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.

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