ABC March 6-12

March 6 — Numbers 26-27 — God’s Justice (about 1407 BC).  There are several examples of God’s justice in today’s reading.  After taking the second census of all the Israelites (the first one was in Num. 1), God instructed that when the Promised Land was divided, it would be done “in proportion” (26:54) to the size of the tribes and that it would “be divided by lot” (26:55); that is geographic justice.  The second example of God’s even-handed justice was in handling the distribution of land when a man’s offspring were only daughters.  Five surviving daughters of their father brought this to Moses’ attention and Moses brought it to God for a solution.  God’s response was, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right” (27:7); they should be given land rights as well; that is gender justice.  The third example of God’s justice was His insistence that Moses would be allowed only to see the Promised Land from a distance but not enter it, “because you rebelled against my word” (27:14); that is disciplinary justice.  God’s justice was shown not only to disadvantaged people but also to His privileged leaders who sinned against Him.  God is just, on both sides of the spectrum.

March 7 — Numbers 28-30 — Making Vows (about 1407 BC).  Some of you may feel that females were being discriminated against in Num. 30.  An unmarried girl living at home could have a vow she made to God either confirmed or canceled by her father on the first day that he heard about it.  After she married, that function was transferred to her husband.  That rule came from God, not man.  On the other hand, females could be thankful they were not male lambs in those days.  There were 1,041 of them sacrificed each year as part of God’s prescribed worship requirements—not one female!  (There were also 23 male goats, 31 rams, and 101 bulls offered in sacrifice).  The vow-making rule for males is very clear and very strong: “… he shall not break his word.  He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth” (30:2).  God’s insistence on keeping our word to Him should remind us of our need to keep our word to others as well.  Promise only what you can and will perform!

March 8 — Numbers 31-32 — Wipeout (about 1407 BC).  God’s purpose for wiping out the people on the east side of the Jordan River was to “Avenge the people of Israel” (31:2).  Moses added that these people “caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor” (31:16).  That was when those people began influencing many Israelites to follow after the god Baal (Num. 25:3-5) and God sent a plague that killed 24,000 “converts” (Num. 25:9; cf. Deut. 4:3).  The power of sin’s influence was great and God wanted it removed.  To emphasize that God was behind this eradication of sin’s temptation, 12,000 warriors from Israel defeated opponents many times their numbers, as suggested by the 32,000 surviving unmarried females of the enemy (31:35).  How many Israelite fighting men were killed?  Not a single one (31:49); it was a God-thing!

March 9 — Numbers 33-34 — Thorns in Your Sides (about 1407 BC).  God gave the Promised Land to Israel along with two instructions: “drive out all the inhabitants … and destroy all their figured stones … images and … high places” (33:52).  They were to drive out the people and destroy their idols.  God would help Israel miraculously but they had to be obedient.  Would they do it?  If they didn’t, God said that those remaining people would “be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides” (33:55).  Later history shows that they obeyed only partially and the previous inhabitants became the promised “thorns.”  Partial obedience gets us pricked by thorns and cheats us out of God’s full blessing.  Why don’t we just obey completely and avoid the painful fallout?!

March 10 — Numbers 35-36 — Special Care (about 1407 BC).  God’s concern for people who may tend to be discriminated against is shown several times in these final chapters of Numbers.  The Levites were given 48 cities to live in, distributed among the other tribes (35:7).  God was looking out for those He chose to minister at the tabernacle.  God also showed special care for people who might cause the death of another person unintentionally, by providing six cities of refuge to which they might flee for protection (35:6).  Again, the five daughters of Zelophehad show up as they are given instruction about whom they shall marry in order to keep the inherited property within their tribe.  One comment made about them is interesting because it shows that the Israelite woman did have a choice regarding whom they married: “Let them marry whom they think best” (36:6).  Their only restriction was that they had to marry within their tribe.  God is perfect in justice and showed it in His special care for people who might be abused by others.

March 11 — Deuteronomy 1-2 — The Deuteronomy Sermon (about 1407 BC).  Today we begin the last book of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses.  Leviticus and Numbers were about God’s words to Moses but the focus in Deuteronomy was on Moses’ words to Israel (1:3).  It is a sermon that recalls major events of the past 40 years and reviews laws previously given: “Moses undertook to explain this law” (1:5).  It is also a sermon that urges Israel not to repeat the mistake made 40 years earlier when the 10 spies convinced the people not to try to enter the Promised Land.  A new leader has now been appointed for Israel: Joshua.  Moses urged the people to support him: “he shall enter.  Encourage him …” (1:38).  That is a good command for us to obey as well.  Encourage the spiritual leader God has placed over you!  Pray for him regularly.  Write notes of appreciation for ways that God used him to speak to your heart and help you grow.

March 12 — Deuteronomy 3-4 — Because of You? (about 1407 BC).  Twice in these two chapters, Moses mentioned the reason why he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land but he seems to have distorted that reason: “The LORD was angry with me because of you” (3:26; 4:21).  Because of you?  The fuller reason was that God told him to speak to the rock to bring forth water but Moses struck it twice with his staff instead (Num. 20:8, 11).  God then said to him, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (Num. 20:12).  Moses apparently blamed the rebellious people for making him angry enough to strike the rock.  It is so natural and easy to blame others for our mistakes and sins.  Part of being right with God is being open and honest with Him and others.  If you catch yourself blaming someone today, ask yourself if at least some of the blame actually belongs to you.  Then, confess it to God for His cleansing.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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