Monthly Archives: February 2022

Numbers 34-36; Deuteronomy 1:1-15

I live in the Baltimore, MD area of the United States. Baltimore proper is less than one million people. By the time we get to Numbers 34 in our reading of today there are most likely a people that are two to three times larger than Baltimore and that may be a conservative estimate.

In Numbers 34:1-5 we read: The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan as defined by its borders), your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east. And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon. And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea.

This is just the beginning of Moses laying out how the promised land was to be divided. God told Moses the people were as numerous as the sands on the sea. We can read through these kinds of passages in the Bible and not put some perspect to them. It took a lot of organization to move these people. They were a HUGE group. And yet the God of the universe had it all planned out and layed out in that new land. We believe He has the big things planned out but not the small ones. We believe He is in charge of the larger than life issues, but not our small ones.

Well the very ending chapter of Numbers we read 36:1-4 The heads of the fathers’ houses of the clan of the people of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of the people of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the chiefs, the heads of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel. 2 They said, “The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the people of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. 3 But if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the people of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry. So it will be taken away from the lot of our inheritance. 4 And when the jubilee of the people of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry, and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

There was a promise of land to some sisters who hadn’t married. And this was being sorted out in this chapter. Of all the peoples and all the dividing and collecting of people Moses includes this story. Something very small in the whole scheme of things. God cares for you in the same way. The biggness of any situation doesn’t have something small enough that God cares. The next time you feel your issue is too small remember He is already working out a conclusion to your story that will bring glory to Him.

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Numbers 31:48-33:56

Have you ever thought about those 40 years of the Jewish people wandering in the wilderness? I had this picture in my mind that families just woke up each day and followed the large group ahead of them, traveling first north and then south, now east, and then west. I thought they may have even found themselves back at a previous camping spot before the fire embers had died out in front of their relentless pulling up of stakes.

Yet, looking at a suggested map drawn from Moses’ written account (Numbers 33:1-49) of the starting points of their travels, I am impressed with a belief that in every step and every encampment, God was leading His chosen people to the Promised Land. And during this journey, the families were having babies, their children were growing, the warriors were fighting inhabitants of these foreign lands, the priests were serving God, and Moses was judging and instructing the people. Aaron and Miriam were buried along the way, and God raised up new leaders to take the place of Moses who died at the journey’s end. The Israelites may not have been able to see around the next huge rock formation, but they continued the journey, nevertheless.

Sometimes it is hard to see where God is leading me. I can look back at my own wanderings and wonder at the numerous places I’ve lived, the trials and tragedies, the miracles, and the remarkable blessings of God. Has my journey, thus far, just been meandering in the wilderness of sin (yes, I recognize the similarity to the Exodus), and so a purging and punishing walk? That is one perspective, and one that leaves me deflated with little joy in the Lord.

The bigger picture here, however, may be encapsulated in a short phrase found in Numbers 34:53. “…for I have given you the land to possess.” This is what God emphasized to Moses and how Moses was able to encourage the Israelites to keep moving. God gave them the Promised Land, and all the journeying and conquering along the way prepared His people to possess that land. Their faith refined; their obedience demonstrated; they learned reliance on Him.

What is the Promised Land to us today? Is it a place, a position, or an accumulation of material gain? Or is our journey leading us closer to “the letting go” of all that interferes with knowing Him? – With a real desire for intimacy with God, and reliance on Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit? Each starting point (His compassions fail not and are new every morning) can begin again the next step to being closer to His heart’s desire – that “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NASB) I pray to continuously follow Him. What a picture – we, hand in hand, walking with our Lord!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

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Numbers 29:1-31:47

What do you celebrate? I love a good celebration. My favorite celebrations are ones with kids when we get to celebrate something that is normal…every day. Celebrating something that is normal sends a message of value and importance. What kid doesn’t need to be reminded that they are loved and they matter? What adult?

“Celebrate the Festival of Trumpets each year on the first day of the appointed month in early autumn. You must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work.”

Numbers‬ ‭29:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The many celebrations that God calls for are reminders to the Israelites that they matter and their relationship with God matters. Celebrating is for their hearts and minds to be reminded of who their God is. A God who provides and loves and is present.

What can you celebrate today?

With celebration comes obedience. I don’t know about you, but when I am more actively celebrating what God is doing in my life, the easier it is to obey His directions. It’s fair to say that God knows more…sees all…and is worthy of our trust.

I cannot begin to understand the killing of women and boys. There was a culture in the time of Moses that I have trouble comprehending. I do know, however, what God is calling me to do today. Am I obeying? Am I being who God created me to be? Are you?

Dear God, with all that I don’t understand, I believe that you are good and loving and worthy of celebrating. As we celebrate your goodness and presence, continue to empower us to follow your lead. Amen.

Mandy

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Numbers 26:35-28:31

The Lord needed someone to replace Moses, as he disobeyed Him and didn’t uphold Him as holy. Moses had been a faithful follower of God and a strong leader for the Israelites, but leaders are held to higher standards with God. One instance of “messing up” and the consequences have to come.

Moses spoke to the Lord saying, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” (Numbers 27:15-17 ESV)

Sheep are not smart animals. They need a shepherd, someone to follow, someone to look after them. Left on their own and they would not be able to defend themselves against predators. We are like sheep. We need the Good Shepherd.

So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgement of Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.” (Numbers 27:18-21 ESV)

Placing someone in authority is a public declaration. There needs to be witnesses and others in authority commissioning a new person. We see this when pastors and deacons are dedicated as well as presidents and kings. Now it was Joshua’s turn to take over for Moses.

And Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the Lord directed through Moses.” (Numbers 27:22-23 ESV)

Moses may have lost his job and his opportunity to go into the promised land, but he obeyed the Lord here. He dedicated a new leader to finish the job. His season was over and a new one was starting for Joshua.

May we all see our God given roles in life as of utmost importance. May we see everything we do as “unto the Lord.” May we be good role models for others behind us to do the same.

~Kellie

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Numbers 24:1-26:34

I need to confess that when I look back on my life, I can see the moments where financial success was thwarted where I chose to honour God instead. I sometimes, in my darkest moments, feel the pain of being poorer than I really should be. When I read stories where the temptation to pursue wealth over obedience to God, I understand what was happening. It is no different than what Balaam was going through – and he really did not even know who God was before his story started. This is where the conflict started – Numbers 24:1-11.

Can you imagine someone telling you that you were going to be great, rich, honoured with rewards of unrighteousness – you were going to be promoted?

What makes this story special is that Balaam, being introduced to God by God showing up and revealing Himself, saw something different. He saw a strength that was not in power or wealth but in worship. They worshipped one God and God honoured them and held them in His hand as His people.

How many times have I missed the fact that God has already spoken for me, on my behalf. I remember vividly the two times He chose to reveal to me how He spoke to someone about me. I wish I could share those times with you but it would take too much space. I am sure that He has done it many more times and I was unaware.

God showed Balaam that these people, in front of him, would have honour and that they would advance to a place of more greatness and would make a far better figure in history than Balak and his people could ever be.

I believe the stories of the wonders of their deliverance out of Egypt contributed to their honour as well as to the terror of their enemies.

Let’s face it, Satan had a lot of material to work with as these people were notoriously faithless and dishonoured God often and grievously. I can feel God’s hand loving them and looking out for them regardless. There would be consequences but those would come from His hand and not from anothers.

The story ends with Balak telling Balaam that he can go now – taunting him with the honour and wealth he could have had. He states that God kept all of this from him. Balaam is now my hero for realizing that he was not missing out -there was far more at stake here and he made the right decision.

Father, thank you for Your Holy Spirit who helps me navigate a world that seeks wealth, recognition and honour from people who do not follow You. While I may struggle with certain things that others have, I have You. You are far more valuable and You make me far more wealthier than any person in this world ever could. You have given me eternal life with You. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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