Tag Archives: blessing

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Application, Content, Numbers, Old Testament, Person, Torah

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

1 Comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Numbers, Old Testament, Person, Project, Torah

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Numbers, Old Testament, Person, Project, Purpose, Torah

Numbers 6 – Blessed

I really like this chapter of Numbers.  In it we see the law of the Nazirite.  It is a special vow that a man or woman may make in order to dedicate him or herself to the Lord / YHWH for a period of time.  With this vow, he abstains from any alcohol or strong drink; there is to be no drinking or use of vinegar, not even grape juice or fruit of the grape vine of any kind can be consumed.  During this time of dedication no razor shall go over his or her body.  The hair should continue to grow long.  He shall not touch anything unclean for he is holy to YHWH.  If somehow unintentionally or out of their control he or she becomes defiled, then he has to become clean once more and start all over again.

The Nazarite vow is not necessarily an easy task, but it is meant to set someone aside to be holy and dedicated to the Lord / YHWH for a time.  At the end he shall make an offering and shave his or her dedicated head of hair.  Then he or she is free to drink of the vine.  I honestly believe that every person should, at some point in their life, go through something similar to this Nazarite vow.  Every man and woman should set themselves aside for a time to be holy to YHWH.  To pursue Him and to be holy in His sight.  I believe that this should be something that we do on a regular basis (like fasting) to help us to be holy and line our lives back up with YHWH.

The last six verses of this chapter, especially verses 24-26 are absolutely beautiful.  They are a blessing that YHWH gives to Moses to give to Aaron to speak over the people of Israel.  It is YHWH’s blessing to the people:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;

 The LORD make His face shine on you, 
And be gracious to you;

 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, 
And give you peace.

In the copy of the Bible that I am writing I wrote the English NASB translation of the verses that make up this blessing, then from right to left (sentences & words) i wrote out the Hebrew transliteration.  It looks something like this:

The LORD (YHWH) bless you, and keep you;

ramahs HWHY karoB

 The LORD (YHWH) make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you; 

nanahc le’ myinap HWHY erO

 The LORD (YHWH) lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.

molahs mwus le’ myinap HWHY ‘asaN

This is such an amazing blessing.  When you break it down piece by piece, there is so much here that i could write 3-4 posts on this blessing itself.  If you love to study God’s work like i do, then do a deep study of this blessing / these blessings.  It is an amazing three verses of scripture.

John J. Camiolo Jr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Numbers, Old Testament, Person, Purpose, Torah

Numbers 1 – Promises

Moses has, with YHWH’s direction and doing, successfully brought the people of Isreal out of their bondage in the land of Egypt.  He has brought them to Mount Sinai, the Lord’s / YHWH’s mountain, and brought them face to face with God / YHWH.  From there, YHWH has given the people direction, understanding, and instruction.  They have built a tabernacle for YHWH to go with them, and it is getting ready for the people to start heading out.

In the meantime, the people need to be prepared.  They will be taking the promised land.  They will be fighting battles and defeating nations of people who had allowed their sin to consume them to the point of their being vomited out by the land they live in.  As such the men of Israel need to be aware of who they are, what they are capable of, and how many of them are going out to war.  So God / YHWH calls them to do something simple.  Number yourselves.  Figure out how many there are who can fight and go to war.  So every male 20 years old and older has to register by their families and tribes.  They must make themselves known and be prepared for war.

So the leader of each tribe goes about getting their people registered.  In the end, all the males 20 years old and up of the sons of Israel amounts to 603,550 men.  Not counting women and children under the age of 20, and not even counting one of the tribes.  The Levites have been set aside to serve the LORD / YHWH.  As such, approximately 1/12th of the people aren’t even considered for the census  That is a lot of people!

What’s amazing to me is that just over 500 years before this census occurred, God made a promise to 1 elderly man and his elderly, barren wife;
Go forth from your country,  And from your relatives  And from your father’s house,  To the land which I will show you;  And I will make you a great nation,  And I will bless you,  And make your name great;  And so you shall be a blessing;  And I will bless those who bless you,  And the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:16)
So from 2 elderly and barren people and a promise from YHWH, around 500 years later is this huge, massive nation divided into 12 tribes with an army of over 600,000 men aged 20 and older with 1/12 of them not even involved in that number.  Now that’s what I call fulfilling a promise!

What kind of promises has God / YHWH made in your life?  Are they promises you are working to fulfill, or are you trusting completely in Him to do all the work and fulfill them for you?  Think about it…

Rev. John

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Numbers, Old Testament, Project, Torah

Matthew 26 – 1 – Preparation (Last Supper)

Well, I’m a few days further behind on my writing than on my copying.  I’m actually in Matthew 27 today in my copy work, but I’m writing about the beginning of Matthew 26.

Time seems to be speeding up here.  Final preparations are being made.  Jesus is where He often seems to be.  He is with His flock; at the home of Simon the leper.  A woman comes and pours out over his head a vial of very costly perfume.  This is so very significant in so many ways.  This kind of vial of perfume is often used as a life savings.  When a person has extra money that he / she wants to save long term (for when they are old / retired) they would invest it in perfumes and burying spices.  It held it’s value well, and was less likely to be stolen than Roman coin.  When this woman pours this perfume / burial incense & spices out on Jesus, she is giving up her best, her future for Him.  She is preparing Him for burial, and trusting God to provide for her future.  This is a huge sacrifice on her part, and everyone knows it.  Thus what she has done is remembered.

Next we see Judas preparing as well.  The Passover meal is coming, and he goes to the chief priests to sell out his master.  He takes the silver, and provides the direction to allow the leaders to take out their wrath through the destruction of something beautiful.

Finally, we come to an extremely important event.  One that is celebrated at least monthly in churches around the world.  The last supper and communion.  It’s funny that we use this official word “Communion” for this process.  What is communion?  Communion can be defined as: “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings”.  It is two or more people coming together for a common purpose to share / celebrate together with one another.  It is a process of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, and intimacy.  When i think of taking part in communion at church, i do not think of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, or intimacy.  It is more like seriousness, melancholy, monotony, dividing up, and self-focus.  That’s not to say that it is those things, but that certainly is what it seems like at times.

This Last Supper is that final time that Jesus has to share and be in relationship with His disciples.  He knows that this is His last chance to just be able to relax and spend time with them.  Imagine what it would be like if you knew that your next meal would be the last meal you would spend with your family.  The last chance you had to really BE with them, and enjoy their company.  Would you want it to be remembered as a stuffy occasion in which everyone passes around little tiny crackers and little tiny cups of juice and they sit there holding their little  tiny cups trying not to spill them and stain the carpet?  There are a whole lot of things that the church does really well, but I really think that we miss the target on this one.

Celebrate communion with someone today.

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Gospels, Matthew, New Testament, Person, Project, Purpose

Matthew 5 – Discipleship 101

Jesus and His disciples were being surrounded and pursued by crowds of people.  They all wanted to be around Jesus because of His teachings and miraculous works.  So He took His disciples aside, away from the crowds and took them up a mount to meet with and teach them specifically.  As a result, we now have a discipleship primer… Discipleship 101 if you will.

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying“.  It’s interesting because, the word “saying” here is a word that refers to continually repeating.  These ideas and thoughts were not just things that Jesus said to the disciples one time.  They were thoughts that were repeated over and over and over and over.  These are basic lessons on what it means to understand the kingdom of heaven and how to be a disciple of Christ.  These are the foundational responsibilities of discipleship.  Without understanding and living out these foundational principles, a man cannot move on to the more complex aspects of ministry.  Without these foundations, the reality of discipleship is nothing more than listening to some sermons, watching some miracles and going about your daily life.  It is these principles and actions that separate a “crowd follower” from a disciple.

Have we made these discipleship basics the foundation to our walk in Christ, or are we just hanging around to get the free food, hear some good preaching, and see some amazing things happen?  Are we here for a show, or are we here to be disciples?

John

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Gospels, Matthew, New Testament, Person, Project, Purpose

Leviticus – Conclusion

After having gone through the book of Leviticus chapter by chapter, i see this book much as i did before.  It is YHWH’s rules and regulation for the nation of Israel.  It is a defining of His covenant with them.  God both issues directives to obey the rules and promises to help and allow the people to obey and prosper.

Leviticus is an important book in that it sets the tone and direction for the expectations for the nation of Israel.  It is the measuring rod by which  the actions and motive of the nation are defined.  Without Leviticus, there is no understanding of YHWH’s interactions with the nation of Israel.  Without understanding that there are rules and what the rules are, we have no ground by which to judge the sin or righteousness of man.  As such, we have no foundation for understanding sin and the need for salvation and a savior.  While rules and laws may seem constricting and confining at times, they are actually more boundaries that when understood and followed allow us freedom to live happy, healthy, and satisfying lives without fear and stress of the aftereffects of our actions.

I really like C.S. Lewis’ quote from The Pilgrim’s Regress “When everything you eat is more or less poison, you need very strict rules to stay healthy” (rough quote).  The point is that when sin abounds in the world, understanding where the rules and limitations are gives you the freedom to live life within those limitations and without fear of their destruction.

That is the beauty of Leviticus, or that should have been the beauty of Leviticus for the Israelite people.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Content, Leviticus, Old Testament, Person, Purpose, Torah

Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is.  I don’t quite know what i was expecting.  For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.

Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe.  It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages.  Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee.  What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.

When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee.  If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee.  After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.

Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood.  When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee.  It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person.  They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period.  This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.

The other major theme is that of tithe.  Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God.  As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him.  Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH.  Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.

The emphasis here is ownership.  Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH.  We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work.  Do we view life and our work  that way?  Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH?  Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case?  Should we?

Leave a comment

Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Leviticus, Old Testament, Person, Project, Purpose, Torah

Leviticus 25 – Understanding Ownership

During this time that my hand has been in a cast, it has not been totally useless.  As a result, i have been able to finally get chapter 25 finished.

As i am working through all of this, i’ve been starting to get a bigger / stronger picture.  Leviticus 25 has been about ownership, and understanding our place in the bigger picture of it.  The LORD promises to the people that He will give them the land of Canaan.  Yet at the same time, even while He is giving it to them, it does not belong to them.  The people of Israel are simply caring for the land and reaping of its harvest as a result.  They do not have true ownership.  God alone reserves that right.

Every seven years the people are to respect the land by letting it lie fallow / dormant for a year.  This Sabbath rest allows the land to rest and heal from use and prevent abuse due to over-use.  It is YHWH’s command to His people to not mistreat and abuse His land.

Then after every seven Sabbath’s is the year of Jubilee.  In the year of Jubilee the land rests for a second year, all debts are released, and all land ownership goes back to the original caretakers.  Anyone that has been paid for in slavery / servanthood is released and their freedom is returned to them.

It is a time of understanding that the land, the animals, the people; they do not belong to the people, they belong to YHWH.  They are His and they must be returned to His plans for them.  In the same sense, by understanding this concept, it means better understanding of and treatment towards others.

Outside of this project, i have also been reading about Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and slavery.  In processing through all of this information, i think that i understand slavery a little bit better.  There will always be the wealthy and the poor.  There will always be those with more than they need, and the ability to improve on their financial situation.  There will also always be those who just can’t seem to break free of poverty.  Whatever the reason is, there will always be those who struggle to get by.

When the basis of a person’s understanding is that no one and nothing is truly owned by another.  That there is no one of more value than another.  That YHWH owns all and demands respect for His creation… Then, those who have more and have the ability to continually manage well what has been given them, can care for his fellow man by providing for them.  So the riches of the rich help to sustain the poor while the poor is having difficulty sustaining themselves.  The wealthy provide for the poor, in the meantime the poor work for and learn to manage that which belongs to the rich.  Thus slavery is not about abuse and mistreatment of man.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about taking care of and providing for those who cannot care for themselves.

However, this concept ONLY works when the wealthy (and everyone else) truly understand ownership.  When those who are prospering understand that all belongs to YHWH and not themselves, then respect of personhood prevails.  As a result there is not abuse and maltreatment, there is love, caring, and provision for those in need.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about love and compassion rather than abuse and maltreatment.

It all stems from understanding ownership… do we?

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Content, Leviticus, Old Testament, Process, Purpose, Torah