21.5 Moses 21, Day 5

God is a God of Life

The people had rebelled.  The people would continue to rebel.  Sin would go on and on and on.  Rejection of God would continue.  Offenses connected with the sanctuary and priesthood were going to continue.

There was no delusion that any of this was in the past.  But God also wanted to clearly communicate to His people.  But how?  He could have continued plagues.  He could have continued labor, signs, slavery, punishment.

But, instead, He chose life.  He had each tribe submit a staff, a rod, a dead piece of wood used as a walking stick.  Names were written on them, they were not manipulated, no hocus pocus.  Simply placed together in the same room at the same time.

But Aaron’s staff came to life.  One night it lay dead, then, overnight not only did it grow and bud, but it actually blossomed and produced fruit, nuts, almonds.

How beautiful this must have been and how fitting.  The same almond blossoms that the Lord had them use as the shape for the candlesticks in the tabernacle now sprout from the rod of the high priest.  The vessel to hold the light to come.

My Answers:

10.
a.
Sponsored an event: budded his rod and caused almonds to grow from it

b.
Jesus is the great high priest on the order of Aaron and Melchizedek

11.
a.
offenses connected w/ sanctuary & priesthood, the care of  sanctuary & altar, only serve as priests at altar and inside curtain

b.
From the offerings and tithes

c.
It was temporary, ceremonial – didn’t actually get them clean.  Also: That they had a red heifer without defect never under a yoke, that they had cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool, ashes used for ceremonial cleansing with water for purification from sin

21.4 Moses 21, Day 4

Grumbling

I want to talk about the word that the NIV Bible translates as “grumbled”.  I’m not saying this is the wrong word, but I think there is merit into looking deeper.

The dictionary defines grumble as, “to utter (complaints) in a nagging or discontented way, or, to make low dull rumbling sounds.”  It is more growl than bark, more nag than confront.

Let’s look at it in Numbers 16:41, “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.”  The word grumbled is a translation of the Hebrew word luwn (Strong H3885).  Depending on the tense of the word, luwn can have a number of different meanings and in Hebrew there are 7 different tenses so, the meanings can be quite varied.  They can range from “to lodge, abide, dwell, pass the night” to “complain, murmur, grumble.”  In the tense used in this verse, the word is translated as, “to show oneself to be obstinate, to be stubborn.”

Obstinate, by definition, means: “stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.”

Isn’t that at the heart of what is really going on?  Despite seeing the ground open up the day before.  After seeing 250 charred to a crisp.  They very next day they still stubbornly refuse to change course.

This is their chosen course, a path of rebellion, a path of wandering, a path of death.  God wanted them in the Promised Land, eating milk and honey, but they chose and continue to choose another path.  They have decided to lodge, abide, dwell in the land of grasshoppers, when God wants them to become giants.

Where are you obstinate in your life?  What mentality about who you are, where you come from, what you deserve, do you refuse to let go of?  Where have you pitched your tent?

Grumbling doesn’t sound so bad, it is just a low murmuring, but it has its roots deep down in our heart and our head where we refuse to change course, despite attempts by others who love and care for us to persuade us to open our eyes and quit being stubborn fools.

There is only one who fully paid the price of atonement.  We are foreigners in this land, spiritual beings wrapped in an earthly shell.  God is calling us to be giants – don’t be a grasshopper, don’t be stubborn, don’t be obstinate.  Choose – do you want to be on the side of the camp dead from plague or the side saved through the atoning act of the High Priest?

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
opened up the ground and swallowed them up (All those associated with Korah) 250 men consumed by fire

b.
He knew God

c.
To cause me not to sin and be jealous, but to be strong and faithful to Him and to trust in Him alone

8.
a.
collected, hammered out flat, overlay on the altar

b.
grumbled

c.
Been faithful, prayed, trusted God, repented of their own sin

9.
a.
God is always on the side of the righteous, those whose battle position is on their knees

b.
Took his censer, put incense in it and burning coals from the altar, made atonement for the assembly running in midst

c.
He has made atonement for us, He sits at the right hand of God as our eternal priest

 

21.3 Moses 21, Day 3

The South’s Gonna Rise Again

Did anyone else notice that these people leading the revolt are all from the tribes on the south side of the tabernacle?  A little rebel yell?

According to Numbers 4, the Kohathites (Levites through the lineage of Kohath) were the moving men.  When it was time to move, Aaron and his sons prepped the pieces of the tabernacle, covering them in blue cloth and leather, “then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.” (Numbers 4: 15)

Korah was the cousin of Moses and Aaron.  Dathan and Abiram were Reubenites, the first born of Israel, the first in the census, but now having slipped to 4th in line when the camp moves, behind the camps at the east by the entrance to the tabernacle.

Now, they aren’t going into the promised land, at least not any time soon.  They are so close to the holy articles of the camp, but can’t touch them.  More work, more hard labor, more moving about, no individual glory, no recognition.

With all the tensions in the camp, it probably didn’t take much to brew discontent.  Just a little misdirected leadership, someone with a bold voice and big ego and lots of others would fall right in to the crowd.

I love Moses’ response, time and again.  When individuals rise up from within, Moses falls face down.  Numbers 16:4, “When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.”, Numbers 16:22 “Moses and Aaron fell facedown.”  In these cases, I’m not sure if this was their battle position or if they were simply ducking to get out of the way of what they knew the Lord was going to bring.

Where in your life are you “standing up for yourself”, when you rightfully should be going down on your face in front of God?  What battles are you fighting, claiming God is behind you, when the right place to be is behind God?

God makes His point in a clear and unquestionable way.  The earth literally opens up and swallows the leaders of the rebellion.  Their tents, possessions, family, all gone.  Their followers are consumed by fire from the Lord, leaving only charred remains and bronze censers.

I think the question over sides should have been resolved.

 

My Answers:

4.
a.
“You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourself above the Lord’s assembly?”

b.
Build a coalition – but, also, not much, because the people were so prone to sin, i.e., more work to keep them in line than slip

c.
Yes, in past jobs

5.
a.
K:jealous, bold, organizer, rable rouser, he was a “community organizer”
D&A: Followers – sons of the first born
M: Fighting position – face down in from of the Lord

b.
I can become frustrated over “grunt jobs”.  I can allow myself to get swept up in the complaints of others.  I also know the right place is on my knees in front of God.

6.
a.
God – 16:11

b.
4. fell face down, 8-11 Chastised: isn’t it enough…? It is against the Lord, 12-15 Summoned, Got Angry, 21-22 Interceded: will you be angry against the entire assembly when only one man sins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The title of this post is a bad reference to a 35 year old movie about the bombing of Pearl Harbor – Tora! Tora! Tora!)

 

 

21.2 Moses 21, Day 2

At the center and at the fringes of my life

God cares.  When we find ourselves in time of need, we find great comfort in that attribute of God.  We know He is paying attention, He is a God of order and details.

But at other times we like to lie to ourselves and believe that “God won’t care.”  When we purposefully take the path of sin, that is what we are saying.  When we lie, cheat, or steal we deceive ourselves into believing no one is watching while knowing that God sees and knows all.  When we push the edges, convincing ourselves it is just little sin, we defile ourselves, something God has chosen as set apart for Him.

Let’s take the example in our lesson today.  While the Hebrews were in the wilderness a man was caught collecting firewood on the Sabbath.  He was taken outside of the camp and stoned.

We look at that and see a harsh penalty for what we may consider a small infraction, a misdemeanor.  But instead of focusing on what the hands were doing let’s look at, to the best of our abilities, the heart of this man.

1. Did he know he wasn’t supposed to work on the Sabbath? Well, we have record that he was told in Exodus 16:23, 16:25, 16:26, 16:29, 20:8, 20:10, 20:11, 31:13, 31:14, 31:15, 31:16, 35:2.

2. Did he know why? In the above verses: a day of sabbath rest holy to the Lord, These are the things the Lord has commanded, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord, This is a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

3. Did he know the penalty? Ex 31:14 Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death, Exodus 35:2 Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.

4. Maybe he was an exception?  Ex 20:10 neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.

5. Maybe he really needed firewood?  Ex 35:3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.

 

I don’t think there is any way to view this “misdemeanor” as anything other than a total act of defiance and rebellion against God.  A willful, premeditated, direct assault on God by attacking something God had designated as holy.  He was living with his tribe in a community of family.  He was being provided food daily and God dwelled in the community.   He wasn’t just saying that he hoped God wouldn’t care – he was saying the he didn’t care about God.  Every need was being provided for him by God and he openly and publicly rejected God.

Instead of seeing this story and being concerned in our own life that if we “step out of line, God will whack us”, we need to see the deeper story.  If we knowingly and purposefully reject God and defile His holy things, God cares enough that He will give us exactly what we are asking for – eternal separation from Him.

God wants to be in every part of your and my lives.  He wants to be in the Holy days and in the every day.  He wants to be in your heart and in the work of your hands.  He wants to be not only at the center of your life but at the very edges.

We see these visual reminders.  When God grew angry with the defiance of the Israelites, the fire burned at the outskirts.  When the man was to be stoned, it didn’t happen inside the camp, he was taken completely outside, not to the edge, but outside.  The tassles the Israelites were to wear were strong visual reminders.

Sin and temptation seldom strikes at the core of our love for God, at our heart and soul.  Instead it starts at the fringes, the edges.  God says, I’m there too.  God says, I care about those parts of your life, too.  Be holy.

My Answers:

3.
a.
2. After you enter the land I am giving you as a home. 18. When you enter the land to which I am taking you

b.
A man found gathering wood on the Sabbath day, it was purposeful and in direct opposition to God’s commands and laws

c.
To help themselves remember and obey God’s commands, so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes

d.
God instructs me to have him present at the center and at all the edges of my life so that I remember Him in all