purifying from the plunder

marmsky April 2018 (19)

purifying from the plunder

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2356

Numbers 31:13-30

Num 31:13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.
Num 31:14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war.
Num 31:15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live?
Num 31:16 notice, these, due to Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against Yahveh in the incident of Peor, and this caused the plague to come to the congregation of Yahveh.
Num 31:17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.
Num 31:18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.
Num 31:19 Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any soul and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
Num 31:20 You will purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”
Num 31:21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the prescription of the law that Yahveh has commanded Moses:
Num 31:22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead,
Num 31:23 everything that can stand the fire, you will pass through the fire, and it will be pure. Nevertheless, it will also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you will pass through the water.
Num 31:24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you will be pure. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
Num 31:25 Yahveh said to Moses,
Num 31:26 “Take the count of the plunder that was taken, both of human and of animal, you and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation,
Num 31:27 and divide the plunder into two parts between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation.
Num 31:28 And levy for Yahveh a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the humans and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks.
Num 31:29 Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a contribution to Yahveh.
Num 31:30 And from the people of Israel’s half you will take one drawn out of every fifty, of the humans, of the oxen, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all the animals, and give them to the Levites who keep guard over the tabernacle of Yahveh.”

purifying from the plunder

The Moab Midianites had attempted to destroy the Israelites from within by tempting them to rebel against Yahveh. For this crime, God commanded that the Israelites destroy them. But Moses discovered that the plunder from the war was also a temptation for the Israelites. So, he gave instructions as to how to purify the camp.

God does not call us to make war against our enemies. Our struggle is against the enemies in the unseen realm. But even when we are victorious in those battles, the resulting spoil might be a danger to us. We must be careful not to bring into our houses anything that might tempt us to forsake God.

LORD, give us wisdom to rid ourselves of those things which might turn our hearts from you.

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end of a conspiracy

marmsky April 2018 (18)

end of a conspiracy

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2355

Numbers 31:1-12

Num 31:1 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 31:2 “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you will be gathered to your people.”
Num 31:3 So Moses spoke to the people, and this is what he said “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute Yahveh’s vengeance on Midian.
Num 31:4 You will send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.”
Num 31:5 So there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
Num 31:6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the signal trumpets in his hand.
Num 31:7 They warred against Midian, as Yahveh commanded Moses, and killed every male.
Num 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.
Num 31:9 And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and they took as plunder all their animals, their flocks, and all their goods.
Num 31:10 All their cities in the places where they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire,
Num 31:11 and took all the spoil and all the plunder, both of human and of animal.
Num 31:12 Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

end of a conspiracy

Did you notice who is listed as one of the casualties in Israel’s war against the Moab Midianites? It’s our old “friend” Balaam. He would not curse the Israelites, because he knew those words would prove to be a contradiction. But he made his choice about who he would support. He conspired with the Midianites to make the Israelites leave the pure worship of Yahveh. For that conspiracy, he met his end along with them.

There are actually plenty of Balaams today. There are those who would never say a word against Christianity, but who have chosen to live their lives as unbelievers. Oh LORD, if we could only show them that their end will be the same as those they have chosen to support!

LORD, show us how to seek those who are friendly to us, but have not come to put their faith in You.

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I promise

marmsky April 2018 (17)

I promise

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2354

Numbers 30:1-16

Num 30:1 Moses spoke to the leaders of the tribes of the people of Israel, and this is what he said “This is what Yahveh has commanded.
Num 30:2 If a man pledges a solemn pledge to Yahveh, or swears an oath to bind his soul by a pledge, he will not break his word. He will do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
Num 30:3 “If a woman pledges a solemn pledge to Yahveh and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth,
Num 30:4 and her father hears of her solemn pledge — of her pledge by which she has bound her soul and says nothing to her, then all her solemn pledges will stand, and every pledge by which she has bound her soul will stand.
Num 30:5 But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no solemn pledge of hers, no pledge by which she has bound her soul will stand. And Yahveh will forgive her, because her father opposed her.
Num 30:6 “If she marries a husband, while under her solemn pledges or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound her soul,
Num 30:7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her solemn pledges will stand, and her pledges by which she has bound her soul will stand.
Num 30:8 But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her solemn pledge that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound her soul. And Yahveh will forgive her.
Num 30:9 (But any solemn pledge of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound her soul, will stand against her.)
Num 30:10 And if she solemnly pledged in her husband’s house or bound her soul by a pledge with an oath,
Num 30:11 and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her solemn pledges will stand, and every pledge by which she bound her soul will stand.
Num 30:12 But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her solemn pledges or concerning her pledge of her soul will not stand. Her husband has made them void, and Yahveh will forgive her.
Num 30:13 Any solemn pledge and any binding oath to discipline her soul, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void.
Num 30:14 But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her solemn pledges or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them.
Num 30:15 But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he will bear her violation.”
Num 30:16 These are the prescriptions that Yahveh commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father’s house.

I promise

A solemn pledge (nadar) was a promise for the future. “The rules laid down must have been exceedingly useful for the prevention or cancelling of rash vows, as well as for giving a proper sanction to such as were legitimate in their nature, and made in a devout, reflecting spirit.” (Jameson, Fausett & Brown).

God wanted Moses to remind his people that their promises are important, and that they affect others around them, so should not be made without consideration of all their relationships.

LORD, make us careful with our words, and committed to keeping our promises.

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a seven day feast

marmsky April 2018 (16)

a seven day feast

Numbers 29:12-40

Num 29:12 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you will have a sacred convention. You will not do any ordinary work, and you will keep a feast to Yahveh seven days.
Num 29:13 And you will offer an ascending offering, a fire offering, with a soothing aroma to Yahveh, thirteen bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they will be perfect;
Num 29:14 and their tribute offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two tenths for each of the two rams,
Num 29:15 and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs;
Num 29:16 also one male goat for a mistake offering, besides the regular ascending offering, its tribute offering and its drink offering.
Num 29:17 “On the second day twelve bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:18 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:19 also one male goat for a mistake offering, besides the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering, and their drink offerings.
Num 29:20 “On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:21 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:22 also one male goat for a mistake offering, besides the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering and its drink offering.
Num 29:23 “On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:24 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:25 also one male goat for a mistake offering, besides the regular ascending offering, its tribute offering and its drink offering.
Num 29:26 “On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:27 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:28 also one male goat for a mistake offering; besides the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering and its drink offering.
Num 29:29 “On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:30 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:31 also one male goat for a mistake offering; besides the regular ascending offering, its tribute offering, and its drink offerings.
Num 29:32 “On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:33 with the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:34 also one male goat for a mistake offering; besides the regular ascending offering, its tribute offering, and its drink offering.
Num 29:35 “On the eighth day you will have a solemn assembly. You will not do any ordinary work,
Num 29:36 but you will offer an ascending offering, a fire offering, with a soothing aroma to Yahveh: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old — all perfect,
Num 29:37 and the tribute offering and the drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities;
Num 29:38 also one male goat for a mistake offering; besides the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering and its drink offering.
Num 29:39 “These you will offer to Yahveh at your appointed feasts, in addition to your solemn pledge offerings and your spontaneous voluntary offerings, for your ascending offerings, and for your tribute offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your offering for healthy relationships.”
Num 29:40 So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as Yahveh had commanded Moses.

a seven day feast

After two weeks of the new year, the Israelites were to celebrate an entire week dedicated to the LORD. Every day new offerings were to be offered. Every day, new aspects of the LORD’s character and provision were to be celebrated.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could carve out some more time from our busy schedules to concentrate on the ONE who matters to us most of all?

LORD, give us a heart to focus our time on YOU.

 

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take a bow

marmsky April 2018 (15)

take a bow

Numbers 29:7-11

Num 29:7 “On the tenth day of this seventh month you will have a sacred convention and discipline your souls. You will do no work,
Num 29:8 but you will offer an ascending offering to Yahveh, a soothing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are perfect.
Num 29:9 And their tribute offering will be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram,
Num 29:10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs:
Num 29:11 also one male goat for a mistake offering, besides the mistake offering of atonement, and the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering, and their drink offerings.

take a bow

Nine days after the day for blowing trumpets, the Israelites were to assemble together and discipline their souls by bowing down to God.

There is a time to celebrate, and there is a time to venerate.

LORD, today we humble ourselves before you, and proclaim your majesty.

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Yom Teruah

marmsky April 2018 (14)

Yom Teruah

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2351

Numbers 29:1-6

Num 29:1 “On the first day of the seventh month you will have a sacred convention. You will not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets,
Num 29:2 and you will offer an ascending offering, for a soothing aroma to Yahveh: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old — all perfect;
Num 29:3 also their tribute offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram,
Num 29:4 and one tenth for each of the seven lambs;
Num 29:5 with one male goat for a mistake offering, to provide reconciliation for you;
Num 29:6 besides the ascending offering of the new moon, and its tribute offering, and the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering, and their drink offering, according to the rule for them, for a soothing aroma, a fire offering to Yahveh.

Yom Teruah

The Jewish civil calendar begins on this first day of the seventh month. Although it is now called “Rosh Hashannah” (beginning of the year), it is described here as “Yom Teruah” (a day for you to blow the trumpets [vs. 1]).

“It is a solemn day of soul-searching, forgiveness, repentance and remembering God’s judgment, as well as a joyful day of celebration, looking forward to God’s goodness and mercy in the New Year” (https://www.thoughtco.com/feast-of-trumpets-700184).

Take time today to seek the newness he offers through Christ.

LORD, you are making all things new. Renew us!

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all the significance

marmsky April 2018 (13)

all the significance

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2350

Numbers 28:16-31

Num 28:16 “On the fourteenth day of the first month is Yahveh’s Passover,
Num 28:17 and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days will unleavened bread be eaten.
Num 28:18 On the first day there will be a sacred convention. You will not do any ordinary work,
Num 28:19 but offer a fire offering, an ascending offering to Yahveh: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are perfect;
Num 28:20 also their tribute offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah will you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram;
Num 28:21 a tenth will you offer for each of the seven lambs;
Num 28:22 also one male goat for a mistake offering, to provide reconciliation for you.
Num 28:23 You will offer these besides the ascending offering of the morning, which is for a regular ascending offering.
Num 28:24 In the same way you will offer daily, for seven days, the food of a fire offering, with a soothing aroma to Yahveh. It will be offered besides the regular ascending offering and its drink offering.
Num 28:25 And on the seventh day you will have a sacred convention. You will not do any ordinary work.
Num 28:26 “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a tribute offering of new grain to Yahveh at your Feast of Weeks, you will have a sacred convention. You will not do any ordinary work,
Num 28:27 but offer an ascending offering, with a soothing aroma to Yahveh: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old;
Num 28:28 also their tribute offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram,
Num 28:29 a tenth for each of the seven lambs;
Num 28:30 with one male goat, to provide reconciliation for you.
Num 28:31 Besides the regular ascending offering and its tribute offering, you will offer them and their drink offering. See that they are perfect.

all the significance

Did the Israelites understand all the significance of these instructions from Moses? Do we? Everything God wanted his people to do would not only reflect back on his deliverance of his people from Egypt, but also forward to his deliverance through Christ. I don’t think we have come close to understanding what God is saying here. Someday, we will know fully. Now, we see everything through a cloud.

LORD, give us the wisdom to follow your commands given by Christ, even when we do not understand all the significance of those commands.

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God still matters

marmsky April 2018 (11)

God still matters

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2349

Numbers 28:1-15

Num 28:1 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 28:2 “Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my fire offerings, my soothing aroma, you will be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’
Num 28:3 And you will say to them, This is the fire offering that you will offer to Yahveh: two perfect male lambs a year old, day by day, as a regular offering.
Num 28:4 The one lamb you will offer in the morning, and the other lamb you will offer at twilight;
Num 28:5 also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a tribute offering, mixed with a quarter of a hin of beaten oil.
Num 28:6 It is a regular ascending offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a soothing aroma, a fire offering to Yahveh.
Num 28:7 Its drink offering will be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you will pour out a drink offering of strong drink to Yahveh.
Num 28:8 The other lamb you will offer at twilight. Like the tribute offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you will offer it as a fire offering, with a soothing aroma to Yahveh.
Num 28:9 “On the Sabbath day, two perfect male lambs a year old, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a tribute offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering:
Num 28:10 this is the ascending offering of every Sabbath, besides the regular ascending offering and its drink offering.
Num 28:11 “At the beginnings of your months, you will offer an ascending offering to Yahveh: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old — all perfect;
Num 28:12 also three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a tribute offering, mixed with oil, for each bull, and two tenths of fine flour for a tribute offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram;
Num 28:13 and a tenth of fine flour mixed with oil as a tribute offering for every lamb; for an ascending offering with a soothing aroma, a fire offering to Yahveh.
Num 28:14 Their drink offerings will be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a quarter of a hin for a lamb. This is the ascending offering of each month throughout the months of the year.
Num 28:15 Also one male goat for a mistake offering to Yahveh; it will be offered besides the regular ascending offering and its drink offering.

God still matters

The people of Israel were getting ready for a new adventure, and all the old things seemed to be dying and being replaced. But God wanted Moses to remind them that he still matters above all else. The offerings were never a means of salvation. They were to be offered regularly just because God matters.

The same is true of our worship today. Christians gather to worship God and encourage one another because God still matters. This is true no matter what is happening in our lives. If we lose our job, our health, our friends and family — even in our depression and suffering, God still matters.

LORD, give us the vision to understand who you are, even when everything else around is falling apart.

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the weight of leadership

marmsky April 2018 (11)

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2348

the weight of leadership

Numbers 27:12-23

Num 27:12 Yahveh said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the children of Israel.
Num 27:13 When you have seen it, you also will be gathered to your people, like your brother Aaron was,
Num 27:14 because you rebelled against my word in the desert of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the water in the sight of their eyes.” (These refer to the water of Meribah of Kadesh in the desert of Zin.)
Num 27:15 Moses spoke to Yahveh, and this is what he said,
Num 27:16 “Let Yahveh, the God of the breath of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation
Num 27:17 who will go out in the sight of them and come in in the sight of them, who will lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of Yahveh may not be like sheep that have no shepherd.”
Num 27:18 So Yahveh said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.
Num 27:19 Make him stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you will commission him in their sight.
Num 27:20 You will invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.
Num 27:21 And he will stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest, who will inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim in the sight of Yahveh. At his word they will go out, and at his word they will come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”
Num 27:22 And Moses did as Yahveh commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation,
Num 27:23 and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as Yahveh directed through Moses.

the weight of leadership

The tradition of laying hands on a newly appointed leader goes back to this practice, commanded by God to Moses as he was commissioning Joshua as his replacement. It involved doing literally what you were doing figuratively. Moses was to place his hand on Joshua, resting his weight (hod) on him, which symbolized his authority (hod).

The leaders among us are to be respected because of the weight of their responsibility. That does not excuse them for their mistakes, as we learn so well from Moses’ story. But we do have the responsibility to pray for their strength to carry the burden of leadership with integrity.

LORD, give our leaders the strength to carry the burdens you give them.

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they are right

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2347

they are right

Numbers 27:1-11

Num 27:1 Then the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher came near, Zelophehad was a son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
Num 27:2 And they stood in the sight of Moses and in the sight of Eleazar the priest and in the sight of the leaders and all the congregation, at the entrance of the conference tent, and this is what they said,
Num 27:3 “Our father died in the desert. He was not among the collection of those who collected themselves together against Yahveh in the collection of Korah, but died for his own mistake. And he had no sons.
Num 27:4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”
Num 27:5 Moses brought their case in the sight of Yahveh.
Num 27:6 And Yahveh said to Moses,
Num 27:7 “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You will give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.
Num 27:8 And you will speak to the people of Israel, and this is what he you will say, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you will transfer his inheritance to his daughter.
Num 27:9 And if he has no daughter, then you will give his inheritance to his brothers.
Num 27:10 And if he has no brothers, then you will give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.
Num 27:11 And if his father has no brothers, then you will give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he will possess it. And it will be for the people of Israel a prescription and rule, as Yahveh commanded Moses.'”

they are right

Zelophehad’s daughters had a legitimate complaint against the system because it was not treating them fairly, nor acknowledging their father’s legitimate right to an inheritance.

Was this a surprise to God? No, he intended all along to correct this injustice. If the daughters of Zelophehad had not spoken up, someone else would have done so later.

God is a God of justice, and he wants to correct the evils of this world — not just in eternity, but right now. If there is an injustice, an inequality, an unfairness, he wants us to stand up for those who are being wronged.

LORD, give us the courage to appeal for fairness and correct inequality.

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