Miracles of Jesus
From the beginning of Israel, the secret to their success was their relationship with God characterized by faith and obedience. The Jews were God’s covenant people, chosen by Him to do His will and ultimately bring the redeemer into the world. Once Israel was settled into the land they had to carefully follow the instruction given. They worshipped the Lord God Almighty. Israel had to bring the right sacrifices at the right time and in the right way, or the Lord would not bless them. Each of these offerings had a different purpose. The ultimate goal was to please the Lord.
Each morning and each evening, the priest were to offer a lamb for a burnt offering (Numbers 28:1-10). The burnt offering typified total dedication to the Lord. Shouldn’t we begin each day and end each day by giving ourselves completely to the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2).
Next, were the monthly offerings (Numbers 28:11-15). On the first of every month, along with the daily continual burnt offering, the priest were to offer an additional burnt offering comprised of two young bulls, a ram and seven male lambs a year old, along with the proper meal and drink offerings. A male got was offering as a sin offering. Israel was to make a new start each month.
Following there was to be the annual religious events (Number 28:16-29). These annual events begin with the Passover. Pentecost was celebrated seven weeks after Passover. The seventh month of the Jewish year opened with the Feasts of the Trumpets signaling the beginning of the Jewish civil year. On the tenth day of the month, Israel celebrated the Day of Atonement. Five days later, the Feast of Tabernacles began and lasted for a week. For each of the events, the priest were instructed offer appropriate sacrifices.
Today, we do not celebrate these feast, but each Lord’s Day we celebrate the Lord’s memorial. We remember what He did for us by partaking of the bread. The bread is a memorial of His body. We remember what He did for us by taking the fruit of the vine. The fruit of the vine reminds us of the sacrificial blood He offered for our redemption. His blood paid the ransom price.
As then, now we celebrate what God has provided for us and our salvation. Each time we partake ought to be as fresh as the first time. As we grow spiritually each time ought to mean even more to us. In partaking of this memorial we look back to what He has done for us. Also, we look ahead to the great day He will come again.
Our reading today focuses on how two needs were met. First, it answers the question about whether or not a daughter could inherit her father's property if he didn't have sons (27:1-11). Second, it tells how Moses viewed the Promised Land but died without entering, but God had prepared and appointed Joshua to lead the people into the land (27:12-23). The people were like sheep, in need of a shepherd, a leader who would guide the people in the conquest of Canaan. Joshua was the clear choice. He had been the attendant of Moses from his youth (Num. 11:28; Ex 33:11). He led Israel in battle against the Amalekites, had accompanied Moses on Sinai when he received the law, and was one of the spies sent to scout the promised land. Joshua was the one to replace Moses as leader of Israel - not by accident or coincidence, but by design and preparation.
This chapter gives us a good thought to consider - preparing the next generation to take our place. It's passing the baton of leadership on. It's creating a legacy. But legacy doesn't come by accident. It is the product of training and preparation. Instead of hoping the next generation will be ready when the time comes for them to step into the next role, it's teaching, mentoring, shaping and molding them so that they can step right into the role, and the work can continue seamlessly. Paul told Timothy to teach others what he had been taught so that they might in turn be able to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2). Joshua's aren't born, they're made. They're the product of godly parents, godly mentors, wise men and women who helped teach through word and example.
Here's a question for you to think about today - what can you do to help prepare the next generation? Before you may be the next husbands and wives, mothers and father, servants, teachers, preachers, evangelists, deacons, shepherds, mentors, etc. We can hope that by the time they need to step up they'll be ready, or we can work to teach, train, and prepare them today for their roles to play in the future. Invest in a young person. Share your wisdom. Provide opportunities for them. Be a mentor. Help instill a heart of service, a sincere love for God and His Word. Show them examples of godly marriages, homes that honor Christ. Israel needed Joshua, and Joshua needed Moses. The upcoming generation will, Lord willing, one day, take our place and step into roles of leadership. Pass the torch. Do what you can today to help prepare those who will lead tomorrow.
Wonderful God, today I thank You for the family we have in Christ - what a blessing, what an encouragement, what a support they are to me. I thank You for all the godly individuals who have helped me get to where I am today - all the kind words spoken, all the good examples for me to follow, for those who never gave up on me, for those who gave me opportunities to learn and train, for those who saw the good and potential when I didn't see it in me, thank You. Help me to be the same kind of loving mentor for the next generation. Help me to teach, help me to train, help me to do what I can to prepare those who will follow after me. Thank You for our youth. Thank You for their interest in You - for the love they have for You and Your church. Thank You for the example they set. Thank You for their parents, and their commitment to raising their children in Your ways. Help us prepare the next Joshua's to continue to lead Your people closer to You.
At Kadesh-Barnea and at Baal Peor Israel had sinned greatly and God had chastened them but in His grace he forgave their disobedience and gave them a new start (Numbers 26).
First, there was the second numbering. By the time Israel had entered Zared valley the old generation had died off, except for Joshua and Caleb. And, very soon Moses would die.
Moses had two purposes in mind when he took the second census. As with the first, he needed to know how many men were available that were fighting age. Second, he wanted to get an idea how much land each tribe would need when Israel settled in Canaan (Numbers 26:52-56). Settling in the land required giving the tribes their inheritance.
First, there was the tribal inheritance (No. 26:52-56). Once the land had been conquered and God had given His people rest, Joshua, Eleazar and ten tribal representative would cast lots to determine each tribe’s portion of the land.
Next, came the Levitical inheritance. The Levites were not given their own land to possess but were scattered throughout the nation in forty-eight assigned cities. This was a fulfillment of Jacob’s death bed prophecy where he said the sons of Levi would be scattered widely. Also, by scattering them through the land the Levites had a better opportunity to teach the Law to more people and influence them to be faithful to the Lord. God was their inheritance so the Levites needed no land. The Levites were to devote themselves wholly to the service of the Lord and His people, receiving what they needed from God’s hand through His people.
As God scattered the Levites through the land to teach the law, it seems a forerunner of the great commission the Lord would give His twelve apostles. He told them to go into all the world to teach the gospel. All men needed to know the gospel so they could be saved. Then, they were told to teach those they had taught. All needed to know the will of God. God has always provided an opportunity for man to know Him and His will. While no land is inherited, as then. There is the promise of “The Promised Land.” An eternal home with God.
Israel arrives in Shittim, in the plains of Moab, where they begin to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab, and in so doing were influenced to “join themselves to Baal of Peor” (v. 3).
The bright light in this chapter is Phinehas, son of Eleazar, grandson of Aaron. While Israel was weeping before the tent of meeting (likely due to God’s anger and the death from the judges and the plague), here’s a man who has brought a Moabite woman into his tent! Phinehas sees it, and responds through killing those two (v. 8). His action turned away the wrath of God (v. 11). Twice it ways he was “jealous for his God” (v. 11, 13).
This is a dark chapter, but it comes with a serious thought – am I moved to righteous anger over sin like Phinehas? When I see blatant disregard for God’s word, am I affected? We’re saturated in a culture that knows little distinction between right and wrong. It’s easy to be so calloused to the continual exposure to evil that we barely bat an eye towards wrong being done. Injustice, profanity, immorality – when we see or hear of it, it ought to bother us. We need more Phinehas’s today. Not stabbings with spears – but people who stand up and speak up against that which is wrong. Without Phinehas sin remains in the camp. When confronted, it ends.
We speak with an understanding that I too have sinned, and need God’s grace, the gift of His Son. It’s not self-righteous – I’m better than you. And I speak, not out of hate toward the sinner, but a hate of that sin which I know destroys all that is good. So I’m kind, loving, and respectful.
Nevertheless, I speak. I speak up. I stand up for the sake of truth and for God. I try to point people to God, His standard, His will. I try to help people who are drifting from God’s path, being pulled by the way of the world. I speak up to those who’s hearts have become so hard and bitter that they leave a path of hurt wherever they go. I speak up because someone spoke up to me. Someone loved me enough to talk to me, to correct me, to point me to God, and help me get my life where it ought to. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). Will I be a friend or an enemy towards others? Enemies watch as others drift into danger, into harm. Friends have others best interest at heart, and will speak the painful words of truth to try and save them from harm. Whom will I be – a friend or an enemy? Will I sit and watch, or will I stand and speak?
Righteous Lord, we know that You hate sin, evil, and all that is wrong. Our sin has separated us from You, broken Your commandments, rejected Your love. Forgive us Father. We need Your grace, Your forgiveness. We’re amazed at Your mercy, in awe of Your longsuffering. Help us to see sin as You see sin – a disgrace, an evil, a monster. Yet help us to see others as You see them – lost, unaware of Jesus, distracted by the world, caught in a chain of addiction, and needing help, needing a friend, needing a Savior. Help us to speak up with love, to speak words of truth, to offer words of hope. Thank You for the hope we have in You – hope for forgiveness, hope for a better and brighter tomorrow, hope for a home prepared by You. Give us courage to stand, conviction to speak, and compassion to act.
Balaam speaks for the third time and when the spirit of God came upon him, he praised God and Israel. Balak is enraged. He claps his hands, for emphasis I guess, and tells Balaam, “I said I would honor you, but, in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.” (Numbers 24:11).
That is laughable. Balak wants to honor Balaam for cursing God’s people. God will not permit Balaam to curse His people and God gets the blame for Balaam failing to receive honor from Balak. The very reason Balak wants Balaam to curse Israel is because he is afraid of Israel because of what Israel had done to the Amorites (Numbers 20:23). So he figures if Balaam curses Israel, Israel will not be able to harm the Moabites.
Balak misses who destroy the Amorites. It was not the Israelites who destroyed them. It was God. Israel was the instrument God used to destroy them. Cursing Israel is not going to stop God. Satan used this tactic earlier in the Bible narrative. He used this tactic with Eve. He blamed God for Eve being restrained from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan tells her it is God who is keeping you from fulfilment. Now Satan is using Balak to blame God for Balaam not getting the honor this puny Moabite offers him.
Balaam did what he wanted to do. But, God used him to praise and prevented him from cursing. How many times do we do what we want to do and then when it goes south we blame God for not giving us what we wanted? We blame God for failing to receive the applause we think we so richly deserve. We cry, “It is God who keep us from our due honor. It is God who keeps us from having our fun.”
Balak and Balaam show us God’s will, will be done in spite of what man wants to do. We can act in harmony with His will or we can cut ourselves against it. God is going to win!