Tag Archives: Canaan

Numbers 13 – 40 Days

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.

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Numbers 10 – Israel Go

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 

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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?

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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?

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Leviticus – Introduction

Leviticus is the third book of Moses.  Leviticus is the book of the law.  The main purpose of the book of Leviticus is to establish the rules and laws for a completely new form of government.  It was a government establishing a nation in whose rule and direction came not from a king or leader, but from YHWH Himself.  The people are preparing to enter Canaan, the promised land, and God is directing their steps.  This book is the answer as to how they will succeed.

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Exodus 34 – Response

Everything has finally settled down.  The masses have found a semblance of peace and are ready to handle themselves while Moses goes up the mountain again.  God calls Moses, and he responds.  He returns to Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights again where he brings two new stone tablets for the LORD to write on.

This is the same type of incident as before, but things have changed.  There are definitely some key and significant differences.  One of the beautiful things that happens here is that Moses relationship and connection with YHWH appear to have made some definite improvements.  He is there for the same role and the same purpose as he was before, but Moses seems to have more responsibility as well as more depth in relationship with YHWH.  The connection is much more direct and face to face.  So much so that when Moses comes down this time, his face is shining so brightly that the people can’t even look at him.  Their response is to fear him, and it is only after covering his face with a veil that he is able  to come before the people.  This covering of God’s glory, outpouring through Moses, continues each time he meets with YHWH.  The veil becomes a constant reminder of Moses connection and response  to God.

During  this time on the mountain, YHWH decides to make note of the people’s tendency towards idolatry,  He makes it clear to them that they are to destroy ALL evidence of the nations that exist in the land of Canaan, and to tear down anything that represents their false gods.  This is more than just a command.  This is a mandate.  This is the direction that the people must take, even though God already knows that they are not going to.  It is a notice that must be made and a direction that must be followed.

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Exodus 14 – Honored

It’s funny because after all that God has done for them, you would think that the Israelites would trust and honor God.  Instead, when they see the Egyptians coming after them they could only see punishment and reprimand from the Egyptians and not relief from YHWH.  Pharaoh and the army are chasing after them, and their first reaction is to blame God and Moses.  They said, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to the wilderness to die?”

So what does God respond?  He tells them to keep going!  He makes it clear that He WILL be honored, and it will be at the expense of the Egyptians.  Three times this word “Honored” shows up in this chapter.  God will be honored by the Egyptians and the people of Israel.  Yet, how do the people react?  They fear the Egyptians instead of God.  They would rather return to slavery than to risk relying on God.

YHWH instructs Moses to move forward while He personally covers their flanks.  He tells Moses to open a pathway through the trouble and into the relative safety beyond.  In the end, YHWH brings the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry land and sweeps the Egyptian army with all of their world class chariots away in the sea.  In the end, the honor and glory belong to Him and Him alone.  He will be honored, and He is, both by the Egyptians, the Israelites, and later by the people of the promised land.

Are we giving God the honor that He deserves?

John Camiolo

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