divine overkill

marmsky Feb (22)

devotional post # 2300

Numbers 11:16-23

Num 11:16 Then Yahveh said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the conference tent, and let them take their stand there with you.
Num 11:17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they will carry the burden of the people with you, so that you may not carry it yourself alone.
Num 11:18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, because you have wept in the hearing of Yahveh, and this is what you said “Who will give us meat to eat? Because it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore Yahveh will give you meat, and you will eat.
Num 11:19 You will not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days,
Num 11:20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected Yahveh who is among you and have wept in the sight of him, and this is what he said “Why did we come out of Egypt?”‘”
Num 11:21 But Moses said, “The people I am among number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’
Num 11:22 will flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or will all the fish of the sea be collected for them, and be enough for them?”
Num 11:23 And Yahveh said to Moses, “Is Yahveh’s hand shortened? Now you will see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

divine overkill

The complaints about hardship and the monotonous manna have gotten to Moses. He cannot carry the burden of all the people alone. The LORD responds. He will give Moses not just one partner, but seventy. He will give the people meat, not just for one day, but for a whole month. God’s sufficiency and power were never the issue. Such is the case for the problems you and I are facing as well.

LORD, make us wise enough to trust you in the midst of our difficulties, and know that you have the power to rescue us.

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rose colored memories

marmsky Feb (21)

devotional post # 2299

Numbers 11:4-15

Num 11:4 Now the rifraff that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!
Num 11:5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.
Num 11:6 But now our soul is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Num 11:7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.
Num 11:8 The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil.
Num 11:9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.
Num 11:10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of Yahveh blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased.
Num 11:11 Moses said to Yahveh, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?
Num 11:12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?
Num 11:13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? Because they weep in the sight of me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’
Num 11:14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.
Num 11:15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my misery.”

rose colored memories

The problem with the Israelites in the wilderness was that God’s faithfulness was not enough. They had a memory of fish and vegetables, and they allowed that memory to rule over the visible, tangible evidence that God was actively providing for their needs: the manna. Such behavior frustrated Moses to the point where he began to complain himself.

Father God, teach us to focus on your faithfulness in the present, and not to dwell on the rose colored memories of the past, which can only breed discontent.

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tested at Taberah

marmsky Feb (20)

devotional post # 2298

Numbers 11:1-3

Num 11:1 And the people complained in the hearing of Yahveh about their adversity, and when Yahveh heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of Yahveh burned among them and consumed some borders of the camp.
Num 11:2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to Yahveh, and the fire died down.
Num 11:3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire from Yahveh had burned among them.

tested at Taberah

The Israelites had been promised good things from the LORD. As they moved from place to place, they were responsible to live the life of faith — putting their faith in God for a better future. But the adversities of the journey tested their faith. They began to openly complain . God had warned them about his burning anger. It took the intercessory prayer of Moses to stop the destructive blaze.

LORD, give us the faith to endure whatever adversity we must face without complaining, so that we demonstrate a solid faith in your promises for our future.

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passing on the blessing

marmsky Feb (19)

devotional post # 2297

Numbers 10:29-36

Num 10:29 And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which Yahveh said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, because Yahveh has promised good to Israel.”
Num 10:30 But he said to him, “I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred.”
Num 10:31 And he said, “Please do not leave us, because you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us.
Num 10:32 And if you do go with us, whatever good Yahveh will do to us, the same will we do to you.”
Num 10:33 So they set out from the mount of Yahveh three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of Yahveh went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.
Num 10:34 And the cloud of Yahveh was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
Num 10:35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Yahveh, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you run away before you.”
Num 10:36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Yahveh, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”

passing on the blessing

How did Moses know that Hobab would experience blessing just by accompanying the Israelites on their journey? For that matter, how could he be confident that the Israelites would receive good from the LORD, to pass on to Hobab’s family?

God had made a commitment to their ancestor — a man he named Abraham. If Abraham obeyed God and went where he told him to go, he would be blessed. He was responsible to pass on that blessing to the nations he passed through.

LORD, make us a blessing to the nations where you send us.

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ready to go

marmsky Feb (19)

devotional post # 2296

Numbers 10:11-28

Num 10:11 Then in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, this happened: the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony,
Num 10:12 and the sons of Israel set out by stages from the Sinai desert. And the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.
Num 10:13 They set out for the first time at the command of Yahveh by Moses.
Num 10:14 The standard of the camp of the people of Judah set out first by their companies, and over their company was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
Num 10:15 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar.
Num 10:16 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.
Num 10:17 And when the tabernacle was taken down, the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who carried the tabernacle, set out.
Num 10:18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out by their companies, and over their company was Elitsur the son of Shedeur.
Num 10:19 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
Num 10:20 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Gad was Elyasaph the son of Deuel.
Num 10:21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things, and the tabernacle was set up before their arrival.
Num 10:22 And the standard of the camp of the people of Ephraim set out by their companies, and over their company was Elishama the son of Ammihud.
Num 10:23 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
Num 10:24 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.
Num 10:25 Then the standard of the camp of the people of Dan, acting as the rear guard of all the camps, set out by their companies, and over their company was Achiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
Num 10:26 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ochran.
Num 10:27 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Naphtali was Achira the son of Enan.
Num 10:28 This was the order of march of the people of Israel by their companies, when they set out.

ready to go

There is always a first time, and these words record the first time that the nation of Israel dismantled their tabernacle, and set out as a nation to their next destination. Every group had its purpose, and the transport worked as designed. It took a great deal of planning and training to get this mobile nation going.

Christianity is a mobile nation as well. When God signals for us to go, we need to be prepared for the next satge of his plan.

LORD, make us ready to go where you want us to go next.

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trademark trumpets

marmsky Feb (17)

devotional post # 2295

Numbers 19:1-10

Num 10:1 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 10:2 “Make two silver trumpets. You will make them of hammered work, and you will use them for convening the congregation and for breaking camp.
Num 10:3 And when both are blown, all the congregation will gather themselves to you at the entrance of the conference tent.
Num 10:4 But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the tribes of Israel, should gather themselves to you.
Num 10:5 When you blow an alarm, the camps that are on the east side will set out.
Num 10:6 And when you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are on the south side will set out. An alarm is to be blown whenever they are to set out.
Num 10:7 But when the assembly is to be collected, you will blow a long blast, but you will not sound an alarm.
Num 10:8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, will blow the trumpets. The trumpets will be to you for a permanent prescription throughout your generations.
Num 10:9 And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you will sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered in the sight of Yahveh your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.
Num 10:10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you will blow the trumpets over your ascending offerings and over the sacrifices of your offering for healthy relationshipss. They will be a reminder of you in the sight of your God: I am Yahveh your God.”

trademark trumpets

Some sounds are almost universally recognizable: the horns of trains or boats, a siren, a church bell. The two silver trumpets for the Israelite community were like that. They were blown in a variety of circumstances, but every time the Israelites heard them, they were to remember the LORD, and the LORD would remember them. It was like an advertising jingle that would spark recognition and memory.

LORD, your silver trumpets are silent today, but we await the sound of the trumpet that will announce the second coming of your Son. Come, Lord Jesus.

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guidance for the day

marmsky Feb (16)

devotional post # 2294

Numbers 9:15-23

Num 9:15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
Num 9:16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night.
Num 9:17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.
Num 9:18 At the command of Yahveh the people of Israel set out, and at the command of Yahveh they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.
Num 9:19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of Yahveh and did not set out.
Num 9:20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of Yahveh they remained in camp; then according to the command of Yahveh they set out.
Num 9:21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.
Num 9:22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, staying there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.
Num 9:23 At the command of Yahveh they camped, and at the command of Yahveh they set out. They kept the charge of Yahveh, at the command of Yahveh by Moses.

guidance for the day

From one day to the next, the Israelites did not know what their focus was going to be. It all depended on what God did. If his presence — symbolized by the cloud and fire — stayed put, The Israelites would stay put. But when God moved, they moved. The nation stood on the ready to respond to the guidance of its God.

You and I need to learn to do that. We need to spend time in prayer, and ask God to give us the day’s mission. Then, whether the mission is to go or stay, we need to obey.

LORD, we are ready. Give us our guidance for today.

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seeking his solution

marmsky Feb (15)

devotional post # 2293

Numbers 9:1-14

Num 9:1 And Yahveh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, and this is what he said
Num 9:2 “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time.
Num 9:3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you will keep it at its appointed time; according to all its prescriptions and all its rules you will keep it.”
Num 9:4 So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover.
Num 9:5 And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that Yahveh commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.
Num 9:6 And there were certain men who were contaminated because they had touched a dead soul, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came in the sight of Moses and Aaron on that day.
Num 9:7 And those men said to him, “We are contaminated because we have touched a dead soul. Why are we kept from bringing Yahveh’s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?”
Num 9:8 And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what Yahveh will command concerning you.”
Num 9:9 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 9:10 “Speak to the people of Israel, and this is what you should say: If any one of you or of your descendants is contaminated because he has touched a dead soul, or is on a long journey, he will still keep the Passover to Yahveh.
Num 9:11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they will keep it. They will eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Num 9:12 They will leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the prescription for the Passover they will keep it.
Num 9:13 But if anyone who is pure and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person will be eliminated from his people because he did not bring Yahveh’s offering at its appointed time; that man will pay for his mistake.
Num 9:14 And if a foreign guest sojourns among you and wants to keep the Passover to Yahveh, according to the prescription of the Passover and according to its rule, so will he do. You will have one prescription, both for the sojourner and for the native.”

seeking his solution

This story records a test case in which two sets of instruction from the LORD contradict each other. After what happened to Nadab and Abihu (3:4), nobody presumed they knew what the LORD wanted in this case, so Moses went into the LORD’s presence and asked. God’s solution preserved the sanctity of the ritual, while allowing those excluded to be included a month later.

Fearing God means letting him solve our problems we encounter in serving him. He is the king; we defer to his judgment.

LORD, give us the wisdom to fear you, seeing your solution to our problems, not presuming things based on our own logic.

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serving while we can

marmsky Feb (14)

Happy Valentine’s Day –

devotional post # 2292

Numbers 8:20-26

Num 8:20 This is what Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites did. The people of Israel did for them all that Yahveh commanded Moses concerning the Levites, .
Num 8:21 And the Levites purified themselves from any mistake and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a presentation offering in the sight of Yahveh, and Aaron made atonement for them to purify them.
Num 8:22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the conference tent in the sight of Aaron and his sons; as Yahveh had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did for them.
Num 8:23 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 8:24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they will come to do duty in the service of the conference tent.
Num 8:25 And from the age of fifty years they will withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more.
Num 8:26 They can minister to their brothers in the conference tent by keeping guard, but they will do no service. This is what you will do for the Levites in assigning their duties.”

serving while we can

When the Levites were mustered for service earlier in the story, only those from 30-50 were counted. Now, Moses is instructed to allow those from 25-29 to begin participating in the work, and those who have reached the retirement age are allowed limited involvement as well. While the age requirements are designed to ensure peak performance, concessions are put into place to avoid age discrimination.

LORD, thank you for graciously allowing all of us to serve you and to share your gospel. Teach us how to make best use of our time and limited abilities and strength to serve you while we can.

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a presentation offering

marmsky Feb (13)

devotional post # 2291

Numbers 8:13-19

Num 8:13 And you will set the Levites in the sight of Aaron and his sons, and will offer them as a presentation offering to Yahveh.
Num 8:14 “Thus you will separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites will be mine.
Num 8:15 And after that the Levites will go in to serve at the conference tent, when you have purified them and offered them as a presentation offering.
Num 8:16 Because they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the uterus, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself.
Num 8:17 Because all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of human and of animal. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself,
Num 8:18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel.
Num 8:19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the conference tent and to provide reconciliation for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

a presentation offering

The Levites were an exclusive special forces army dedicated to doing the LORD’s work. They assisted the priests by carrying out functions that supported the upkeep, transport and protection of the tabernacle. The LORD described as living sacrifices, substituting the firstborn of Israel. Paul would later encourage the Roman Christians to offer themselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, focused on learning the will of God and doing it (Rom. 12:1-2).

lord, we are a presentation offering to you. Teach us your will, that we may do it.

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