The purpose of the book of Numbers is an instruction manual for the Israelites as to how to travel, set up camp, how the Levites would carry out their duties, and prepare to receive all that God had promised them. In the 40 years that this book covers we are going to follow them as they learn to believe God’s promise and act out on it.
Todays section gives us an idea of how many people are traveling. This endeavor is absolutely divine. There is no way to get that many people organized and headed the same direction without God’s intervention. Here is a helpful diagram.
The dedication of the first born was something that would cause them to remember the fact that God spared their first born in the time of the Exodus. God doesn’t get hung up on the fact that the numbers don’t match up perfectly. He makes a way for them to remember the Passover by compensating the Levites for the 273 that don’t have a match.
Mark 11: 27—12:17
Jesus is the master of all debaters. He answered their question with a question, that if they answered, either way would incriminate the Pharisee’s. Maybe because of the way Mark records this story, but I was so struck by the “rock and a hard place” situation the Pharisee’s have gotten themselves into. They are concerned with what the people will think of them and they are concerned about admitting disobedience to God. Jesus uses a parable to expose the dilemma they are in.
They have a good thing going here. They have abundance and power to kill the land owners (God) agents (Prophets). They don’t want the owner (God) to come back because it will mess up this power trip of popularity they have going on. They have substituted abundance and power for doing what God says. Now they are more afraid of losing the good thing they have going than they are of displeasing God. That is a dilemma we should never be in. Obeying and listening to God should always be first. If you lose friends over it, so be it. My friend Cheryl told me one time, “It is easier to be afraid of people because we can see them face to face, we are not as afraid of God because sometimes He is not as real to us as the people around us.” That is when you cry out to Him to help you with your unbelief!
The Pharisee’s try to get Jesus to jump into the same dilemma they have created for themselves. They want Him to say something against God or against the government so they can trap Him. We can trust that Jesus would not fall into that dilemma because obedience to God is what He loved. He will not be like us and cow-tow to the people around us just because He can see them face to face and ignore God because He can’t see Him. God was perfectly real to Jesus.
Psalm 47: 1-9
Whenever you see the phrase “God is King over all the earth,” you are most likely reading a prophetic psalm about the future Kingdom of Jesus. This is what it will be like when He comes back to rule.
Proverbs 10: 24-25
As I was reading this morning I was battling being distracted by fears of something going on with one of my kids. I was afraid for them and worried. I read this proverb and it checked my heart. “The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted.” It immediately turned my thoughts from fears for this kid into hope for this kid. I started to believe God when He says, “the godly have a lasting foundation.” My thoughts went from fear to hope because God is so kind not to leave me afraid.
And just to keep it fully real, so you don’t get the wrong idea, I am going back to bed because I feel like I might have the plague.