Category Archives: Application

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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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 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 12 – Rank Unrest

The unrest continues.  In chapter 11 the people complained to Moses & the LORD yet again.  Moses became fed up with having to deal with it all the time and he complained to the LORD about the people.  So YHWH gave Moses 70 elders to assist him in leading the people.  Every one of them spoke prophetically when the Holy Spirit descended on them the first time.  Then the people’s complaints led to YHWH striking them with a plague.

Now, we arrive at Numbers 12, and it’s not done yet!  The people are doing it; Moses has done it; now Miriam and Aaron are joining the fray.  Everyone’s airing their complaints, now they are going to as well.  A while back, before the whole Exodus trip, Moses had been in the wilderness for 40 years and while there he married a woman of the people of Cush instead of an Israelite woman.  This is part of the problem as this is what leads into the other complaint, the real issue.  Miriam and Aaron use this as a stepping point to help justify their big complaint.  Moses is getting all of the glory!  He leads, and now he has just given these other people, these 70 elders some of the leadership and authority given to him by YHWH!

How do we know that these 70 elders are worthy of being leaders?  The Holy Spirit came upon them and they prophesied!  So if proof of God / YHWH’s divine calling is to prophesy, Miriam & Aaron should be able to lead as well!

Why does Moses get to do all the leading?  YHWH has obviously spoken in and through them as well.  These other leaders have only been doing this for a day and they are leaders of the people.  Miriam and Aaron have been at the forefront, been actively involved, and have been prophesying (being a mouthpiece of YHWH) since before Egypt for Aaron, and at least since they crossed the Red Sea for Miriam!  Yet here they are, playing second fiddle to these underlings!

Does that sound familiar to some of you?  Was there some merit in their argument?  Absolutely!… kind of.  They had been used by YHWH that whole time.  Aaron had even performed miracles in Egypt.  The reality is that Miraim and Aaron had been leaders the entire time.  They did not have the titles that these other “leaders” were given (although Aaron was High Priest), but they were just as much leaders, if not even more, than those appointed.  So what happens to Miriam and Aaron when they, as leaders, speak out against Moses, YHWH’s chosen leader?  “…behold, Miriam was  leprous, as white as snow…”  Miriam was the leader in this complaining (hence her name showing up first), so she received the responsibility and the brunt.  She got what she asked for.  She was the leader and she got the punishment.  Even then, her leadership was proven.  She ended up cast out of the camp for a week because of her uncleanness from the leprosy, and the whole congregation refused to leave where they were until she was back where she belonged.  THAT’S what a good leader looks like!  She may not have had the title she wanted, but she was a leader.

Are we so caught up in titles that we lose focus on our purpose?  Do we get upset when someone lower than us is “given” a leadership role we “deserve”?  Be careful what you speak against YHWH’s anointed.  YHWH does not take that criticism lightly.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 11 – Unrest

There appears to be unrest in the ranks.  Two chapters ago God was telling the people to look back and remember all that had happened in the last year.  He called for the celebration of the Passover feast and a time for the people to reflect back.  He was setting / reinforcing a precedent, preparing the people for the next stage of the journey.  So the people had their second Passover feast and their time to reflect on all the ways YWHW has blessed them.  They are finally setting out on their journey to the promised land!

Then… well, the first verse says it all: “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled”  Oy vey!  The complaining just continues.  The people are on their way to the land flowing with milk and honey.  They are eating Manna, food provided directly to them by God.  They have seen miracle after wonder after miracle after wonder, and what do they do?  We complain!  We complain and we complain and we complain!  How often does YHWH do something amazing for or through us, and within a month, a week, or even a day we are ready to complain that things are not good enough!

I’m a little bit behind again on my posting (about 4 chapters or so), so the other day I was talking with my wife about this chapter and how much this is a reflection of us.  We have really felt like the last few years of our lives have been a wilderness experience for us.  In this wilderness YHWH has blessed and provided for us in so many different ways.  He has continued to take care of us even when I was jobless or only making a minimal wage at a very difficult part-time job, and my wife has been a stay at home mom with our four young kids.  Through this time His blessings have continued and all of our “needs”, and even many of our “wants” have been provided for.

Yet through this all, my wife and I find ourselves complaining about what we don’t have; about how we are going through all of this and these other people are being blessed even when they act foolishly and we are acting wisely; about what we can’t do and where we aren’t living.  It’s funny; after going through chapter 9 where it talks about the people celebrating the Passover it’s easy to be critical of them complaining and their foolishness, but the reality is that we aren’t much different.

Lord, YHWH, forgive us for our complaints, our unrest.  Help us to have the right attitude and  to worship you freely.  Help us to look to You and to be a blessing to those around us.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Rev. John

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Numbers 9 – Anniversary

Wow, a year has passed since the people of Israel have come out of the land of Egypt!  So much has happened in all that time.  Now, it is time to look back on all that has happened.  It had been exactly one year previously that the people of Israel had still been slaves in Egypt.  They were celebrating their first Passover and were in wonder of all the miracles God / YHWH had done in their midst and to Egypt.  That night the angel of the Lord / YHWH passed-over the nation of Egypt and took the lives of the firstborn of all who lived.  However, those who were of the lineage of Israel and were celebrating the Passover feast were passed-over and their lives were not taken from them.

Now a year later they look back and see all the miraculous wonders of all that the LORD has done for them since then.  It is an amazing picture that is hard to put into words.  I am almost envious of them of this moment.  How many of us, in a year’s time, get to bee freed from slavery, watch the army of our biggest enemy buried by a sea right after we walk through it on dry land, complain and then see nasty foul water turned pure and clean by a tree placed in it, cross a dessert, come  to the mountain of YHWH, have YHWH speak to you from the mountain and completely shake your world, see a religious system (one of  the longest lasting ever) built in front of your eyes, watched THE tabernacle being built and erected, and a hoard of people become organized into a huge standing army that is about to be led by YHWH in a cloud by day that becomes as a pillar of fire by night?  It’s an amazing picture!

Maybe it’s time to look back on our own lives this past year.  What amazing and miraculous things has He done in and through us this year?  Are you able to come up with 100?  …how about one?  If you are having a difficult time coming up with even one miraculous thing that YHWH has done for you in the past year, maybe it’s time to start asking the question, “Why?”.  Why in a year’s time can I not think of a single miraculous thing that God / YHWH has done for me?  Why does it seem like God isn’t doing anything?  Is it God / YHWH, or is it me / us?

YHWH is always at work.  He is always doing the miraculous.  Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19)  Jesus spent His entire ministry doing the miraculous.  Every life that He came into contact with He touched and affected.  The very last verse of the Gospel of John says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” Jesus was continually doing the miraculous.  So His father… so much more!  If we cant see the work that YHWH has done miraculously in our lives, then we are either ignorant (which is fixed with education) or we are blind, and we need a touch of YHWH’s hand once again to help us see.

Lord, open my eyes and help me to see.  Also, open the eyes of the reader to see as well.  You make the seeing blind and the blind see.  You are a God of miracles, give us the wisdom and knowledge to see!  Thank you Lord / YHWH!  In Jesus name we pray… Amen (let it be done)!

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 8 – Levites

There was a guy that i worked with for a while who was of the sons of Levi (per self-report).  He stated that He was of the direct lineage of the Priestly line (a high priest).  A great, great, great, great, great… grandson of Aaron.  He was a kind of chubby, dirty, greasy kind of guy, but he was good with pipe organs and other construction work.  I learned how to wire ceiling lights and put up drop-ceiling work from him.  He was the man that was called when a church in NYC’s pipe organ tumbled down off of the wall and buried a man underneath the pipes and other equipment.  After a day or two of work, the buried man was unburied and found relatively unscathed beneath the pile of pipes.

I don’t even remember the guy’s name, but I remember him talking about how, when he was a child he saw the garments of the high priest.  These were the robes that would have been worn by the high priest in all of his tabernacle / temple duties.  I remember him talking about the symbolism even in the decoration of the priestly garments; how in the decorative work of  the headpiece right on the forehead was the symbol of three crosses.  That that symbolism had been there; the priests had spent millennia walking around doing their duties as priests with three crosses on their foreheads completely unaware of what that meant and represented.

It’s amazing when you think about it, yet at the same time, it’s completely a God / YHWH thing.  Our God loves to hide amazing wonders and miraculous things in plain sight.  He loves to share His wonders with the world, yet the only ones who see it are those who seek it and whose eyes are open to it.  It’s like the parables; earthly stories with heavenly meaning.  Open to all to hear, but only those who pursue the answer from the source, really get the whole picture.

This same man who was purportedly of the line of Aaron, reported that he had rebelled when he was younger and he ended up becoming the high-priest for the church of Satan.  He wouldn’t talk much about this part of his life as he was clearly ashamed of it and seemed to have some very PTSD type symptoms as a result of it.  It’s funny because i’m inclined to believe much of what he said (whether it’s true or not) because it just seems like something that would happen.  The enemy takes a fallen of the dedicated and holy of the children of Israel, and turns him into his servant.  The enemy loves to take that which is most beautiful and precious to YHWH and turn it into the most despised.

I don’t really know what this story has to do with Numbers 8, other than that this is where the Levites are cleansed and prepared in holiness to do the work of service.  But i believe that it is here for a reason.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

 

P.S. When i last saw this Jewish man, he was a Christian; continually in the background doing the work of service.

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