God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1 - Numbers 14-15; Psalm 90: God Punishes His Chosen People

Today’s Reading: Numbers 14-15, Psalm 90

The Message

English Standard Version

Today we open the book of Psalms. Since it is not a book but a collection of poems set to music we will not read them in the order they are published but in the order they were written (or the time period they were written about). They do not summarize well, so instead I will begin a new section for the Psalms called "Psalm (P)Synopsis" where I will give thoughts on each Psalm. Happy reading!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God punishes the people for their lack of faith but gives them a way to repent for accidental sins.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

The people, fed up, wanted to return to Egypt. God, fed up, wanted to destroy them and use Moses as His Chosen People. Moses reminded God of how the nations would judge Him. God instead barred anyone over 20 from entering Canaan. Some tried to conquer Canaan then and were roundly defeated. The other 10 spies died.
God told the people to make grain offerings along with animal sacrifices.
God allowed offerings to forgive unintentional sin.
A man was caught working on the Sabbath. He was stoned.
God suggested installing sleeve tassels to help the people remember the Law.

Psalm (P)Synopsis

Psalm 90

Moses is calling God to return because He has abandoned them to their sin. Moses realizes they are sitting ducks with God not there. It is a psalm of repentance. God's people alone have nothing but their guiltiness to dwell upon.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Israel infuriates God for openly doubting His Promise.

This passage is horrifying! Here are the people God has chosen, saved from slavery at a terrible cost to the Egyptians, and given water and bread by God. They stand in front of the land God has promised to wipe clean and give them on a silver platter and instead they want to brave the wilderness and return to their slavery because they don't think God can do what He has promised. This is what sets God over the edge. The people no longer doubt themselves; they doubt God. God cannot set things right when His Chosen People doubt His abilities.

Moses prevents God from wiping out the people by appealing to the other nations.

Moses realizes that God's purpose for Israel goes beyond the nation itself. God saved Israel so the nations of the world would know He is powerful and good. By wiping out the Israelites the nations would see God as inferior. God's purpose in having a Chosen People is for the world to see His power and righteousness and come to honor Him.

Some of the people repent and think it will prevent their punishment.

This is a case of "too little too late." Now the people are excited about going into Canaan and think their excitement will translate into God's forgiveness of their sin, forgetting the punishment laid against them, and blessing their new war. They are wrong. Repentance will not automatically relieve the punishment/consequence of sin.

God will forgive an accidental sin and wants to prevent it.

Do not think this passage is here accidently. God is telling the people if they sin unintentionally there is a remedy. The remedy isn't "do whatever you were suppose to do the first time," however. God does not want His Chosen People to sin, but is willing to help them not sin (tassels) and gives a way to ask for forgiveness (sacrifice).

How awesome of a man is Moses.

This is the second time Moses turns down God to become equal to Abraham. Moses does not want to be the leader of the Israelites (see yesterday's comments). He is fed up with them. Yet when God comes to wipe them out he defends them. How awesome is this man!
Where do we doubt God's promises? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.
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