Numbers 19 – Purpose

We talked about the weight of being chosen and the wages as well.  Now we look at the purpose.  Aaron & his sons and the rest of the Levites were not chosen for the fun of it.  They were given a reason, a purpose.  This is where we begin to see that.

This is where we see the ordinance of the red heifer.  The red heifer is meant to be a sacrifice, but not just any sacrifice.  It is the sacrifice that cleanses the tabernacle.  That is one of the primary roles and purposes of the priest.  They are to offer the sacrifices and teach the people so that they can be purified and so that their sins can be covered.  Their purpose is to serve YHWH, and to help the unclean to become clean before the LORD.

What happens when the unclean does not become clean… when the priest does not do his duty as he has been called by YHWH to do?

20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD;

If the priest did not do his duty, the peoples sins were not covered, and they were forever separated from the assembly … the people … the congregation of YHWH.  That’s quite the responsibility.

Aren’t you glad that there is both a perfect Sacrifice and a perfect Priest.  One who cannot fail in his priestly duties because He is both the one who cleanses us, and the one who makes us clean.  The one sent of YHWH to answer the perfect call with perfect purpose.

Thank you Jesus the Christ.  The one prophesied to come, and the one to fulfill all of the prophesies.  Now we too can have a purpose!

Rev. John Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 18 – Weight & Wages

YHWH has shown who He has chosen.  He has made it clear that HE has chosen Aaron and his line for the priesthood.  This is the calling of the LORD.

Last chapter so many were seeking it, but only one was chosen.  Verse 1 of chapter 18 says, “So the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You and your sons and your father’s household with you shall bear the guilt in connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt in connection with your priesthood.”  Wait a minute?  I thought that the priesthood was supposed to be a blessing!  Yet as soon as it is clear that Aaron’s line is chose, the weight of that choice is laid out.

Oh, to be the chosen of the LORD!  Tevya (Fiddler on the Roof) said,  “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”  The Levites are the chosen people, but it also means that they have a huge responsibility.  If anything goes wrong, the blame fell squarely on them.  Being chosen is a blessing, but it comes at a price.  Look at anyone chose of YHWH.  The prophets were chosen of God, yet so many of them were rejected and killed for speaking the truth.  Job was chosen to be blessed of the LORD, yet look at the trial he went through.  The disciples were chosen, yet martyrdom became their prize.  The Messiah Himself came and fulfilled His purpose.  The purpose outlined in Isaiah 52-53.  53:7 says,

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. 

That’s what it means to truly means to be chosen.

That is not the end of the chapter.  That may be the weight, but there are still the wages.  The priests may have had to bear the weight and the responsibility of priesthood, but they were not without the wages.  Many of the sacrifices offered to YHWH were the priests payment.  In vs. 17, it says, “…they are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD…”  Given to the LORD, yet payment to the priests.

This principle should still exist today.  Those called to be pastors have a HUGE responsibility.  More so than even they realize most times.  However, there should be no one more blessed in all the congregation than the pastor who has been called of God.  It comes at a price.  A price that is overwhelming.  BUT, it should not be without the blessing.  Keep that in mind if / when you are ready to be critical of a pastor.  Chances are, they are holding the responsibility, are you giving them the blessing?

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 17 – The Sign

The people complained again (ch 16), this time about Moses AND Aaron!  So God has decided, yet again, to make it clear to the people who HE has chosen.

I really like this response.  God gives the leaders a task.  Take a rod from the leader of each tribe.  Have them carve their name in the rod so it is clear who’s rod is whose.  Then put them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony before YHWH overnight and see what happens.  It’s a beautiful sign.  The rod of Aaron… a dead piece of wood with no hope and no future but to be used, broken, and discarded is given something more.  After one night in the presence of YHWH, with His blessing, it has new life.

It’s such a beautiful picture because it is a picture of us.  How many of us have had no hope and no future.  We have been used, broken, and discarded… sometimes even by ourselves.  Sometimes the hopelessness is because we have everything.  For the most part, we have what we want.  We have what we need, but we have found that it just isn’t enough.  In spite of everything we are.  In spite of everything we have accomplished, we just feel like a dead stick.  Yet one night in the presence of YHWH is all that we need to become alive once again.

That is the message, power, and work of God / YHWH.  Faith, Hope, and Love!

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Update

Well, it’s been a long year.  I set this up to do a chapter a day knowing that there would be days I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Little did I know that I’d get halfway through the year and run into major medical issues, then with a new job and stressor after stressor I just wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Since I last posted in the end of September / beginning of October I haven’t stopped copying, I’ve only stopped posting.

As of New Year’s Eve I finally finished the last chapter of Deuteronomy.  So I currently have Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy finished.  I reached one major milestone.  I have the entire Torah/law finished! (with the Matthew bonus).  Deuteronomy 17:18-19 says,

“Now it shall come about… he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll… It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God…” (NASB)

Technically I have completed the task that these verses state.  So I could stop right now, but I don’t think I want to.  While the task is to fulfill this command, the life goal is to do the entire Bible.  So now it’s time to move on to the rest of the historical books.

I don’t know if I’m going to start posting again.  I absolutely love it, but there are way too many other things (family, work responsibilities, sleep, sanity, etc.) pulling me in various directions, and not nearly enough readers to justify the time sink.  Either way let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

John C.

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Numbers 16 – Rebellion

Are people really so foolish?  It seems to me that by now the people would understand that the LORD is with Moses and that He is guiding Moses steps.  It would seem that the people would understand that it is their foolishness that has brought them to the place they are right now.  It would seem that the people would have a healthy fear of Moses and YHWH.  It would seem…  Yet for some reason they don’t.  They don’t understand that when they trust / ave faith in YHWH, He guides and blesses them.  They don’t understand that obedience is better than sacrifice.  They don’t understand that the more we rebel against God, the more difficult it is for us.  We just don’t seem to get it!

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Numbers 15 – Answers

I copied over this chapter a couple of days ago, and my initial reaction to it was one of surprise.  Numbers 14, the chapter before, was all about how the people did not listen to YHWH, but took the bad report from their leaders and instead disobeyed God.  As a result of that, the people are sent to the wilderness for another 40 years so that they will die in the wilderness and their children will inherit the land.  Yet, here we are in Numbers 15 and the chapter starts out; “Now the LORD (YHWH) spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you enter the land where you are to live, which I am giving you, then make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering or a sacrifice to…“, and it goes on.

Am I the only one that is a little confused about this?  The people have just been told that because of their sin, they will spend the next 40 years wandering around in the wilderness.  They will die and will never see the land promised to their forefathers by YHWH.  Now suddenly YHWH is telling them that when they enter the land that He is giving them, they are to make an offering by fire to Him, and then He proceeds to explain the offering to them!?

That question went to the back of my mind as the chapter went on.  Any sacrifice made by someone who is an alien (later to be referred to as gentile) or sojourner was to be the same as that of the native (Jew).  The firstfruits were to be lifted up as an offering, and offering for unintentionally sinning.  There was a man who had been gathering wood on the Sabbath day, and the people’s response to that.  Then finally it ends with YHWH instructing the people to put tassels on the corners of their garments each with a cord of blue to remind them of YHWH’s laws and to obey them.

However, this morning i turned to Numbers 15 to write this post, and the answer hit me.  It wasn’t that YHWH was trying to be cruel to them, or that He was trying to tell them that they actually would enter the promised land.  It was not Him teasing the people, it was about Him giving them hope.  Because of their sin to God, the people have just lost everything that they had been working towards.  The wilderness was now all that they would know and see.  As a result the people would become demoralized and hope / vision less, and as Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,  But happy is he who keeps the law.

These statements are made to provide the people with hope.  To give them something to look to.  The people’s hope and purpose is now to raise up their children to be the generation that will not turn away from YHWH, that will go forward and take the land.  They may not be entering it themselves, but their children would, and they needed them to be ready!

These three abide / remain / are not consumed; faith, hope, and love!  With YHWH these will always be.  The people needed the answer of hope.  What do you need?

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 14 – Doubt

Well, the damage has been done, and it has only just begun.  The bad report has been made, and now the people respond!  “Why have you brought us and out children out here to die?”  “Their walled cities are just too big!”  “There’s some terrible people up in them there hills!”  “We won’t stand a chance!”  “The enemy’s too big”  “I just can’t figure it out”  “We don’t have a five-year plan”  “But we just don’t have time”  “We can’t afford to do that in this kind of economy”  “It costs too much” “How am I going to take care of my family?”  “But God!  Be reasonable!”  “Why do we need to do that.  We haven’t needed to do it that way before.”  “What about the separation of church and state?”  “We could lose our tax-exempt status!”  “Someone else will do it”  “I’m just not ready”

There is always a reason why we can’t do what God / YHWH has called us to do.  The people sinned because they rejected what YHWH was doing.  It didn’t matter that God was in control.  What matters is what we can think / worry about.  We look at how big the enemy is, and we forget about how much bigger our YHWH is. 

What promised land had YHWH already promised to give to you?  Are you pursuing it under God’s direction, or are you running from it because the problems look too insurmountable?  Will you lose out on the promise that YHWH made to you because of your own fears and lack of faith, or will you proceed under YHWH’s direction and pursue the work and will of God?

LORD, give me the ability to see these concerns and these problems through your eyes.  YHWH, continue to give me guidance and direction.  I do not want to be a foolish builder, but then neither do i want to be an Israelite rejecting the promised land for fear of the Canaanites.  Guide and direct me today.  In Jesus name I pray,  AMEN (that it be done).

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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