Will we ever learn? (3)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV  

Since the fall of man, God has made many ways to try to bridge the gap sin caused between us. But man screws it up every single time. Nothing separates us from God loving us; but unrepented sin keeps from being able to enter His presence and hinders a relationship with God. As always, let us pray for understanding.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today (written out below) we read Numbers 18-20. Three short chapters. Chapters 18 and 19 are more laws and offerings – this time about the purity of the priests. God sees that impurity has crept in and threatens His means to meet with His people. God extends grace to maintain His relationship with them.

We live in perilous times.  We read about it on Facebook and other social media platforms. But the truth is, we are all staying in more than ever before even though the government is opening things back up. Who wants to wear a mask, and go through the extra efforts when we can sit on our comfortable sofas and watch the world from our laptops or computers?  Yes, we see through this lens which was created by someone else and we do not know their purpose or agenda – we just trust it because we are comfortable. None of this has hindered my coffee supply.

I am not saying some haven’t been effected, I personally knew a few people who died of the pandemic. I know of quite a few who lost their jobs and live on unemployment, I myself am job hunting and trying to get on unemployment.  I am not invalidating anyone’s struggles. What I am saying is – I still have coffee, internet, a comfy sofa and the world trying to keep me on my sofa comfy and falling asleep spiritually.

While the information streaming in says it is bad, it isn’t said with alarms and alerts – it is said with calm and comfort and reassurance that if we just stay asleep on our sofas, it will be ok.  Is it just me? They do not want me out there preaching? Don’t they know God can use a blog?

My point is that God sees us asleep and separated from Him.  Just like impurity slipped into the priestly order in today’s reading.

Ok – so, many you aren’t asleep. Good I am glad, I am not asleep either, but I am part of a body which multiple members are asleep! God help us!
Have you ever had your foot fall asleep?? It is time for us to wake up and run but how can we run if our feet are asleep?!

Lord, please create in me a clean heart and a clean body and a clean overall bill of health. And by “me” I mean the whole body of Christ – clean your church oh God! Clean us Lord!!! Rise up and scatter your enemies and give us grace to wake up, clean up and show up for you!! Forgive us for letting the world lull us to sleep! Help us forgive others, so we may be clean!!! Please create in us a clean heart! Create a clean heart, Oh God!!! In the name of Jesus – Amen

I should speak also of chapter 20 – Moses disrespects God (and like the Israelites) he also disqualifies himself and Aaron from the promise land.  Moses and his siblings are getting up in years and his sister passes away. The Israelites complain again and wish they had died in Egypt since they no longer qualified for the promise land, right on the heels of Moses’ and Aaron’s grief. Then Moses, which Aaron’s participation, commits two sins.

Moses was told to speak to a rock to provide water, in his frustration he disobeys God and strikes it with a stick. Water still comes out but he was disobedient. Moses’ first sin was disobedience. It is what it is – although I don’t think the disobedience was intentional (and I do not think any Bible scholar thinks it was an intentional disobedience).  It is pretty clear that Moses was frustrated. And anyone who has ever been in a leadership position understands frustration like this.

Speaking of frustration – Do you remember in Acts 16:16-24 there was a slave girl following Paul around continually crying out “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved”. This was hindering their mission more than helping it and was extremely frustrated. Some scholars says Paul waited for the right moment and listened to God as to when He was to cast out the spirit but I will disagree. Paul did it in frustration and therefore NOT in obedience or in God’s timing.  Yes, it worked, water also came from the rock which Moses hit – but it wasn’t God’s way.  Because of Paul’s frustrated act of casting out the demon – He had to leave and not finish his work there. I should also point out that he cast it out in the name of God and giving God the glory as is proper.

Speaking of frustration – I once, in spirit, got up and started swinging my sword around during a prayer meeting because I was frustrated and my flesh wanted to demonic nonsense to stop. It worked its purpose and I gave God all the glory, but immediately God convicted me of my lack of love, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, etc. (because there are people involved and we do not battle them).  A friend came to me after saying it was great to feel the power of the Lord…. I interrupted to apologize for my poor example.  I was wrong. I was disobedient. I was out of order. The power of the Lord still came through. 

There were consequences of Moses, Aaron, Paul and myself acting out of frustration instead of acting in the LOVE of god – as GOD IS LOVE.

But in Chapter 20 of Numbers, Moses disqualifies from going into the promise land, all of Israel is not permitted to walk through Edom (which would have been a shorter and safer route) and Aaron is told to climb a mountain, give his clothes to his son and die. These are pretty strong consequences for being frustrated. Maybe.

The second and much more egregious sin that Moses did when he struck the rock for water, was to take glory away from God! Oh! That is why He lost the promise land!  He says He and God brought forth the water instead of giving ALL the glory and credit to God. This is a lesson worth sitting up and noticing.

We, humans, are created for one main purpose and a bunch of other smaller and more individualized purposes. The one we all share – all the way back to Adam – we are created to glorify God!
In all grace and mercy, Moses is permitted to live and bring God’s people the rest of the way. In all grace and mercy, Aaron is able to pass away after being able to pass on the mantle.  In all grace and mercy, the Israelites do not die of dehydration, but get water and then a more difficult stroll through the wilderness because they could not go through Edom.
Maybe they should stop complaining already and start understanding grace.  We are capable of experiencing grace without understanding – But, please Lord, forbid it for those reading this – Let us understand our experiences with grace so that we may bring more glory to you!!! – Amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: 2 Peter 1:3

NKJV – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
NAS – “for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
ESV – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
NLT – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
NIV – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Numbers 18-20 NKJV

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the [a]iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood. Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of [b]witness. They shall attend to your [c]needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die—they and you also. They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you. And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the Lord, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

Offerings for Support of the Priests

And the Lord spoke to Aaron: “Here, I Myself have also given you [d]charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever. This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons. 10 In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

11 “This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is [e]clean in your house may eat it.

12 “All the [f]best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord, I have given them to you. 13 Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

14 “Every [g]devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the Lord. 18 And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave[h] breast and the right thigh are yours.

19 “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord with you and your descendants with you.”

20 Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.

Tithes for Support of the Levites

21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as [i]an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. 22 Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. 23 But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites [j]as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’ ”

The Tithe of the Levites

25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the Lord, a tenth of the tithe. 27 And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress. 28 Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the Lord from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the Lord’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest. 29 Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the Lord, from all the [k]best of them, the consecrated part of them.’ 30 Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress. 31 You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your [l]reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting. 32 And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.’ ”

Laws of Purification

19 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the [m]ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without [n]blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him; and Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening. And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening. Then a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of [o]purification; it is for purifying from sin. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. It shall be a statute forever to the children of Israel and to the stranger who dwells among them.

11 ‘He who touches the dead [p]body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13 Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him.

14 ‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days; 15 and every open vessel, which has no cover fastened on it, is unclean. 16 Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

17 ‘And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and [q]running water shall be put on them in a vessel. 18 A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water; and at evening he shall be clean.

20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. 21 It shall be a perpetual statute for them. He who sprinkles the water of purification shall wash his clothes; and he who touches the water of purification shall be unclean until evening. 22 Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.’ ”

Moses’ Error at Kadesh

20 Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there.

Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron. And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they [r]fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13 This was the water of [s]Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them.

Passage Through Edom Refused

14 Now Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. “Thus says your brother Israel: ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us, 15 how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians [t]afflicted us and our fathers. 16 When we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt; now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King’s Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.’ ”

18 Then Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.”

19 So the children of Israel said to him, “We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.

20 Then he said, “You shall not pass through.” So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

Death of Aaron

22 Now the children of Israel, the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 “Aaron shall [u]be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there.” 27 So Moses did just as the Lord commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 Now when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 18:1 guilt
  2. Numbers 18:2 testimony
  3. Numbers 18:3 service
  4. Numbers 18:8 custody
  5. Numbers 18:11 purified
  6. Numbers 18:12 Lit. fat
  7. Numbers 18:14 consecrated
  8. Numbers 18:18 breast of the wave offering
  9. Numbers 18:21 a possession
  10. Numbers 18:24 for a possession
  11. Numbers 18:29 Lit. fat
  12. Numbers 18:31 wages
  13. Numbers 19:2 statute
  14. Numbers 19:2 defect
  15. Numbers 19:9 Lit. impurity
  16. Numbers 19:11 Lit. soul of man
  17. Numbers 19:17 Lit. living
  18. Numbers 20:6 prostrated themselves
  19. Numbers 20:13 Lit. Contention
  20. Numbers 20:15 did evil to
  21. Numbers 20:24 Die and join his ancestors

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