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- Ep 119: Where We Have Been – Numbers 33
Nothing bores us more in scripture than endless lists of various sorts, and in this chapter we encounter a list that is unique in scripture. A list of place names that Israel passed through on their journeys in the wilderness. And as we examine the list we discover that many of the places named in this list are found nowhere else in the Bible, and others are places with history. A lot like life itself. And from this we gain insight on something important. The interaction of our past with our future and necessity for remembering where we have been.
- Ep 118: Settling – Numbers 32
On the east side of the Jordan two tribes approach Moses and they ask for a favor. They desire to settle on the east side of the Jordan and not enter into the land of promise. They desire for their road to be over. After some haggling they get their way and are allowed to settle. To settle for less than what God had promised them. The lessons that we can learn from this episode provide a warning, and an encouragement.
- Ep 117: The Binding Word – Numbers 30-31
Once again in the course of Numbers we find a series of chapters and seem completely disconnected from each other. The text shifts from the topic of holidays and sacrifice from last week to keeping vows and then a military exercise of vengeance. But when we slow down and consider what is truly occurring in the themes of these chapters we discover that these chapters are not disconnected at all. Rather they reveal one of the most important aspects of bearing the image of God.
- Ep 116: A Time of Sacrifice – Numbers 28-29
Once again in the book of Numbers we find a section of text that seems completely disconnected from the things that surround it. Two chapters on sacrifice and the Biblical holidays. A bunch of stuff that we simply don’t connect with. But hidden inside of this combination of sacrifice and holiday there is a plan. A plan for the world and a plan for you. And when we dig just a little deeper we discover that this section of text is not so disconnected from the rest as we originally thought.
- Ep115: A Matter of Inheritance – Numbers 26:52-27:23
Once again, here at the end of Numbers the text gets boring. And here near the beginning of the end we encounter a sequence of snippets that once again seem disconnected from each other. But once again, when we take a step back from the text and examine the themes of that are under discussion we discover that there is a unified theme that spans each of these segments. A theme that highlights what is coming soon. A theme of inheritance.
- Ep114: Consumed with Zeal – Numbers 25:10-26:51
Zeal for God and for His ways is something that every believer is to seek. And zeal can lead us to a place where we hate the wrong and love the right. But all too often, we misplace our zeal. We become zealous without proper understanding, or for the wrong things. And this zeal, when misapplied, becomes dangerous to those around us. Misapplied zeal can lead us to destruction of innocent brothers and sisters. It can lead us to a false sense of humility. We must learn to be zealous, but what exactly are we to be zealous about, and how are we to apply it?
- Ep113: Curses into Blessing – Numbers 23:1-25:9
When Balaam looks over the masses of Israel he is intent on cursing them. Doing so will lead to his personal enrichment and elevation in honor and status. But Balaam is limited in his role. He is only able to speak what God tells him to say, and God has no intention of cursing Israel. And so the words that Balaam speaks over Israel are instead blessings. And yet by the end of the passage, Israel ends up cursed anyway. Why? What went wrong?
- Ep112: Opposing Messengers – Numbers 22:2-22:41
The story of Balaam and the talking donkey is one of the more popular Sunday School stories in the Bible. We are all enamored by the oddity of an animal that speaks to this odd man. And once again we get caught in the trap of another Bible story. We focus on the oddity and in doing so we miss out on something that is of much more value than a supernaturally vocal jackass.
- Ep111: Piercing the Darkness – Numbers 21:1-22:1
Israel is on the move and they are heading out of the wilderness. Their 40 years of isolation, training, and judgment are nearly over. Until then, there is the trip that lies before them, and this trip is once again fraught with tests. Will they pass? Have they learned? Is this second generation going to fare better than their parents? This journey out of the wilderness reveals a lot. A lot of growth and a lot of faith. But on many levels they are just like the generation past.
- Ep110: Seeds of Anger – Numbers 20
It is easy to think that you have it all together. To delude yourself into thinking that the problems of the past have been dealt with. It is easy to think this when things are calm. When there are no stressors before you, and no challenges to face. But all it takes is a series of moments. The sudden onset of multiple challenges in a short time frame and suddenly you discover that the old ways are not gone. They were just hidden deep down. And now it is obvious and there for everyone to see. And the consequences can be far reaching.
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