Thursday, March 4, 2010


Numbers 28-30

In Numbers 28-29, the LORD reiterates and systematically describes the offering schedule. He lists first the offerings that are to be made daily, then the offerings made on the Sabbath and the monthly offerings ("on the first of every month"). This is followed by the offering instructions for the Passover ("on the fourteenth day of the first month"), the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets ("first day of the seventh month"), the Day of Atonement ("tenth day of this seventh month") and the Feast of Tabernacles (eight days, from the "fifteenth day of the seventh month").

Chapter 30 contains instructions from the LORD on the keeping of oaths and vows. A man who makes a vow to the LORD must keep it. A woman still living in her father's house was not obligated to keep the vow unless her father hears it and says nothing. If he forbids, however, "the LORD will release her." Likewise, a married woman makes vows only subject to the approval of her husband. A widow or divorced woman can make binding vows.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • I presume that the offering regulations here are in harmony with those offered elsewhere, in Exodus and Leviticus, but I haven't had a chance to examine the various passages. I may do that at some point, because it strikes me that a harmony of the offerings would be interesting. On the other hand, there are probably 50 of them available on the internet right now, so I may not.
  • It strikes me reading this passage that the "odor pleasing to the LORD" is going to be an odor pleasing to the people, as well. The Tabernacle is going to, well, reek. There's blood everywhere. Animal blood baking in the sun is an upleasant odor. Certainly, the burning offering are going to give off an odor that masks that and is far less unpleasant.
  • The obvious reaction to the vows section in chapter 30 is that it's horribly sexist. But I don't know that that's the correct way to read it. If women were considered incapable, however, divorced and widowed women would not be able to make binding vows. Certainly, the husband and father relationships are given more authority, but also more responsibility. Culturally, in a time and place without advanced medical care or contraception, the responsibility for going out into the world and supporting a family could not - literally could not - fall to a child-bearing woman.
  • It's important to remember that GOD was speaking, always, to a specific people, in a specific time and place and condition. We need to study his word because it is his word, but the specific applications are to conditions as the Israelites found them in the desert, in Moab.

Psalms 27

When we are frightened, scared of the world around us, when we feel as if "evil men advance against me" but we turn to the LORD in prayer, that's when we're praying as the psalmist did in Psalm 27. And really, everything in the middle is just commentary or amplification on the first and last lines. "The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? ... Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD!" As the Veggie-Tales characters sang, "GOD is bigger than the boogey-man."

Psalm 27
Of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh, [a]
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

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