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.
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!
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.
The people of Israel have been numbered and divided. Each is in his tribe and place. Yet the Levites were not numbered with the people. They had been set apart by God / YHWH for His specific purpose. Now we begin to see a bit more about this purpose and the Levite’s role and jobs.
Here in chapter 3 we see that while the Levites missed out on the general census, they will be having a special census all their own. While the general population was numbered by their men 20 years old and older, the Levites are numbered by the males from one month and up. Everyone MUST be accounted for. There must be an accurate count. YHWH is dividing up the Levites into their duties, and there must be an accurate count of who is involved in what.
The most interesting part of this chapter for me though mainly starts in vs. 11; “Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the LORD.’” So YHWH, when He was freeing the people from the hand of Pharaoh, killed all of the firstborn of the Egyptians, but He spared those who were under the protection of the blood. Yet when He did that, He did not just ignore those who were spared, but He set them aside as belonging to Him.
I don’t know why, but for some reason this just strikes me. YHWH spared the firstborn of Israel. His angel of death took all of the firstborn of the land, except for the protected. This was in punishment for Pharaoh & Egypts’ sins against God and the people of Israel. Yet as a result of this sparing of the people of Israel, YHWH sees the firstborn of Israel as belonging to Him. I mean, He spared them because they were obedient to Him and He was punishing the Egyptians for their sins, defiance of Him, and slavery of the Israelites. So how does His sparing of the Israelites make them now His? I mean in a sense, it makes sense. In another sense, not so much.
I have a hard time writing about this section. I don’t know why. It is such a rich section of the scripture with beauty, majesty, & strength. I look at this section of scripture and it seems like time is slowing down and almost coming to a standstill. Like if you could be there, you could almost see every drop of blood and hear the cry of every vulture. It’s almost like every bit and piece of reality is slowed down and magnified. Like all of life and time itself has been preparing for this moment and is now holding its breath in anxious anticipation of this, the very moment that it exists for. Distantly, in the background, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” ringing through all of reality. The flutter of the wings of a bird; the racing heartbeat of a little boy; the sound of the laughter of the roman soldiers slowing down as a moment is extended into five. It is almost deep and primal, and then… it is done!
Jesus, the Christ, has died! The heaven’s mourn. The Father / YHWH tears His veil, as the priest had torn his robes only hours before. The very earth and rocks cry out. They expel the very bodies of the dead righteous, just as the blood of righteous Able called out to YHWH from the ground that had swallowed him up from the hands of Cain.
Nothing else matters in all of history and time, as what happens in that very moment when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.“
… except maybe what happens on the third day
Wow! These Jewish leaders! They seem like such bitter and angry people!
Judas comes and seeks remorse and a restitution of sorts for his involvement in this situation. He knows he is wrong and that he is at fault. So he comes in remorse and repentance, and they basically say, “Yup! You da man! You are at fault and in judgment, and we’re not lifting a finger to help you.”
They bring Jesus before the secular, gentile law because they cannot sentence Him to death on their own. If they could have avoided Pilate and dealing with the spited gentiles, they would have. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, they could not sentence Jesus to death on their own. Pilate, having dealt with these Jews before, had some major issues with what was going on. He knew that the Pharisees and religious leaders were doing this because they were so angry and bitter, and they hated Jesus for what He did and stood for.
Pilate knows that this is a sham trial, and he tries to stop it. But what God / YHWH has put into place, Pilate certainly cannot stop. So Pilate does what he can to help end this fiasco, but to no avail! He risks a riot and if that happens again, he could lose his jurisdiction and even his life if Caesar is in a foul mood when he hears of it. His wife even sends him a message telling him to have nothing to do with this man because of a dream she has, but in all truth, there is nothing that he can truly do to stop it. It’s all going forward like a train wreck, and all he can do is stand back and watch. “Let it be…”
It’s sad when i consider the Pharisees. They go through all of this work and trouble. Why? Because they truly believe that Jesus is a threat to God / YHWH; because they are constantly trying to fight the Roman invasion and raping and pillaging of their culture, religion, and people and are taking it out on Jesus; or because their pride has been hurt hurt by this teacher that makes them look like fools and idiots when they are the most dedicated and learned men of their times? Here are “men of God” doing everything that they can to destroy what they should be rejoicing to have. The Pharisees have spent all of their lives pursuing the truth the only way they know and have been taught how. Now this young upstart turns around, is attempting to destroy so much of what they have worked so hard to build, and the only way to stop him is to break the very laws that they have spent their lives dedicated to studying, understanding, living and teaching. I look at that, and I come to the conclusion… “If not but for the grace of God, there go I”
Christ is on trial, but the trial is not His. It is theirs. It is mine. They have been placed in the balance and have been found lacking. Yet, if not for a 2000 years difference, and they could have been me. “If not but for the grace of God…”
This is the last chapter of teaching in Matthew before Passover comes, Jesus has His “last supper” with His disciples, and He is betrayed by Judas. There are three parables here. All three deal with Christ’s relationship with His people at the end of the age. All three are preparation for the kingdom to come.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to 10 virgins…” Are we living our lives in preparation for the kingdom to come? Are we ready to work and be prepared for the bridegroom to come any time? Are we pursuing God’s / YHWH’s purposes for us, or are we simply living life as if it doesn’t matter. Christ is returning, and He could return at any time. Are we foolish virgins who have not prepared for a long wait and sudden entrance, or are we the wise virgins who are expecting Him at any time and living life as if it matters?
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.” We have each been given talents and financial provision. What are we doing with those gifts? What is our purpose and what does it mean? Are we investing what we have and helping it to grow, or are we ignoring and burying our gifts and finances using it only for our own good? God is expecting a return on what He has given us. He is expecting us to use what we have for something more than we started with. He has not blessed us for our sake, but rather for the growth of the kingdom. If we are not working towards kingdom growth (not our own), all that we have will be taken away.
“All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left…” The judgment is coming; what’s the difference between the sheep and the goats? Christ says that the difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep don’t just sit on what they have been given. The difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep have passion / compassion for others (or just obedience towards God). They reach out and help those in need. They step out of their own lives and into the lives of others. They do the opposite of what our culture teaches. They reach out and touch the lives of those around them. Do We?
This appears to be the third and final chapter explaining and critiquing the Pharisees and Jesus wrath on them.
It’s interesting because after spending the past two chapters criticizing the Pharisees and their many problems, in the first part of this chapter Jesus strikes a different kind of tone. He had been telling the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and He had been comparing them to disobedient sons, wicked men who lease a vineyard, subjects of a king who refuse to obey the king, and more. Now however, Jesus instructs His disciples differently. “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” So even though the Pharisees have been evil in so many different ways, the disciples are still to have obedience towards them (to some extent). They have been placed in a place of leadership. The disciples are still to observe them and obey them, but they are to disregard their actions and life application. That’s kind of a surprising thing to hear from Jesus after so much lambasting. However, it does parallel Old Testament commands to obey the leaders of the people, but that we should obey God / YHWH over them.
Jesus then continues on to speak eight woe’s to the scribes and Pharisees (hypocrites): Woe to you…
- … you prevent others from entering the kingdom of heaven, and you refuse to enter yourself.
- …”you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers“
- … you travel all over to make one disciple and make them twice the son of Satan as you are.
- … you make a big deal about the treasures of the temple and the sacrifices (that give them wealth), and you disregard the purpose and reason for it.
- … you focus on the minuscule details of the law, but you ignore the major points like justice, mercy, & faithfulness.
- … you clean and make pretty the outside of the cup, but you ignore what is important inside.
- … (directly related) you appear / act righteously, but you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
- … you build the tombs of the prophets and honor them saying, “If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.“, but you are going to do exactly as you say you would not do!
There is such a contrast here! Christ says to follow the law and the leaders of the law, yet in the very next breath He is condemning the very same people! I don’t know how well most American’s in today’s world can understand and relate to this principle. Too often we feel that if the leader is unjust we should not have listen to them or to do what they say. That somehow the leader’s obedience / disobedience to the law or even our own expectations some how precludes our loyalty or obedience. That does not fit with what Christ is saying here.
What do you think?
John J. Camiolo Jr.