Reflections week of 12/4/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Numbers 9:1-14 (Tuesday 12/6)

I’m taken aback by this telling of the Passover. It’s not about the Passover observation, rather the people who observe it. This passage takes place just two years after the Jews escaped 430 years of slavery in Egypt.

So we step into verse 6 to see a group of Jewish men; they are concerned about their involuntary uncleanliness and how it could affect their participation in the Passover celebration. They go to Moses hoping for grace to partake; a year seemed too long to wait to celebrate God’s mercy. Moses has the wisdom to say,

“I don’t know, I have to ask God.”

Through the Tent of Meeting, God tells Moses that those who are involuntarily unclean may wait just one month, not a year, for their Passover. Our God is gracious, He loves His people, and gives Himself freely to those who desire Him.

At Passover, a lamb is slain to represent the Lamb of God, Jesus, who was to be sacrificed to pay for the sins of mankind. Christ paved the way for Jews, Gentiles, Children of God to seek Him freely. We have the opportunity to go before Him each day. And yet I don’t believe most of us long for Him in the way this group of men did. They begged Moses for a way that they could celebrate the gifts God had given to them. Christ is our Great High Priest who allows us to go before God at any time.

For Reflection: When was the last time you longed to give praise to God like these men did?

Read Numbers 15:22-28 (Friday 12/9)

I have a tendency to avoid the Old Testament. Some of my favorite instances in Scripture are there, and yet, I am terrified of it. There is so much law, and so much anger. It’s a place where the Holy Spirit is fleeting and sin is repaid by death.

But I’m wrong. That’s not the case. Well. Ok. Sort of it is because this is pre-Christ. But what I’m seeing so much of, more than I ever expected, is grace. In Numbers 15:22-28, we see God, through Moses, give a plan for grace to those who sin unintentionally. Have you ever looked back on an even and wondered, “Did I do that wrong? Was that wrong?

In this case, whether an individual or a whole nation, God offers a way out for the sinner, through the community sacrificing a goat or cow. But then, come verse 30 we see what happens when someone does defy the Lord intentional: They are to be stoned, exiled, or killed.

First glance: Zero grace.

Second look: Flooded in grace.

But think back to Jesus, He who is to take away the sin of the world, our ultimate sacrifice who is and was and is to come. Our very beings are sinful. The things we do are not what make us sinful. We are inherently people who mess up. When measured against God’s holiness, we would all be found wanting. But seeing this person who was killed for chopping lumber on the Sabbath is, for us, a reminder of the death from which we have been saved.

For Reflection: What does God’s provision of a communal sacrifice for the sins of a nation say about His Atonement for the sins of the world?

Reflections written by Liz Doogan

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