Tag Archives: Israel

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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Numbers 2 – The Plan

It always seems like God has a plan.  Even when it comes to the mundane things.  He always knows what He wants done, how and why.  Everything He does has a purpose and a reason, even if it’s not obvious to us.  His plan is perfect, even when we aren’t.

In numbers 2 we see that God / YHWH even has a plan for the arrangement of the camp:
To the East was the camp of Judah which included the tribes of Judah, Issachar, & Zebulon.  They spread East with 186,400 people.
To the North was the camp of Dan which included Dan, Naphatali, and Asher.  They spread North with 157,600 people.
To the West was the camp of Ephraim with Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.  They spread West with 108,100 people.
To the South was the camp of Reuben with Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.  They spread South with 151,400 people.
Meanwhile, the tribe of Levi directly surrounds the tabernacle with the Levites acting as a buffer between YHWH and the people.

This is how it would likely have looked from above.

From ldolphin.org

Isn’t that amazing?  YHWH always seems to have a plan and a purpose.

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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

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Numbers – Introduction

Well, we’re on to the book of Numbers.  It’s easy, when you have some limited knowledge of the Bible (who really has unlimited knowledge) to see Numbers and think, “Oh man, not more of this genealogy stuff.”  And that has been my reaction as well, but there is so much more to this book than just the genealogies and families ofIsrael.  This is whereIsraelfinally leaves Sinai and goes to the land that has been promised to them.  This is where all kinds of spiritual debate occurs, and where the people of Israel have to turn around and ask themselves the question “Am I really going to do what God / YHWH is calling me to do?”  It’s a book of tough decisions, major successes, and major failures.  It is a book of people responding to overwhelming challenges and finding out what they’re really made of.  I know I don’t exactly come through with flying colors in those kinds of situations, and that’s what these men and women face day by day.

In one sense, if I could go back to Biblical times and experience and live what occurred in those times, this is one of those times I would love to be a part of.  To see God / YHWH leading the people day-by-day.  To be a part of the amazing wonders that were occurring all around.  To have that chance and opportunity to be a daily part of what God / YHWH was doing.  That is worth all the treasures and all the wonders in all the world.  Not to be my own master, but to serve the only one worthy of serving.  Do we have that attitude day after day?  We have the chance to be a part of something so much greater than we are, and yet we would rather pursue our own miserable little lives doing what we want, the way we want to, even if it means we live our lives miserable and with no lifetime value.  So much so that we lose out on what God / YHWH wants for us, and we have to pass that opportunity on to our kids, unfulfilled.  Then they have to live what God / YHWH has planned for us rather than what He has for them that requires a foundation of what we were supposed to do.

Are we living our lives for Him, or for us?

Rev. John

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Matthew 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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Matthew – Introduction

I’m making a little bit of a shift right now.  I just finished Leviticus and i decided that i needed a little bit of a break from the Torah.  I was planning on doing the entire Torah and then breaking for a couple of books of the New Testament, but i think that now is a good time to make a quick switch.

The Gospel according to Matthew is an interesting book.  Many seem to see a parallel between Mattew’s Gospel and the five books of the Torah, seeing five sets of narratives and discourse meant to build that parallel.  When looking at Matthew, it becomes pretty obvious that the book of Matthew is all about Jesus fulfilling the role of the Messiah.  We see time and again how the life of Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of who the Messiah was to be and His role and purpose.

All in all, i’m looking forward to studying this deeper and getting a better feel for what sets Matthew apart from the other gospels.  Come join me on this journey.

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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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.

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