Last week’s readings: Leviticus 26-27; Numbers 1-10
What lingers with me this week:
Preparation is important…God prepared the Israelites for battle by counting. Moses, Aaron and leaders from each of the 12 tribes took the first census of all the men that were fit to fight. Final count…603,550.
I am not big on camping…but can you imagine this campsite…it is said that just the men comprised 12 square miles. How would you keep track of everyone…it’s not like going to Disneyland in matching shirts. God gave instructions on how the tribal camp should be arranged…no detail was too small or overlooked.
God provided instructions to the Levites who would be serving as priests in the tabernacle…he instructed those that would be taking care of the most holy items. He spoke of what was necessary to maintain purity in camp. He made provision for those who desired to be set apart as Nazarites by making special vows before God. He gave further instructions regarding the tabernacle and the Levites.
Recorded in Numbers is one of the most familiar blessings to us but one that was to be said by the priests to the people:
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you,
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6: 24-26
How could one tire of hearing those words being poured over their lives?! Precious…a precious blessing!
The Israelites celebrated Passover…the first time since the original Passover…can you imagine the flashbacks of God’s delieverance for His people?
Once the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it…it had the appearance of fire from evening until morning. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out on their journey…wherever it settled, the Israelites encamped.
The importance of trumpets…God told the people to sound the trumpets …to gather the assembly together…to assemble heads of clans…to assemble the tribes…before battle in their own land…at times of rejoicing…at feasts and festivals…over burnt offerings and fellowship offerings…and as a memorial before God that “I am the LORD your God.” (Number 10: 10).
The cloud lifts and the Israelites travel from the Desert of Sinai and come to rest in the Desert of Paran.
Moses tells his father-in-law Hobab,
“We are setting out for the place about which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you’. Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.” (Numbers 10: 29)
Hobab doesn’t want to go on…he wants to go home.
“But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes. If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things that the LORD gives us.” (Numbers 10: 31, 32)
Don’t you love that? Hobab was weary…he wanted to go back to his home…back to what was familiar…can you blame him? Moses declares the promises of God AND he tells Hobab of his value to their goal. Hobab was convinced and stayed…it must have felt nice to be needed as well…he had been built back up…strengthened and refreshed. Let us not be shy in declaring God’s Words to one another and reminding each other of our God given gifts.
“As the ark and the people set out Moses said,
“Rise up, O LORD!
May your enemies be scattered;
may your foes flee before you.”
Whenever it came to rest, he said,
“Return, O LORD,
to the countless thousands of Israel.”
Numbers 10: 35, 36
I have been limping this week…actually I have been limping for many weeks…I can’t even tell you the exact cause of my knee injury…what I do know is that extra “fluff” doesn’t help…familiar postions/habits don’t bring relaxation only discomfort…misalignment brings pain to other body parts. Today, I got so tired that all I could do was take a nap…I needed to rest my weary body. I don’t write this to whine or for sympathy…not at all…
to fall short
to walk lamely
to walk favoring one leg
to go unsteadily, falter
to proceed slowly or with difficulty
lacking firm texture, substance, structure
weary, exhausted, lacking in strength, vigor, firmness, spiritless
Could the Israelites be described as limping or as limp Israelites? God had brought them out of Egypt…they complained and grumbled…God’s anger burned against them…the people realized they had made a big mistake…they had fallen short…they were a bit shaky and they were weary. But a tender God rewrites His laws, instructs them in ways to approach a Holy God…He takes His time…He brings order where the people had been in chaos…on those days where the cloud settled…perhaps those were the days they were able to catch a nap. God wanted them to know that they could lean on Him…He would lead and guide them…He would be the Substance on which they could rebuild their lives.
I know…their grumbling and complaining isn’t over…in fact, I am sure that I will moan and groan the next time I take a misstep….but physically or spiritually I want to hobble over to the Lord and gets some healing…some realignment…some comfort…
Don’t forget…God has promised GOOD THINGS…even to those who tend to limp!
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