Numbers 9

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

At the beginning of Israel’s second year they observed the annual Passover on the 14th day of their first month. Here God gave instructions regarding any who were ceremonially unclean or too far away to be present. They were to observe Passover on the 14th day of the 2nd month.

The Passover was to be observed by every Israelite, and any who did not observe it were to be executed. Non-Israelites desiring to observe Passover would have to be circumcised and adhere to the law. The Passover was a distinctly Israelite ceremony celebrating the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. It was not something to be taken lately or viewed as any other nation’s religious feast. Only those who were wholly of and under the covenant could participate meaningfully in it.

Note also that the Passover was not merely “Israelite;” twice here it is called “The Lord’s Passover” (vv. 10, 14). Accordingly it must be observed according to God’s instructions; three times they are told to observe it according to the prescribed rites, ceremonies, and ordinances (vv. 3, 12, 14). Because the Lord instituted it, his instructions regarding it must be followed. It was not something Israel could adopt or modify as they pleased.

Versus 15-23 describe how the Lord led Israel through the wilderness. During the day a cloud was over the tabernacle; at night it appeared as fire, giving light (Psalm 105:39). Israel stayed or moved as the Lord commanded via the cloud’s position. Thus the Lord graciously guided and protected Israel through the wilderness. To go ahead or stay behind without the Lord’s presence was certain death. Truly in the Lord’s commands there was life and light (Psalm 42:8).

Note:

  1. God’s people must follow God’s instructions for God’s ordinances. Novelty and creativity have no place in God’s ordinances. When there are genuine questions, answers are always found in God’s Word and precepts.
  2. God always graciously leads and guides his people. Whether in desolate wildernesses or amid terrible enemies, God guides and protects his people. They are never alone; “I am with you always” (Matt 28:20). Life and light are found only in the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 27:1; John 1:4; 8: 12; 2 Tim 1:10), and his Word so guides and directs (Prov 6:23; 2 Pet 1:3).
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