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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overcomers who inherit

overcomers who inherit

devotions by Jefferson Vann # 2346

Numbers 26:52-65

Num 26:52 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 26:53 “Among these the land will be divided for inheritance according to the number of names.
Num 26:54 To a large tribe you will give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you will give a small inheritance; every tribe will be given its inheritance in proportion to its list.
Num 26:55 But the land will be divided by lot. According to the names of the tribes of their fathers they will inherit.
Num 26:56 Their inheritance will be divided according to lot between the larger and the smaller.”
Num 26:57 This was the list of the Levites according to their clans: of Gershon, the clan of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the clan of the Kohathites; of Merari, the clan of the Merarites.
Num 26:58 These are the clans of Levi: the clan of the Libnites, the clan of the Hebronites, the clan of the Mahlites, the clan of the Mushites, the clan of the Korahites. And Kohath was the father of Amram.
Num 26:59 The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. And she bore to Amram Aaron and Moses and Miriam their sister.
Num 26:60 And to Aaron were born Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Num 26:61 But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered unauthorized fire in the sight of Yahveh.
Num 26:62 And those listed were 23,000, every male from a month old and upward. Because they were not listed among the people of Israel, because there was no inheritance given to them among the people of Israel.
Num 26:63 These were those listed by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who listed the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.
Num 26:64 But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.
Num 26:65 Because Yahveh had said of them, “They will die in the wilderness.” Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

overcomers who inherit

This passage describes the tribes who actually inherited land after the wilderness wanderings, and the descendants of Aaron who entered the land. As I reflect on this, I think about its implication for Christians seeking God’s eternal promised land at Christ’s return. The message to us seems to be that it is more important to finish well than to begin well. Of that generation who saw all those amazing miracles in Egypt, who crossed the Red Sea, only Joshua and Caleb remained. The promised land would be inhabited by those whose lives were marked by trouble and distress, yet they survived it. This helps me because I am often tempted to be discouraged by the difficulties I face as a believer. But suffering should not surprise me. You cannot be an overcomer if you have nothing to overcome.

LORD, thank you for helping us overcome, and inherit.

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devotions by Jefferson Vann # 2345

Numbers 26:41-51

Num 26:41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their clans, and those listed were 45,600.
Num 26:42 These are the sons of Dan according to their clans: of Shuham, the clan of the Shuhamites. These are the clans of Dan according to their clans.
Num 26:43 All the clans of the Shuhamites, as they were listed, were 64,400.
Num 26:44 The sons of Asher according to their clans: of Imnah, the clan of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the clan of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the clan of the Beriites.
Num 26:45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the clan of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the clan of the Malchielites.
Num 26:46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.
Num 26:47 These are the clans of the sons of Asher as they were listed, 53,400.
Num 26:48 The sons of Naphtali according to their clans: of Jahzeel, the clan of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the clan of the Gunites;
Num 26:49 of Jezer, the clan of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the clan of the Shillemites.
Num 26:50 These are the clans of Naphtali according to their clans, and those listed were 45,400.
Num 26:51 This was the list of the people of Israel, 601,730.


All these sons are mentioned, and out of nowhere comes this reference to a daughter — Serah, daughter of Asher. It is the same in the genealogy list of 1 Chronicles 7 (Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, with their sister Serah (1 Chronicles 7:30)). Why was she mentioned? We do not know. Perhaps there was some inheritance issue like Zelophehad’s daughters, but the Bible does not elaborate.

Maybe this is another hint from God that he really does not have a favorite gender. Perhaps Serah became famous for her devotion even in an age when few women did.

LORD, teach us to respect and love all of your children.

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daughters of Zelophehad

daughters of Zelophehad

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2344

Numbers 26:26-41

Num 26:26 The sons of Zebulun, according to their clans: of Sered, the clan of the Seredites; of Elon, the clan of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the clan of the Jahleelites.
Num 26:27 These are the clans of the Zebulunites as they were listed, 60,500.
Num 26:28 The sons of Joseph according to their clans: Manasseh and Ephraim.
Num 26:29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the clan of the Machirites; and Machir was the father of Gilead; of Gilead, the clan of the Gileadites.
Num 26:30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Iezer, the clan of the Iezerites; of Helek, the clan of the Helekites;
Num 26:31 and of Asriel, the clan of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the clan of the Shechemites;
Num 26:32 and of Shemida, the clan of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the clan of the Hepherites.
Num 26:33 Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters. And the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
Num 26:34 These are the clans of Manasseh, and those listed were 52,700.
Num 26:35 These are the sons of Ephraim according to their clans: of Shuthelah, the clan of the Shuthelahites; of Becher, the clan of the Becherites; of Tahan, the clan of the Tahanites.
Num 26:36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the clan of the Eranites.
Num 26:37 These are the clans of the sons of Ephraim as they were listed, 32,500. These are the sons of Joseph according to their clans.
Num 26:38 The sons of Benjamin according to their clans: of Bela, the clan of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the clan of the Ashbelites; of Achiram, the clan of the Achiramites;
Num 26:39 of Shephupham, the clan of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the clan of the Huphamites.
Num 26:40 And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the clan of the Ardites; of Naaman, the clan of the Naamites.
Num 26:41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their clans, and those listed were 45,600.

daughters of Zelophehad

We will see these daughters of Zelophehad again in the last chapter of this book. Theirs is a special case because Zelophehad did not have any sons. The land inheritance that would have normally gone to his sons will go to these daughters instead.

Under the new covenant, there are no gender restrictions at all. In Christ there is no male and female (Galatians 3:28). We are living in societies that define us by race, social status and gender. But our future will have no such restrictions. Our present is a time where we can learn to live with the new freedom we will inherit.

LORD, teach us how to respect the presence of the Holy Spirit within us all, and treat one another as equals.

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we count

we count

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2343

Numbers 26:15-25

Num 26:15 The sons of Gad according to their clans: of Zephon, the clan of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the clan of the Haggites; of Shuni, the clan of the Shunites;
Num 26:16 of Ozni, the clan of the Oznites; of Eri, the clan of the Erites;
Num 26:17 of Arod, the clan of the Arodites; of Areli, the clan of the Arelites.
Num 26:18 These are the clans of the sons of Gad as they were listed, 40,500.
Num 26:19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan; and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.
Num 26:20 And the sons of Judah according to their clans were: of Shelah, the clan of the Shelanites; of Perez, the clan of the Perezites; of Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites.
Num 26:21 And the sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the clan of the Hamulites.
Num 26:22 These are the clans of Judah as they were listed, 76,500.
Num 26:23 The sons of Issachar according to their clans: of Tola, the clan of the Tolaites; of Puvah, the clan of the Punites;
Num 26:24 of Jashub, the clan of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the clan of the Shimronites.
Num 26:25 These are the clans of Issachar as they were listed, 64,300.

we count

One of the reasons that there are so many genealogy lists in the Bible is that God wants us to know that our lives matter — all lives matter. We are encouraged to be responsible by living our lives in such a way as to make an impact for God. But we are also encouraged when things do not turn out the way we expected that we still count to God. Since we are here, there are reasons why we are here.

LORD, help us to trust you and know that we count in your eyes.

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starting over

starting over

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2342

Numbers 26:1-14

Num 26:1 After the plague, Yahveh said to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron, the priest,
Num 26:2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, from twenty years old and older, by their fathers’ houses, all in Israel who are able to go to war.”
Num 26:3 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, and this is what he said
Num 26:4 “Take a census of the people, from twenty years old and older,” as Yahveh commanded Moses. The people of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt were:
Num 26:5 Reuben, the firstborn of Israel; the sons of Reuben: of Hanoch, the clan of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the clan of the Palluites;
Num 26:6 of Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the clan of the Carmites.
Num 26:7 These are the clans of the Reubenites, and those listed were 43,730.
Num 26:8 And the sons of Pallu: Eliab.
Num 26:9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, chosen from the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against Yahveh
Num 26:10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, and they became a warning.
Num 26:11 But the sons of Korah did not die.
Num 26:12 The sons of Simeon according to their clans: of Nemuel, the clan of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the clan of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the clan of the Jachinites;
Num 26:13 of Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the clan of the Shaulites.
Num 26:14 These are the clans of the Simeonites, 22,200.

starting over

The book of Numbers begins with a census, and now a new one. It is as if God is giving his people a chance to start over, even though they have failed him, and he has judged them for it.

Even the sons of Korah get a new chance. They will become well known for their music, and some of the Psalms will come from them.

God is a God of the second chance.

Thank you, LORD, for allowing us to start over.

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the attack at Peor

the attack at Peor

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2341

Numbers 25:16-18

Num 25:16 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said
Num 25:17 “Attack the Midianites and strike them down,
Num 25:18 because they attacked you treacherously when they deceived you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”

the attack at Peor

What was the treacherous attack at Peor? Verse 2 says that (the Moabite) women invited (the Israelite men) to the sacrifices of their gods, and the men ate and … bowed down in worship to their (Moabite) gods. All it took was an invitation, and the Israelites could not resist breaking their covenant with Yahveh.

The lesson for Christians is to stay true to Jesus, and to be aware that non Christian friends may be unwitting weapons attacking you with an “invitation.”

LORD, give us discernment and a passionate loyalty to Jesus.

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this has to stop

this has to stop

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2340

Numbers 25:6-15

Num 25:6 And notice, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the conference tent.
Num 25:7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand
Num 25:8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. This is how the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.
Num 25:9 Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.
Num 25:10 And Yahveh said to Moses,
Num 25:11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.
Num 25:12 Therefore say, ‘notice, I give to him my covenant of peace,
Num 25:13 and it will be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a permanent priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'”
Num 25:14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, leader of a father’s house belonging to the Simeonites.
Num 25:15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the tribal head of a father’s house in Midian.

this has to stop

If you are thinking “How could God condone this violent act, much less reward it.” — I have to admit, that was my first thought as well. But then I realized, many people had already died because of Israel’s taking on foreign wives — something they covenanted not to do. And, many more were dying from the plague that was ravaging Israel. There comes a time when the sinning has to stop. Phinehas stopped it.

This generation needs people who will dare to put a stop to the sins that society accepts. We need people who will dare to say ‘this is wrong.”

LORD, give us the courage of Phinehas, to stop those things that are bringing your wrath to our lands.

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gateway drug

gateway drug

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2339

Numbers 25:1-5

Num 25:1 While Israel stayed in Shittim, the people began to prostitute themselves with the daughters of Moab.
Num 25:2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
Num 25:3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of Yahveh was kindled against Israel.
Num 25:4 And Yahveh said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang them in the sun in the sight of Yahveh, that the fierce anger of Yahveh may turn away from Israel.”
Num 25:5 And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

gateway drug

What the Moabites could not accomplish by means of a prophet’s curse, they easily accomplished by seduction. But the fact that sexual promiscuity served as a gateway drug to outright rebellion here does not in any way excuse the Israelites who sinned. They are responsible for their actions, and their leaders are responsible for their lack of prevention.

The unequal yoke is a dangerous thing. Whether it is sexual partnership or business partnership, the ones we decide to partner with will influence us. God has determined to bless those who are distinctly his. When we blur the distinction, we endanger ourselves.

LORD, rid us of our lust for lives that are anything but distinctly yours.

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utter destruction

utter destruction

devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2338

Numbers 24:15-25

Num 24:15 And he took up his chant and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
Num 24:16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:
Num 24:17 I see him, but not now; I notice him, but not near: a star will come out of Jacob, and a scepter will rise out of Israel; it will crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.
Num 24:18 Edom will be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, will be dispossessed. Israel is doing valiantly.
Num 24:19 And one from Jacob will exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of cities!”
Num 24:20 Then he looked on Amalek and took up his chant and said, “Amalek was the firstfruits among the nations, but its end is utter destruction.”
Num 24:21 And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his chant and said, “Enduring is your staying place, and your nest is set in the rock.
Num 24:22 Nevertheless, Kain will be burned when Asshur takes you away captive.”
Num 24:23 And he took up his chant and said, “Alas, who will live when God does this?
Num 24:24 But ships will come from Kittim and will discipline Asshur and Eber; and he too will come to utter destruction.”
Num 24:25 Then Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way.

utter destruction

Balaam took a good look at all the powerful nations who stood in the way of God’s plan and saw into their future. They had secure positions today, but their tomorrow held defeat and utter destruction. We do not have to be seers like Balaam to recognize that. The Bible speaks of a future permanent dwelling for God’s people but warns that unbelievers will be destroyed “soul and body” in Gehenna hell.

If you are reading this, and you do not know the LORD, you need to switch sides today. If you think you have a secure position in life, remember that those same thoughts were thought by these nations which Balaam spoke against. They are gone today.

LORD, save us. Deliver us from our self-assurance. Lead us to the Savior.

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