24.5 Moses 24, Day 5

Phinehas: Skewered Sinfulness Stops Fury

Our verses for today start at Number 25:6 but I believe you have to go back and include 25:5 to get the story of Phineas correct.

Moses called together THE JUDGES of Israel.  As you might recall, on the recommendation of his father-in-law, Moses had set up a hierarchy of governing men from the community.  From Exodus 18:21, 22 we learn that Moses was counseled to, “select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times.

These were the people that God, through Moses, commissioned to “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord.”  It was their job and their duty.  In the same way a judge in our courts may be commissioned to deliver a severe sentence to a convicted criminal or a police officer or soldier may be put in a position to use deadly force in the conduct of their duty.

But the judges did not go into this duty with a carefree attitude.  In Numbers 25:6 we read that this whole assembly (not just some of them but all of them) were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting.  They were crying because of the sin, but also because of the seriousness of the burden placed on them by the sin of the people.  They did not want to kill their brothers and cousins, fathers and sons.

When, in the middle of all of this, with 24,000 people dying, with the judges assembled in mourning and repentance, crying tears at the tent of meeting, along boldly strides Zimri with a Midianite women in tow, taking her brazenly into his tent in broad daylight to defile and reject God’s commandments.  Multiple witnesses, verdict delivered.

The fact that all of the judges did not rise up against this man is a testimony of how shocking the immoral act was given the situation.  But zealous Phineas, raised as the grandson of the High Priest and the son of the current High Priest stands up and delivers justice.

With that one bold act, the plague stopped.  It was not the death of Zimri that paid the price.  It was the dedication and conviction of Phinehas that restored God’s faith in His people.

We are not called to be executors of God’s wrath.  Yes, there is grave sin in our time committed by brazenly spiteful and wicked people.  Pick any abomination and there are not only people practicing it, but those who promote it.  But we are not ordained as judges tasked by God will carrying out His sentence on these people.  Phinehas was.  That is the difference.

In Matthew 7, Jesus taught, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

But that does not mean that we are not supposed to demonstrate zeal in the duties that have been commanded of us.  We just have different duties than Phinehas and the judges of Israel had (praise the Lord for that!).  We should be zealous in being holy.  We should be zealous in being nourished by the Word.  We should be zealous in obedience.  We should be zealous in parenting and teaching.  We should be zealous in generosity.  We should be zealous in the chastity and fidelity of our relationships.  We should be zealous in going and making disciples.  We should be zealous in ensuring others will “know we are disciples by our love.” (John 13:35)

We close our lesson with Balaam and the fact that he, a mortal man, was killed by the sword of the Israelites.  But he has a legacy.  His legacy is what not to do.  In every situation he is mentioned it is always a negative.  Despite delivering 7 fold blessings on the Israelites and coming face-to-face with the Angel of the Lord – there is nothing positive in his legacy, just what not to do.  How do you want to be remembered – for being zealous or for being greedy?  For being the one who God finds loyalty and bravery and the justification for ending the plague or as the one who brings on the anger of the Lord and plagues on people?

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
He did it in zealous obedience.  24,000 people were dying from sin and it was Phinehas’ job to follow the verdict given by the Lord.

b.
by staying obedient to Him and His word

11.
a.
taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin

b.
Killed by the sword by Israelites

12.
a.
He does not tolerate sin in His people

b.
To be holy – to not be lured into wickedness and evil.  To avoid temptation

24.3 Moses 24, Day 3

Oracles and Other Locales

I was listening to a David Jeremiah podcast on the story of Job.  One of the things he brought up was an interesting question, “Do you have a big God or a little God?”  There is only one true God and His size doesn’t change, but peoples’ believes about the size of God can vary.

Balak had a little god.  If God keeps you from doing something over here, just move over there, where He can’t hear you any more.

Little gods are petty.  You are always in trouble with a little god.  You are always needing to do something to appease a little god – like building 7 altars.  Little gods are expensive, they want what is yours.

Our God, the God is the Israelites, is not a little god, He is the Big God.  He is everywhere in every dimension: height, width, depth, time, state of matter, speed.  He created everything, not just the physical elements, but the very laws of nature and physics and chemistry and biology across the universe.  He was before there was time and He will be after the linear progression of earthly time has ended.  He is in control of all things, thoughts, words and deeds.

Balaam was praised by Balak because what he blessed was blessed and what he cursed was cursed.  But God’s word through Balaam turns this around.  In regard to God’s people, anyone who blesses them is blessed and anyone who curses them is cursed.

God is not a man that he should lie or a son of man that he should change his mind.  God is God.  God’s people are the righteous, who live apart.  They live in beauty, spread out in garden’s well watered by the spirit and the word.  They are powerful like a lion because they serve the all-powerful King.

So, how big is your God?  Do you try to control Him?  Do you try to put Him in a box?  Do you try to buy-Him-off with acts or bribes?  Do you think He needs your time or your money or your devotion, instead of recognizing the creator of everything already has rights to all things and you are delusional to think it is “yours” to begin with?  If you don’t like the answer from the bible do you seek out some watered down message somewhere else?

If so, open your eyes.  There is an Angel of the Lord standing in your path with sword drawn, because the path you are on leads to death and destruction, curses and damnation.

If you continue to believe in a little god, you are not believing in the Big God.  You will continue to augment your little god with other things, other “religions”, the occult, spiritualism, self-help, sorcery, divination, wishful thinking. You will continue to try to buy favors or to buy your way out of problems.  You will continue to live in fear, a terrified life, filled with dread.

A belief in the The Big God does not need augmentation.  God created everything.  Jesus made full atonement. The Spirit is pure holiness.

Maybe its a good time to upgrade the size of your God!

 

My Answers:

5.
1st
Brought to curse, how can I curse what God has not cursed – I see people who live apart, very numerous, they are righteous

2nd
God is not a man, won’t change his mind – no misfortune for Israel, God is with them, like a lion

3rd
Beautiful tents, spread out like gardens well watered, God brought them, like a lion – those who bless you blessed, curse you..

4th
future – star will rise out of Israel, scepter, Moab, Sheth, Edom destroyed

5th, 6th, 7th
Amalek, Kenites, Ashur, Eber, all people destroyed

6.
a.
He believed God was constrained by physical space, going to a new location might change things.  He didn’t like the first response

b.
Sometimes it is to get confirmation of counsel and direction, but more commonly it is because I didn’t like what I heard.

7.
He knew the Lord, but still had repeatedly chosen to consort with demons

 

 

20.2 Moses 20, Day 2

What did they expect?

The people of Israel come to the border line of the Promised Land.  12 “spies” are selected and sent in.  They come out and give a report of what they observed.

First:

Just like the Israelites, God gives us lines in our lives.  Taking your first step as an infant.  Speaking your first word.  Your first day of school.  Graduation.  Wedding.  New job.  Birth of a child.  The journey of our life is filled with not only the day-to-day but also with stages that we cross between.  If we walk with God and trust in Him, He guides us through the stages, going before us to pave the path.  There will be challenges, trials and tests to teach and help us grow stronger, but it is a forward journey.  Some we pass through on our own.  Some with family, class or groups.  But crossing each line into the next stage is also a choice.

The Israelites faced a breakthrough moment.  One they had been looking forward to for 431 years.  God, through Moses and Aaron has been preparing them and brings them right up to the line to cross, to breakthrough, and they choose to put on the brakes.  The look in the rear view mirror.  They reject what God has prepared and, in so doing, they reject God.  Their insistence on clinging to a fear and slavery mindset locks them out of being able to breakthrough to what they can become.  It is not God that keeps them out of the Promised Land, it is themselves.

Second:

What the heck were they expecting?  It is the Promised Land, capital P, big deal, promise from God Land.  It is going to be amazing.  Nothing but the best for God’s chosen people.  Fruit, fully grown trees, fertile land.  There were walled and fortified cities.  There were giants.

Of course there are going to be fortified cities.  Did they think God wanted them to live exposed in tents the rest of their lives?  He even gave rules about the jubilee years and how they applied to “walled cities”, of course there are going to be walled cities.

And, since the garden of Eden, crops and plants and livestock don’t just take care of themselves.  If you’ve got clusters of grapes so big that it takes 2 people just to carry a single cluster, you aren’t going to have wimpy little scrawny care-takers preparing the land and the harvest.  Of course there are going to be giants.  Beside that, in a time when the powerful took what they wanted, wouldn’t giants want the best.  Frankly, if the giants were living somewhere else, then that place would have been a better place than the promised land.

Both of these things go hand in hand.  When our focus is in the rear view mirror, when we refuse to let go of who we were in the past, then we are unable to look forward, we stop thinking and start reacting, we become an emotional uncoupled train wreck instead of a powerful train car coupled to God’s locomotive.  With fear instead of God as our motivation, we uncouple ourselves from the locomotive and just become loco.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
“Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”

b.
God said, good to understand their enemies, motivating to people to hear that the land possessed all that God promised

c.
Explore and report on the people, land, towns soil and trees and fruit

d.
God has given the goal to me already.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.

4.
a.
The land was fruitful and populated.  The cities were old and established.  Everything was built and in place for the Israelites to take possession of a great land.

b.
40 days

c.
They were the Nephilim (Angels had mated with human women) – they were defeated by Caleb who was given their land

 

19.4 Moses 19, Day 4

Complaining springs from ingratitude

Part of our aim for this week is that complaining springs from ingratitude.  I love the imagery of the spring in that line and we see it in today’s lesson.

Miriam and Aaron have gotten themselves all wound around the axle about Moses’ new wife.  We don’t have a lot of information here.  We don’t know if something happened to his first wife.  We don’t know if there was some other tension or jealousy.  We don’t know if it had anything to do with race or nationality.  We just don’t know and I don’t think it wise to try to fill in the blanks.

What we do know is that “because of his Cushite wife” Miriam and Aaron “began to talk against Moses.”

What is interesting in the imagery of the spring is that, while they were wound up about his wife, that is not what popped out.  They way they sprung up against Moses was by attacking his relationship and standing with God.  The words punched at his relationship as being nothing unique or different.  “has the Lord spoken only through Moses?”, “Hasn’t He also spoke through us?”

There are times in our lives where we, too, can get “all wound up” about something.  Just like that spring, the issue coils around our heart, storing up all this negative energy.  When we release it, it springs out, uncontrolled and normally not in a matter that has anything to do with what the real issue is, but just a way to inflict harm to the other person.

But, not only is that not a healthy approach, but it is also not the biblical approach.  God recognizes we are human.  He recognizes there will be disagreements among us.  Have you noticed all the laws and guidelines He has been putting in place to address these disagreements and disputes?  Have you noticed the 70+ elders he has put in place to help the people in these areas and how he equipped them with His spirit?  God does not paint some make-believe land where everyone just gets along.  God knows we are going to get wound up from time to time especially about family and especially about leaders and especially about family who are leaders and believers.  We hold them to a higher standard and, well, sometimes we see things in them that we consider to be unaddressed faults.

But the biblical approach is not to become a spring.  Instead, we are called to unwind the concern with a fellow family member to the brother in the presence of God.  We are to release the energy, not attack with it, and get to the core of the situations.  We are to trust God and hold to His words, but also to model His mercy and grace.

What are you wound up about?  When have you felt the negative energy stored up in your heart?  Who or what have you sprung out against, especially in a way that is totally unrelated to the core issue?  What fellow christian can you join with to unwind the energy and address the issue with your brother and with God?

Start with a focus on gratitude to God.  Start with the words, “thank you, Lord” and then keep saying it as you let the negativity unwind.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Moses’ sister, watched over him in the nile, approached pharoah’s daughter, lived as a slave in Egypt, was a prophetess, leader, singer of songs
b.
He married a Cushite woman.  We don’t know enough to draw conclusions (what happened to 1st wife)  other than the fact that God, who knew her heart, was displeased and the wording in the bible implies jealousy and lack of humility

9.
a.
He didn’t respond, at least not directly.  He likely talked with God about it (history of doing that)

b.
grow sad, frustrated, humiliated, angry.

 

19.3 Moses 19, Day 3

Joining the Rabble = Rejecting God

 There is always the rabble.  No matter the setting, it seems like when you get a group of people together, there are always some who choose to be unhappy, discontent.  No matter the blessings all around them, they find something to complain about.

If you are one of those people – stop it.  It is not constructive criticism if you are not picking up your tools and helping construct something better – it is just criticism.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  “No corrupting talk”, “building up”, “give grace.”

If you are around “the rabble”, do not fall in with them.  As Christians, we know we are on God’s team.  We love Him and honor Him, but we also hear the voices of the complainers.  Not only in our private lives or at work, but even at church.  But this passage tells us God’s view of us when we turn our attention to the rabble.  From His perspective, we aren’t just casually listening to them, instead, we have turned out back on Him.  By joining with them, even if only in listening and allowing our heart and minds to be stirred, we reject God.

Our passage also clearly points out that we don’t have to live our life in denial.  Sometimes things are hard.  Sometimes our burdens are great.  Sometimes things are not going at all like we want or need them to go.  We get frustrated.  We get annoyed.  We get overwhelmed.

But, when that happens, just like it did to Moses, we are called to do what Moses did and turn it over to God.  The difference is in this question, “Do you want to enjoy wallowing in the complaining or do you want to solve it?”  If you want to solve it, turn to God – He has the power to solve anything and everything.  If you want to just enjoy having a pity party – well – that is not your best idea!

The people lashed out against each other, against God, against Moses.  Ping, ping, ping, drip, drip, drip.  Just like a continual dripping on a rainy day.  Each comment added to the annoyance, but resolved nothing.  But Moses didn’t drip.  He unwound all his issues at God’s feet.  He didn’t lack for drama (just kill me), but god didn’t chastise him.  The difference is that when Moses unwound it all to God, he was done and trusted in God for a solution.

God showed He had the power to provide.  He provided 70+2 elders empowered with His Spirit to help Moses.  He provided quail 3 feet deep.  He had the power to provide.  But, there is also a lesson here as well.  When our heart and words are focused purely on ourselves and not God, God may give us what we think we want, but it is not going to bring us peace and fulfillment – it brings plagues and death and un-fulfillment instead.

My wife had a good perspective on this.  She said, I wonder if, before they left Egypt, God and Moses had sat the Israelites down and had a talk with them and said, “We’re going to take you out of slavery and bondage and into the promised land flowing with milk and honey.  You’ll defeat pharoah’s armies, you’ll have riches of gold and jewels, food will be provided each day that tastes like honey, nations will fear you, and God will dwell among you, but, for a period of time, you won’t have fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions or garlic.”  Just how many people do you think would have stood up and said, “hold on, that’s a deal breaker – just leave me here in slavery.”?

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic

b.
slavery, hardship

6.
a.
He was troubled – overwhelmed

b.
It is what he was honestly feeling and he took it to God.  A bit dramatic, but, yes, the people were a burden.

c.
Shared the burden with 70+2 = 72 = 12 x 6 elders equipped with His spirit.  (note: 72 is the same number Jesus appointed to be sent out in Luke 10:1)

d.
Through others and by showing He is present and faithful and has a plan

7.
a.
They had rejected Him

b.
Brought a plague on them

19.2 Moses 19, Day 2

Be

Hardships are real.  But in the same way that cataracts can cloud our vision to the point of blindness, hardships can cloud of perspective of God’s purpose for our lives.

I’ve been in situations where people treated hardships as a competition.  This will sound horrible, but I was in a bible study where people were sharing some of their struggles so the group could pray for them.  One man opened up that he had lost his wife to cancer 2 years prior and had just found out that his daughter had leukemia.  The next person started their comments with “well, I can’t beat that.”

There is nothing wrong with facing our hardships and confronting them, but they are situations, not what defines us.  We should name them, not as badges of honor, but as things to be turned over to God for prayer and support.

The challenge is that we, all too often, look to outside influences to make us something.  To make us happy.  To make us content.  To make us fulfilled.  But outside influences whether given (money, food, clothing) or taken away (fear, pain, hardship) do not “make us.”  Case in point, their are incredibly wealthy people, who lack financial security.  There are very well fed individuals, who crave certain foods.

The point is that the only way to “be” something else is from the inside out, not the outside in. Nothing pushing on the outside of a balloon is going to fill it up.  Ful-fill-ment starts on the inside.  That is where God comes in, by, literally coming in to your life.  God is not an influence, He is a “be”ing.  He says, you will “be” my people and I will “be” your God.  He fills us with the Love of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He writes His name on us and claims us as His home, a place to fill with Himself.

When your focus turns to struggles, worries and hardships, as the song says, turn your eyes upon Jesus.  In so doing you can “be” delighted in your inheritance, “be” patient and not fret, “be” still, and most rewardingly, you can “be” content.  Content is an interesting word.  The origin of the word is the past participle of the Latin word continere, meaning: to contain.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
grumbling

b.
fire burned among them and consumed the edges of the camp, that is how He chose to reveal His wrath so they could see what they truly deserved.

4.
a.
Cried to Moses

b.
grumble, worry, pray

c.
16:6 – boundary lines, delightful inheritance
37:7 wait patiently, do not fret about others
4:11-12 be content

18.5 Moses 18, Day 5

Multi-Sensory Experience

I was struck in our lesson today about how God connects with us not only on every level but through all of our senses.  The sight of the cloud by day and fire by night.  The smell of the burnt offerings and incense.  The feel of hands upon the scape goat.  The sound of the trumpet.  The taste of the unleaven bread and roasted lamb of passover.

It reminded me of a Sunday school lesson on Daniel in the Lion’s den from Daniel 6.  After the angel closes the mouths of the lions and Daniel survives his night locked in their den, King Darius issues a decree recorded in Daniel 6:26, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.””

Our God is alive.  He is not some talisman or good luck charm.  He is not a rock we rub for good luck or a piece of wood we wave about.  He is not your lucky pair of gym shorts (although those may be alive in a different, gross way).  God is living.  He hears, He smells, He gives, He looks, He wept, He is jealous, He created, He has a mighty hand, He breathes, He speaks and He loves.  (some related verses from the bible)

God’s wants to connect with us in every way, not only in every sense (literally), but even ultra-sensory.  He wants to dwell within us, to wash us clean of our sin and to tend to and grow the garden of our heart.  He wants to continue doing this.  With special days of celebration.  With sabbath days and years of peace and rest. But also in every moment.  Accepting God isn’t an event that is done and complete.  It is more like a wedding or even more so, a birth.  It is the start of a whole new life in every way, shape and form.

What dead charms do you put trust in instead of God?  How are you approaching the living God?  Are you doing it with a repentant and humble heart or with pride in the good works you’ve accomplished?  Do you seek a real relationship with Him?

My Answers:

11.
a.
1 year (it was the beginning of the second year, passover occurs on the 14th day of the new year, or at least it did at that time until the Jewish new year was changed after the time of Jesus when the temple was destroyed).

b.
It was a commandment of God.  It was a commemoration of a critical event.  It only happened once a year.  It was defining.

c.
Sometimes get distracted but ask God to continue to show that He is present in the worship

12.
a.
the cloud covered it when the tabernacle was set up and looked like fire at night, whenever it lifted they set out til stopped

b.
2 trumpets, all called to order, 1 only heads of clans, when blast east tribes set out, when 2nd blast south side, sons of A blow

c.
with sight and sound, by what I see and hear

18.4 Moses 18, Day 4

Missed Blessings

My mom relayed a conversation she had with the pastor at her church.  She was talking with him about attendance at church service.  She wanted him to know that there were some days that she just didn’t feel up to making it to church.  It wasn’t because she didn’t like the music or the liturgy of the service.  It wasn’t anything against his sermons.  It wasn’t because she was behind on tithing. To use her term, “some days I’m just old.”  I thought his words back to her were very wise and thoughtful.  He told her that if she could make it at all, come for the last 2 minutes of the service and if she couldn’t make that to call him.  The final part of the service is a benediction.  Most of the time, it is the exact same words that God told Moses to tell Aaron to say.  The pastor explained to her that this was a special blessing for her.  While it was said to everyone in attendance, it was an individual blessing, something special and specific for each individual.  If she wasn’t there to receive the blessing, she would miss out on it.  If she simply couldn’t physically be there, then she should call him and he could give her her blessing.

When we recite the blessing in Number 6:24-26 we forget verse 27. “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

These weren’t just words or good wishes.  While it is a “good word” or benediction, it is more than that.  God told Moses to tell Aaron to “put my name on the people”.  God didn’t say and I might bless them, He said “and I will bless them.”

Aaron didn’t originate the blessing.  Moses didn’t originate the blessing.  God originated the blessing.  But, like in many other things, He allowed the priests, who were brothers to the community, to participate.

When we think about church attendance we tend to focus on the sermon or prayers or communion or songs.  All of those are great and help us pour our heart out to God.  But the blessing – that is something special, a gift from God given through the minister, specifically for you.

What blessings are you missing out on because you aren’t showing up?  When you receive a blessing are you grabbing on to it and pasting it into your heart?  Do you accept the gift? Do you bow your head or raise your hand and receive His name being written on to you? Do you desire His radiance, His grace, His peace, His blessing?

My Answers:

8.
When parting friends, blessing to children

9.
It is for God’s glory not my own.  Give the required tithe plus more. – Tribe of Judah gave first 4th in line, Reuben, Simeon, Levi… But also the lineage of Jesus.

10.
a.
Given wholly to God who took them in place of the firstborn Israelites.  Given as a gift to Aaron and his sons to do the work

b.
1. God can do what He wants (He is God), 2. From the passover every firstborn belongs to God, set apart.  The Levites were taken in their place

c.
25-50

 

18.3 Moses 18, Day 3

Stopping things that spread and Letting go to gain more

What do skin disease, wronging another, and jealous husbands all have in common?  They are all things that if not properly addressed can grow and spread and cause hurts that cannot be healed.

Take the requirement of restitution.  We all grew up with the understanding that if you take something without permission you have to return it.  But, we also know, that is insufficient.  The item is returned or the cost of it is provided but there is still pain and hardship.  Paying to fix someone’s car you wrecked is required but insufficient.  They have to get estimates, be without a vehicle, etc.  The Hebrews were given the +20% rule.  Fix the car + 20% more of the cost.  Buy the new sweater that you borrowed and got a hole in, plus a new scarf.  Because, if you don’t, there is still resentment.  The person wronged doesn’t feel whole.  The relationship suffers, the parties suffer, the hurt spreads.

Jealousy.  If a spouse believes the other is unfaithful, no level of discussion alone is going to bridge that gap.  If one party thinks the other capable of lying and deceit, they aren’t simply going to believe reassurances.  And, in a relationship between a man and women, the physically stronger man can cause far more than mental anguish.  Instead, the matter is taken out of the hands of the husband and given to God and the priests.

Immediately after the conditions to deal with these areas of division, the Nazirite vow is discussed.  In the Nazirite vow, certain things were set aside as they dedicated themselves to the Lord.  Grapes, wine, haircuts.  Clearly these are not significant material things that cause someone to sin, but they are symbolic, while still being tangible and visible.

Think about it this way.  Have you ever been frozen in fear?  It may have been on a ladder or the high-dive at the swimming pool.  It may have been standing on a ledge of a ropes-course.  You know it is unrational.  You know you just need to move forward, but your body won’t take that step.  You grasp ahold of something, anything.  Don’t misunderstand.  I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “leap of faith” with God.  God never expects us to just “hope” He is there.  He gives us so many assurances.  He lights our path.  He carries our load.  But we can still get stuck in fear.  When we do, the answer isn’t to force ourselves to move forward, to make the “leap”. Instead, it is to the answer is to first begin to let go.  When a person took the Nazirite vow, they let go of little things, wine, personal grooming.  In doing so they trusted in God.  By releasing their white knuckle grasp on something insignificant, they opened their hand for God to take them by the hand.  By dedicating themselves to Him for a time they entered a period of little releases while standing firmly on His foundation.

The whole Nazirite thing can seem silly to our modern ways of thinking, but it actually is a great lesson.  It is like fasting.  Denying yourself food for a period doesn’t make you stronger.  Physically, it would make you weaker.  But letting go of eating solid food for a 24 hour period of time as a vow of dedication to God for that period pays huge dividends.  By letting go of little things,  you participate in the vow.  By honoring your separation, you honor your dedication to God and honor God Himself.  You are not going to starve in 24 hours.  This is truly insignificant physically, but spiritually it opens your hand to allow God to place it on the next rung of the ladder.

If you don’t believe you are frozen in place, let me ask you a question that challenge me this week.  What can you name in your life that you completely and fully rely upon God to provide?  No contingency plan.  No backup strategy.  Start by naming one material, significant thing.  If you can name one, great, what else?  As Christians, shouldn’t we all be fully trusting and relying on God for, if not all, the vast majority of the important things in our lives?  But we grasp ahold and try to hold onto little things like control and self-sufficiency while mentally understanding that both of those are really just illusions.  Maybe it is time to renew a vow of dedication.

My Answers:

6.
a.
1-4: Send away from the camp all who had a defiling skin disease
5-10: Make full restitution for wrong
11-31: Take wife who is suspected of unfaithfulness to the priest

b.
2 Million people, while they followed God, they also had issues and grievances that could have torn them apart.  God provided a fair way to address these issues

c.
“Justice” was not put in the hands of a jealous husband.  The test was put to God through the priest.

7.
a.
A vow of dedication and separation – a full and deep devotion.  Samson, JTB

b.
prayer and fasting