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…
This parable about the vineyard seems to bug me. So early in the day this man goes out and hires a bunch of people. They start working and keep working all day. As the day goes on, he goes out and hires more and more people. As the day goes on he continues hiring people until, an hour before finishing time he hires the last group of people. So then at the end of the day he pays the workers their wages… starting with the last first. So now he’s paying the last, those that have only worked an hour, not only the same as those who have worked all day long, but also he pays them all the same. Those who have worked all day long are kind of ticked off, they have families and lives that they need to get home to. They are tired from working so hard, and these other guys not only get paid as much as they do, they have to wait to get paid until these others do. I mean come on! Give these guys a break! But the owner doesn’t. He responds to their frustration by saying, “This is what we agreed to, so why are you so upset about how I paid these others?”‘
I’m pretty sure that i understand the meaning behind the parable. The workers are people. Some have been serving God all their lives, others reject Him until not long before they die. Yet they both get paid the same. Why? Because God wants to do it that way. Being one that has served Him since i was young, i struggle with this one quite a bit. I think that part of it is a pride thing, and part of it is an envy thing, and part of it is a blind thing. I feel like I DESERVE more because I have worked SO HARD for SO LONG (pride). I feel like as i see others doing the wrong things (what they want) for so long, yet they seem to have all that they want / need, and they will get the same payment at the end it just doesn’t seem fair (envy). It’s also a blind thing. I don’t know what i’ve been missing out on. I can’t see 5 dimensionally. I can’t see what could have happened if i had made a different choice, but i wonder.
In the parable, the owner of the vineyard says, “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’” I have to be careful of how i react to these kinds of things. Matthew 18:8-9 says, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” I have to be careful. If my envious eye is not brought under conviction and dealt with (removed), it can lead to my own downfall.
There is so much more to this topic that i don’t have time to go into, but i did want to touch on one more thing in this chapter. At the end of the chapter, there are two blind men sitting. They heard that Jesus was passing by and they cried out for mercy! What had they done wrong to deserve blindness that they needed mercy for? Christ asked them what they wanted Him to do (significant). He had compassion and healed them. When we are physically blind, or blinded by by pride and envy. Only one can have mercy on us and bring healing to our eyes. He is the one we serve, and who has served us.
Rev. John J. Camiolo
“May your light never go out” – a blessing
YHWH gave a command to Aaron and Israel. Never allow His light to go out in the tabernacle. It was the priest’s job to keep the lamp in the tabernacle lit at all times. His light is to shine in the darkness, never consumed or put out. His light is to shine at all times and for all times. It is a beacon of hope to the world. It is holy to the LORD.
In the same way, the priest is to take fine flour and bake 12 loaves of bread and place them on the pure (gold) table in the presence of YHWH. These 12 loaves are to be continually before him, to be eaten by Aaron and his descendants and then replenished every Sabbath. They are holy to the LORD.
More than that, the Name of the LORD is holy. When a man blasphemes the Name of the LORD, there are consequences. It becomes a death sentence. To dishonor the Name of the LORD is to dishonor the LORD. That cannnot be allowed in the camp and presence of God. YHWH is not going to strike down every person who says something negative about Him, but He does expect His people to respond appropriately. He is the LORD, and His name is Holy.
Do we treat YHWH and His name as holy. Are we a light that never goes out, or are we on and off and on and off. Do we point to the bread of life, or only to ourselves?