Saturday, February 28, 2009

Deuteronomy 1-2

Day 59

going to get to scrapbook with some girlfriends today.  Then to the bball game.  No babysitters. They are going to the game too or are out of town.  The place will be packed and we like to take up about 10 seats for the 4 of us.......3 for JJ to play with tractors on the floor by, at least 2 to spread out HannaLee's stuff and then a chair for coats, etc.  Glad they don't charge per chair! Ha! We'll just have to get there early! Hope we win! 

Deuteronomy!! We are making good progress!!!  So a quick note about what's going on in this book.  The title in my Bible from the intro says "obedience brings blessing; disobedience brings punishment."  YOU DON"T SAY?!!  Hum....I hope we've learned at least that much.  Sounds familiar doesn't it.  Deuteronomy restates the covenant of love between god and his people issued earlier in Exodus.  Moses is getting ready to die and prepares Joshua to take the lead.  Moses gives three sermons here....each reminding the Israelites (the new generation of them) of where they've come from as a people....Egypt, the desert, and to Canaan.  Throughout the whole book are opportunities to look at life's choices from God's perspective.  We will be reminded to keep our focus on God and not on the "idols" of our lives.  Deuteronomy comes from the Greek word that means "second law."  This is an appropriate title since it describes the law given by Moses in the plains of the Moab is a second giving of the law that had first been given as the terms of the covenant are reiterated.  If its repeated, it must be important!  The 10 commandments will even be repeated in chapter  5 and will be tied together with the laws and legislation that we will read about it chapter 12-26.  So...let's get to it!  Come on......

Chapter 1:    We begin with opening statements (v. 1-5) about establishing Moses' authority...he is the great founding father of Israel.  These words that follow were given to Moses in the wilderness and  the author's perspective about living in the land.  All of this that follows was given by God to Moses....we've established that.  So....the even and the man provide the point of beginning of the religion and the faith of Israel, through which God gave His special divine calling and destiny of Israel.  The people are reminded that God made the promise and surely this time it will be different! The people are feeling very vulnerable because of the death, struggles, diseases and plagues that they have survived.  But God is bigger than all of that.  Their faith must remain intact.  This chapter affirms their faith, tests their faith and tells them they will be judged.    Verse 6-8 is a reminder of the promise of the land given to Israel's first ancestors.  Moses is summarizing their history.  The phrase "the Lord our God" occurs in this book no less that 20 times!!  Be sure He is God!!!  Verses 9-18 reminds them that the burden was too heavy for Moses to carry alone.  It was first in  Numbers 11 directed toward it is directed at the people.  They are reminded that there is a fair judicial system in place...not just Moses making decisions alone.  This will come into question later!Verses 19-33  This is basically a collective responsibility that is shared with all of them on the mission field and there is a share "culpability" for the consequences for the spying going on,.....for they've rebelled against the Lord.  Verses 34-45 contrasts Caleb's faithfulness with the lack of it from the wider community.  Can you even believe that the people accuse God of being vindictive towards them?  Read verse 27 again!!!  Watch out for contrasting attitudes throughout this book.  Watch where their loyalties lie and where they have sympathies!

Chapter 2:  Wanderings in the remember...Moses is still giving them a speech of reminding who they are, WHOSE they are, and where they came from.  This is simply restating their travels and their journey. This illustrates that they COULD HAVE been at the entrance of Canaan only 11 days after leaving Mount Sinai, but because of their lack of faith, they wandered in the desert for 40 years!  11 days versus 40 years!! OH MY!!!!!!!!!  Never realized that!!! Hopefully this younger and more faithful generation will be energized to learn from the failures and mistakes and will move ahead with humility and wisdom!!! HUMILITY and WISDOM!!  Surely they will learn this!?  Oh but me oh we?   What do we need to learn from our failures and mistakes?   Don't be left out in the wilderness!  Follow God, remember WHOSE you are and be devoted to God!  For doing so will give you the full promises that He has for you!  Sounds much better than quail coming out your nostrils!! :)  

The Lord bless you and keep you!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Numbers 35-36

Day 58

Okay...I"m back from the bball game and here!  We WON!!! We smoked 'em!! Wahhoooo!  They play tomorrow night at 8:00 and have to win that game to get to go to state next week!  

Chapter 35  The Israelites are supposed to share. Just like JJ and his tractors, they have to give  and share some with others.  They are to give pasturelands to the Levites because they were not entitled to a tribal inheritance.  The 6 cities of refuge represent an attempt to restrain the tribal law of blood revenge so that a killer might receive a trial.  Early legislation stipulated that a person might seek asylum from the "avenger" or next of kin.   It was their duty to to uphold family rights by killing the murderer or a relative.  This avenger of blood was to be the closes male relative of any individual who has been killed.  This can though lead to retaliation and unfortunately, there is a real possibility that those accused of manslaughter will themselves be killed before they have an opportunity to stand trial.    So....God established these cities of refuge as a response to this problem.  These are to be a place of temporary sanctuary for those who have been killed accidentally.   The blood pollutes the land in the midst of where the Lord dwells, or "tabernacles."  so only blood can atone for the sins of the crime.  Murder is far more than an act against society.  It is a violation against creation, inducing a debt to the land.  Not a single life is expendable in God's land!  In the year of Jubilee, the fields are to be fallowed (harvest and plowed but nothing re-seeded).  Slaves are to be set free, and debts are cancelled in remembrance of all that belongs to God.

Chapter 36   Bottom line of this chapter is about keeping the tribal land intact.  The women who inherit land must not marry outside of their own tribe.  That is after all what they've been trying to get throughout the whole story.  How to live in the  promised land.  This has been a manual for just that....for the Israelites and for us!  How to live in the promised land and how to live a holy life with God!  Amen?  Amen!!!

Tomorrow:  an intro to Deuteronomy and chapters 1-2!  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Numbers 33-34

Day 57

Yesterday gave me spring fever!!! We were outside all day!  We went to the library with dear sweet friends and then to Nana and Papa's to see the new baby billy goat!!  He was cute!  Then the kids played a bit more.  We came home and  I started to have JJ rest at wasn't looking too hopeful for a nap but I thought he could at least lay down, read books and rest.  But then I looked outside and realized that its going to get cold again and we headed OUT! I jumped roped to get some cardio, HannaLee hung out in the stroller all covered up and in the shade, and JJ drove his little car and I timed him to get him to race himself! We were out for almost 2 hours!  It was sooooo nice!!!  HannaLee even laid down for a nap and JJ and I went back outside!!  But tonight a cold front comes.  It will go from 78 today to 48 tomorrow.  But spring is on the horizon!  OH!! I even did an excercise video while JJ and Dusty went to church (HannaLee has an eye infection and I didn't want her in the nursery until its cleared up!)  So I sweated at 7:00 last night...even sat on the front porch to cool off!!  Come on Spring!!!!!!!!!!! plug for Anita Renfroe was a flop yesterday.  She was on for 2 minutes at THE VERY END of the show!  She must have a new show coming out on TV but she didn't even plug it!! She said "a show on another major network."  That was it.  She's married to a pastor, lives in Mississipi and the show is maybe something about that.  I was disappointed.   BUT!! Another plug I've been meaning to tell you about.  Beth Moore!!! My hero!! She comes on way early every Wednesday morning on "Life Today with Betty and James Robinson (?)" It's on my ABC Family at 4:30AM! Yes..AM.  So I set my Tivo for it and watch it every week.  Its about a 20-25 minute Bible study that she does. Now, that show "Life Today" comes on every day, but Beth is ONLY on Wednesday's! So...if you like her, love her or don't even know her (how could you not?!)  set your machines to the show!!!  She's awesome!  

Okay....let's get to it! mercy....I've rambled.

Chapter 33  do you realize we'll finish Numbers tomorrow??! WOW!   Only one more book from the Pentetuch to go!! Wahooooo!  I'm proud of all of you! Even if you are only reading this blog and not the actual Bible verses, that is still great!! I think its awesome!  I'm loving it! My husband told me I"m addicted to the Bible.  Well, maybe so. Better than ding-dongs! :)  Been there, done that!  :)  This chapter provides a summary and a transition for the book of Numbers. We have what Moses wrote down...a very detailed summary of their journey.   Be sure to see the map has it all mapped out.  Thanks to my wonderful assistant, Sheryl. AKA...MOM!!!!  :)  This is simply a list of their resting places.  Now...if you're adventurous like me....this was great.  Move in, live a little, pack up, move out.  I did that for quite sometime! Graduate school, Up with People, Bolivia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala.....if you know me, you know the story! :)  If not, I've moved and traveled a lot.  All promptings by God.  But more most people, and me now, this was hard...moving around fo4 40 years.  We like to "nest" and get settled in.  My commentary states that there are 42 locations listed here.  The rest of the chapter is almost a warning....well, it IS a warning.  They get their land all distributed and then they are warned.  Warned to get rid of the inhabitants as they cross the Jordan River to the promised land.  They are to get rid of the inhabitants for the Canaanites might have a negative impact on their holy lives.   So, out with the inhabitants.  Expel them from the land!  POOF!  Gone.   And if they didn't.....God will give them their own trouble where they live.   God will do to the Israelites what He planned to do to the Canaanites.  They cannot be tempted to be pulled away from their God.  What or who tries to pull you away from God?  What or who do you try to keep or bring closer to God?  That is our lesson from here!   

Chapter 34   This chapter lists the geographical boundaries of the tribes and the land they receive.  This is also a list of the tribal leaders.  Out of  time and insight.  Too much "fluff" writing today.....HannaLee is hungry.  Sorry!  We'll wrap it up tomorrow!!  

The Lord bless you and keep you!   

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Numbers 31-32

Day 56 of now.....JJ stayed in his bed aaaaaaaaaaaall night!  He was out and asleep by 7:00.  Bone beat tired!  I left a little lamp on, the ceiling fan on, and the CD player playing.  If that was "the trick" so be it! AND it might be that Papa Jerry promised to go to the cow sale on Friday if he does this for 3 nights....1 down, 2 to go! Hum.....whatever it takes! :)

Be sure to click on the right hand side the link to the "mom song!"  It's just too fun!  Set your DVR and Tivo's for GMA this morning to see an interview with Anita Renfrow!  

Chapter 31  Well we've gone to war.  These next couple of chapters are about holy war.  There is a divine command that Israel destroy the Midianites for their seduction of the people at Baal Peor. I can't believe that this entire war can destroy every male Midianite but not loose one Israelite in the fighting.  The Midianite women were just as to blame, yet the Israelites were rather timid in putting them to death.  God made it very clear that both men and women will be held accountable for their actions.  If you posed a threat to the Israelites, you were killed! Moses and the priests oversee the war and Eleazar gets to decide what is acceptable "booty" (plunder--butI like the word booty better!) Even here crazy old witchcrafter Balaam dies; remember he was hired to curse the Israelites.  The booty that is collected is a staggering amount.  In terms of animals...they exceeded 800,000!  And there was over 16,000 shekels of gold.....about 420 pounds I read somewhere.  We even have a complete inventory and distribution list of what they plundered all together.  Even a formula (v. 25-30) as to who gets what!  This chapter closes  with the taking of the census and realizing that NO ONE was missing from the holy war.  They make a final atonement to this was NOT an offering of thanksgiving as one might think.  This is an atonement to avoid a plague being sent upon them because they participated in war.  A holy war that God Himself sanctioned.  Isn't that ironic?! They are told to fight but then have to make atonement?  They did kill people after all.  So they made this atonement to God.  Such irony!!! I love it!!!!!!!  

Chapter 32  Here the holy war is woven together with the theme of inheritance.  We have a big ol' long conversation between Moses, and the tribal leaders of Reuben and Gad.    These two yahoos are complaining again and Moses gets M-A-D..MAD! They are not being supportive enough to the idea of going on to the promised land.  Their attitudes are deeply discouraging and emotionally draining to the rest of the tribes. Moses reminds them of God's anger 40 years earlier at the Israelites' unwillingness to enter the promised land.  This  chapter is really less about the actual holy war and more about the cities that they end up building in the Transjordan area that they conquer.  They even inherit the land east of the Jordan.  Eleazar helps in the negotiations here.  This theme of inheritance is underlined with the theme of holy war.  Both reminding us of the first generation and their mess ups!  We are heading to the end of the book of Numbers and the second generation has left the wilderness and is already achieving their part of the inheritance.  Its about to complete the story of salvation by realizing the divine promise of land through conquest!!!!  That is an Amen!!!  :)

Lesson's learned:  God has promises for your future.  Ever wonder what they are? Ever forget them?  Write them down and know of God's presence in your present, so you will remember Him in your future!  

Tomorrow:  chapter 33-34!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Numbers 28-30

Day 55

Okay...just heard on Good Morning America that Anita Renfrow is going to be on there tomorrow.  She's a comedian that I've seen at Women of Faith in the past.  AND...she has the very popular "you tube" video called "The Mom Song."  It is very funny!  If I can figure out  how, I"ll post it or a link to it, later.  If not just watch her tomorrow on GMA.  She'll be talking about "mom" stuff I think.  

AND....the tractors (all 50 of them!) just might get packed up and put into a closet in a box until JJ stays and SLEEPS in his own bed for a week ....okay...I'll start with 3 nights in a row--that would be nice!  We finally gave up and just had him sleep on the floor with his pillow and a blanket last night. Even then he still tried to get in bed with us.  ARGH!  The tractors are going!  

Chapter 28-29    Okay.  I'm tired of offerings.  Tired of daily offerings, tired of monthly offerings, tired of things that are supposed to be "an aroma pleasing to God" but surely only stinks to the high heavens; tired of 10 rams, 12 sheep, 2 bulls, ephahs and hins. OH! And a partridge in a pear tree!!!!!!!!!!!!  But the Sabbath offering is ONLY mentioned here in all of the Pentateuch (the first 5 -pente=5-- books of the Bible.) know that was worth reading.  Had we not read this chapter we would have never read about the Sabbath offerings.  We only have it here folks!

What we really do have here, in spite of seeming repetitious, is the complete year long cycle of how the Israelites are to worship.  This is their annual cycle of worship. Okay...there...that makes a little more sense!   

Lesson learned:  This does teach us that time is holy.  We are always in a rush to go somewhere, get something done, see someone that we miss the relationships.  Life is not about speed in reaching a goal, its about relationships.  Time is holy.  

Chapter 30   This chapter focuses primarily on vows by women.  This is the second chapter to focus on the role of women.  Rather rare.  Ancient Israelite society was very patriarchal.  The underlying concern in this chapter is the financial obligations that accompany vows.  The laws regarding women   were to protect peculiar as this may seem to our contemporary minds.  The primary regulation regarding vows is that they had to be fulfilled! Had to be!!!  At that time, women were under the authority of the men in their lives.  God knows that their responsibilities to their families and to their husbands may at times conflict with their vows and their obligations to God.  So, because of this, the clause that will release women from their eliminating the source of contention....and hopefully prevent them from abuse.  As good as this all is....this chapter doesn't play a relevant role for our modern culture.  We are to be equal! ;)   Making a vow means that God is active and present in your life.  The vows were usually made at a time of crisis.  There is power in making vows!  We have vows of marriage, leadership, baptism, tithing.  

Lessons learned:  May we always take our vows seriously and honor those we are responsible to with them.  We are required and expected to fulfill our vows we make.  

Tomorrow:  31-32

Come, holy Spirit, come!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Numbers 26-27

Day 54

TAADAAAAAAAAAAAA!  I finally made it to the computer this morning!  Mercy!  All is well.  Just me being slow I guess and enjoying playing with the kids and enjoying a shower! So, here I am!

Chapter 26  A 2nd census.  In short it goes like this:  We have a divine command to Moses and to Eleazar, the son of Aaron.  (Remember...Aaron's dead and gone.)  Verses 1-4 are the setting for the census; vv. 5-56 are the numbering of the tribes; vv. 57-62 are the numbering of the Levites;(remember...they are separate because they belong to God and will receive no land inheritance); vv. 63-65, is the conclusion.  So...why a second census?  Well, there has been a reduction in numbers in the tribe of Reuben and there is the reference to Dathan and Abiram, the two Reubenites who joined the Levite Korah in challenging Moses' authority.  Had they not rebelled, they and their families might have been spared.  And therefore, that tribe would have grown stronger and larger.  What this census REALLY does is show an overall DECREASE in the numbers of the tribes.   They are down to 601,730 from 603,550.  Doesn't seem like much overall, but some tribes increased and grew by the 10's of thousands, while some like Simeon experienced a significant loss because of the plague.   We are reminded of their disobedience and rebellion through the numbers.  The 2nd census serves as clear reminder of the consequences of their sinful rebellion.  

AND!! OH!!!  Did you notice it?! Did you notice that the DAUGHTERS were in this census!???  THAT is soooo rare!  Females RARELY appear in  Scriptural genealogies!  But these women were named!  So that begs the next question:  WHY?   They were Zelophehad's daughters and (he had no sons) so they get to inherit the land!  Very unusual!  That was also part of the reason for the take an account of the tribes AND to get ready to allot the land for their inheritance.  Also....interesting to note that the census is about the 2nd generation.  Remember, the first has all died off.  So this is about the generation that WILL follow the Lord into the promised land.  

Chapter 27     There are three events woven together in this chapter beginning with the legal claim by the daughters of Zelophehad (vv. 1-11).  This is about their right to inherit land in the absence of male offspring!  Then....after they so boldly speak out,the story turns to the topic of death (vv. 12-14).  Moses is told by God that he is about to die because of his rebellion in the wilderness of Zin.  The divine announcement brings about the transition of Joshua succeeding Moses (v. 15-23).  

Lessons learned: I'd say from the daughters we learn to speak up for ourselves.  I've never had that problem but it's still a lesson to learn from their holy boldness to get what IS rightly theirs.  Wasn't LEGALLY theirs until they step forward and changed the system.  And of course...the lesson that God will do what He says He will....He's promised land and they will get it!  God will fulfill God's promises!  He will!  

Tomorrow:  Chapters 28-30

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Numbers 23-25

Day 53

Our team lost last night!  The Merritt girls never were ahead once the entire ballgame and were even behind by 12 at the end...then all of a sudden they caught up to within 3 points!  Not much time left....a couple of minutes....we are down one point.  ONE POINT!  We have the ball, they pas and pass and pass and are trying to get a foul instead of shooting and the as the buzzer goes off she finally shoots and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!  We lost.  One second. One point.  If they want to get to state they now have to win the next 3 games this coming weekend.  ARGH! We went from hopeful to despair back to hope again back to despair because too far behind and back to hope and then in a split second its all over and ends in despair! Oh the joy of high school playoff basketball!!!  :)
Chapter 23  so this whole Balak and Balaam thing had us confused.  What's the point of Balaam? Is he a "bad guy?"  But he's listening to the Lord?   Is he a prophet?  But he's really just witchcraft?  He's supposed to curse the people...not bless them according to Balak.  So, here's what I've learned.  An oracle is different from a prophecy.  An oracle is a message spoken on behalf of God to the people.  A prophecy is a message of what WILL come to pass in the future. This chapter has 3 oracles from God through Balaam to the Israelites.  Each oracle begins with Balak taking Balaam to a specific location to curse Israel....the "object" must be in sight for a curse to be effective. In each scene, Balaam sacrifices on 7 altars, prompting a Word from the Lord.  Balaam's oracles are blessings rather than curses as wished by Balak.  This unexpected reversal leads in each case to an exchange between Balaam and Balak, in which Balak appears dumbfounded that the diviner has blessed Israel rather than cursed it.  Balaam responds that he can only say what God commands him to say.  The portrait of Balaam is positive. One footnote says that the conviction and lesson learned here is that even a foreign priest-diviner, though not a member of the covenant community, was obedient to the Lord's will and that NOTHING could prevent the fulfillment of the divine purpose for Israel!  

Chapter 24  Here we have Balaam's fourth oracle....only after having a little "spat" with Balak.  Balak's anger burned against Balaam and was furious because he summoned Balaam to curse and all he did was bless! HOW DARE HE?!! :)  The fourth and final oracles finds Balaam leaving his ways of "scorcery" (v. 1)!   What Balaam sees is not "now" or "near" but rather are in the future and he "sees" that Israel will be victorious over Moab and Edom (v. 17-19).  The final oracle is against the Amalekites.  They are a nomadic tribe that opposed Israel early in their history and God has even sworn to protect the Israelites against them.   This poem, of sorts, ends  with the parting of the ways with Balak and Balaam.  These oracles have left the Isreaelites out of the story...pretty much.  What we have here is God still working through blessings ....God's power of providence through blessings!

Chapter 25  OH MY!  Here we go again.....back to the soap opera!  Here we have the Midianite women seducing the Israelite men.  Numbers 25 contains two stories about how the outside world can infect the "purity" of their community....leading even to death.  The men respond to the "invitation" of the  seduction and God gets mad.  Go figure!  The women know good and well that this will cause the men to in and God gives them a warning about being friends "with those type."  :) before...the don't listen and 24,000 people die in the plague before...of their disobedience!  Lesson learned here:  God really is jealous!  Honor only Him!  Give your allegiance only to Him.  

Tomorrow:  chapters 26-27.  Then Monday 28-30. :)  Just in case you read ahead!

Love you all!!! Going to a new church today! THEY start on time and EARLY!  BYE!! :)  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Numbers 21-22

Day 52

Could the WIND blow a little more??!  My stars....I think I saw my friend from Canada blow by last night!!!  

Chapter 21  Nothing like making a deal with the Lord.  "If you do this, then we'll do that!"  We always seem to want to bargain with Him don't we?!   We have a holy war going on here.  Hey God....we will destroy their cities if you will deliver them to us! And so it was....a successful holy war with divine deliverance!  They named the place "Hormah" which in Hebrew means destruction!

Here we go again....murmuring and complaining.  The Israelites are complaining about not having food and water.  Wait a minute!  They were just given water from a rock. And they've got quail coming out of their nostrils.....what's not to love?!  But here they are....murmuring against God and Moses again.  Its just a bunch of whining and ranting I'd say. They have neither bread nor water, yet they don't like the food in their possession!  HUMPH!  :)  Moses prays a rather unusual prayer about being rescued from poisonous snakes.  And God responds rather unusually too....He sends a bronze snake to gaze upon as a reminder of the punishment God decrees and of the remedy He provides.  The bronze snake eventually becomes an idol for worship and is sinful adoration!  How often do we do that...worship God's gifts above God Himself? Hum.......

The Journey to is a biblical times itinerary of their march!  This is their "triptix" from their travel guide in verses 10-21.  Verses 23-32 are a narration of of the war itself.  The Israelites take possession of the towns and villages of the Amorites and in verses 31-32 we have a successful conquest!  The poem in the middle of the chapter is a song that is almost a "taunt" against the Amorites.  Perhaps the poem addresses Israel's relationship with the Moabites since the defeat of them is central to the poem.  The main message of the "Ballad of Heshbon" is that the Moabites have NO CLAIM on the Israelites property.  The Israelites have traveled from the wilderness to the land of the Transjordan.

Chapter 22   Here we move into a third section of the Book of Numbers.  The first section (chapter 1-10) was about holiness to God.  Then chapter 10-21 were about the wilderness journey of the first Israelite generation.  Now, in this third and final section (chapter 22-36) the writers are exploring the life of faith as a journey with God through the threatening wilderness.  lack of faith expressed in the form of murmuring led to led, while faithfulness required that Israel followed God regardless of the threat. We've moved from the wilderness to the plains of Moab. The setting looks ahead to Jericho across the Jordan River and away from the desert that lies behind.  

Balak summons Balaam.  Balak is the king and believes that his military might cannot save his kingdom from the Israelites onslaught.  He turns instead to witchcraft and summons Balaam.....a "magician" and soothsayer with a widespread reputation.  Though Balaam (Bay-lem) claims loyalty to the Lord, he is more likely to worship numerous pagan gods and conveniently includes the one true God among them.  Balaam obeys when God tells him not to go with the kings emissaries (v. 13).  However, when they return a 2nd time with a the SAME REQUEST....God gives him permission to go.  But God was still angry.  Can't win for loosing!  :)  Then enters the donkey. THE TALKING DONKEY!!!!!!  I LOVE IT!  Its a cartoon in the Bible! Who knew?!  :)  Mr. Ed has nothing on this donkey!!!  Such irony here too!  God could have gotten Balaam's attention in any number of ways.  But who doesn't love it this way?  As a highly sought after fortune teller, Balaam is considered great in the eyes of men.  He is a seer who claims special communication.  The message to Balaam is made quite clear....from, through and by the donkey talking to him!!! God got his attention by the donkey!!!  Essentially, the donkey saves Balaam's life but the diviner is blind to his own rescue and responds each time with anger against his own donkey!!!  Then...the donkey even interprets the message for Balaam.  But the message comes from the lowliest of beasts....a beast of burden....wise and might things do not come from donkeys.  And its interesting to note that Balaam is not surprised that the donkey is talking!  He just responds to him in a conversation as if it were normal to talk to his donkey!!  Balaam is even questioned as to why he beat the donkey.  Had the animal acted in response to Balaam's sinister assumption, the diviner Balaam would be dead.  But eventually, his eyes are opened, he confesses his sin and gets repeated instructions from the angel of the Lord (v. 35). Balaam continues his journey but is to speak only what God instructs him to say!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Numbers 18-20

Day 51

I slept in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  JJ is at Meme's house!!!!!!! Wahoooooo! I'm typing with my freshly painted fingernails that are shiny red and match my toes! Thanks Huney!  Thanks mother!

Chapter 18 & 19    These two chapters guidelines for approaching God.  Verses 1-7 is a response to the fear of Israel expressed in  chapter 17.  Here, we have a divine speech directed at Aaron this time and not at Moses as usual.  Aaron is to maintain purity in the tabernacle and in all situations of danger.  If the priests do their job, and do it correctly and holy, then Israel will not experience more divine wrath!  Verse 8-20 begin and end with divine speeches to Aaron.  God is basically telling Aaron what his compensation package is!  BUT!!  They will not get any land because of their office as priest.  Instead, God is their special possession or inheritance among the people of Israel!  One part of their compensation package that they receive is their share of grain & meats offered up in the sacrifices.  They also receive  things that aren't as holy and can be eaten outside of the tabernacle.  The meat and other offerings are holy and can't leave the tabernacle.  

Chapter 19 begins with the law of having to be clean.  You don't say?!  Where have we heard this before?!  Bottom line....the Israelites and "aliens" (foreigners) are both susceptible to defilement from the dead.  Purification lasts for 7 days and requires washing with the water of cleansing on the 3rd and 7th days.  They end up washing with the ashes from the red cow.  Water is mixed with the ashes and creates a red color.  The color red signifies the blood required to purify from sin!

Chapter 20  Water from a rock! Aaron dies!  So....Moses and Aaron are in trouble.  They both are the chosen leaders but even their sin will not go unpunished!  God tells Moses to SPEAK to the rock and water will come from it.  But instead, at the insistence of Aaron (??!), Moses STRIKES the rock for water.   UH-OH!!!  They disobeyed.  There may have been more to the story than we are seeing here, but regardless...they are in trouble.  Their lack of faith and dishonor of the Lord has led them to punishment.  Maybe they thought they were to provide for the people.....rather than the Lord!  They forget their place in this story!  

They are trying to travel through Edom and they are not allowed. They are denied passage and even threatened war by the Edomites.  So, the Israelites turned around.  They have to leave Kadesh and set out for Mt. Hor where Aaron gets marched to the top of the mountain, de-robed, and dies.  Notice that the people mourn for 30 days.  He was a great leader for them! The normal mourning period is only 7 days!!! We also learn that the office of priestly leadership can only be inherited....thus, it was given to Aaron's son, Eleazar.  Aaron was striped of his office of priest before his death.....the punishment for his sin.  Seems harsh to me!  But then again....I'm not God! :)   Thank goodness!!!!! :)  Aaron releases the robe and releases his claim on his priestly robes. This is a sign of the God-given power being transferred.  Aaron died at a ripe old age and was gathered to his people!  

Lesson's learned:  God will provide.  Even when we don't see how, where or when...water will come from a rock and God will provide!  Have faith!  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Numbers 16-17

Day 50

Going to get to use my Valentine's Day gift certificates for my deluxe pedicure and manicure! Thanks mom for coming over to babysit!!! Hum...what else can I do while she's here?  Nap maybe....I was up at 5:00am! ;)  

Chapters 16   These two chapters really do go together.  These are both about the priestly leadership in the wilderness community and are challenges to both Moses and Aaron.   We start off with the guys who come into conflict with Moses (Korah, Dathan, and Abiram) plus 250 of their closest friends who complain about Moses' and Aaron's lack of charismatic leadership. What we have here friends is a civil revolt!  The people are rising up against the leadership.  One leader, Moses, who is appointed  and called by God; and the other leader, Aaron, who was born into his power of position as a priest.  Neither one of them asked for this.  They are simply following their callings.  The 3 grumblers and their heard of 250 men are opposing the social structure in which priests alone are able to approach God ("the whole community is holy"--v. 3).  They think they are all holy because God dwells in their midst.  This is true, and they believe the structure of the priestly hierarchy is unnecessary and oppressive. Moses and Aaron "have gone too far!"  This is where Moses falls on his face before the congregation as a sign of anger. Moses even summons Dathan and Abiram but, out of disrespect, they do not go when Moses calls for them.  They are rejecting his leadership.  They, ironically, even refer back to Egypt as a place they WANT to go back to as "a land flowing with milk and honey."  No boys....can't go back....must go on and out and forward to CANAAN...THAT is the land flowing with milk and honey.  They just didn't get it! Moses was so angry that he told the Lord not to accept these men's offerings.  Then they were to get their censers and incense.  Now remember, this is what happened to Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu. They died because of their misuse of the censers.   I picture these like the "torches" they use for tribal council on "Survivor!!"  No fire, no life!  :)  But there they are with their censers and incense and the glory of the Lord appeared!  This is serious business when this happens.  The Lord appeared to the entire congregation/assembly.  They know that an appearance of God's glory is not always a sign of His pleasure with them.  When they grumbled, He appeared.  When they rebelled, He appeared.  Now, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram have created an uprising against Him and the glory of the Lord appears once more.  Moses was afraid God was going to be angry with ALL of them...not just the 3 yahoo leaders and the 250 followers.  But God was merciful.  He told them to move away from their tents and those wicked men.  And poof!  The earth swallows them up!  Gone in the sweeping action of the ground opening up under their very feet.  They were NOT to have the censers.  This was a comitted sin that was worthy of capital punishment. Then, low and behold the rest of the 250 are consumed by fire.  They perish!  

I remember thinking and saying to Dusty as we read!  God was M-A-D!!! MAD! Whatever you do, don't make Him mad!   Oh but we do...we disappoint, we frustrate, and we make God sad.  Thank goodness Jesus is on our side!  :)   Even with those men dead and gone, the Israelite community STILL grumbles and STILL complains against Moses and Aaron.  They just didn't learn did they?! it comes again....the glory of the Lord!  He is going to "put an end to them at once!"  The Lord put a plague on the community and "wrath has come out from the Lord!"  More than 14, 700 Israelites died from the plague.  It stopped because Aaron stood between the living and dead; he performed a ritual of atonement in order to intercede for the people.  

Chapter 17  The budding of Aaron's staff/rod.   This is a symbol of his authority in the tribe. This rod rests at the front of the ark of the covenant in the tent of meeting.  Moses is to write the name of each tribal leader on his staff and place it before the ark.  The one whose staff buds is God's chosen priestly leader.  This is to be yet ANOTHER sign of divine election and is intended to stop any further murmuring of the people.  Moses does this and follows the command.  Aaron's staff is the only one that has budded.  It is filled with ripe almonds, visible to all Israelites.  This budding of his staff is a warning to rebels to cease their complaining about the priesthood......lest they die!  The budding almond may signify "watchfulness" as in Jeremiah 1:11.  (We'll get there in the fall sometime!)But the whiteness of the budding almond symbolizes purity and holiness.  And it symbolizes the ability of the Aaronide priesthood to approach God and live.  This is a sign of divine choice by God for only the Aaronide priests to represent the people before God! 

We end with a cliff hanging question, "Are we all going to die?"  The people respond to this miracle of the budding staff with fear.  The plague didn't convince them.  The swallowing up of people didn't convince them.  But This!  This finally gets their attention! Perhaps the people thought these things happened because it was judgment from Moses and Aaron, but now they realized it was from God.  He is holy and to be obeyed.  They finally, if only for a moment, realize the seriousness of their rebellion!  

Lesson's learned:  realize today how much we complain.....sometimes rightfully make a difference and to change things...sometimes just to murmur.  Which is it?!  Follow God and obey Him.   Obey. Obey. Obey.  Not out of fear....but because of the relationship you have with the serve Him...then obedience will follow.  Only the priests could approach God, but WE are a new testament people!   Approach His throne with gratitude and prayers for you and your family!  Go ahead....He's waiting!  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Numbers 14-15

Day 49

Sorry if you're having to  check back to get today's readings.....just late getting here...dishes, kids, and dog you know....I wasn't going to rush to do this....wanted everyone "content" while I did it.  :)  Just as a side note...I hate the smell of peaches.  I fed HannaLee something with peaches in it...I don't like the smell....similar to the smell of dirty rotten socks or an old milk bottle. I dunno.  YUCK. Don't even like the smell of "adult" a truly fresh one...maybe. I've never been one for "mushy" food.  I've been trying to eat 5 fruits and veggies a day.  Peaches is NOT on MY list! :)  I get the 5 but only with the help of 8 oz of V-8 juice!  I can gulp it down and call it 2 veggies!  Done! :)  

Chapter 14    OH MY STARS!  Have you read this yet?  Have you read what the people want to do?  Have you thought "well the nerve they have?!"  The people have murmured again, wishing they had died in Egypt or eve in the wilderness.  They complain about their divine leading and are afraid that their children will become "booty."  So poor Moses falls on his face before the assembly; a posture that is usually of reverence to God BUT!!!!!  When its done before the congregation, it it showing them that they are angry in response to their murmuring. Thankfully, Joshua and Caleb respond here and reaffirm  God's power to fulfill the promise of the land.  They even tear their clothes as a sign of mourning.  Now...there have been days when I've wanted to  tear my clothes because they don't fit but never out of mourning! Well...maybe mourning my skinnier days! :)  So God appears and steps in and complains that He cannot believe that the people have rejected the divine leading.....even though they have seen the signs of His power in Egypt and in the wilderness.  Moses tells God about.....GOD!  Moses uses the Lord's own words to reason with Him!! I loved that part! I love, because Moses has been paying attention! He's been actually listening to the Lord and spending  time with Him so much that he can quote God back to God!!  That's cool! Moses tells God about God.

the 40 days in the wilderness is equal to the 40 years.  The Israelites' sentence of wondering for 40 years is not a random sentence.  Each year of their nomadic existence corresponds to a day that they explored the land.  This 40 year lesson is experienced not only in the LIVES of the people, but also in their DEATHS.  For their acts of rebellion all of those who could have fought in the war (because of their age) will now die in the desert.  For 40 years in the desert, they will not only wander, but they will die....die for their sins of rebellion.  Thankfully God is still compassionate and doesn't completely destroy them.....the younger Israelites will eventually reach the promised land of milk and honey.  THEY will trust God for their power to conquer!!!!

Chapter 15   sigh........We are so excited reading chapter 14 because it was something different.  Here, we have more of the repeat of the offerings......the bottom line here....a sin is a sin is a sin is a sin.  All require atonement.  Intentional or unintentional there are consequences.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Numbers 10-13

Day 48

Hola!  Buenas dias!!  Como estan?!  Todo bien aqui!

Hi!  Good morning!  How are you all?  All is well here!
No Greek lessons to go with our Bible reading....just a little "espanol" sprinkled in to humor you!

Chapter 10 The silver trumpets --  trumpets are talked about throughout the Old Testament. One of a ram's horn and these, the silver  trumpets.  They are to be used to gather the community together and prepare the camp for travel.  There is a series of signals that are used during Israel's wilderness march.  ( it a wilderness or a dessert?!  Dunno.  Both I guess?!)  One trumpet blast calls only the leaders and one loooooooooong blast signals that the east side is to set out.  And then a second loooooooooong blast is for the south side, etc.  The Aaronide priests are in charge of the blowing and tooting of the horn.  Then, once the Israelites are in Canaan, the trumpet will be used to summon the people to holy war AND the trumpet will be used for a divine promise:  that God will be prompted to remember them!  Such power in these trumpets. One toot of the horn and people come running or better yet, God appears to remember you.   I think I'll go see if they have one at Walmart today!  I'll let you know! :)  

Chapter 11     Chapter 10 ended with the Israelites finally leaving Sinai.  They are loaded up and headed out!  Giddy up!  But, there is already grumbling..they are starving and lamenting and whining and complaining....and of course, God heard them and was mad that they were mad.  Not a good thing....ever--it brought about fire from the Lord! :)  So the people cried out so long and loud that Moses had to pray to the Lord to stop the fire.   

So, as we know...the people would rather have had meat to eat than to be free from slavery. Moses even cried out to the Lord, "hey! I didn't give birth to these people...why am I responsible for them?  They aren't my children. And where in the world am I going to get enough meat to feed all of these 600,000 people?!  Where O Lord?!  Where?"  God provided. Quail.  For a month.  Until it came out of their nostrils.  Until they loathed it.  Really...its in there....I didn't make that part up!   They had to eat it for complaining before the Lord.

Poor Moses....he was feeling overwhelmed with no one to help him carry the burdens of the people.  So God had him gather up the 70 leaders to help him.  A lesson to be learned for us too.  Who is around you that can help you?  Who can you share your burdens with?  At church? At home?  In your family? At work?  Be sure to call upon the Lord and your family and friends to help you carry the burdens.  

Chapter 12   This is a chapter that begins the conflict that people were having with their God appointed prophetic leadership.  Moses was the most humble man on earth yet his own family and people were  questioning his leadership.  But the Lord straightened them out by saying HEY!  I'm revealing myself to you all through Moses and it is with him that I speak FACE TO FACE!  So Miriam and Aaron....get over yourselves...its Moses that God chose!  Moses is a very gift and charismatic person ........he does not have an inherited office of is filled with the divine Spirit; he speaks for the community and he intercedes on their behalf.  I think this chapter is the beginning of many "murmuring" stories to come...there is going to be lots of complaining between here and chapter 19.  But I don't blame them....wilderness, camping, not knowing.....quail out their nostrils.....I see where they are coming from!  AND this will be the beginning of the end for this first generation.   

Chapter 13  BoldSome "scouts" are sent out for 40 days to check out the land.  What did they find?  Milk and honey flowing! But also people who were bigger than the Israelites.  Their perspective and their attitude are greatly affected by what they see.  The Israelite spies to Canaan are overwhelmed by the size the inhabitants there.  They couldn't believe their eyes.  God has promised them this land, but all they see is that the people can't be conquered.  Their attitudes negatively impact their ability to move forward.  When they see the size of the Canaanites, they are overcome with fear.  They forgot God's power and promise.  

Don't forget!  Don't complain!  Share your burdens.  Lest your nostrils be filled with quail!  :)  

Monday, February 16, 2009

Numbers 8-9

Day 47

Yawn! Good Morning! Happy Monday! The kids are back to sleeping all night.  Thank goodness!  I get to go play Bunco tonight with the girlfriends! Roll the dice and giggle! Can't beat that!

Chapter 8   Setting up the lampstands....God said to do it and Aaron did...just as he told him; putting the 7 lamps that were made just as God said to do it.  See a pattern here?!  have you noticed the divine command and then the fulfillment of that commands?  God says, the people do.  God says, the people do.  God says, the people do.  If only we did that today all the time! :)  Easier said than done, huh?!

Then we have the setting apart of the Levites. They are to be consecrated to their special jobs through a purification process.  I think its interesting to see that that Aaronide priests are consecrated but here, the Levites are only purified.  The Aaronide priests have to be holy to touch the holy things, but here, the Levites don't handle sacred objects and don't officiate at the altar like the priests.  

The purification process has three actions:  They are sprinkled with water; they shave their ENTIRE BODY (?!); and they wash their clothes.  I read that the practice of shaving EVERYTHING has to do with the Nazarite vow in 6:9 and is also part of their ritual. 

The process by which the Levites substitute for the Israelite firstborn is clarified here in vv. 14-18.  First, as a result of the ritual, the Levites become a divine possession (v. 14).  The divine claim on the firstborn in rooted in the exodus, when God spared the Israelite firstborn, while killing all Egyptian firstborn.  And so, the Levites atone for Israel....the priests perform a ritual of impurities in the sanctuary .  The Levites role in this is that they simply protect the Israelites who live in close proximity to God.  This chapter ends with the men being able to retire at age 50.  I think I remember that being the retirement age when I was kid.  Now its 65!  Wow!  

Chapter 9  The Passover is a time when Israel is defined as the congregation of God.  It is their constitutional feast and participation in it solidifies them as the people of God.  They do this now in order to prepare themselves to journey with God into the wilderness.  They've already been given the instructions back in Exodus 12 as to HOW to eat and celebrate.  Now they are just to do it! It states that some of the people are unclean and could not celebrate the Passover because they had been around a dead body. Now, I don't know if they've been working at the morgue or what.  But they weren't clean and had wait until Moses had an answer from God.  A good lesson for us today too.  Wait upon the Lord.  The Beth Moore Bible study I've been doing was about timing and waiting for God.....God's timing.  Sometimes we get tired and impatient from waiting.  What we need to learn is to be renewed in the "wait time"....God works in the "mean time" and we can rest in the wait time.  That is what these people had to do....wait for Moses to have an answer from God.  I think while I was waiting, I'd get cleaned up.  Had Moses answered on his own, the people would have been forbidden to participate in the celebration.  BUT!  Moses waited and sought answers from the Lord....HE said they could participate.  Never assume and never underestimate!  Ain't God grand?!  

God's presence is with the Israelites by the pillar that directs and night....continually....without ever leaving them.  This cloud is not a sign or a symbol that points them toward heaven with a God separated from His people. Rather, it is a promise that empowers the Israelites that God is with them on their march through the wilderness.Remember, this is going to be a long journey.......with many stops of days, weeks, and even longer periods. Keep your eyes on the will tell you what to do.  And of course, this journey, like many, has no clear ending.  They are just to stay up with the rhythm of the c loud and the Lord and hang on for the journey! 

Tomorrow:  4 chapters if you're reading with me!  Chaptera 10-13.  (Because I was supposed to do 10 with today's and didn't.)  So...go pray.  Go read.  Be holy and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Numbers 7

Day 46

Well my Valentine was a sweetie and the day was hit! :)   I got a deluxe pedicure, a manicure AND a massage...all in the form of gift certificates! WOW!! Day of beauty here I come!!!   Papa Jerry offered to take JJ for the whole day to hang out with him even too!   Dusty and I just hung around the house spending time together.  He asked if I wanted to watch the 2nd Chronicles of Narnia.  Oh sure...why not!?  I sit down on the sofa ready for a 2 hour movie and he puts in the DVD and next thing I know I'm watching a "movie" that Dusty made of pictures of just me and him and then the kids!   In the background of the DVD was our song "When you say nothing at all"  You know.... "the smile on your face lets me know that you love me....."  He played that same song while he proposed to me.  Then when that song was over and the sweet pics were still playing, and tears were streaming down my face, the song "My Valentine" started playing.  It was the best of them all!  It was perfect!  If I could figure out how to post the DVD on here I would!  He did soooo good! I gave him a docker for his iphone and cables to connect to our TV everything on his iphone can be played and seen on a TV!  He thought he was getting it for Christmas...I made him wait because I had to get the cables that went with it! Then we ate dinner and went to the ball game and our team won district!! Yea!  Thank you, honey, for being a sweet  and thoughtful and loving valentine.  Everyday is Valentine's day with you! :)  

Chapter 7  Were you surprised that it was only one chapter to read today?!  Were you then also surprised that that one chapter has 89 verses?!  LOL!  I do have t o point out...and why, I'm not real sure, without doing too much research, but read verse one real carefully.  It says "on the day when Moses finished setting up the tabernacle....."   That took place clear back in Exodus.  So I find that interesting....the short version of the commentary says the time frame and the chronology has befuddled ancient and modern interpreters. So there....we are in good company. We don't know why we've stepped back in time to do this.  Just go with it.....its the Word of God. :)

Verse 10-88 are an extensive account of the gifts presented by each tribal leader over a 12 day period.  The gifts are identical: (grain offering) 1 silver plate, 1 silver basin; incense in 1 gold dish; (burnt offering) 1 bull, 1 ram, 1 male lamb (1 year old); sin offering is 1 male goat; fellowship/well-being offering -- 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 male goats, 5 male lambs one year old.  These are all dedicated to the priests on successive days as resources for the camp group and for the tabernacle.  Theologically, each tribe donates the same equal amount....regardless of the tribes size.  I think on the surface one would think how boring to make the same offering day after day for the 12 tribes.....but think about it differently.....we love celebrating Valentine's day every year, we love celebrating Christmas every year, we love celebrating our birthdays every year....imagine getting to do your favorite holiday for 12 days in a row...the love that would be showered down on you.......the love that you would feel from friends and family.....the love and grace you would feel from God......the humbleness you would feel after 12 days of being showered with the finest gifts and with love.......that's what they did!  Giving their best to God... for 12 days in a row, each taking their turn.  That's holiness I'd say!   This is an entire model of giving.  God didn't tell Moses to tell the people to do it....they just did it.  This wasn't a requirement!  No where does it say "The Lord said to Moses" to do this!  These were spontaneous gifts from the tribes.  No gift greater than selfless giving to the Lord...compelled to do it from the heart.  Giving at its best!  I read this quote, "The principal feature of giving is not that someone or other should receive something, but that the stream of life should continue to flow!"  

The bottom prompt gifts!  Out of love, because of love!  OUr holiness to God is a gift....His holiness to us is a gift.  We give in order to give.....not just to receive.  And in the process, the stream of life --the holiness itself--becomes stronger!  NOt greater word for Valentine's Sunday.  Give out of love!  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Numbers 5-6

Day 45

Happy Valentine's Day! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  For Valentine's Day JJ got me ... .....sleep.  He stayed in his own bed (finally after 2 weeks!) and didn't get up until 7:30!!! And HannaLee went right back to bed after she woke up at 5.  THAT is love! But JJ was also at the basketball game with his daddy until after 9:30 last night too.  Wore him out! :)  I don't think Dusty and I have celebrated a Valentine's Day without pizza!  So, tonight I'm sure we'll all go eat pizza (or better yet a calazone) and then go to a basketball game!  Love the ones your with!!!

Chapter 5  Well.....Dusty read both chapter to me last night....with JJ "listening" in our bed and telling me the story of Goldilocks at the same time!  Here we have a terrible form of legislation for women! Argh! Really?!  The impurity test.  Who knew....the biblical version of the lie detector test?!  Purity is of utmost importance to God because it is about holiness.  Again, holiness!  Chapter 5 and 6 are about protecting the camp from impurity.  And notice how the laws move from talking about relationships outside of the camp (v. 1-4) to life within the camp (5:5-6:21) and the laws that focus on life at the center of the tabernacle.'re dying to know about this test for unfaithfulness for the women.  Don't get yourself in a wad....its okay....kinda! :)   Obviously this has a hint of "magic" to the test and we must think clearly about the interpretation of this to contemporary society! We don't even for one moment believe that this potion can be used to manipulate God.  How we interpret this must include the POWER OF GOD to move and work within the ritual itself and the guilt that may or may not come about from a woman for cheating on her husband!  If one is guilty, and ingests HOLY WATER, there are bound to be physical consequences....get it?  I'd say guilt and not living a holy life are bound to come into play here. Not so much "magic" of the potion.

One of my commentaries states that "much of the language of the text is no longer clear even to experts."  You must always remember to keep the scriptures in their historical context to understand them AND THEN apply them to our contemporary lives.    That is especially true here.  Here they are saying that an innocent woman might be subjected to the test for an unfaithful wife.  But this test did provide physical protection for the wife from her husband if need be.  Without it, a jealous husband might be inclined to take matters into his own hands....beat her or even kill her.  But this test at least provided a structured system for dealing with an unfortunate situation of suspected adultery.    Now, I know what your  contemporary minds are thinking, "well...what about a test for the man?" those days, physical protection wasn't near as necessary in their male dominated society.   However, both men and women were subjected to the same punishment for adultery---death!  

Chapter 6  The Nazarite vow....this provides leadership for the is a special calling for laypersons and only for a designated period of time.  Nazarite comes from the Hebrew word "nazar" which means "to separate" so they are special people who have devoted themselves to God.  They couldn't even eat grapes.....not just grapes...but the point is to not eat anything that would prevent them from being ruled by anything other than God's Spirit.  

And this is my favorite scripture of all....the blessing in verses 24-26!   This is  a blessing of peace (meaning an absence of war!) and even a state of tranquility.  But the peace of God embraces more than either of those aspects. Amen?!  Amen!  God's peace embraces our health, security, our inner being, etc.  The point is that a holy life will bring about all areas of life.   This blessing is even an "ideal vision" of the camp and camp life.  This is even something that I used to SING to my congregation as the "sending forth" at the end of worship.  I used it as the closing benediction.....a divine blessing not from the priest but a power of God let loosed on the people!!! It is used to call forth God's favor....what are your prayers?  Can you imagine.....praying with your husband or even a friend....placing your hands upon them and praying God's blessing on them by reciting (or singing) this prayer?   I dare you!  :)  

What power we have with God!  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Numbers 3-4

Day 44

Finally, I'm here.  Showered and cleaned with a happy, napping baby and a satisfied-while- playing-upstairs toddler.  So, here we go!  :)  I love doing this!  First thing this morning though, I was tired, I was grumpy and I've been up off and on pretty much since 3:30am and I thought...oh heck!  I've gotta blog.  grumble....but that is why I do it....because I love it and its about making myself disciplined to find the time to dig into God's word.  Just in case you haven't noticed the little things around you today...LIFE IS GREAT!  :)  No matter how tired, how grumpy, how'd just better enjoy it and embrace it all!  It's great and a blessing.  As Trace Atkins sings, "you're gonna miss this...."  

Chapter 3  Oh the Levites....weren't they special!?!  They were the priests and special family that were set apart for special service.....Moses and Aaron both belong to the tribe of Levi. Remember, this is one of the 12  tribes that are camped out here in the wilderness.  Each tribe is named after a son of Jacob clear back from Genesis 35.  Here are the sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.   So, the verse 11-13 where it talks about taking the firstborn, or the offspring, this is a reinterpretation of the ancient law found in Exodus.  And...instead of having to go into lifelong religious service, the firstborn are redeemed by a "sacrifice" for the Lord.    This time, the census in not military, but rather is associated with with firstborn who are redeemable from the age of a month.  These redeemable firstborns are not to be confused with your Sunday paper coupons.  They are of no value to the Lord....just to your local shopping store! :)  

The rest of this chapter breaks down which clan will have what responsibilities for the certain things in the tent of meeting/tabernacle.   

Chapter 4 I'm sure, like me and Dusty, you were wondering about this "sea cow" (depending on your translation).   Dusty's NKJ said "badger" or even the dolphin skin.   The NRSV says "fine leather."  I guess that's the main point...they are to use special coverings for the sanctuary.  Don't just throw your sackcloth over the items of the tabernacle.  The doplin/seal etc. are commonly found in the Mediterranean and  the items are sacred and to be cared for with holiness.  They might just seem like everyday items, but isn't it great that we can find holiness in the ordinary.  In the desert this hides from the marine animals (such as the sealion) are rare and valuable...that is what makes them even more appropriate for use in the tabernacle.  What a boring, depressing life we would live if we didn'tfind the holiness in the ordinary!  There is great holiness in the mundane....I'm learning that!  :) laundry, dishes, change diapers....and be holy!  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Easy comments

I made it easier to leave a comment.  Some of you said you were having trouble. 

Comment away! :)  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Numbers 1-2

This really is Thursday's posting....I started it last night and it creates the post based on the  time I start it...not the time I actually post it!!

Day 43 @  6:35am...started it last night to try something....didn't work...I can't put a link in here.  Don't know how.  :)  

(read the "introduction to numbers" post that I wrote below, too)

1.....2.......3......4......5......6......7.......8.......9.......10......11.........12.........13.......14........okay, I'm not going to count all the way to 603,550 for you......but, hey, the book is about "numbers."  And that's just what they did.   

Below are pics of the Sinai desert...where the people will wonder for 40 years.   I did read that there was an actual oasis that they camped by.  So, that would account for having water. 

And....for is a link to a quiz about the book of Numbers...take it now and then again after we finish and see what we learned!  Cut and paste this and see if it works!

Chapter 1    The book starts off by taking a census of "all the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were counted, listed by name, one by one, according to the records of their clans and families...."  All chapter 1 does is list the family names and how many army-fighting age men there were.   The Lord wants this done in order to establish a little bit of organization to the families and to instill a sense of discipline within the people.  At great concern here is order and organization.  There is a divine command (1:1) and that is fulfilled (1:54).  They choose lay leaders (1:5-15) and they count the people (1: 17-47).   The people respond to God in  trying to create a new sense of community in the wilderness. The Israelites are being prepared to face their enemies and the hardships that lay ahead. 

Did you notice that Levi's family did NOT get counted.  They won't be considered military numbers because they are in charge of the tabernacle!  Everything about the tabernacle is under their care......the furnishings, they are to carry it, etc.  This is their responsibility!  

Chapter 2  Everything these people do is going to center around the camp with the tabernacle at the center of it all.  This is a "map" of sorts as to where each tribe will be in relation to the tabernacle.  In chapter 1, all they did was say individual numbers of each tribe.  Here in chapter 2 we at least get a final tally (minus women, children, men under the age of 20 and minus the Levites) number 603, 550!   The numbers were repeated twice......Dusty thought that was very interesting...that is all these chapter do......give us appropriate start given the name of the book!  :) here's the cool part.  I did a veeeeeeeeery long Bible study with Beth Moore (not in person...just via DVD) about the tabernacle.   At first this looks just like "you go here, you go here, you stay here, etc" when telling the tribes where they are to camp.  But, Beth  pointed out what this might look like from "God's perspective" if you will.......okay....envision this:  the tabernacle is the center of the camps and tribes...its the heart of it all.  Then to the North...these the south...these the east and to the west.....with your finger, draw a line from North to south and another one from west to east.  What shape did it make?  


W        tabernacle E


A cross!  From God's perspective (looking down from heaven, if you will), the people surround the tabernacle and make the shape of a cross!! And at the center of it all...don't miss the place where God's presence is made known.  It is the center of their very lives!   

Where is God in your life today?  In the center? or slightly on the don't have to post a comment telling us where He is for you.  But think about it.  They were ready to set out into the wilderness with each of their clans and families....and God was going with them...desiring to be at the very center of their very existence.  

Wherever you lead, I'll follow......

Introduction to Numbers

If you can believe it....I've had a free "quiet" hour while JJ has played with Kennedy at Nana's.  So, a brief overview of what we will be reading upcoming in Numbers.

Numbers!  Numbers!  Numbers!  We've made it!  Made it to the 4th book of the Bible! Wow!  A little background information about the Book of Numbers before we get started. The subheading in my Bible calls this a book about "wonderings of a faithless generation."  Faithless??  Did they not read about what would happen to them if they didn't keep a relationship with God??!  Oh my...this is going to be interesting!  

This book falls into 2 main divisions:  chapter 1-25 -- how the entire first Exodus generation murmured against God in the wilderness and refused to take the land.  They rebelled, complained, and disobeyed time and time again.  And what did God do? He gave them mercy and forgiveness...despite their continued rebellion!  Their lack of faith will bring about the death of an entire generation and 40 years of wondering in the Sinai desert. 

The end of the book (chapters 26-36) will deal with a new generation that God leads toward the promised land under Moses' leadership.  I think we will see a great contrast play out between the security they found in slavery verses the freedoms they have in the wilderness!!!   

Leviticus 26-27

Day 42

What?!  Only one comment from my mother at how precious my children are?! Humph! :) I do really think they are cute!  And...they are!  

We've finished another book!  Don't find that fulfilling and exciting?  I love it!  I almost feel sad that another book is over but there is plenty more to come so keep diggin' in!

Chapter 26  After learning all of the laws of the holiness code and after learning how to make sacrifices it comes down to being able to make two choices:  to obey or not to obey.  And great are the consequences for either choice.  Rewards or punishments.  There is an immediate and tangible reward for their immediate compliance.  They will have 6 blessings...showers of blessings: 1) they will have rain, (crops, fruits, all the food they want), 2) and will live safely in their land...they will have peace and not be afraid.  3) God will "take care of" their enemies and keep beasts from their land; 5)they themselves will be looked upon with favor and their crops and cattle will prosper, 6) God will move and be with them and they will no longer ever be slaves.   

But their punishments for disobedience will bring about God's displeasure and He will send them terror, disease, hunger, and defeat on those who disagree with His laws.  Even in the midst of a famine that God will bring upon them they will be so desperate as to eat the flesh of their sons and of their daughters.  Now, that's what I call a famine.  YUCK!    The 6 blessings are contrasted with 6 curses: 1) sudden terror; 2) their judgment will be "seven times" higher; 3) wild animals will be let loosed; 4) threat of war; 5) plagues and disease; 6) and finally...if no repentance and no turning from their disobedience has come forth the land will become desolate, their cities will lay in ruins, and the Lord's anger and fury will be upon them.  Interestingly enough, if those who are left will finally confess their sins and those of their fathers-- the wrath of God will cease.  God WILL remember them and the covenant He made with their people.  He will be their God for He is the Lord.

Chapter 27    This is another accounting system for their laws of vowing people and things to God.  These are not mandated vows, but rather come out of one's own desire to express love to the Lord.  This could be misleading that men are "worth more" than women....but a commentary states that it is not about a woman's intrinsic value, but rather about the "amount of work women and men were expected to give at the temple."  That made me feel better.  :)  Once anything is dedicated and devoted to the Lord it is His.....totally and wholly (and holy! :)  )  Our devotion is a serious thing...not be done lightly..

Lesson's learned from Leviticus as a whole:  holiness consists of full and total consecration one one's whole person to the Lord.  It calls to separate oneself from uncleanness and from all that defiles.  The only way to attain the holiness taught in Leviticus is both in its initial inception as well as in its daily renewal.  Why do all this?  Why bother?   Because as it is written in 19:2, "be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy!"   No better summary!

Tomorrow........Numbers 1-2!  

May peace and holiness be yours........

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Leviticus 24-25

Day 41  

Okay....look at this.....    1:30, 2:30, 3:30-4:30, and, no, no...these are not scriptural references, though I wish they were. They are times...times that SOMEONE was up in our house last night.  Did I hear somebody say "yawn?"  JJ was in and out of our bed, HannaLee had a snotty nose, couldn't breathe and I think is trying to get teeth, so....we had a crazy night.

Chapter 24  Not much holiness here.  In fact, its a contrast to holiness!    This chapter starts off with the bread and the oil.  The lampstand functioned as a symbol of the people as a light to the nations, spreading the gospel to through the energizing power of the Holy Spirit.  In case you missed the point of how often the lampstand is to is to burn CONTINUALLY. The bread of presence was the consecration to God of the labor and work of the Israelites' hands....just like from the grain offering in chapter 2.  This is not an individual offering like in that chapter, but this is a communal offering from the whole people of their fruits and labors.  

Now, the not so holy part.  Blasphemy is not just cursing the Lord.  It is completely challenging the honor and authority of God.  In a day where swearing against the Lord is all too common, that law against this in Leviticus is startling!  They were stoned to death by the entire community.  This causes impurity within the community and chips away at the core of their foundation...which is supposed to built on faith and a reverence to the Lord.  Severe punishment is not only is necessary for the protection of God's people.  

Chapter 25   This chapter is full of too much math for me! :)  7 Sabbaths for 7 years that equals forty-nine years and then add a year for the fiftieth year to be consecrated to the Lord.  Call this year the Year of Jubilee.  Its about freeing the slaves, canceling the debts, and everyone returns home.  This keeps people from taking advantage of one another and to keep the rich from getting richer and the poor from getting poorer.  We have social justice and social worship all wrapped up into the year of Jubilee.  We must have love and mercy for our neighbors....whether homeland inhabitants or aliens among us...not real aliens...they aren't in the Bible.  Aliens the foreigners.  Just to clarify!  We have all been recipients of God's grace....let's extend it to those around us! 

Grace, grace....God's grace...... 

Monday, February 9, 2009


A new pic on my profile just for a few days!  I don't like my kids pics on the internet, but most of you are family and friends and this was too precious to not share!   

Leviticus 22-23

Day 40!   Well, we've done this as long as Noah had a flood!  :)  Surely we are on a roll!!

Been without power since 5:30am!!!   Why?  I don't know.  yes it rained last night and the wind 1:30!!!!  but at 5:30??  AND our neighbors had lights!?   ARGH!!  But a few flashlights later and a phone call on a cell phone we're up and going.  Sorry if your coffee's cold.  At least you got some! :)  

Chapter 22  "Holiness, holiness, holiness is what I long for"  Know the song?  Was it written for Leviticus?  We can get so caught up in the yucky and boring of the sacrificial instructions that we forget the reason for be holy.  Did you do your homework yesterday?  Counting the places where God said "I am the Lord"  or circling/underling the places where death is associated with immorality in sexual relations or circle the word holy?   All of this is leading up to being holy with our Lord.  

Baby is hungry....go finish your homework....I"ll be back! 

Okay....we're back!   Quickly.....we are in the midst of the holiness code -- chapters 17-26--holiness in eating (17:1-16); holiness in sexual behavior (18:1-30); holiness in social ethics (19:1-37); holiness in worship (20:1-8, 27); holiness in family relations (20:9-26); holiness in the priesthood (21: 1-22:16)... and here we are today....holiness in sacrificial offerings (22:17-33).  There are certain offerings that are unacceptable to the Lord:  things with defects, things that have warts, burns or sores; no bruised testicles allowed (?!); none of these are to be placed on the altar...they are unacceptable to the Lord and will not be accepted on your behalf.  The reasoning for all of this?  Its kinda like saying  "okay God...I promise to give you my very best of my time, my energy, my talents, my crops.  I promise you I'll give you the best." But then what do we really show up with?  Table scraps and leftovers and giving Him whatever we can spare.  Not how we are to treat the Lord.   Amen?  Amen!

Chapter 23 More holiness.  I know.  I're surprised! :)  Here we have holiness in observing the festivals.  So far the holiness has been related to person, places, and things.  But now it is extended to God's holy time.  These festivals are to commemorate the Israelites' flight from Egypt...OH! I love the end of chapter 22, verse 33: "I am the Lord, who makes you holy, and who brought you out of Egypt to be you God.  I am the Lord."  Ever heard anyone say to their child, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it"?  Kinda echoes this verse....hey!  I brought you out of Egypt and I can send you back!  :)  Just a funny.

The Passover festival begins in our month of March/April with a ceremonial dinner where they read the exodus story and eat in remembrance of their captivity...bitter herbs for their tears, bread without yeast because they didn't have time for it to rise. The Passover pointed forward to Christ, our Passover, who was slain for the sins of the world!  Amen!  and Amen!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Leviticus 19-21

Day 39

Right to it.

Chapter 19   Various laws that continue here about the "holiness code" and how to live holy lives. There is a constant, consistent exhortation to "be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."  And there is a repeat that "I am the Lord your God" (18:4, 30; 19:3, 4, 10, 25, 31, 34, 20:7;)  just to mention a few in today's readings! Make no mistake about it holiness is an expectation and a standard!   This entire chapter all but reiterates and summarizes again the 10 commandments.  Can you find them all listed in this chapter alone?!  They're there.  It is not the 10 commandments is the 10 commandments reinforced and illustrated in a practical sense!  

Chapter 20  Punishments for their sins    Now this chapter does repeat the verses of sexual relationships in chapter 18 and even illustrates the seriousness of sins against family.  A much greater concern of holiness than other areas of life!  Many of the consequences for the punishments of sins  is "cutting off" from family....that could even include death! The bottom line of the reasoning of punishment......the rid the community of sins and immoral sexual relationships; the defender must receive "justice" for the "crime"; punishment will deter others from committing the same sins; the person might be able to make atonement and be reconciled to society.   But whatever you do, don't seek out a "medium, or spiritist"  for your help or answers.  You WILL be put to death.  

Chapter 21  here we have the holiness code for the priests.   Now here is a verse that Dusty and I thought, "what?!  Food for God?"   My version (NIV) says that as the priests are offering sacrifices to God that it must be "made to the Lord by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy" (v. 6).  Food for their God?!!!?  I hope that caught your attention when you read it.  I think I'm going to have to do a little more reading on this one later.  It could just be a translation "issue."  Nope...its a "tradition" issue.  They used to offer up food sacrifices for their "gods" and this is simply using the language of the tradition....God doesn't really need food.  this is "faintly echoing the ancient notion of sacrifice as the offering of food for the deity."  Shew!  Glad we cleared that up.  

Just for fun...I love underlining things in my chapter 19....see how many times there is the phrase "I am the Lord" or "I am the Lord your God."  

In chapter 20 see how many times there is the consequence of "death" or "die" as a punishment for sexual sins.  

In chapter 21  count/circle how many times the word "holy" appears!  

THAT should illustrate our lesson's learned today!  Go do it!  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Leviticus 16-18

Day 38

Nothing like a 7 month old trying to crawl! Such joy, hope, and anticipation all wrapped up in her trying! On all fours....rocking back and forth.....head down ready to go and reaching out...all jut to fall short in the attempt. But such joy in the moment of the hopeful! Ain't God grand?!

Chapter 16 The Day of Atonement ....seems we've been building up to this all along....the ultimate day of the year for sacrifices. On this day the people fast and the high priest makes the sacrificial atonement for the sins of the people. All of this is done in the Most Holy Place in the Tent of the Meeting. NO ONE enters here except for Aaron and his sons...the high priests. But now...he may not enter her just whenever he pleases. The Lord has made it very clear that he can enter here only once a year on the day of atonement. This is where God appears in the cloud over the atonement cover (v. 2) and if one else enters into the Most Holy Place...they will die! Aaron is to first make a sin offering for himself before he does one on behalf of his people. As Aaron steps behind the curtain after bathing himself and putting on his holy clothes. He takes with him a bull to offer up for his own sins. He offers this BEFORE he goes into the Most Holy Place....before he enters God's presence. Then Aaron has 2 for an offering and one as a "scapegoat." I never realized this is where the term came from! Things you learn when you read the Bible! :) The first goat is slaughtered then only the blood is taken behind the curtain and is sprinkled on the atonement cover an in front of it. This symbolizes the death that covers sin. Then, this is so interesting, the second goat is sent off into the desert symbolizing the removal of sin from the people! Isn't that cool? Isn't that a great imagine? A goat running free, away from the people with their sins? A great imagine, but call me crazy, I"m a New Testament kind of girl...I like the whole Jesus thing better! HE is our perfect sacrifice so that we can enter God's presence. Amen? Amen! His sacrifice atones for it all. Thanks be to Jesus!!!!

Chapter 17 Okay...this is kind of like Survivor where "fire" is life on the island. But here, its blood. Blood is associated with life. We have to grasp that in this book of Leviticus. A gory and gross concept, but the blood of the sacrifices is atoning!!!!! Verse 11: "for the life a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Sin separates us from God and this is to bring us back in right relationship with Him...through the life-altering blood. I say again, I'm glad we are a New Testament people!! Chapter 17 is about forbidding the eating of blood. If they do, they will be cut off from their people. They are to now bring the sacrifices to the tabernacle. They can no longer try and do their own sacrifices for their sins out in the field. God is afraid that they are misusing the animal sacrifices and the blood. So, from now on it must be brought to the priests.

Chapter 18 Unlawful sexual relations. Dusty's version (NKJ) says that you must not "look upon the nakedness" of someone. My version (NIV) says very explicitly that you are not to have sex with such and such and so and so. This chapter is a long list of who not to sleep with. I'll sum it up: if you're not married to it, you can't sleep with it! There. 'Nuff said! Can't get any simpler and plainer than that folks! But....God didn't just say it that way....He said it very specifically for a reason...maybe two reasons: 1) so that there are no loopholes or misinterpretations or questions about their sexual relationships. No whining about "I didn't know." Improper sex out of your own marriage "brings dishonor!" 2) Its about obedience. Bottom line....very specific instructions from the Lord....its about obedience to Him. Why be obedient to the Lord? Like our mothers say, "because I'm the mommy!" Well...then...because He's the Lord. Obey because "I am the Lord." It says it in verses 4, 5, 6, 21 and greater reason to obey the laws/guidelines/instructions/commands of the Lord than because He says so and He's the Lord! Disobedience will result in being cut off from their people. They are to be fighting against ungodly behavior...they've committed enough sins in the past...especially the Egyptians they worked for...and now, God is giving them boundaries to holy life. Why? Because "I am the Lord your God." 'Nuff said! :)

Give thanks with a grateful heart..............