Saturday, 1 October 2016

Numbers 16-20

Here's how the study works: Read the chapters mentioned in the heading during the week and share any words, thoughts, verses that stood out to you. Having a week for several chapters creates the opportunity to revisit them and make additional comments as you feel inclined as well as make comments on other people's insights.


Susan Barnes said...

16:3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?”

It is actually the Levites who have gone too far (v. 7). They were right in saying that the whole community is holy and the Lord is with them but the Lord had set Moses and Aaron above the Lord's assembly with special responsibilities and privileges. The Levites did not want to recognize this because they want to have some say in the leadership.

Susan Barnes said...

17:5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.

God really hates grumbling. He know it's very bad for us because it keeps us focussed on the negative, it steals our gratitude and our joy. It also tends to steal our empathy and kindness since we expect others to tend to our needs instead of reaching out for others.

Susan Barnes said...

18:6-7 I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the tent of meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.

There are both privileges as responsibilities to being a Levite. They could own not property (v. 20) but ate the finest food and wine in the land (v. 12-13). There were jobs they were to do that no one else could do (v. 7). Strange as it may seem, sometimes people are not allowed to help.

Susan Barnes said...

19:19 The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean.

(From Constable's Commentary) "God recognized that the incubation period for most bacteria is within seven days … the 'unclean' provision of seven days was practical for most acute, bacterial diseases fatal in that day"… "These provisions recognize that not only is washing important in mechanically cleansing one from microbes but drying (until evening) is also essential. Pathogenic microbes can live in moisture that remains on skin, dying when the skin is eventually dried."

God's provision allowed for medical considerations. His laws are for our good even when we don't know it.

Susan Barnes said...

20:10-12 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out … But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

(From Constable's Commentary) "To summarize Moses harshly rebuked the people (v. 10), took credit for what God had done (v. 10), resented the Israelites (v. 10), lost his temper (v. 11), disobeyed God (v. 11), did not trust God's power (v. 12), failed to glorify God (v. 12) and rebelled against God (v. 24)."

Moses biggest problem was he did not trust God enough. He felt that he need to help God by striking the rock and not just simply speak. Sometimes, to us, speaking does not seem enough but if we are speaking the words that God would have us say, it is entirely enough.