Scripture reading for February 16th: Numbers 17-20
Sin is a malady of the human race that permeates all men. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23) The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Our reading today records the deaths of brother Aaron and sister Miriam. Moses also is told that he, too, will not be allowed to enter the promised land, but must be gathered to his people.
The first to pass from the scene was Miriam, the older sister of Moses. (Numbers 20:1) Miriam was a prophetess who used her tambourine to prophesy and led the Israelite women in a victory celebration after the miracle of God’s deliverance at the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:20-21) Miriam got into trouble when she talked about Moses because of his Cushite wife. She was jealous of her younger brother and evidently wanted to have some of his authority. (Numbers 12:1-3, 9-12) She was struck with leprosy and was put out of the camp for a week, then healed as Moses prayed for her. Miriam was greatly used of God and gifted, but died without entering the promised land.
Aaron and Moses were faced with grumbling yet again because of a lack of water in the Desert of Zin. Moses and Aaron went before the Lord and again fell face-down. (Numbers 20:6-8) God spoke to them and told them to take the staff from the Lord’s presence and speak to the rock and it would gush water for them and their livestock. However, Moses and Aaron obeyed only partially. They did take the staff, but in anger Moses ridiculed his brothers and struck the rock twice with the staff. (Numbers 20: 9-10)
Moses and Aaron were rebuked by the Lord for dishonoring Him before the people. The penalty would be no entry into the promised land. Everyone wanted to be the leader and many tried to take Moses’ place over the years. Now at the end of the journey, Moses is disqualified because of anger and frustration that led to striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it!
In truth, God is merciful! He is teaching His people that the law, represented by Moses, cannot take anyone into the promised land! It is only grace through faith that can take us all the way! Joshua (Jesus) is the one who by faith would lead God’s people into the land to possess it.
Scripture reading for April 17th: 1st Chronicles 1-9
The first nine chapters of 1st Chronicles offers a challenge as to what we might learn from pronouncing hundreds of names, many that are unfamiliar to us. Chronicles is written from the view of the priesthood and some think that Ezra helped compile this record. One thing that we might note is that Chronicles begins with Adam and gives a record of descendants right up to the exile in 586 BC. This record is basically repeated again with additions right up to the time of Christ in Luke’s Gospel. (Luke 3:23-37) God seems to be reminding us of our genealogy. We can trace it back to Adam and Eve!
Another thing to note is that God considers individuals important. He knows our name and lists all these people by name. He also recorded some comments about certain individuals who were noteworthy. Of the sons of Judah, Er, the first-born, is noted as being wicked and the Lord put him to death. (2Chronicles 2:3) Another man, Hezron, married at 60 years of age and had a son, Segub. (2nd Chronicles 2:21) Evidently it was unusual to marry so late! In 2nd Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez cried out to the Lord for his blessing and an enlarged territory. Jabez asked to have God’s hand with him and to be free from pain. God answered his prayer! That’s a good thing to note and an encouragement to us.
In the last section of this genealogy, there is a record of the sons of Levi. The Levite families had assigned jobs to do in the temple and for the ministry to the Lord. The house of Merari, for instance, was assigned to be musicians ministering before the tabernacle from the time of David. (2nd Chronicles 6:31-32) Aaron and his descendants offered the sacrifices in the most holy place. (2nd Chronicles 6:49) A later record in 2nd Chronicles 9:17-27 describes Levites who returned from captivity in Babylon to be gatekeepers in Jerusalem and the house of the Lord. A single man, Mattithiah, was a Levite who was put in charge of baking bread for the tabernacle. That was his primary job.
What do we learn from all this detail? God is a God of order. He assigns jobs to His people according to their abilities and His needs. He knows each by name and makes note of those who do well as well as those who mess up. Each person is important and the job they are assigned is significant. Take time today to thank God for the gifts He has given you. Ask Him to show you the significance of your work and offer your gifts to Him to use for His glory! God is keeping a record for Heaven!