Day 15: Final Preparations

Today’s reading: Numbers 28-36, Ps 22-23

As we come to the end of the Book of Numbers, we encounter a people who are nearing their destination. The pages of these final chapters are largely devoted to final preparations that are vital to the life they will share as God’s people in the land of Canaan.

In great detail, the people of Israel are given instructions on worship and offerings. Plans are made for the distribution of the land they will inherit, so that every tribe receives a fair and equitable portion. Careful attention is given to how they will handle situations where one member of the community dies at the hands of another. Such preparations can make the difference between a society that lives at peace and one which is constantly in turmoil.

The looming question with the Israelites is always whether or not they will be obedient. The same can be said of us. Today our reading also includes Psalm 23, one of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture. “The Lord is my shepherd,” we recite. Today is a good day to renew our commitment to let the Shepherd lead us.


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5 Responses to Day 15: Final Preparations

  1. Cindy Hewitt says:

    I saw a part of this reading that gave instructions to widows and divorced women-that they are not supposed to forget their vows. I realize the context of that time, but I am wondering about how ministers feel about widows remarrying. I know thousands of them do remarry, but being a widow for six years, and having a hard time being a widow, I still cannot imagine remarrying.

    • runninrev says:

      All the ministers I know would heartily affirm remarriage for those who have lost a spouse, as long as the ones entering marriage are prepared to again take on the vows of marriage. On the other hand, there is nothing that says one has to remarry after the loss of a spouse. This is a very personal decision, best made after prayer and careful thought.

  2. Patricia McKeithen says:

    I have a question about the sacrifices: were all the animal and grain offerings per person, per tribe, or simply total per event? I get the significance of giving your best to God, but I keep getting distracted by the waste!

  3. Yankee Doodle says:

    40 years without sanitary facilities, leader a control freak, rule by fear of death, no grazing for herds, slaughterhouse in the temple, make work assignments, rigid procedures and war is quite a tale of woe, filth and despair. Then to slaughter women captured in battle is total brutality. This is our religious roots? One has to wonder how much was lost or embellished when it was written many hundreds of years later.

    • runninrev says:

      It’s always helpful to me to remember that context influences content. The narrative in the book of Numbers is shaped both by the perspective of its authors and by the era in which it was written. Having said that, some of the disturbing events we’ve read about here are not so different from recent events in world history. And all too often proponents of war campaigns, even in civilized countries, claim that God is on their side.

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