Category Archives: Numbers

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 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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 Numbers 5:23-7:59 

At my most sincere and earnest desire to be all that God wanted me to be, I never thought of the Nazirite vow as something to pursue. I think following Jesus was enough and I did not need a physical representation of that.

God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel; tell them, If any of you, man or woman, wants to make a special Nazirite vow, consecrating yourself totally to God, you must not drink any wine or beer, no intoxicating drink of any kind, not even the juice of grapes—in fact, you must not even eat grapes or raisins. For the duration of the consecration, nothing from the grapevine—not even the seeds, not even the skin—may be eaten. – Numbers 6:1-4 MSG

What I do understand is this – a vow to this end was a dedication to be as near to God as possible with a view to His honour and glory. It was an expression of gratitude for mercies received and for the strengthening of faith and love, and all the graces and virtues one receives for following Him.

This was serious business for not honouring a vow, failing to honour that vow before God, was a sin.

That sin would not just be guilt, but also shame – as expressed in turning away from the face of God.

So what path do I take – looking for an expression that will honour those who follow Jesus – in other words, letting them see the face of God?

God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them,

God bless you and keep you,
God smile on you and gift you,
God look you full in the face
    and make you prosper.

In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel—

I will confirm it by blessing them.” – Numbers 6:22-27 MSG

This is commonly known as the “Aaronic Blessing.” The name of God represents the honour of God. What a blessing! God’s honour attached to His people!

Here is what I am reading – I can be God’s agent of His blessings – almost like a mediator of God’s “face” to other people and families. I also read that this blessing is for those who see themselves as being part of the family of God.

What if I took on a new mission – praying the Aaronic Blessing for families and people who may not be followers of Jesus? I want to be surprised on how open they will be to being prayed for and to receive this blessing. In my mind, I see my Muslim community changed by God’s love.

Father, I trust You completely to changing my heart and the heart of those I share Your blessings with. May Your Word not return void, but rather continue to change hearts and lives as it always has. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Numbers 3-5; Hebrews 12

It is really hard to see discipline as an act of love. Harder for a child and I remember those days, but as an adult I could really relate. As a grandparent, I cringe when my grandchildren get discplined – I love them, but somehow not as much as their parents do. The word “discipline” has to be couched these days as more and more of our culture and the best psychology theories out there seem to take a negative view of it as face value.

There is a bit more freedom using the word when we talk in context about God, and our definition is more in line with consecration as opposed to condemnation. Remember His command for us to be holy.

I need to read Hebrews 12:5-11 very carefully.

No matter what happens I am a child of God. He has a covenant with me and part of that covenant means that He corrects me when I go off on my own. He will not let me fall away. If I persevere in my walk with Him it is not because of my strength to be faithful, but rather because of God’s strength to hold me in His hand.

Here is the thought that just sticks out – “the Lord discplines the one He loves.” It is possible to read this as – if I am not disciplined then I am not a child of God.

That is keeping it real, but let’s agree to consider these points that seem to make sense out of the outcomes of discipline:

  • I will stay on the straight and narrow path and I can because I am strengthened by grace.
  • I will see the fruit of peace and see that in my relationship with others.
  • I will look forward to seeing His holiness and my strength in putting off apostasy.
  • I will choose to walk in the way that is right, pleasing to God and I will accept discipline and be trained by it in order to be a man after God’s own heart.

Father, these words are rather easy to write, they flow from my heart. However, it is a different story when it comes to living them. I write them as an offering to You so that by saying them out loud You know that I want to be accountable to them. I know I am inviting You to discipline me and I know I can trust You to do so in love. I know You know that is difficult for me, especially because of my relationship with my earthly father. But if I know anything, I know You love me. That matters most. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Numbers 29; Psalm 73; Isaiah 21; 2 Peter 2

I cannot pass the call for intentional regular focused rest. I know I need rest from my ordinary work and some of that time I need to be crying out to God.

On the first day of the seventh month you are to gather for worship, and no work is to be done. On that day trumpets are to be blown. – Numbers 29:1 GNT

It is so easy to reject this call to rest, almost as easy for those who do not know Jesus to continue to reject Him. They simply cannot let go of making money. The only way they can lose “this god” (money) is to understand that Jesus is all they need for He is with them always, even when money fades. When I experience the right hand of God grabbing a hold of mine and hear His promise to never leave me, I really have no desire for the things of this world. I keep my eyes on  Jesus. He alone is worthy.

Yet I always stay close to you, and you hold me by the hand. My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need. – Psalm 73:23,26 GNT

If I chose otherwise, I am on the slippery slope to destruction. It is only when I trust in Christ for my salvation that I receive God’s never failing goodness and grace. As I draw closer to Him I have so many testimonies to share of what God has done in my life. I know my times are in His hands and my future in eternity is secured for me in heaven.

When someone speaks about God’s judgement, some are awaken and some mock.

Someone calls to me from Edom, “Sentry, how soon will the night be over? Tell me how soon it will end.” – Isaiah 21:11 GNT

What I see is a door of hope being offered and it is my invitation to pray for mercy.
Father, I thank You for Your Word – it is truth. Keep me under the shadow of Your wing and guide me. I thank You for Jesus, for saving me. Keep me alert to anything that may draw me away from You – give me discernment. It was Your purpose to redeem me, adopt me and keep me from destruction. Help me share this gospel of grace and truth to others who will listen. Thank you for the stories of Noah that encourage me from not thinking too much about myself and keeps me humble enough to trust You completely. Even Lot was grieved for his generation – may my prayers be as his were. May I grieve for the lost. I want you to teach me how to walk this path of righteousness. Thank You for Your promise to rescue me from temptations and the trials that come my way. Protect my heart and my mind from worldly deception. Amen

 Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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