Chapter 35 — The Levites were the ministers. They were to receive not inheritance of land as the other tribes of Israel. Possibly one reason was due to the fact that Levi (one of Israel’s sons deceived and killed an entire group of people because one of them had raped his sister, Dinah.) Levi did not act alone his brother Simeon did this with him. Simeon ends up with some land as you can see from the maps I have shared with you about the land divisions. God expected a lot from the Levites, great responsibility, great as mediators, and maintaining HIS Tabernacle according to the laws He had given. The remaining 12 tribes were to take care of the Levites – through land provisions, land for their animals which were also given to them as part of their tithes –– and ALL they needed. Of course the Levites had to tithe from what they had been given back to the Lord. A beautiful reminder of why we are to tithe today.
The Levites were given 48 towns of which six were to be Cities of Refuge. The six cities designated as cities of refuge were; Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Romath, and Golan (see Joshua 20:7-8). Mosaic Law required that anyone who committed murder was to be put to death (Exodus 21:14). HOWEVER… for unintentional deaths, God made a way IN THESE CITIES where these people could flee (Israelites, ALIENS, and ANY OTHER PEOPLE LIVING AMONG THEM (Numbers 35:15). In the city of refuge the person would be safe from the avenger. The BLB defines the avenger as redeemer, kinsman-redeemer, avenger, revenge, and ransom. The person sent to any of these cities was protected ….unless he left and then the avenger would have the right to kill him.
The Levites would be the most suitable and impartial judges. They were mediators between the Israelites and God and would have been gifted to calmly mediate between the attacker and the victim’s family preventing further bloodshed.
The cities of refuge are a reminder of Christ … a foreshadow of Christ. As sinners today, we find refuge in CHRIST from the destroyer of our souls. Hebrews 6:18-20 states: “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
IS this NOT TOTALLY a mind blower!!! We run to Jesus today as our Refuge, our Protector, our Priest, where we will be safe from ALL harm. EVEN in NUMBERS … God provided the same thing!!! God made it clear that the people were not to judge the motive or the person. They were to flee to the city of refuge (JESUS) and the priest (JESUS) would decide guilt or innocence. WHOAAAAAA!!!
Since I am writing this entry late Friday evening …. Good Friday — verse 30 REALLY stood out to me — “Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer ONLY on the testimony of witnessES. BUT NO ONE IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH ON THE TESTIMONY OF ONLY ONE WITNESS.” Do you remember in yesterdays’ reading that they could not find 2 witnesses to testify against Jesus???? SEE… JESUS is on EVERY page!!! 🙂
Chapter 36 –Inheritance — Go back to Numbers 27. Joseph had two sons – Ephraim and Manasseh. One of Manasseh’s descendants ONLY had daughters, and until these daughters spoke up in a most humble way the land was divided by a lot system ONLY to the men. So the Lord told them that the woman could inherit land, but we read here something important:
This is what the LORD commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father. No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal land inherited from his forefathers.
So they DO inherit the land. They married their cousins. I KNOW.. don’t think too hard about it 🙂 GOD IS IN CONTROL 🙂
We end the Book of Numbers 40 years after the exodus from Egypt. Numbers covered 39 years. NOW the Israelites are poised near the banks of the Jordan River with the Promised Land in sight. The desert wanderings are OVER. What can we learn from this book? Perhaps the apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12:
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.9 We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
- UNBELIEF is disastrous.
- Not to long for the sinful pleasures of the past.
- Avoid complaining.
- Stay away from all forms of compromise.
Sharing HIS love,
Deja vu … all over again .. right??? Yes, you have read some of this before, but Moses is retelling the places where they have been since the Exodus. Do you recognize any of the names? A few of them actually rang bells in my head (which I am so thankful for because it means I did remember some things I read this year and last year.) WHAT a glorious gift memory is!!!! 🙂
I am also so impressed that through the first 40 years of Moses life …. As a prince in Egypt …. He was taught so many things…. Probably even warfare tactics AND… all about the Egyptians false gods. YET Moses remained faithful to GOD!!! God uses everything for HIS glory. And HE uses (yesterday, today, and always) the ordinary to bring about the extraordinary!!!
Chapter 33– Vs 3: Passover, remember this was the FINAL plague that got them OUT of EGYPT. The Israelites had to be prepared for this event. God told Moses to instruct them to bring an innocent animal into their homes and then on the night they were told … they were to spread the animal’s BLOOD on their door posts so the Angel of Death would PASS OVER them!! NONE of their firstborn male children would be killed if they followed HIS instructions. Remember the unleavened bread… they had to be ready to DEPART EGYPT IMMEDIATELY after this happened … NO time for the yeast to rise… AND … no SINs to be taken with them. AND.. if you are reading along in the Holy Week entries… TODAY… we are reading the day after PASSOVER, the day after The Last Supper was eaten…. GOOD FRIDAY!!! OK.. I have goose bumps with God’s timing!!! During EACH of these verses… WE can see the Lord’s hand upon them as HE DELIVERED them!!! In good times and in bad times … even with Moses’ prayers… God DELIVERED HIS people and reminded US that HE ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES!!!
Vs 5: Succoth, during the Exodus they stopped there, made bread so quickly that they didn’t wait for it to rise. (They now celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread).
Vs 6: Etham….the Parting of the Red Sea! WHAT a witness this was for the Israelites to SEE how awesome their God was!!
Vs 8: Marah….After the people GRUMBLED…. God turned the Marah water sweet.
Vs 9: Elim — God brought them to the Springs and the Palm trees for refreshment. FRESH water from springs and FRESH fruit from the palm trees….. a time to REST in HIM.
Vs 12: Desert (or Wilderness) of Sin. God brought the Israelites all they needed to survive in the Desert….Manna, water …. and ummmmmm….. Quail!!!! DO you remember WHY he brought the quail???
Vs 14: Rephidim….no water to drink (a little more grumbling). The Lord told Moses to TOUCH the rock and water was brought forth in FAITH.
Vs 15. Mt. Sinai (aka Mt Horab) …. Burning Bush AND 10 Commandments …. (twice)
Vs 16. Kibroth Hatttaavah…God HEARD their grumbling, whining, complaining and HE gave them their meat OK….. those who began to eat the quail DIED while the meat was hanging out of their mouth before they could even chew it. God was angry because HIS people had seen all the plagues, the Red Sea, and so much more…. But SADLY they did not TRUST or BELIEVE HIM.
Vs 17: Hazeroth — Miriam and Aaron show a little sibling rivalry disguised as a complaint about Moses second wife who was not an Israelite (neither was his first!!). God gave her leprosy for a week….. which truly was God’s grace…. He could have had her killed or left her in the desert alone for the rest of her life…. And did I mention mercy???
Vs 34 – Ezion Geber – marked 40 years and they had lacked NOTHING they needed … THINK about it…. their clothing did not wear out… their shoes did not wear out…. They always had animals, birds, oil, and grain for sacrificing….
Vs 36 — Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin — Miriam died
Vs 37 — Mount Hor – Aaron died
Vs 40: King Arad, a Canaanite king (do you remember “arad” meant “wildass”. We read this on the same day as Balaam!!! THIS was where they asked the Lord to help them in battle…and the Lord did!! They WON 🙂 .. then complained 😦 …..then came the plague of poisonous snake bites….Moses was instructed by God to make the bronze snake so when they looked upon it they would be healed by their FAITH. Bronze snake on cross like Jesus on cross … we are healed by our FAITH IN HIM!!
Vs 43 — Oboth. Making their way to the Promised Land, near the outskirts of Moab …. Surrounded by believers of many gods and picking up bad habits with each stop!!!
Vs48 — Plains of Moab near Jericho…God used a sorcerer named Balaam so HIS people could NOT be cursed by the Moabites and Midianites. It is also the story where Balaam has a chance to speak with his ass!! (I laugh each time I think of that story.) 🙂
Vs 49 — Shittim….WHAT a name for a place!!!! The Israelites BOLDLY bring their new found enjoyment of sex worship before others gods HOME with them… IN TO the camp…. Phinehas SAVED the day when he stabbed the couple in the midst of their “fun”.
Did you notice that God ended Chapter 33 by telling Moses to tell HIS people…. To KILL ALL of the Canaanites… NO exceptions… NO young boys, NO women of ANY AGE, No IDOLS, NO statues, NONE of their altars…..NOTHING…. NOTHING…… NOTHING….was to be left that could “lead them into temptation” and take their eyes off of THEIR GOD!!! WHAT a powerful word this is for us today!! What do we read, what do we watch on TV, what do we listen to, who do we hang out with????? IT ALL INFLUENCES US!!
Chapter 34 — God now gives Moses the boarders of the Promised Land —South, West, North and East — don’t you LOVE how detailed God is!!! Moses is to divide the land into 9 and 1/2 tribes (2 1/2 tribes were the Transjordan tribes from yesterday’s readings). A leader is appointed to all 12 tribes.
Note: Levites do not get land allotted to them. The Levites are the priests and are supported by the offerings and tithes. The line of Joseph has 2 tribes….if you don’t remember why feel free to ask in comments or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to use in your SUBJECT – BLOG so I don’t toss it 🙂
(Map of the boundaries of the intended Promise Land, verses current Israel today)
One Day the Lord WILL CLAIM that Land Again HIS! It ALREADY started on May 14, 1948!!! (Israel was able to declare their INDEPENDENCE!!) 🙂 🙂 🙂
Sharing HIS love,
Chapter 31— Vengeance on the Midianites. Do the Midianites sound familiar? When Moses left Egypt for murder, he found a home with the Midianites who were shepherds and nomads. Moses father-in-law was a Midianite priest on priestly land which is why the Egyptians could not touch Moses for the murder (Exodus 3). Moses married Zipporah. His father-in-law was Reuel/Jethro. If you remember back a ways, Moses actually took advice from his father-in-law, and Jethro blessed the Israelites, and made sacrifices to GOD (Exodus 18.) Unfortunately, THESE same people were responsible for leading the Israelites astray in chapter 25 (The Phinehas/stabbing/sex/ chapter.) Balaam (whose ass had to speak to him to get his attenton) we find out in 31:15 was the influence behind the Moabite women coming into Israelites camp. The Moabites and the Midianites were in cahoots with each other.. they thought the same.. believed in pagan gods….and neither liked the Israelites.
In 25:16 God told Moses to treat the Midianites as enemies, and kill them. In 31:14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army because they did not KILL EVERYONE. They did kill all the men and Balaam, but left the women, boys, and girls. Moses has the Israelite army kill the boys and all women who are not virgins. Moses wanted ALL trace of pagan worship GONE (which had caused Phinehas to take action which caused God not to destroy the Israelites!) Moses understood that it would only take a “little” enticement to get the Israelites’ eyes off of God.
SO the Lord has the Israelites take vengeance, take all their belongings, split it up and then they realize in 31:49
”Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired.”
Is this not AWESOME!!??? The soldiers KNEW they had just lived through a battle with the Lord’s hand upon them. NOT ONE Israelite had DIED in battle. And, the soldiers took it upon themselves to bring an offering to the LORD!!! No ONE told them to do this… they just KNEW how greatly they had been blessed and wanted to thank the Lord. God has done some great things in our reading thus far. And it is such a blessing to see when the people immediately worship HIM. Times like when Jacob fought with the angel of the Lord, refused to let go until he received the blessing, received the blessing, had his name changed to Israel, and named the place Peniel because he saw God face to face. Noah made an altar after the Ark was opened. Miriam started the Song of Praise when they saw the miracle of the Red Sea collapsing on the Egyptians coming for them. And I am SURE you can think of many others. Today we read about 12,000 men who went to battle and not A SINGLE casualty in God’s army. SO they came with an offering. This story touches me deeply EACH time I read it. NO ONE ASKED TO THEM DO A THIS!!! I can just imagine God’s heart filled with blessing because of their actions FOR HIM.
Chapter 32 — Transjordan Tribes. Two and a half tribes are requesting the land on the East side of the Jordan River (Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh). They ask Moses for the deed to that land. Moses assumes they are asking for it as a way for them NOT to have to fight for or enter the Promised Land. POOR Moses… I mean the guy is about 140 at this point in his life. Can you blame him for thinking this way?? He has seen what happened to the first generation he came out of Egypt with who did not BELIEVE GOD’s PROMISE, doubted, grumbled, complained, spent 40 years in the wilderness, now they are all dead, and LOST their PROMISE!!! Now, here is he … witnessing many good things happening …. Leading them closer and closer to the Promised Land. And these three tribes are ASKING HIM FOR LAND. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THOUGHT???? Would you have possibly been thinking these three tribes are trying to get out of TAKING the Promised Land with the other tribes? Might you be saying “not again!!!!” BUT….. Moses did something we are alllllllll guilty of (or at least I am) and that is ASSUMING!! These three Israelite Tribes DID trust in the Lord and totally planned on joining their brothers in the TAKING of the Promised Land. They REALLY “just” wanted the land to raise their animals, and to build cities that would have walls to protect their women and children. Moses realized this so the land on the East side (the right) of the Jordan was granted to them. (If you have not read the reading yet take out the words IF, BUT and THEN. …. Reads differently eh???)
Below is a map, the Jordan River is in the Middle and 32:33 says
Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.
Here is a visual of what it will look like when the land is divided (sneak peak)
Sharing HIS love,