Numbers 1:47-54 Kept Aside

There were different callings within this tribe. ALL were important to God.

When God had Moses number the people He kept one tribe aside; the tribe of Levi. God had a special job for this group that NO OTHER would be allowed to do.

Ok. I have a quick question before we go on. I was thinking about the count of people listed both here and in Exodus. The numbers all agree, as they should, but if the Levites weren’t counted. So this means that they weren’t counted in either accounting. So we don’t have an accurate number of people who came out of Egypt. We know that only the men from 20 years and above and NOT belonging to the tribe of Levi were numbered. Therefore women, children, the Levites, any who were considered too old to fight and the “foreigners” who went with them were never numbered.

The count who were numbered were 603,550 men. We can bet that there were at LEAST double that number of not three times. WOW GOD! We already surmised this number was low because of women and children but now we add in a whole tribe who went unnumbered. I wonder what that number could have been. Read more »

Numbers 1:1-46 One, Two, Three…

I think he is going to need a LOT more fingers!

God called Moses to count the people. I guess that’s why this book is called Numbers. We are going to see a LOT of them here!

Numbers isn’t the only place we view these numbers. We saw how many able bodied men came out of Egypt in Exodus 12:37 gives us a rough number of 600,000 men walking out and Exodus 38:26 gives us the same number we encounter today. This isn’t counting males under 20, males too old to fight, or women at all.

So why didn’t God count everyone? God only numbered the fighting forces. He didn’t count anyone who He didn’t have a reason to count. He didn’t even count the Levites. They were not going to be on the battlefield. I believe He numbered His forces for their own sake. Seeing a number this high probably gave them confidence. Seeing the size of their numbers was only part of it though. They needed to also have faith that God could make those numbers go farther than anyone else with whatever numbers they faced. Read more »

Leviticus 27:1-34 Laws of Promise

Times of trouble are when most vows are made. Keeping them after trouble ceases is when true relationship is established.

God gives His laws regarding promises made to Him. He doesn’t want “pie crust” promises. He wants ones done in blood.

As we close this book, which has been difficult for me, we get to read how God values us keeping our word. Have you ever made a “promise” and knew when you were making it that you weren’t really going to keep it? As kids we would cross our fingers and pretend that this act nullified any promise made. That way we could get away with breaking our promise. But if it was a solemn promise it was sealed with a special oath or an act. NOBODY broke a “hope to die” promise or a “pinky swear” promise. That was unforgivable.

Well, God says that promises made to Him are that binding. You can’t see it but I’m squirming in my seat because I KNOW I’ve broken promises to Him on several occasions throughout my life. One of the biggest that I repeatedly break is the promise to act loving towards others, no matter my stresses. Read more »

Leviticus 26:14-46 Punishments

It usually takes a bit of discomfort to get to the root of the problem.

God goes into great detail regarding the punishments that will be inflicted on Israel if they turn away from Him. It is NOT pretty! But…

God is not talking about bringing this punishment down on Israel for little slips in behavior. He is speaking of the systematic and gross turning against Him. We ALL sin but the sin God is warning against is LARGE and overwhelming.

He also doesn’t go from zero to a hundred in one second. He attempts to correct their behavior when it is in its infancy and KEEPS trying until it is CLEAR that they are NOT going to turn back. But even when things are at their worst, HE STILL LOVES THEM.

Reading these punishments brings to mind examples of them in action. The first one that strikes me is when Elijah shut up the heavens so there would be no rain. For 3 ½ years it did not rain. Crops didn’t grow. Trees didn’t give their fruit. The people starved! Many Read more »

Leviticus 26:1-13 Blessings

God promises His people great things IF they obey the laws He has just given them. SO many blessings await!

When God gave Israel His laws He used the carrot and the stick. We are looking at the carrot today; the promises of good. He started out with the conditions first. Then He moved onto the areas He would bless them in.

The conditions were really all rolled up into one thing; “Serve Me as I have instructed.” God lists them in three parts though. 1) NO graven idols of ANY kind. 2) Keep My Sabbaths. 3) Walk in MY Laws that I gave you. IF they do all these things THEN He will bless them in MANY ways.

When speaking of the blessing God also broke them down into categories. 1) Blessing the land and its yield. 2) Protection and supremacy over their enemies. 3) Prosperity. 4) His presence among them.

God promised to bless the land itself IF Israel obeyed His commands. “I will give you your rains in their seasons, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the fields shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing” (verses 4-5a).  No droughts. Bumper crops that go on producing long past first harvest. Crops so plentiful that it takes weeks to harvest them instead of days and they don’t rot while still in the field. God didn’t promise this for one farmer but for the whole nation! The fields, trees and vineyards would be overflowing.

The next thing He promised was security from invaders an even from “harmful beasts.” God didn’t say that they wouldn’t be fighting against their neighbors in the beginning because they were going to have to do that in order to obtain the land He was bringing them to. What He did say was that they would “dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land” (verses 5b-6). This peace comes AFTER they follow His command to remove the inhabitants from it. It is a peace that is fought and won with HIM in the lead. But this promise also includes protection and victory while removing the people already in the land. “You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword” (verses 7-8).

After peace comes prosperity. God promises plenty of children and plenty to feed them. “I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new” (verses 9-10). Because of the abundant harvest there will be plenty to store up for future use. The cupboards will be SO full that they will have to eat the old stuff to make room for the current year’s crops. That is a double blessing because old stuff has a tendency to spoil but God will preserve it perfectly so they can use it. With having a great excess, increasing in numbers is not a problem. There will be plenty to feed the future generations.

God saved the best for last. “I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people” (verses 11-12). Having Him in their midst wasn’t just a promise but the KEY promise. Without this promise the others are meaningless. ALL the other promises rested on this one.

Safety, prosperity, children, and fruitfulness means NOTHING without this promise. In fact they can’t happen without this promise first being in operation. God’s presence among His people is critical! Without it they would be just like all the other nations. And this promise only happens when they keep the three conditions He called them to.

By following His Laws they were under His protective umbrella. NO, this doesn’t mean that nothing bad ever happened to any of them. They lived in a fallen world just like we do. They were also flesh and blood like us. AND they fell short of following ALL He had called them to, just like we do. So they never lived in this “utopian” environment. They had times when they had more success at meeting God’s commands and those times bore fruit like He promised they would but they couldn’t maintain it. That is where the next part comes in. They needed someone to do it for them as much as we do!

One thing I’m VERY grateful for is that God’s love is NOT conditional. God loved Israel even when they messed up otherwise He wouldn’t have kept reaching out to them. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice His relationship with us isn’t conditional either. Jesus made a way for us to walk with Him daily without being tied to EVERY rule and regulation. And with a relationship with Him comes His blessings. But also comes His discipline. That’s part of what we will be looking at next; the consequences of disobedience and breaking that relationship.

Father God, I’m SO glad I’m not under the law where a relationship with You is so conditional. I know my sin gets in the way even now and I can’t imagine the barriers it would set between us back then. I also know that not everything good that happens is a “payment for me being good” and every bad thing that happens a “punishment for my misdeeds.” Thank You that the majority of the things that happen in my life are ‘good’ though. I LOVE seeing Your fingerprints all over my life, even when those fingerprints are firmly stamped on instances of discipline. You don’t discipline those You don’t love and those who aren’t Your children. I’ll take even those times as proof of Your love and our relationship.