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Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Numbers 31-32
Click here to read today’s passages on BibleGateway.
Today we open with what we are told is to be Moses’ last mission for the Father. We will hear more from Him as He authored Deuteronomy as well. The Father tells him to raise up an army, one thousand from each tribe, to go against Midian in order to avenge Israel because of Midian’s efforts (and success) in causing Israel to sin.
Sinning is bad enough, but to cause someone else to sin is even worse. I’ll never forget the first time I read Matthew 5:19 with my eyes open to actually see what Messiah was saying.
“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19 NASB
Did you catch that? Whoever annuls, relaxes, or breaks the least of these commandments – and teaches others to do the same. This is referencing leading others into sin. Leading others to believe that they can treat the commandments like multiple choice. (As a bonus round, read the verse directly before it and take time to digest what Messiah clearly stated He did not come to do).
More verses to consider:
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6
8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, Malachi 2:8
We will learn so much more as we read our way to these verses so keep reading, keep reading, keep reading…
It is important to know that the Midianites have an allegiance with Moab. We see in Numbers 31 that these Moabite women actually worked together with the Midianites, under the direction of Balaam, to infiltrate Israel and cause them to sin.
16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. Numbers 31:16-17
Numbers 25:1-9 is a pretty graphic account of their debauchery as well.
This is also mentioned in Revelations 2:14 14
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
So why kill the children? This is something our western mindsets struggle with. It was a male child’s duty, if his father were killed in battle, to avenge his father’s death once he grew up. The Israelite men had just killed all of their fathers.
Further, have you ever seen those videos of the little kids in war zones being trained by terrorists to kill as many people as possible? They have hate taught to them from such a young age that it becomes the wheel that turns their whole lives. I am not saying they are not redeemable, we have all been redeemed from many things, but we are speaking in generalizations here. These were people who, for generations, had nurtured their idolatry, hate, and sin. It is a hard thing for us to consider from either angle, but the Father knew what these people were capable of when it came to leading Israel astray and in His wisdom, He offered Israel instruction that would save them heartache and condemnation for them and their children as well.
Did they heed His advice? Nope. And this group of people would go on to be a thorn in their side. We will read about their constant harassment in Judges 6:3. But we’ll also see that Israel intermarried with these people and, as YHWH said, began taking on their ways, worshipping false gods and committing great sins. This will eventually lead to the first mass divorce in the book of Ezra.
As the people draw closer to entering the promised land we will see an entire generation denied the ability to see it but two key figures will go in, Joshua and Caleb. What is special about these two? YHWH tells us that they sought Him with their wholehearts.
•10 And the Lord‘s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, 12 none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ Numbers 32:10-12
•About Caleb specifically: 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Numbers 14:24
•About Joshua specifically: 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. ~Joshua 14:8
Personally, this is something I need to check in with on a regular basis to discern the state of my heart. Am I wholeheartedly seeking Him or have I managed to get distracted by the trappings of the world yet again? We are so prone to idols, to noble busy-ness, to chasing our passions. And when that busy-ness is noble and those passions seem to be helping good causes we can chase them at full speed ahead and miss the fact that we are running away from the Father in our pursuit of them.
Let’s read a few verses about wholeheartedness
You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut 6:5
And he said to him, “You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
…you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut 13:3
And now start watching for the pattern of behavior when we seek the Father with our whole hearts…
“Moreover YHWH your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deut 30:6
“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to YHWH your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, Deut 11:13
“Now, Israel, what does YHWH your God require from you, but to fear YHWH your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, Deut 10:12
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for YHWH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9
“But from there you will seek YHWH your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. Deut 4:29
if you obey YHWH your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to YHWH your God with all your heart and soul. Deut 30:10
and you return to YHWH your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,Deut 30:2
With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Psalm 119:10
Y’all, I could go on and on. I encourage you to click here and read more verses about wholeheartedness. But here is my point, we are instructed over and over that we are to seek Him wholeheartedly and then we are given examples of what that will look like, so we can use those to check the status of our hearts. My problem is that I don’t naturally do this on my own and of my own accord. I naturally veer towards the world because that is how living in the flesh works. And so, each day, we have to wake up and step in line with the Holy Spirit’s leading instead. Our natural state is to satisfy flesh, so we have to SET our hearts on HIM each and every day, each and every moment.
In the words of Joshua
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
I’ve learned that this choice takes place daily. We have to realize that so that we take the time to make our choice again each day.
If we don’t consciously choose the Father, the Bible shows us that our default is the world.
Another neat thing about Caleb
10 And the Lord‘s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, 12 none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ Numbers 32:10-12 Did you catch that? Caleb wasn’t an Israelite*. However, not only was He considered one of them. He had a special status among them due to His wholeheartedness towards YHWH and YHWH not only considered Him one of the inheritors of His promise but specifically designated Him as one of the chosen to pass over into the land. One law for the native and one law for the sojourner who is among you.
For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” Numbers 15:15-16
YHWH means every word He says and here we see a gentile counted among the chosen because they chose to follow YHWH with all their heart. HalleluYah!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!
*Regarding Caleb not being an Israelite: “The Old Testament mentions Caleb several times. He is first named along with Joshua as one of the two spies who brought back a positive report on the Promised Land during Israel’s failure at Kadesh-Barnea
(Numbers 13–14). This account often refers to him as “Caleb son of Jephunneh” (Num. 13:6; 14:6, 30, 38). Later accounts refer to him by his extended genealogy, “Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite” (Num. 32:12; Josh. 14:6, 14). Three times the Scriptures mention him in connection with the early judge “Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother” (Judges 1:13; 3:9; see also Joshua 15:17).
In the book of Genesis, we find that Kenaz was a grandson of Esau, and therefore was not directly part of one of the tribes of Jacob (see Gen. 36:11, 15).The descendants of Kenaz would not have been the offspring of Jacob or part of the Israelite community by birth.
Scripture also says that Caleb and Othniel were part of the tribe of Judah (Num. 13:6), and they received their inheritance possession (Josh. 15:13). Thus we can reasonably conclude that at some point either Caleb or his father would have been proselytes to Israel—Gentiles who placed faith in the God of Jacob and submitted themselves to His commandments. The Lord was pleased to use both Caleb and Othniel to provide victorious leadership for the people of Israel.” See this link for source
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