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.
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!
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.
Most of the sacrifices previously mentioned have been for the individual. Whether it was a burnt offering, or a peace offering, or a wave offering, or a grain offering. Each person would bring their sacrifice to the tabernacle to cover their own sins or for themselves and their families. However, the day of atonement is different.
The day of atonement is very special in comparison to the other “daily” sacrifices. The day of atonement occurs once per year on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. It is a time when all of the congregation of Israel was to get together at the tabernacle / temple for a special sacrifice for all. The day of atonement is about bringing cleansing to the high priest and his family; to the tabernacle, alter and tools of worship; and to the congregation of Israel as a whole. It’s about purifying and bringing all to right. It’s kind of like rebooting or restoring a computer. It cleans out the system and gives a fresh start.
This is very important over the succeeding centuries, and if it had been done and taken seriously as it should have been, it would have gone a long way to help prevent the corruption and downfall of the nations of Israel and Judah. Yet it didn’t.
This principle still applies today. While it is important for each individual to come to repentance before the LORD, and that seems to be a lost art. Even more so the repentance of the nation. How often do we take responsibility for the sins of the nation. How often do we come to YHWH in worship of Him and seeking not only forgiveness and healing for our own sins but for those of our nation. How often do we take responsibility for the decisions and direction of the nation. It is something that the leaders of the nation especially are to do, but that the people of the nation need to pursue and take accountability for as well. It is our nation and our responsibility.
Rev. John Camiolo
So Joseph does what he has learned to do. First he answers the question that Pharaoh poses to him. What does this mean? Then, without being asked and it appears without even a pause he answers the question that results from his answer. He starts out be telling Pharaoh what his dreams mean. There will be seven years of great abundance followed by seven years of great famine. Then he tells Pharaoh what needs to be done to prepare for and respond to the coming famine. One fifth of the produce of the land during the abundance needs to be stored away for the famine time.
As a result, Pharaoh sees God’s hand and blessing on Joseph and places him over the entire nation of Egypt. Joseph was 30 years old at this time. He spent almost half of his life as a slave in Egypt, and most of that time was spent in prison. But the whole time, God had a purpose for him. He wasn’t doing nothing and watching his life waste away. He wasn’t stuck with no hope and no future. God had a purpose for him, and this was that purpose!
God was preparing Joseph to not only excel, but to become the second in command of Egypt; to provide leadership and wisdom to prepare the people and nations for the coming blessings and famine; to save not just lives, but nations from perishing in the flood of famine that would hit for seven years. God had a plan, and that plan had a name. It simply took a life of disappointment and overcoming to prepare Joseph for that purpose… a purpose that was revealed and a change that was laid out, all in 1 day.
How do we see our lives? I know that i struggle sometimes trying to see how and why my life has turned out as it has. I have seen people pass and surpass me in life, and i wonder, ” Why do they get blessed, and it seems like i don’t?” Why do i so often feel rejected and pushed away by God. I know that that’s not really the case and that God has a plan for me as well, but i can’t help feeling sometimes that i have been abandoned and left to rot in prison for some unknown reason. I know it’s not really like that, but that’s how it feels sometimes. Ultimately though, I know that I have a hope, and that God has a plan. That it’s not really about me. It’s about Him, and i have to make sure that i don’t get myself in the way.
So what is your struggle?
John J. Camiolo Jr.