Tag Archives: hope

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 14 – Doubt

Well, the damage has been done, and it has only just begun.  The bad report has been made, and now the people respond!  “Why have you brought us and out children out here to die?”  “Their walled cities are just too big!”  “There’s some terrible people up in them there hills!”  “We won’t stand a chance!”  “The enemy’s too big”  “I just can’t figure it out”  “We don’t have a five-year plan”  “But we just don’t have time”  “We can’t afford to do that in this kind of economy”  “It costs too much” “How am I going to take care of my family?”  “But God!  Be reasonable!”  “Why do we need to do that.  We haven’t needed to do it that way before.”  “What about the separation of church and state?”  “We could lose our tax-exempt status!”  “Someone else will do it”  “I’m just not ready”

There is always a reason why we can’t do what God / YHWH has called us to do.  The people sinned because they rejected what YHWH was doing.  It didn’t matter that God was in control.  What matters is what we can think / worry about.  We look at how big the enemy is, and we forget about how much bigger our YHWH is. 

What promised land had YHWH already promised to give to you?  Are you pursuing it under God’s direction, or are you running from it because the problems look too insurmountable?  Will you lose out on the promise that YHWH made to you because of your own fears and lack of faith, or will you proceed under YHWH’s direction and pursue the work and will of God?

LORD, give me the ability to see these concerns and these problems through your eyes.  YHWH, continue to give me guidance and direction.  I do not want to be a foolish builder, but then neither do i want to be an Israelite rejecting the promised land for fear of the Canaanites.  Guide and direct me today.  In Jesus name I pray,  AMEN (that it be done).

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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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

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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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Numbers 8 – Levites

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.

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Numbers 7 – Dedication

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!

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