more recent years church buildings have often served this same purpose as a place of sanctuary. Continue reading “A God of mercy and justice”
“And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor” (Numbers 33:38-39 ESV).
The Israelites had been without a home for years. Forty years earlier, on the fifteenth day of the first month (Numbers 33:3), they had left Egypt after the ten plagues had culminated with the Passover. They had been “on the road” since that time, in essence “living out of suitcases.” They had no home of their own and were living in tents. They were now into the fortieth year since leaving Egypt. Continue reading “The land of rest”
“Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: ‘This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said’” (Numbers 30:1-2 NIV).
God’s desire has always been that his people keep their word. This involves honesty in every aspect of that word. If we are honest, we are “free of deceit, truthful and sincere” (Oxford Dictionary of English). This means that what we say must be true, but it is more than that. It also means that we do what we say and that we don’t use truth in a way that would deceive another person. Continue reading “Honesty”
In Numbers 22 we are introduced to a prophet named Balaam. Most who have heard of Balaam remember him because he had a donkey that spoke. What is significant is not so much the fact that the donkey talked but why the donkey was given the ability to speak.
The Israelites were now at the end of their forty year journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. They were travelling up the east side of the Jordan and encountering various struggles as they travelled. They finally were encamped in the plains of Moab. How would we feel if several million people camped just outside the city where we live? Continue reading “Speak only God’s word”
How often are problems caused because people want to be the one in charge, the one telling others what to do? This is not only a problem today, but one that Moses had to deal with. Keep in mind that Moses did not want to be the leader of the Israelites, but God had selected him and got rid of all his excuses at the burning bush. God selected Moses’ brother Aaron to be his spokesman and later to be the high priest for Israel in the worship of God.
A couple of years after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at the border of the Promised Land. After sending twelve men to get the lay of the land, they were so disheartened by the strength of the inhabitants that they refused to conquer the land. This led to a number of problems including challenging the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Continue reading “Wanting to be ‘in charge’”
“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them” (Numbers 11:1-3 ESV).
Can you imagine it? Here was a group of people who had been slaves for hundreds of years. They were now free! They had a God who was taking care of them! And what did they do? Complain about how bad they had it! Really?! Continue reading “Complain, complain, complain!”
“And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did” (Numbers 9:1-5 ESV).
God did not want the Israelites to forget what had happened to free them from Egyptian slavery. He gave them an anniversary to observe each year called “Passover.” This was to remind them that God had “passed over” their houses and that they had been freed from slavery that night. Continue reading “The need to remember”
There is a principle found throughout the Mosaic Law about returning something to its owner. Although we don’t always have the specifics given to us, it would seem that the person had stolen or possibly damaged or destroyed something that belonged to someone else. The principle was simply this: you had to restore more than what you had taken. Notice these instructions: Continue reading “The price has been paid”
Randomly grab part of a child’s hot air balloon mobile and you are likely to hold a collapsed tangled mess. However, if you pick up that same mobile using the center string securing the upper most support, the entire mobile falls into place displaying the proper relationship between its various components.
Each part of the mobile is important. Yet priority is built into a mobile’s proper functioning. The church can learn a lot from a child’s mobile. Continue reading “What a child’s mobile can teach the church”
The biggest attraction in a drift of daylilies, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, or iris is how plentiful the blooms are. The propagation experts and hybridizers refer to it as “bud count” or “bloom count.” A plant will win prizes when the blooms are profuse and cover the foliage.
The same goes for people. Sometimes it’s just better with a few more. Continue reading “Two are better than one”