Numbers 36–The Final Issue

The Book of Numbers ends with a last legal question.  What if a special provision is made to be fair to a member of the tribes that ultimately cheats the tribe? In this case Inheritance went to a daughter of the tribe–if that daughter was to marry into another triibe, then the tribe would lose lands.  God made it simple.  Have the daughter marry within the tribal group, or she will have to forfeit the lands,  The refreshing part is the response–Vs. 10 says, ” And all the daughters did as God commanded!”
 
The Book of Numbers ends in a way to remind us of the real and final point. The people were being prepared to gain the promised gift from God.  If they would simply honor Him, their lives would be blessed and their future would be bright.  Failure to follow and honor him, conversely would be awful and lead to misery and chaos. The Israelites learned the lesson and started following and obeying God. In the end, It would be that one thing that established them as His chosen people,
 
In our lives, it is also that one thing that will establish us and allow us to live lives of blessing and purpose.  We cannot out guess, out perform or accomplish a thing in our lives any more effectively, than when we simply trust and follow him. That is the simple and great message of Numbers and of the Bible.  Solomon said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways–and He will make your path straight!” Proverbs 3:5-6
 
God Bless You
The family heads of the clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, who were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph, came and spoke before Moses and the leaders, the heads of the Israelite families. 2 They said, “When the Lord commanded my lord to give the land as an inheritance to the Israelites by lot, he ordered you to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away.4 When the Year of Jubilee for the Israelites comes, their inheritance will be added to that of the tribe into which they marry, and their property will be taken from the tribal inheritance of our ancestors.”

Then at the Lord’s command Moses gave this order to the Israelites: “What the tribe of the descendants of Joseph is saying is right. This is what the Lord commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within their father’s tribal clan. No inheritance in Israel is to pass from one tribe to another, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal inheritance of their ancestors. Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.”

10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 35 Part 1–Priests and Refuge

One of the things God wanted etched into the minds of the Israelites; was the value of the spiritual leaders, and the importance of justice.  Each tribe was to give up a part of their inheritance to house the cities for the Levites.  The Levites were in charge of all the spiritual aspects of the different tribes.  As the lineage of Moses and Aaron–they were to carry out the daily functions of worship and spiritual life that the Israelites needed.  Interestingly enough, one of those functions was to house the cities of refuge.  In the cities of refuge, a person that killed another unintentionally could be protected until such time that a determination was made; by an objective person, that the killing was either intentional or unintentional.  This was a precursor to the modern justice system; and, it offered equal protection under the law no matter your race or social standing…sound familiar?
 
In our lives, we need to understand that God does not separate the spiritual from justice.  Our lives are equal part civil and spiritual.  We need to honor the people that minister to others.  They sacrifice their rights to do whatever and be whatever, in order to give their lives to God.  It happens in many forms, but, rest assured, that ministers deserve respect and gratitude.  In terms of the spiritual aspect of law and justice, The justice system was founded in spiritual rule.  Every great founding father agreed that our republic needed God to make it successful.  Without our spiritual heritage, the laws and protections afforded by our system are reduced to some form of moral relativism that has proven, again and again, through history to be doomed to failure.
 
There really is only one way to live a full and meaningful life.  It is to do as Peter said in  1 Peter 2:17, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
 
God Bless You

On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses,“Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasture lands around the towns. Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for the cattle they own and all their other animals.

“The pasture lands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend a thousand cubits[a]from the town wall. Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits[b] on the east side, two thousand on the south side, two thousand on the west and two thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.

Cities of Refuge

“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee. In addition, give them forty-two other towns. In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasturelands. The towns you give the Levites from the land the Israelites possess are to be given in proportion to the inheritance of each tribe: Take many towns from a tribe that has many, but few from one that has few.”

Then the Lord said to Moses: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly. 13 These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. 14 Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. 15 These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.

Numbers 34–Giving Out The Gift

I love when a plan takes shape. After 40 years of marching through the desert, God finally unveiled the boundaries of the promised Land.  Joshua and Eleazar were to assign the lands and each tribe had a designee to also hand the allotments out within his tribe.  Within the borders of Canaan, 9.5 tribes were to divide the lands. Across the Jordan, Rueben, Gad and Manassah had already been assigned their land.  The excitement of what was about to happen had to be amazing. The Israelites were about to actually realize God’s promise. Israel was receiving as great a gift as one could receive.
 
In this season of Christmas, we also are a part of the greatest gift of all.  We have been given the gift of salvation.  A relationship with God that not only spans the boundaries of sin, but it also breaks the curse of death and separation that broke God’s heart.  Instead of a plot of land; God is giving us life everlasting and redemption from all sin and death. My family and I would like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. Please, if you have not already, accept the real gift of God’s redemption as you enter this Christmas season. For, like His chosen Israel- God loves you unconditionally; and would wish nothing greater than to spend all eternity with you, and away from the curse of sin and death. 
 
God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries:

“‘Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. Your southern boundary will start in the east from the southern end of the Dead Sea, cross south of Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea.

“‘Your western boundary will be the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This will be your boundary on the west.

“‘For your northern boundary, run a line from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hor and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north.

10 “‘For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. 11 The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Galilee.[a] 12 Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Dead Sea.

“‘This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.

Numbers 33–Captains Log…


Numbers 33 is a great chapter. It is a log of the entire 40 years journey of the Israelites.  It documents each of the steps along the difficult way they had to travel. It showed how Israel became the free people God called them to be. The most significant passage, however is the last verse.  In it, God drives home the principle of holiness in as clear language as He could. In summary, the Lord says–If you do not drive out the current inhabitants they will be your demise and I will do to you, what I intended to do to them.

After the destruction of the Amalakites, the Moabites and the Midianites–that promise should have been frightening! God does not mess around. He utterly destroys His enemies. He wipes away their lives, their riches, their legacy and even their memory.  That is a daunting option, to say the least. Simply put, God knew that flirting with the Canaanite people, meant flirting with their gods. He also knew that such behavior would end poorly, and it would drive Israel back to the heathenish behaviors of the local inhabitants.  Israel simply had to remain pure, to enjoy the  reward He promised to His chosen people.

The same holds true for us–His children.  We need to serve God and Him only. There simply is no hybrid version of faith that allows us to pick and choose who and how we worship the Lord.  If we try to play mix and match, we will lose our love for God; and, we will end up in the same mess as the reminder of the world.  God seeks our holiness–for our sake and our safety.  He has big shoulders. He can forgive our stupidity–but, what He won’t do is take away the consequence for our unfaithfulness. He has shown us how to live, He has given His only Son to provide redemption so we CAN live.  God requires us to accept His redemption and submit to His leadership–then, our lives will count for more than a simple existence.  As His children, we will enjoy an eternal and abundant life.

God Bless You

They left the mountains of Abarim and camped on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. 49 There on the plains of Moab they camped along the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim.

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.

55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

Numbers 32 –Walking as a Free People

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh liked the lands and cities they had just captured from the Amorites and Midianites. The leaders approached Moses with an offer–Hey Moses, this has been fun and all, but really we would just as soon not cross the Jordan for our lands, these Lands that have already been cleared seem plenty fine for us!  Moses almost went through the roof.  After languishing in the desert for 40 years, these people thought they would just skip clearing the promised land??!!

In truth, this was a different people.  They quickly made it clear to Moses–“We will build our cities here, but all the men who can fight–will cross over and clear the lands until all of Israel is placed in the lands for which they are promised.  What a different attitude, men would leave wives and family to help their people–not the thinking of a slave.  Moses was surprised and agreeable.  Israel had a track record, however, of promising one thing and then doing another–so Moses made it clear. If you fail to keep your word your sin will find you out!

The great news is that they did as they promised. In Joshua 22 it reads,”Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”


God only requires we walk as free people. Trust Him, honor Him and follow his leadership.  If one is willing to do that, He will bless us far beyond our expectations.  God gave the tribes the land they wanted and actually expanded Israel’s inheritance.  That is what God wants to do in our lives as well.  We simply need to trust Him, honor Him and follow the Lord. Then we can also walk as free people and claim the inheritance that awaits us!


God Bless You


The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon,Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon— the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”…

Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for battle 21 and if all of you who are armed cross over the Jordan before the Lord until he has driven his enemies out before him— 22 then when the land is subdued before the Lord, you may return and be free from your obligation to the Lord and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the Lord.

23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks,but do what you have promised.”

25 The Gadites and Reubenites said to Moses, “We your servants will do as our lord commands.26 Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants, every man who is armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the Lord, just as our lord says.”

Numbers 31 Part 2–Becoming a Free People

God had just blessed the Israelites with a mighty victory over the Midianites. They wiped the nation out.  What’s more, after the battle, the troops were counted and Israel lost no men.  So It was time to divide the plunder of the victory.  There was a large amount. So Moses and Eleazar divided the spoils the way God told them to.  The result was amazing. Everyone got plenty of livestock, slaves and treasure. What’s more so did the priests and Levites. There was no fussing, no deceit and God’s people began acting like a free people.  It was beginning to look like God had finally prepared Israel to claim what was theirs.

It seems like it takes forever to be ready for God’s leadership. We face trials and temptation. Our lives take odd turns and terrible sidetracks. Then one day, we accept God’s leadership and know that He is God.  We pray, serve and mostly wait for the Lord’s leading. As we do, we become more prepared to receive all the blessings He has to offer.  As with Israel, God stands ready to bless us. We simply have to be ready to accept that blessing and recognize it is from the Lord and for Him and His Glory.  If we will–He will do amazing things in our lives, and we will rise up and become a free people; untouched by sin or the traps of this life.  The hymn says it best, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. 27 Divide the spoils equally between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community.28 From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether people, cattle, donkeys or sheep. 29 Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part. 30 From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether people, cattle, donkeys, sheep or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle.” 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys 35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was:

337,500 sheep, 37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675;

38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72;

39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61;

40 16,000 people, of whom the tribute for the Lord was 32.

41 Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part, as the Lord commanded Moses…Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—went to Moses 49 and said to him, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to the Lord the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”

Numbers 31 Part 1–Vengeance Is Mine

God did not fool around.  The Midianites made a conscious effort to undermine, divide and destroy the nation of Israel.  They used both spiritualists and their women to divide the nation.  Their efforts ended in the death of thousands of Israelites.  Now it was God’s turn.  He instructed Moses to wipe them out.  It was not the most warm and fuzzy greetings, but, it was a clear message to the world–God would not be mocked.  Per God’s command, the 12 tribes each sent 1000 men, and the men did, in fact, wipe out the Midianites, their homes, their lands and their name forever.

God cares for His people. He will avenge wrongs perpetrated upon them.  It rarely is in a way we would have planned or considered; but, one can be sure that God will deliver a consequence that is both deliberate and precise.  We are very fortunate to not only have a father that loves us, but also a protector that will avenge the wrongs done to us.  We, therefore can rest at ease, knowing God is large and in charge.  We also know that He will make the right response for the wrongs we have suffered.  Thank you Lord for being my Father, Protector and Avenger!!!God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses, “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites so that they may carry out the Lord’s vengeance on them. Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.” So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel. Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling.

They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.