Tag Archives: time

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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Matthew 27 – 2 – The Beginning Ends

I have a hard time writing about this section.  I don’t know why.  It is such a rich section of the scripture with beauty, majesty, & strength.  I look at this section of scripture and it seems like time is slowing down and almost coming to a standstill.  Like if you could be there, you could almost see every drop of blood and hear the cry of every vulture.  It’s almost like every bit and piece of reality is slowed down and magnified.  Like all of life and time itself has been preparing for this moment and is now holding its breath in anxious anticipation of this, the very moment that it exists for.  Distantly, in the background, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” ringing through all of reality.  The flutter of the wings of a bird; the racing heartbeat of a little boy; the sound of the laughter of the roman soldiers slowing down as a moment is extended into five.  It is almost deep and primal, and then… it is done!

Jesus, the Christ, has died!  The heaven’s mourn.  The Father / YHWH tears His veil, as the priest had torn his robes only hours before.  The very earth and rocks cry out.  They expel the very bodies of the dead righteous, just as the blood of righteous Able called out to YHWH from the ground that had swallowed him up from the hands of Cain.

Nothing else matters in all of history and time, as what happens in that very moment when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

… except maybe what happens on the third day

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Leviticus 25 – Understanding Ownership

During this time that my hand has been in a cast, it has not been totally useless.  As a result, i have been able to finally get chapter 25 finished.

As i am working through all of this, i’ve been starting to get a bigger / stronger picture.  Leviticus 25 has been about ownership, and understanding our place in the bigger picture of it.  The LORD promises to the people that He will give them the land of Canaan.  Yet at the same time, even while He is giving it to them, it does not belong to them.  The people of Israel are simply caring for the land and reaping of its harvest as a result.  They do not have true ownership.  God alone reserves that right.

Every seven years the people are to respect the land by letting it lie fallow / dormant for a year.  This Sabbath rest allows the land to rest and heal from use and prevent abuse due to over-use.  It is YHWH’s command to His people to not mistreat and abuse His land.

Then after every seven Sabbath’s is the year of Jubilee.  In the year of Jubilee the land rests for a second year, all debts are released, and all land ownership goes back to the original caretakers.  Anyone that has been paid for in slavery / servanthood is released and their freedom is returned to them.

It is a time of understanding that the land, the animals, the people; they do not belong to the people, they belong to YHWH.  They are His and they must be returned to His plans for them.  In the same sense, by understanding this concept, it means better understanding of and treatment towards others.

Outside of this project, i have also been reading about Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and slavery.  In processing through all of this information, i think that i understand slavery a little bit better.  There will always be the wealthy and the poor.  There will always be those with more than they need, and the ability to improve on their financial situation.  There will also always be those who just can’t seem to break free of poverty.  Whatever the reason is, there will always be those who struggle to get by.

When the basis of a person’s understanding is that no one and nothing is truly owned by another.  That there is no one of more value than another.  That YHWH owns all and demands respect for His creation… Then, those who have more and have the ability to continually manage well what has been given them, can care for his fellow man by providing for them.  So the riches of the rich help to sustain the poor while the poor is having difficulty sustaining themselves.  The wealthy provide for the poor, in the meantime the poor work for and learn to manage that which belongs to the rich.  Thus slavery is not about abuse and mistreatment of man.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about taking care of and providing for those who cannot care for themselves.

However, this concept ONLY works when the wealthy (and everyone else) truly understand ownership.  When those who are prospering understand that all belongs to YHWH and not themselves, then respect of personhood prevails.  As a result there is not abuse and maltreatment, there is love, caring, and provision for those in need.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about love and compassion rather than abuse and maltreatment.

It all stems from understanding ownership… do we?

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Leviticus 14 – Cleansing – II

The second half of Leviticus 14 continues with the same theme only in a different direction.  While the first half responds to cleansing for a person who has leprosy, the second half deals with “leprosy” (mold) in a house.  In order to keep people healthy, and keep people in a healthy relationship with YHWH, the priest is responsible for responding to unclean environments.  So when a home becomes unclean, or as YHWH says, “I put a mark of leprosy on a house in the land of your possession…”  It is the priest’s responsibility for responding to the situation and getting to the bottom of the problem.

It’s amazing just how much the priest is responsible for.  The priest acts as a priest, offering sacrifice to the LORD for the people.  The priest’s job is also to teach the people the laws and precepts.  He also acts as a physician diagnosing and treating some medical problems.  They also deal with culinary questions.  What is clean?  What is healthy to eat?  What is downright forbidden?  And, now we see them diagnosing problems with a house and acting as an inspector and contractor who is responsible to get the appropriate people on the job to get the right work done.  With all of this work to do; where does the priest’s job end?  Being the man who is responsible for the relationship between men and YHWH, he has a whole lot more to do to cleanse the lives of the people than we give them credit for sometimes.

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Leviticus 12 – Motherhood

When i was in college and engaged to my wife, Lori, we were having Sunday dinner at her apartment.  It was Lori, her roommate, another friend (girl) from seminary, and me.  I’ll call this friend Karice.  So the four of us are all sitting around this little table together just hanging out and talking and the conversation slid idly over to the subject of kids.  Karice very excitedly look each of us in the eye and says, “Do you realize, we are all going to be mothers one day!”

As she says this i’m trying very hard not to spit milk out my nose or mouth from laughter.  After i finish swallowing i ask her a clarifying question; “So we are all going to be mother’s some day?”  In a very serious tone she says, “Yes, we are all going to be mothers some day!”  So i give it a few seconds to sink in, “WE are ALL going to be mothers one day.”  Karice looks at me like i am talking gibberish, and continues confused yet excitedly, “Of Course we are ALL going to be mothers some day.”  Meanwhile Lori and her roommate are both trying very hard not to break out laughing.  This goes on for another minute or so as Karice becomes more insistent and the rest of us are trying so hard not to break out laughing.  Finally Lori says to lost and confused Karice, “So John is going to be a mother some day too?”  It finally sinks in and Karice turns about 3 shades of pink darker as the bewilderment on her face quickly morphs into complete embarrassment, poor girl.

Eight years later and her prophetically spoken statement is 75% accurate.  I’m still not a mother, and i think that at this point it is safe to say that i probably never will be.  The three ladies in the room are all married with kids, and i am still the only guy in a place full of girls.

Motherhood is blessed.  It is not a thing of shame or to be disappointed about.  It is not dirty or unclean.  It is about faith, hope, and love embodied.  To bring new life in the world.  To share the joys and sorrows of life, and to pass down who you are to the next generation.

YHWH understands that… He created it.  Here in chapter 12 of Leviticus He tells the mother what needs to be done for her purification and return to communion with Him.  It is a beautiful promise given after a beautiful process of bringing about life.  The very work that YHWH has done and is continuing to do.

Blessed be the name of the LORD!

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 7 – Error II

This was the second time that i had to rip out a page from by project Bible.  I have actually been posting about a day behind my writing for the last 4 or 5 days.  I do my chapter copying, but then i’m just so exhausted from going to bed 10:30-11:00 pm and getting up at 5:00 am (after being up for 30 min to an hour in the middle of the night with a crying baby) that after i finish my chapter (generally 6:00-6:45 am) i go back  to sleep until 7:00 am instead of doing my post.

Well, yesterday i was supposed to finish ch. 7, so today i started chapter 8.  About halfway through, i realized that i had never finished chapter 7!  I had gotten to around verse 25 yesterday when i was so exhausted that i stopped to sleep and was going to go back and finish it later in the day.  Needless to say, i was more than a little annoyed, but what could i do about it.  There was no way to simply paste in the missing verses, so i had to tear out the page, redo some of the work that i had lost, and finished the second half of chapter 7.  On a positive note, now my writing and my posts are on the same page!

Well, Leviticus 7 is not anything overly new.  There are more instructions for the priests concerning the sacrifices and when, where, and how to do what needs to be done.  One thing i did note however, is that this chapter includes a whole lot about what of the offerings belongs to the priest.  Every few verses it seems that there is a statement that this portion belongs to the priests, or that piece is for Aaron and his sons forever.  It’s not that those things haven’t been stated in previous chapters.  This chapter just seems to have a whole lot more to say.

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Leviticus – Introduction

Leviticus is the third book of Moses.  Leviticus is the book of the law.  The main purpose of the book of Leviticus is to establish the rules and laws for a completely new form of government.  It was a government establishing a nation in whose rule and direction came not from a king or leader, but from YHWH Himself.  The people are preparing to enter Canaan, the promised land, and God is directing their steps.  This book is the answer as to how they will succeed.

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Exodus 26 – Tabernacle

The tabernacle of the LORD was a beautiful thing.  I would have so loved to have seen it.  Exodus 26 is all about God describing to Moses the plans and process for building this traveling tent of His.  It describes the pillars overlaid with gold, the fine linen walls, the scarlet draperies, the goat skin tent covering the tabernacle, and the curtain that separates the holy place from the Holy of Holies.  I can only imagine what it would be like come to the tabernacle.  To come to the alter.  To enter the holy place.  To look into the Holy of Holies.

Of course i know that even if i were somehow transported to that time and place, i could never go there.  I am not a jew, i am a gentile.  So the closest i would be able to come would be to see it taken down and put up from a distance, or to see its splendor and beauty from the outside.  Even as an Israelite, you still wouldn’t be able to look into the Holy of Holies.  If you could see inside the tabernacle there was a great curtain between the holy place and the Holy of Holies.  Only the high priest could enter and only 1x per year.  That great curtain was both a blockade and a protection.  It prevented people from casually entering and being consumed due to their sin and lack of godliness.

The wonderful thing is though, that we don’t need to.  When Christ died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom.  His sacrifice removed that barrier that prevented us from being able to relate directly to the God that created us.  Through Christ’s blood we are redeemed and cleansed.  We can have a relationship directly with God.  There is no need for a high priest.  There isn’t even a need for an ordinary every day priest.  There is God and there is us.  Through Christ’s cleansing blood we are able to speak with YHWH with no curtain in the way.  Don’t you want that too?

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Exodus 25 – Sanctuary

Either i’ve become a faster writer, the verses are shorter or easier in this chapter some how, or both.  It took me less than an hour and a half to copy over the 40 verses in this chapter.  When i started  this project it took me an hour and a half to do ~30 verses.  If i was to gander a guess, i would say that it is probably a combination of things.  Either way, its good to see this, as i will be starting an earlier class schedule today and i have less time to get prepped each day to teach.

Here we see God prepping Moses and Israel to build Him a sanctuary.  He calls for the people to raise a contribution by asking for specific materials, and He gives Moses the plans for how to make the ark with the mercy seat, the table, the lamp stand, and other necessary tools and utensils.  It’s funny, when i think of the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat, what i visualize is the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that’s very different from what is described here.

What i thought was interesting about this chapter is that YHWH initiates the first fund raiser for a church building project.  He also doesn’t just ask for gold or money to purchase the right equipment to do the job, but He asks for the material itself.  It’s an interesting and intriguing way of getting things done.  It’s not just… “Write a check for this much money.”  It’s about investing in the actual building and development.  Then the people can turn around and say to their kids, “look, see the fine linen that is used in the ephod and breastpiece?  We donated that.”  Or, “See the red rams skins used in the curtains of the tabernacle, that’s from us and our family!  See, we are a part of this place.”  It gives the people some semblance of connection and identity with the project.  The very building itself becomes a legacy.  It’s much more personal than just writing a check.

Are we investing OURSELVES into the kingdom of God, or are we just writing a tithe check?  Is the kingdom work about us doing the work, or us funding the work?  Maybe that’s a key to helping people embrace the mission and work of the church and ministry?

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Exodus 21 – Treatment of Others

Yesterday was on the 10 commandments and the Israelite’s reaction to God, so i don’t know what i expected for chapter 21, but it certainly wasn’t this.  To put things in perspective a little bit; there were originally no chapters and verse in the scriptures.  They were added later on to help people study and reference the Bible better.  As a result when the text was originally written, there was no real division between what was commanded in 20 and then in 21.  So, God gave the people the 10 commandments / promises, then almost immediately we get into the topic that opens chapter 21: slavery!

Now i know that back in the day both supporters of and those opposed to slavery used the Bible to prove their point of view.  Ultimately though, it was those who understood that God’s view of humanity being created in His image and his redemption bringing equality to all that overcame and was a driving force in especially Great Britain’s move to make slavery illegal.  But when i started copying this chapter over it hit me.  Almost immediately after giving the 10 commandments / promises God begins the rest of the law and legal instructions with rules about slavery?  Isn’t that a huge piece of evidence that God is in SUPPORT of slavery?  Doesn’t that justify that abominable practice?

I was really struggling through this idea and concept for a good chunk of my writing this morning.  It was really bothering me.  Then, as i was writing, struggling with this, and questioning God about it; He brought an answer to my mind.  It’s not that He supported slavery.  It’s that He knew slavery was going to occur no matter what.  He set His 10 primary promises / commands then immediately He set the rules to protect those who would end up as slaves.  It wasn’t an attempt to encourage the mistreatment of His creation.  It was making it a priority to protect those least able to protect themselves.

The chapter continues by dealing with how to respond to murder / accidental deaths from other people as well as animals.  Obviously this is a very important aspect of the law to deal with.  This theme of protecting the innocent continues with the instruction that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is struck resulting in premature birth but no harm is done, then the husband may demand any fine he requests.  If there is an injury it is an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burn for burn, hand for hand, etc.

If we call ourselves Christians, are we protecting those less able to protect themselves?  Do we live our lives taking responsibility for those around us?

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