Tag Archives: future

Numbers 17 – The Sign

The people complained again (ch 16), this time about Moses AND Aaron!  So God has decided, yet again, to make it clear to the people who HE has chosen.

I really like this response.  God gives the leaders a task.  Take a rod from the leader of each tribe.  Have them carve their name in the rod so it is clear who’s rod is whose.  Then put them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony before YHWH overnight and see what happens.  It’s a beautiful sign.  The rod of Aaron… a dead piece of wood with no hope and no future but to be used, broken, and discarded is given something more.  After one night in the presence of YHWH, with His blessing, it has new life.

It’s such a beautiful picture because it is a picture of us.  How many of us have had no hope and no future.  We have been used, broken, and discarded… sometimes even by ourselves.  Sometimes the hopelessness is because we have everything.  For the most part, we have what we want.  We have what we need, but we have found that it just isn’t enough.  In spite of everything we are.  In spite of everything we have accomplished, we just feel like a dead stick.  Yet one night in the presence of YHWH is all that we need to become alive once again.

That is the message, power, and work of God / YHWH.  Faith, Hope, and Love!

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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 4 – Duties

I think it’s interesting that God / YHWH tells no one how to do their jobs except for the Levites and priests.  Everyone has free reign to choose the job / position / role that they want to play.  They could choose to herd sheep, be an artisan, run a shop, take care of kids, teach, whatever.  But not the Levites.  They were not just set aside as holy, they were set aside with a purpose.

Not only did the Levites have to serve the priests, temple, and God / YHWH, but they also each had their own tasks depending on their families.  The Kohathites for instance, were in charge of moving and caring for the most holy things.  Even in this, the Kohathites were not allowed to see the most holy objects.  It was the duty of the priests to cover the objects such as the alter, the lampstands, and the ark of the testimony.

Next the Gershonites were responsible for the coverings and hangings of the tabernacle.  They were responsible to take care of the screens for the doorways, the hangings of the court, and the covering of the tabernacle.

Then finally, the Merarites were responsible for the frame of the tabernacle.  They took care of the pillars, the boards, the bars, etc.  They were responsible for the very skeleton, the frame of the tabernacle.  If they did not do their jobs right, the whole of the structure would fall down upon them.

Does God give us duties, or simply roles.  Does He direct our every step, or are we responsible enough to seek the Lord and all He is and allow obedience to His overall calling guide us?

 

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Matthew 25 – “The End is Near…”

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?

John

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Matthew 24 – Be Ready

The time is coming near in which Jesus the Christ’s earthly ministry is to end.  He has taught His disciples so much and has been preparing them for His being gone.  Now, He needs to help them understand and prepare for what is to come in the much further future.

It’s interesting to me how CEO Jesus thinks and works.  He starts His ministry, but he doesn’t do it alone.  First He preps and plans, but it’s not just His plan.  He takes on the plan of the Master Architect.  He sees the need (the people’s need for a redemptive relationship with the Father / YHWH) and works toward providing for that need.  He brings along a team of people to help Him do the work, and in the process He is also training them up (mentoring them) to take over the work when He leaves.  He trains and prepares them to rise up, take the reigns, and make the work succeed.  He brings in not just the front runners, like Peter, James and John, who are continually involved as part of the face of the work, but also those who are behind the scenes making things happen like Mary, Martha, Simon the Zealot, Judas, etc.  He genuinely cares about what He is doing and the long, long-term of what He is building, even if it means stepping on some toes and going toe-to-toe with some powerful people.  He sacrifices everything He has for this work, even to the point of giving up His own life to make it happen.  Yet when He does this, He does not leave His followers unprepared or without the support that they need to make the work succeed.  He knows what is going to happen and He is prepared to send “the helper” to them at the right time.

Yet what we see here in this chapter is Jesus forecasting.  He is looking to the future.  He understands what He is building and what His people need to prepare for future problems and trials.  He is giving them insight into the long-term plans and goals, the overall vision of the work, and what kinds of problems and trials they can expect in the decades to come.  He gives them an overall understanding of not only what the work is, but WHY the work needs to be done, and what they can expect to see and do.  He needs His people to look to His return; to see the BIG picture and to Be Ready!

Are we looking at the BIG picture?  Are you ready?

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 21 – Jesus & the Pharisees

Things are starting to come together.  The end is nigh and the countdown is beginning.  This chapter begins with the triumphal entry.  Jesus enters Jerusalem for His / the final passover.  The disciples find the colt as He predicts.  He rides the colt into Jerusalem with the bystanders worshiping YHWH and giving Him adoration calling for Him to fulfill His mission as Messiah to save  them and desiring Him to free them from Roman tyranny.  However, as is the case quite often, our expectations of what YHWH should do, and what He does, are two different things.  Even when we have the same message / prediction.

Christ comes in and begins the process of redemption and rescue from tyranny… He drives the money changers and the seats of those who were selling in the temple.  Those who were turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves.

The next morning he was hungry and came upon a barren fig tree.  It should have had fruit, but it didn’t.  He cursed it, and it began to wither and die.  This is a great analogy of the pharisees.  They too are not bearing fruit to righteousness.  As a result, they begin to wither and die as Christ sacrifices Himself to build the church.

The rest of this chapter is focused on this dynamic action – reaction of Jesus and the Pharisees.  They challenge His authority wanting to know what right He has to teach preach, and do these things.  Christ in turn He puts their actions and those of sinners into perspective.  He shows that knowing the law and being sinless are two very different things, and He criticizes them for it.

Jesus continues with another parable about a landowner who builds a vineyard, rents it out to vine-dressers, and sends his servants out to collect the fruits of the vineyard.  The vine-dressers instead beat the representatives and eventually kill the owner’s son.  This is the final truth of their relationship.  The pharisees will kill the landowner’s son, but the landowner will destroy the vine-dressers and redeem His people.

The relationship between Jesus and the pharisees is such a contrast.  Jesus cares for the fruit of the vine, while most of the Pharisees care more about what they can get from the fruit than they do about caring for the fruit.  They are killing the vineyard from the inside out, and they just didn’t seem to care.  This dynamic seems to define and explain all that follows.  It is  the reason and purpose for all that follows.

This is a key turning point in Jesus ministry and the pharisees focus when it comes to Jesus.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 11 – Reactions

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.”  When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach.  It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back.  I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ”  It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.

Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt.  So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one.  Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report.  That that is the answer for John’s doubt.  There is no criticism of John, only comfort.

Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to.  He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not.  They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad.  So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them.  They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.

Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people.  The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

So what is your and my reaction to His message?

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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