Good Afternoon Siblings!
Today’s readings are Numbers 8-10
Today’s readings are just beautiful. Perhaps it was the mood I was in, maybe I was tired, maybe I just felt a greater sense of peace than usual in reading over the Word, but today’s reading felt like a bedtime story as I was preparing my notes last night.
Much of what we are reading is pretty self explanatory and Moses does a great job of presenting visuals in the form of his words. I can’t read it without imagining that cloud or pillar of fire appearing before my eyes! Can you imagine?
The Menorah did not use candles, but oil. I just wanted to let y’all know that in case anyone was envisioning it with lit candles. I like us to visualize what we are reading as close to reality as we can.
Today we read about Israel celebrating their second Passover. You’ll recall the first was right before leaving Egypt. It is interesting to note that, even then, YHWH made allowances to save those who weren’t part of Israel but who joined themselves to Israel, referred to as the “sojourners”.
Anyone who participated in the first passover by obeying YHWH’s instructions were saved. This is how we ended up with a “mixed multitude” leaving Egypt along with the Israelites. Think about that pattern and how it is repeated in our lives today. You’ll read more about the sojourners today as well.
To anyone thinking forward to Passover check the group calendar and stay tuned because I will be posting the dates. Passover generally occurs in late March or early April. I think a big part of the fun of Holy days is looking forward to them! (If you want to go by the lunar calendar you’ll need to check on the date a little closer to the time.) However, there are different ways of determining the dates of the appointed times and I’ll be sharing when we will be celebrating. We use a pretty common Hebrew calendar.
I’ve had a lot of questions from folks on the Biblical Feasts so I’m going to try to share a little more as the opportunity arises. If you’d rather not read about this for whatever reason, just scroll to the next point.
How do we keep Passover? For a full article on that, please click here. Leading up to Passover, we remove everything from our home that has leavening in it (Exodus 12:15). For some, they remove only things that have yeast. For others, they remove things with any leavening agents (baking soda, baking powder, etc). At Passover, leavening is symbolic of sin and this symbolizes how we should do an inventory of our lives and remove the sin as well. Removing the leavening has taught us a lot about removing sin because you have to really search and you find it where you least expect it! Then, when you think you’ve got it all, you find more!
Some people give all of the food products with leavening away or donate them. Some people put them in a storage bin and store that in their garage until the Feast of Unleavened Bread is over. We’ve done both. We usually have a big family meal on the evening of Passover which features unleavened bread, bitter herbs (in a salad per my friend Alissa’s brilliant recommendation), and the telling of the Passover story. Last year we also got together with friends and had a traditional Passover meal and prayer service. The day after Passover (which is at sunset as we eat Passover) begins the week of Unleavened Bread. During Unleavened bread, we spend the week thinking about the leavening (sin) in our lives and the miracle and grace of our deliverance. We have a lot of special foods that I reserve only for this one week each year, in order to keep them special. We also eat unleavened bread each day, as we are actually commanded to do that. I have all sorts of fun things I do with my unleavened bread recipe. I usually make a few pans the first day because most of the recipe variations begin with a pan of bread that has already been made, so this just makes my week easier. We make cheesy bread, cinnamon bread sticks, pizza, etc. (My recipe is on the website I used to own, click here for that. Variation are included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post)
The first day of unleavened bread and the seventh days are what are known as “high sabbaths”. These are days, other than the weekly Sabbath, where we are commanded to do no ordinary work, so we take off work on those. (Leviticus 23:7) If you want to keep this feast and are not able to take off work, do the best you can and pray for the Father to make it possible for you to do so in the future but in the meantime, do your best to serve Him joyfully in your work.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
Keeping Passover helps us to better understand: how to be set apart, the hidden influence sin can have in our lives, how to better follow the Father, a deeper understanding of the history of people in covenant with YHWH (our spiritual ancestors), and it also helps us to better understand the sacrifice our Messiah made on our behalf. These are just a a few of the lessons we learned when we first began keeping Passover. We learn more every year.
The trumpets – These silver trumpets being described today were not shofars (horns) as you’ve probably seen me blow. However, shofars were still widely used during YHWH’s appointed feasts and such. What is the difference? Only the priests could blow the silver trumpets, so the common man blew his or her shofar.
Y’all, I bought our shofars from Amazon. Amazing what we can get delivered to our homes nowadays!
I love the story of Hobab, at first not wanting to go but Moses makes him a wonderful promise and he changes his mind.
“32 And if you do go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you.”
Oh my goodness. What a promise, what a blessing! The same is true for us when we join ourselves to YHWH. Isaiah 56 says that He will give us a name better than sons and daughters, not only being adopted as His own away from this world, but being dearly and deeply loved! Hallelujah!
And then the verse continues. Again, this just feels like a beautiful bedtime story to me. I can see it in my mind, so clearly it could be confused for a memory, and I cannot help but feel peace and joy.
“33 So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them. 34 And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” 36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”
Numbers 8:23-26 lays out the Levitical retirement plan! It is interesting to realize that the Levites “retired” at 50. Moses was about thirty years older than this when He led the Israelites out of Egypt!
Numbers 9:1-5 It has been a very short period of time since Leviticus 23, when the Father laid out all of the Biblical feasts, and exactly one year since the original Passover and I want us to check out this verse:
The Passover Celebrated
9 And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” 4 So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. 5 And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. Numbers 9:1-5
The Father gave an order and they immediately complied. No grumbling, No arguing, No negotiating. As a parent, just the thought of this level of trust and obedience brings me great peace and joy. The Father told them and they set about doing. However, eventually, Israel will fall away. This will happen time and again. They will fall away and they will return. The church has historically given Israel a bad rap for doing this but we need to realize that the Father is showing us their behavior, not that we can judge ourselves as better, but so we can see that we are just like them.
Numbers 9:14 clearly lays out and demonstrates that the Passover is not just for the Israelites but for anyone who would join themselves to YHWH’s people. Not only that, but the Father is also clear that all of His statutes are for all who would call themselves His people.
And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”
But let’s backtrack a bit and read a statement that gave me pause. Numbers 9:13 I’m just going to let us ruminate over that one today with regards to how the Father views us when we intentionally don’t hold Holy what He has declared so. I think it is definitely worth turning over in our minds and I plan on doing just that.
Numbers 9:18 is a simple statement with a lot of wisdom.
At the command of YHWH, the people of Israel set out, and at the command of YHWH they camped.
When He moved, they moved. When He stayed, they stayed. Musicians do not look to the audience for direction. they look to the conductor.
Numbers 10:10 has a key concept in it which we may miss if we don’t dig deeper:
On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am YHWH your God.”
That key concept is “they shall be a reminder of you before your God.” This is a reminder to US that He is God. We are to blow these trumpets during our feasts and at times of joy in our lives to remind us that HE is the source of these blessings. Let’s check this verse out in a few more translations:
You are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your fellowship sacrifices and on your joyous occasions, your appointed festivals, and the beginning of each of your months. They will serve as a reminder for you before your God: I am the LORD your God.” Numbers 10:10 CSB
During the celebration of the New Moon Festival and other religious festivals, sound the trumpets while you offer sacrifices. This will be a reminder that I am the LORD your God. Numbers 10:10 CEB
You are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your fellowship sacrifices and on your joyous occasions, your appointed festivals, and the beginning of each of your months. They will serve as a reminder for you before your God: I am Yahweh your God.” Numbers 10:10 HCSB
May we remember Him in all that we do.
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!