Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 6, Num 28-30

Today's readings are Num 28-30. Tomorrow's are Num 31-32.

While the offerings detailed in Num 15 were designed to show the gratitude of a redeemed people, the offerings outlined in Num 28-29 are an ongoing demonstration of how sacrifice for sin fit in the life of a Jew living in the time before Christ. Sins require atonement. Israel was unable to stop sinning. So God fashions a complex series of sacrifices to be made on a continual basis, reminding Israel that they are always in need of deliverance even though they are God's people. There are regular offerings, daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings and festival offerings like The Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. Each ritual, ceremony and feast is designed to remind the Jews of what God has done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do. 

Num 30 deals with vows made by women and reinforces the godly order of the family and the marriage. Its' a rough and imperfect shadow of the structure that will eventually become the template for the body of Christ that will govern its relationship to Jesus. 

Meanwhile, God gives His people a unique order. While the guidelines may seem archaic to us, to the Jews, living in the ancient culture of the Mideast, where women were something similar to chattel, they are liberating and mindful of the vital role women play in their society. 

These chapters will also serve as a stabilizing influence on Israel as Joshua assumes leadership from Moses. God continues to watch over His people, providing for them, protecting them and being faithful to His promises.

God's people are certainly unique and set apart. Their sacrifices are meaningful and carry with them blessing and peace with a holy God, who lives with His people and loves them. This is a contrast to pagan sacrifices which are made out of fear and appeasement of a distant and capricious god. 

Israel's social structures and laws defy the norm, creating a society of equals that occupy different roles. There is structure but not a series of social classes. In these early books of the Bible, we see, not only God's progressive revelation of Himself to His people, but the foundation for the two New Testament statements that will summarize the Law being built, "Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." And, "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."

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