Over the past six weeks we have been working our way through the book of Numbers with Good Morning Girls. I have really enjoyed doing our blogging through the Bible series. We have just a little bit longer in our study of the book of Numbers and then we will be taking a short break from our blogging through the Bible for the Christmas holiday. Then in January we will be picking back up and diving right into the book of Job. I hope you are going to join us. If you are interested in studying through the Bible with Good Morning Girls, please click the button that you will find at the bottom of this post.
Over this past week we find the people of Israel being counted again. In chapter 26 the people are again back near the Jordan river and are preparing to enter into the promised land. God commands Moses to take a census and count the people. The end of chapter 26 we find that all the people who had refused to enter the promised land the first time are now dead with the exception of Moses, Joshua and Caleb. Only these three are yet alive, but only two of these men would be allowed to enter into the promised land.
In chapter 27 we see a few interesting elements. Some women approach Moses and ask for their father’s share of the land that was being divided up among the people. Their father had no sons, and when he died his lineage would be lost unless the daughters were allowed to inherit their father’s property. Moses inquires of the Lord. The Lord gives the people of Israel a new custom. The would now allow the inheritance to be passed down to the daughters if there were no sons. God is elevating the status of women for the people of Israel.
The second element we see in this chapter is that God tells Moses that he is going to die, God reminded Moses that he was not allowed to enter into the promised land. Moses being the man that he was reminded God that there was no one appointed who would lead the people. And God appointed Joshua for that task. Joshua was presented to the people and given the authority from God and he was established as the new leader of Israel.
As we move into chapter 28 and 29 we find a change in the flow of the context. The story seems to pause for a bit while God instructs the people about offerings and festivals. We learn a lot about how the people are to worship the Lord. Their worship is to be daily, and regular. It is to be focused. God wanted a daily connection and relationship with his people. God also gives clear instruction to the people as to the offerings that we to be given at each one of the festivals.
Finally in chapter 30 we read about vows. I found this chapter to be particularly interesting. It gives us some insight. On the surface many women would find this chapter to be difficult to accept as reasonable. That a man has the authority to revoke a vow that I make, it simply seems counter cultural. Which is exactly what it is in our culture today. I am going to suggest that you take a look at this chapter a little differently with me.
A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do. Numbers 30:2 NIV
Have you ever made a vow? Most people make vows to one another when they get married. God takes vows very seriously. Very seriously. God expects that a person keep their word and if they make a foolish vow they are still required to fulfill that vow. Often today men and women make vows to stay married for life, but they don’t actually mean the words they say. In reality they believe they can get out of their marriage vows if their marriage is too difficult for one reason or another. God expected the men of Israel to never break the vows they made.
For women there were different standards. The women had a covering of protection over them. Let’s admit ladies that we can be emotional and there are times we make rash decisions that we haven’t fully thought through. I know I have done a lot of things over the years that I regretted later. Purchases I made, or words I had said even contracts I had signed are all examples of things that I have rushed into and then regretted.
For the people of Israel, if a woman made a vow either her husband or her father, whoever she was living under at the time, could revoke her vow. This actually gave her some protection and a covering. It allowed for protection for the woman, daughter, or wife to have someone make sure that the vow she was making was a wise vow and not a foolish one.
I do know that it is possible for this authority to be abused. Ultimately any authority can be abused. God knows this and yet he is still calling us to be under authority. Does it chafe? Is it painful to realize that we as women are under the authority of our husbands? Or have you managed to see that God intended for this authority to be a protection and a covering for us, not a place of oppression. This covering was intended to give us freedom and safety.
When I take the time to consider this element, I realize that our men don’t always have that covering. Ultimately our men will have to stand before God and give an account for how they treated the people who God put under their care. As women, that should remind us to be praying for our men and lifting them up before their creator.
The book of Numbers does cover a lot of the Old Testament law, and yes now we are not under law, but under grace. I just want to remind us all that Jesus said that he didn’t come to abolish the law but rather to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17)
Next week we will be working through Numbers 31-35 I hope you will be joining us.
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