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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6 - Numbers 26-27: God Prepares Israel for Transition

Today’s Reading: Numbers 26-27

The Message

English Standard Version

Chapter 26 is another census. Scan down to verse 52 and pick up there if you don't have time to read all of it.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Moses wants to make sure there is smooth transition to the next leader.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God retook the census. This time there were 601,703 adult males. Each tribe (except the Levites) would receive a proportion of the land based on their size. No person from the first census lived until the second census except Caleb and Joshua. This fulfilled God's punishment.
The daughters of Zelophehad petitioned Moses and Eleazar to receive their father's inheritance. God made a statute that daughters could receive their father's inheritance if he had no sons.
God prepared Moses to die. Moses asked God to choose a replacement. God chose Joshua. Joshua was shown to the Israelites as their next leader.

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

God's punishment came true.

God punished the people for not trusting that they would conquer Canaan with God's aid. This second census shows that God's punishment came true. No one over 20 at the time of the first census lived until the second census. God's promises and punishments will happen.

God protects women.

Americans may see God's judgment as sexist. Compared to 21st-century Western morals this would be true. However, God is not speaking to 21st-century Westerners. Women were considered property by most cultures of that time. The fact that God grants this petition (or that Moses even heard the petition in the first place) shows that God wants to protect women (although he did not protect Hoglah from a terrible name—at least in English).
Why does God only give an inheritance to women if there is no brother? Simple, a woman received the inheritance of her husband. When a woman was married to a man of another tribe she became one of that tribe. She received the inheritance of that tribe. If a woman was not married she would receive the inheritance of her brother. Women were not considered equal to men, but were not left out in the cold. God will protect those who do not have someone to protect them.

Moses cares for the Israelite's leadership even after his death.

In one of his final displays of great leadership Moses asks God to choose a man to secede him when he died. He did not want the people of Israel to be left without a guide. This is the man who could not enter the land of Canaan because these people made him so angry he did not obey God. Yet even in the face of his punishment he cared for the people. Moses was a man who was dedicated to setting things right.
Leaders, take Moses' example to heart. Pray that God will choose your successor. Then make sure the community knows that God has chosen this person to lead them. Leaving a congregation leaderless or in limbo over who should be the next leader tarnishes a good reputation.
Do you agree that God protected women in this passage? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.
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