Numbers 15

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

The Lord gave instruction about offerings to be made when they entered the land. Should anyone in Israel (weather Israelite or gentile) sin “unintentionally” (that is, not in a deliberate, conscious act of rebellion against God) provision for forgiveness was provided. There was no such forgiveness available for “presumptuous” sins: brazen, defiant, deliberate rebellion against the Lord, the God, Savior, and King of Israel.

An example of such defiant sin aimed at showing public contempt for the Lord (akin to “calling God out”: “Hey God, see what I’m doing? What are you going to do about it?”) occurred when a man was picking up sticks on the Sabbath. God explicitly told Israel that no work was to be done on the seventh day of the week. The Sabbath was a continual sign between God and Israel of God’s setting them apart from every other nation (Exodus 31:13-17). God legislated the death penalty for Sabbath breakers in Israel, for doing so was to act like the pagan nations, thus an act of open defiance of the Lord, the God, Savior, and King of Israel. This Sabbath-breaking stick-gatherer was thumbing his nose at God for all to see, and thus was stoned to death.

Lastly, Israelites were to have tassels with a blue thread on the corners of their garments. When they daily saw those tassels–from putting their garments on at the day’s beginning to removing them at bedtime–they were to remember and obey God’s commands. By remembering and obeying God’s commands they would not follow their sinful hearts but the Lord. Note, merely having the tassels did not make them righteous and holy, but believing the Lord and demonstrating such by their obedience.

Note:

  1. There is only one true God and he dictates how he should be worshiped. Worship must be regulated and directed by revelation, not innovation. The One worshiped, not the worshiper (whether believer or unbeliever), dictates worship.
  2. God’s commands are to be submissively obeyed, not disregarded or flaunted. The command upon all today is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30; 1 John 3:23). More on God’s commands with #5…
  3. The Sabbath is a distinctly Israelite ordinance. Efforts to transfer its continuance–much less enforce it–depend on a faulty hermeneutic and exegesis. The church does not need to go to that length to faithfully live, worship, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ in this day and age.
  4. Unrepentant disobedience has no place among God’s people, whether in the OT theocratic nation, the coming kingdom (Gal 5:19-21), or the church (1 Cor 5).
  5. Believing obedience is essential for faithful living. God calls his people to absolute faithfulness to him, yet there is the innate tendency to be unfaithful by pursuing sinful desires and ends. God graciously gave his Word to live by and thereby resist sinful desires and aims. Thus God is pleased and life in him enjoyed (Psalm 119:1-3). For this to happen one must be born again (1 John 3:9; 5:18) and live by the Spirit (Gal 5:16-18).
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