Numbers 15-20

There’s one thing for certain: by the end of the year I will actually get this posting on weekends thing down.  Hopefully, you’re rounding the corner toward the last straight-away in Numbers.  I hope that you’re finding the last part of this book enriching and fulfilling.  Truthfully, I had forgotten how much narrative there was at the end of Numbers.  I had that stereotypical view of Numbers that many do, that it is a book full of genealogies, clan names and endless mindless details.  But I had forgotten that a number of stories I was familiar with actually take place in Numbers.

Yesterday at church we talked about the rebellion of Israel as it is displayed in this section of Numbers, rebellion that showed itself in discontent with God’s plans, God’s leaders, God’s provision and disbelief in God’s ability to fulfill his promises.  It is something that even the great Moses was not immune from.  Numbers 20 shows us his rebellion.  Striking the rock at Meribah instead of speaking to it as God had commanded.

Moses sin is one that we must all guard against.  Moses did not honour God as holy in the sight of Israel.  He did that by not obeying God’s command in his anger.  Moses allowed his anger at Israel to trump his respect for God.  That may not seem like such a bad thing, but we are reminded in Revelation 5, 7 and 1 Timothy 1 that glory and honour are due to God because of who he is.  When we deny that, we are denying God’s very sovereignty.  It is a serious thing.

That’s what all the rules and regulations are about that we’ve been reading for the past month and why Israel was expected to obey them.  God is King, he sets the rules and by following them we honour his position as Lord and God.

That’s why rebellion was dealt with so severely because the dishonour it showed to God could not be allowed to fester and propagate among the community.  Have you ever noticed how that happens?  One person grumbles about something, then they find a sympathetic ear to their complaint.  Then the sympathetic ear becomes a new voice in the grumble, and so on and so forth.  It is not how God wants his people to act.  Reminds me of the church my parents attended when I was young.  The church split and closed when I was 10 or so.  You know what they split over?  Chairs.  The carpet in the sanctuary had to be replaced, and the pastor thought it would be a good idea to replace the pews with chairs at that time.  Country church, not a lot of space and chairs would have made the sanctuary space usable for multiple things.  Many new churches today don’t give pews a second thought as they choose to put chairs in their sanctuaries.  But back in the mid-80’s it was still a pretty new idea.  The church fractured, the pastor quit, moved on to a more understanding congregation and the church closed.  How stupid.  Now there is no church in that small community.

And you can be sure that God was not honoured by the whole situation.  I don’t mean to seem heavy handed, but there are a lot really key issues in these chapters that talk about how we are to act toward God, and how our actions display what we really think/feel about God.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  Period.  Either we honour him as such or not, there is not middle ground.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 21-22

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