It has taken all this time, and now the people are finally here. They are on the border, the edge of the land flowing with milk and honey. So what needs to happen next? God tells Moses to send out men to spy out the land; one leader from each tribe. They are to go, spy out the land, and report back what they found out.
40 days they were gone
40 days of travel
40 days of seeking out
40 days to unravel
40 days to know the truth.
40 days of guidance
40 days of fruit
40 days to seek it all
40 days for you
40 days with paradise to see.
40 days in valley
40 days in hill
40 days to see the men
40 days of skill
40 days to look and see and know.
40 days of beauty
40 days of awe
40 days to try the fruit
40 days they saw
40 days to take all in before they go.
40 days to know the good
40 days to see the bad
40 days in paradise
40 days they had
40 days to see, hear, and make report.
40 days; are they strong?
40 days; are they weak?
40 days to take their polls
40 days before they speak
40 days is all; it’s all that they have
40 days in the valley
40 days on the mountain
40 days to see the sights
40 days river and fountain
40 days to make the plan, to know what to say
40 days to breathe it in
40 days exhale
40 days through YHWH’s eyes
40 days to live the tale
40 days now to report; to bring it all back home
Now 40 days come crashing down
For in their fears they fail.
40 days, now 40 years
Of the dozen, only two prevail.
So close… and now so far!
John J. Camiolo Jr.
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.
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!
The time has come,
The time is now.
Just go, go, go!
I’ll tell you how.
Silver trumpets sound,
That’s when all will know;
Time for battle or for feast,
Leaders meet and the nation go!
When the tabernacle cloud arise,
Or the pillar as of fire go by night;
As it leaves from that place,
All Israel move out at its sight.
Each tribe in its place,
Goes out in its way.
The people know it’s time,
Whe’r by night or by day.
They move on out,
All tribes in formation;
As a cross they proceed,
The Israelite nation.
Only YHWH does know,
Where their steps will all lead.
So the people with faith,
Do trust and concede.
Following cloud or fiery pillar,
The people proceed;
With faith and with hope,
YHWH’s all that they need.
When the time has come,
For the nation to settle;
The icon they follow,
Drift down as a petal.
Now the nation does rest,
Where cloud & fire remain.
Will they stay in peace,
Or will they go on and complain?
The time had come,
The time had went.
The people of Israel,
Had gone as been sent.
The introduction was adapted from Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now! by Dr. Seuss
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.
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.
It has come time for the alter to be dedicated and for the priests to do their duties. The leaders of the tribes of Israel to step up and be leaders. So they do. Together they offer 6 carts and 12 oxen for use in the service of the tabernacle. Then the leader of each tribe comes and offers the offering for a day, each in turn for 12 days. They all offer the same things. A silver dish and a silver bowl full of grain and oil, a gold pan full of incense; a bull, a ram, a male lamb one year old for a burnt offering; a male goat for a sin offering; 2 bulls, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs one year old for a peace offering.
I love to see the leaders being leaders! They stand as not only instructing and directing each of their tribes respectively, but also serving and being an example to them. They recognize that they have a responsibility to both YHWH and the people that they stand before. They are the first to offer sacrifice and offering to the LORD and stand both in representation of their tribe, and as an example for their tribe to follow. Everything is done right, and it is done well. This is why these men are the leaders of their tribes. They came first and they came before. They served, and they served as an example. They obeyed and they cooperated. They were truly dedicated leaders.
This was a long chapter going through all of these offerings day by day. It took me three days to copy over this chapter, but it also allowed me to finally get caught back up with my posting, so now i am once again posting on the same chapter that i am completing. It’s a nice to be caught back up!