Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Recap #7 - Numbers 13 - 30

Have you had breakfast...or lunch....or supper, depending on what time of day you're reading this?  You might even want to make yourself a BIG pot of coffee...or pour a big glass of sweet tea....because....this is gonna be a long one!! 

 You know how I've said that a lot of the scripture thus far has been very repetitive?  Well...some of this week's was, too....but....most of it was sooooo interesting.  I told Pappy that I really think the reason I'm getting so much out of it this because I'm reading from the New Living Translation (actually my favorite)....and it just makes it so plain and real and down to earth!!!  I've even had a couple of you tell me that you're printing off my recap for your own use and reference....and for that I say "thank you" (thanks J & J)....but, please don't just take my word for it. 
Get thyself a translation you like....and dig in!!!!

So....with that being said....are you ready?!?!? 
Then, let's get started!!!

~~~The Lord told Moses to send out men to  explore the land of Canaan - one leader from each of the 12 tribes.  They brought back a single cluster of grapes so large that it took 2 of them to carry it on a pole between them.  They explored the land for 40 days and returned to Moses, Aaron and the rest of the community and told them that it was a land flowing with milk and honey.  But....they told them that the people living there were powerful with towns that were large and fortified...and they even saw GIANTS there, doubting that they could ever conquer it.  (even after all God had already brought them thru...they still had doubts...but, hey, who am I to talk...sounds a lot like me!!!)
Caleb tried to quiet the people with an encouraging report while the rest spread only bad news about the land.  The entire community started crying...and cried all night.  They protested against Moses and Aaron and didn't trust that the Lord would care and provide for them.  Moses and Aaron fell face down before the people while Joshua and Caleb tried to calm the people and convince them that the Lord would bring them safely into the land that He had promised.  Then....the whole community talked about stoning Joshua and Caleb....but....then....the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle.
I loved the words that the Lord spoke to them.....
"How long will these people treat me with contempt?  Will they never believe me even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?"
The Lord was going to destroy them...but Moses intervened and asked God to forgive the sins of the people.  It just amazed me how often Moses and Aaron would bow face down and ask forgiveness of the sins of the wicked.
Would I have been willing to do that?  Or, would I have just gotten so fed up with them that I would have just kept quiet and thought that's what they deserved?
Anyway...the Lord agreed not to destroy them, but said none of them would enter the Promised Land...only Caleb and Joshua.  All 20 and older would die in the wilderness and not get to go to the land God had promised....only their descendants.
So...they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, a year for each day the spies scoped out Canaan. 
And God said....which would have put fear into me....and which makes me have that fear of Him today....because HE IS GOD....then, He said....
...."You will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy"
The 10 spies who had given the bad report were struck dead with a plague!!!

~~~The people decided to go against what God had said and head into the Promised Land instead of back to the wilderness.  Moses warned them against it, but they wouldn't listen and pushed ahead, even though Moses, nor the Ark of the Covenant had left the camp.  They were attacked and pushed back.

~~~A man was stoned to death because he was caught  gathering wood on the Sabbath.
That was nothing compared to today, huh?

~~~Korah, a Levite, led a rebellion against Moses and 250 other leaders.  They united against Moses and Aaron, complaining that all the Israelites were set apart by the Lord, so why did they think they were greater than the rest of the Lord's people.  Again....Moses fell to the ground and told Korah and his followers that the Lord would show them who belonged to Him and who was holy.  They were to prepare their incense burners and burn incense before the Lord.  Moses told Korah that he had been set aside, too, as a Levite to serve in the Tabernacle.  He also told Korah and his followers that they were actually revolting against the Lord.  The next day....they did as told in preparing their incense burners.  The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses and Aaron to  get away from the people so He could destroy them.  And...again....Moses and Aaron pleaded with God and asked if He should be angry with all the people when only one man sinned.  God told Moses and Aaron to tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (the ringleaders).  Moses told the people to quickly get away from the tents of the wicked men.  Then....Moses used a sign (and you know how I love signs!!)....if the men died a natural death, or nothing unusual happened....then, the Lord didn't send Moses to be their leader....but....if the ground swallowed them and their families alive along with their belongings....then they would know that they had angered the Lord.  Moses had barely gotten those words out of his mouth....when....the ground opened up and swallowed them and their families and their followers....ALIVE....just like Moses had said.  Then, the earth closed over them....and fire destroyed the 250 men offering incense. 

Now....that's what I call a SIGN!!!!! we go again....the VERY NEXT MORNING....even after what they had witnessed....they started muttering again against Moses and Aaron, saying they had killed the Lord's people.  The Lord sent a plague and killed 14,700 people before Aaron could purify them with incense.

~~~The Lord had Moses tell the people to bring 12 wooden staffs, one from each tribe and to inscribe the leader's name on his staff.  The staffs were to be placed in the Tabernacle in front of the Ark of the Covenant.  Buds would sprout on the staff of the man God would choose so He would put an end to the people's murmuring and complaining about Moses and Aaron.  The next day, Aaron's staff sprouted,  budded,  blossomed and produced ripe almonds....proof that He was chosen by God.
(oh, how I loved all the signs!!!)

~~~The Red Heifer - this was a perfect animal with no defects and had never been yoked to a plow.  After it was slaughtered and burned, the ashes were mixed with water and used in purification ceremonies for removal of sin.

~~~Miriam died and was buried as the Israelites camped at Kadesh.

~~~Once again...the people rebelled against Moses and Aaron because there was no water to drink.  Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle where they fell face down on the ground.  The Lord appeared in His glorious presence (oh, I would have loved to seen that!!!)....and said to Moses that he and Aaron were to take the staff and assemble the people together and as they watched to speak to the rock and enough water would pour out for the whole community and their livestock.  Moses was angry at the people for complaining so much and instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it twice with his staff and the water gushed out.
But God....said to Moses and Aaron....that because they did not trust Him enough to demonstrate His Holiness to the people....that they would not lead the people into the Promised Land.

~~~The King of Edom would not allow the Israelites to pass thru his land so they had to take another route.  As their ancestor, Esau, had distrusted Jacob, the Edomites now distrusted Jacob's descendants.

~~~Moses, Aaron and Eleazar (Aaron's son) did as the Lord told them and went up Mt. Hor.  He told Moses to remove Aaron's priestly garments and put them on Eleazar.  Then, Aaron died at the age of 123.

~~~The Israelites set out from Mt. Hor toward the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom.  The people grew impatient with the long journey and started speaking against God and Moses (notice that since Aaron is gone, they include God in their grumblings!!!).  Their complaint....this time...was about the horrible manna.  The Lord sent poisonous snakes amongst the people and many were bitten and died.  Then....they cried to Moses "we have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you...pray the Lord will take away the snakes" prayed for the people (now you talk about a prayer warrior.....Moses sure was!!).  God told Moses to make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole and all who were bitten would live if they would just look at it.  So...Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole.  This was a foreshadow of Jesus on the cross....and all who look upon Him....and believe that He died there to save them from their sins....will be healed!!!

~~~Balak, the son of Zippor....was a Moabite King....and he was afraid of the Israelites because he had heard of all they did.    He sent messengers to Balaam to come and curse the Israelites.  Now....Balaam was a diviner.....and a diviner was a person who read signs and omens to determine the future.  He performed rituals to change future events....and he was for hire.  Balak's messengers set out with money to pay Balaam and he told them to stay with him overnight and in the morning he would tell them what the Lord directed him to say.  God came to Balaam that night and told him he wasn't to curse His people because they were blessed.  The next morning, Balaam told Balak's messengers to go home that the Lord had told him not to go with them. 
So....Balak tried again....sending even more distinguished officials to Balaam and he told them that he was powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord, but asked them to stay and he would see if God had anything else to say to him.  God came to Balaam that night and told him to go with the men, but to do only as He told him.

I love this story....
.....the next morning, Balaam got up and saddled his donkey and started off with the Moabite officials.  God sent His angel to stand in the road to block his way....the donkey saw the angel, but not Balaam.  First the donkey ran off the road and into a field.....and Balaam beat his donkey and turned back on the road.  The second time the angel stood where the road narrowed between 2 walls and the donkey tried to squeeze thru and crushed Balaam's foot....and Balaam beat his donkey a second time.  The third time the angel stood in the road and it was too narrow for the donkey to get by so he lay down under Balaam....and Balaam beat the donkey with his staff.
Then the comes the good part....let the donkey speak.....asking Balaam what he had done that he deserved being beaten three times. 
If I had been Balaam....I would have been petrified that my donkey was talking....but Balaam was only thinking about himself and told his donkey that it had made him look like a fool...and he said if had a sword he would kill the donkey.  The donkey said he was the same donkey he had ridden all his live and asked, "Have I ever done anything like this before?"....and Balaam told him "no". (wouldn't you have loved to have been a fly on the wall and witnessed this conversation!!!)
Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes and he saw the angel with a sword drawn...and Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before the angel.  The angel allowed Balaam to go on with the men to King Balak where he took him to where he could see some of the Israelites.  Rather than go into lots of details here....what happened was that Balaam told King Balak to build 7 altars and to sacrifice a young bull and a ram on each of the altars...while Balaam would go and talk to the Lord.  God gave Balaam a message to take back to Balak that he could not curse God's people.  Of course, King Balak was not happy.  This happened 3 times, and each time King Balak would get angry, even asking Balaam that if he couldn't curse the people would he at least not bless them.  Balaam's reply was "didn't I tell you that I can only do what the Lord tells me?"  Balaam's final message was what the Lord would do to King Balak's people in the they would be destroyed and also brought a similar message to the Amalekites and the Kenites.  Both Balaam and King Barak went back to their homes...but...we'll hear more about Balaam next week!!!

~~~Some of the Israelites defiled themselves by having sex with Moabite women.  These women enticed them to attend sacrifices to their gods (little "g").  The Lord was angry and he commanded Moses to seize all the ringleaders and execute them in broad daylight.  Moses ordered Israel's judges to put to death those men under them who had joined in worshiping Baal.  Right in front of everybody, an Israelite took a Moabite woman into his tent (this was sooooo brazen).  Phineas (grandson of Aaron) jumped up and took a spear and rushed into the tent and struck the spear all the way thru the man into the woman's stomach.  The plague of death was stopped but not before 24,000 had died.

~~~The Lord issued a decree thru Moses that if a man died and he had no sons that his daughters would receive his inheritance.  If he had no daughters, it would go to his brothers....if no brothers, then to his father's brothers (paternal uncles)....and if no uncles, then to the nearest relative in his clan.

~~~The Lord told Moses to climb one of the mountains east of the river and look out over the Promised Land because he was going to die (this was so sad to me, after following Moses thru so much).  Moses asked God to appoint another leader for the Israelites so the Lord told Moses to take Joshua (who has the Spirit in him) and to transfer some of his authority to him and he the whole community would obey Joshua.

~~~Moses recorded God's instructions and commandments regarding sacrifices, vows and pledges.

Well.....if you made it to here...then, good for you.  I hope your coffee isn't cold by now.  This week's readings were so very interesting.  I'm looking forward to reading more and more about things that happened in the Old Testament...that were just a foreshadow to the coming of Jesus!!!

Blessings to you!!!

In His Most Precious Love....and with mine!!!

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