Bible Reading and Commentary for the week January 16-21, 2017
Bible Reading and Commentary for the week
January 16-21, 2017
NUMBERS — The English name of the book comes from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, and it refers to the census lists in chapters 1 & 16. The Hebrew title, “Bemidbar,” “in the desert,” is more accurate since Numbers represents the 38 year period during which Israel wandered in the desert.
You will notice three major divisions, based on where God’s people were in their journey at the time:
1) At Sinai, chapter 1 to chapter 12
2) At Kadesh, chapters 13-21
3) On the plains of Moab, chapters 22-36
Monday, January 16, Numbers 1
v. 1 — “Tent of Meeting” is the same as “tabernacle.” Many years later their place of worship was called the temple. Today we worship in a church building.
Vv. 2-3 — The purpose of the census was not to count the general population, but to count the number eligible for military service. The total was 603,550 (chap. 2:32). Estimates then project the total population of over 2 million people.
Tuesday, January 17, Numbers 2
Vv. 1-2 — This chapter describes the organization of the camp. At the center was the tabernacle, cared for by the Levites; to the north, Naphtali, Asher, Dan; to the west: Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin; to the south: Gad, Simeon and Reuben; to the east: Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
v. 33 — Notice that while Levi is omitted from the list to be numbered, the 2 sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, are included. Levi was set apart by God to take care of the tabernacle and its furnishings.
Wednesday, January 18, Numbers 3-4
Notice the great detail God gives in describing the work of the Levites. We might compare them today to the boards and church council of a congregation. The priests and Levites only concerned themselves with the worship of Israel.
Thursday, January 19, Numbers 5
Vv. 1-3 — Being removed from the camp was a very impressive way to be reminded that the Lord is pure and demands that from His people. How can we become pure? I John 1:7; Phil. 3:20, 21; Eph. 1:7.
Vv. 11-31 — What a horrible ordeal! Would this keep people from extra-marital affairs? The law can somewhat curb our behavior–after all, who would want to go through this test? But the real motive then, as now, is that as children of God, we live to please the Lord by the Holy Spirit’s powerful workings in us. What alone moves us to say, “No” to sin and live the way God wants us to is the Gospel. Read II Cor. 5:14, 15.
Friday, January 20, Numbers 6
Vv. 1-6, 13 — Three obligations for those who took the Nazarite vow are in vv. 3, 5, and 6. While this vow could be terminated (vv. 13-20), as in the case of Samson and Samuel, it was intended for life. (Judges 13:7; I Sam. 1:11)
Vv. 24-26 — These verses contain the Aaronitic blessing with which we conclude each church service. For Morning Praise and Evening Prayer we end our services with the Apostolic Blessing (II Cor. 13:14)
Saturday, January 21, Numbers 7
Vv. 84-88 — Here we have the sum total of offerings to the Lord for the work of the tabernacle and the dedication offerings for the altar when the tabernacle was completed. God expected each tribe to contribute. He expects the same today. He wants not some, but all to respond to His amazing generosity and grace. In God’s grace we have His peace, forgiveness and everlasting life.