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January 19, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Exodus 4-6
Audio: Exodus 4-6

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Numbers 35 (ESV)

The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in. And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities. The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts. The pasturelands of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around. And you shall measure, outside the city, on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the middle. This shall belong to them as pastureland for their cities.

“The cities that you give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, where you shall permit the manslayer to flee, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. All the cities that you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasturelands. And as for the cities that you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.”

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there. 12 The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment. 13 And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge.14 You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.

16 “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. 17 And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. 18 Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 20 And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, 21 or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

22 “But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait 23 or used a stone that could cause death, and without seeing him dropped it on him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy and did not seek his harm, 24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules. 25 And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled, 27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood. 28 For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. 29 And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

30 “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. 32 And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest. 33 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”

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Next: Numbers 36

Back:  Numbers 34

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Not Getting What Is Deserved

    It might appear on the surface as the Levites getting the short end of the straw in receiving "only" specific cities scattered throughout the land while the other tribes were “blessed” with entire portions of land. If you or I were a Levite, would we look at what others received and wondered why we didn't receive what they did? Would we feel like we didn't get what we deserved?

    To understand why the Levites got MORE than they deserved, we have to look back at what happened in Genesis 34 when Simeon and Levi killed the men of Shechem after the man Shechem raped Jacob's daughter, Dinah. This revenge killing brought upon them the Lord's curse. Genesis 49:5-7 says:

    “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
        weapons of violence are their swords.
    6 Let my soul come not into their council;
        O my glory, be not joined to their company.
    For in their anger they killed men,
        and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
    7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
        and their wrath, for it is cruel!
    I will divide them in Jacob
        and scatter them in Israel.

    So while other tribes were indeed blessed, so were the Levites. If God would have given them what they deserved, they would not have received any land. 

    In writing about this curse, Iain Duguid writes in his commentary on Numbers, "This curse was indeed effective: both the tribes of Simeon and of Levi were scattered in Israel. Yet whereas the tribe of Simeon was scattered and ultimately largely absorbed into Judah, the tribe of Levi retained its integrity as a tribe, even while being scattered. They remained a distinct group with distinct tasks. Even after their work of carrying and guarding the tabernacle through the wilderness was complete, they still remained a tribe especially devoted to the Lord: they were assigned the new tasks of helping the people understand the Law, and when Solomon’s temple was built, they were responsible for guarding it and for leading the people in the praise of God. Compared to the fate of the tribe of Simeon, their scattering throughout the land was indeed a blessing.

    What is more, their very lack was a means by which they would be a blessing also to the people as a whole. The Levites’ absence of an earthly inheritance was always intended to force them to recognize that the Lord himself was their inheritance. They had houses to live in and enough land to graze their livestock (v. 3), but they never had enough to settle down and become altogether comfortable. In this, the Levites were a sign to Israel: they were to be a group within Israel whose eyes were to be firmly fixed on the heavenly inheritance, pointing others in the same direction.

    Duguid, I. M., & Hughes, R. K. (2006). Numbers: God’s presence in the wilderness (p. 357). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

    I can't help be reminded of the blessing of our small gathering Sunday mornings. It would be easy for us (especially me) to feel like God isn't blessing our church when we know there are churches with hundreds of members. It would be easy for me to see the numbers other churches have on a Sunday morning and feel "left out" of God's blessing. 

    But when I think of each of you and what God is doing in your lives; when I think of all we're learning from God's Word together and the desire for His Word; when I think of our times of sharing, praying, singing and having lunch together, we experience the blessing of God each and every Sunday morning.

    While we want to reach more people for Christ (and having invited people to come), most do not respond. Of those who have come, for one reason or another, do not stay. I'm thankful some of them found churches they like (which is great), but some are not going to church at all. 

    I think of our community outreach with Coats of Care and the people we have met through that ministry. We also are gaining some traction in Google even though we don't have a "building" which did bring one person our way a few months ago. While we need to continue to pray for opportunities to share the gospel (and invite people to visit with us), we have to trust God for the increase. 

    I know for us, the blessings continue to increase even if our numbers do not.

    There are church growth programs focused on "growing churches" but church growth should not be measured in numbers but fruit. Spiritual fruit. I am grateful for the fruit I see in each of your lives. May we always give thanks to God for what we do have while praying He would bring people into our lives (and our church) so that we can be more complete, not lacking anything as a body of Christ. 

    Speaking of numbers, tomorrow is the final chapter of the Book of Numbers before we start Deuteronomy on Monday. I pray each of you would continue with the Daily Bible Reading and grow in your knowledge of God through His Word. 

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