March 9: Profound and Confounding
Numbers 8–9; John 16:5–33; Psalm 9:8–20
God’s provision in our lives is often hard to see. There are times when we follow His commandments and we’re able to visibly see His work. Such times are profound to the believer but can be confounding to the unbeliever.
The ancients practiced remembering these events. They built memorials (usually a stack of stones) in places where God had shown Himself to them, such as when He offered them a covenant or gave them a revelation of some kind. They also had recurring holidays for remembering God’s providence in their lives. These types of traditions are nearly lost on us. Easter and Christmas are intended for this purpose, but they have become about something entirely different instead: bunnies and eggs, or a man with a red suit. Syncretism quietly sneaks into our lives, even though we would love to believe we would never let it happen.
In Numbers 9:1–14, we see God’s command that His people celebrate the day He saved all the firstborn of Israel while issuing a punishment on Egypt. The Passover event was profound to the Israelites, but it was confounding to those who suffered the punishment: the Egyptians. Yahweh wanted them to remember what it was like to believe and to remember that He will rise up against those who oppress His people. All the commandments about the Passover occur just prior to Yahweh visiting them again (Num 9:15–23). Yahweh intends to dwell among them.
We as believers are called to know the wisdom of Yahweh: He sent Christ to be crucified for us and we can have new lives in the Spirit as a result (1 Cor 2:6–16). This event must be remembered among Christians, continually and daily, and we must live a life that honors God’s work through Christ. Rather than synchronizing our lives to the calendars and objectives of those around us, we must show the profundity of Christ’s message. We must let it be known that His work is confounding—until you believe.
How is Christ profoundly affecting your life, and how should you react as a result?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light toward the forefront of the Candlestick. And Aaron did so, lighting the lamps thereof the forefront of the Candlestick, as the Lord had commanded Moses. And this was the work of the Candlestick, even the gold beaten out with the hammer, both the shaft, and the flower thereof was beaten out with the hammer: according to the pattern which the Lord had showed Moses, so made he the Candlestick. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and purify them. And thus shalt thou do unto them, when thou purifiest them, Sprinkle water of purification upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and wash their clothes: so they shall be clean. Then they shall take a young bullock with his meat offering of fine flour, mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering. Then thou shalt bring the Levites before the Tabernacle of Congregation, and assemble all the Congregation of the children of Israel. Thou shalt bring the Levites also before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites. And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord, as a shake offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord. And the Levites shall put their hands upon the heads of the bullocks, and make thou the one of a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering unto the Lord, that thou mayest make an atonement for the Levites. And thou shalt see the Levites before Aaron and before his sons, and offer them as a shake offering to the Lord. Thus thou shalt separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. And afterward shall the Levites go in, to serve in the Tabernacle of Congregation, and thou shalt purify them, and offer them as a shake offering. For they are freely given unto me from among the children of Israel, for such as open any womb: for all the firstborn of the children of Israel have I taken them unto me. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both of man and beast: since the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them for myself. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And have given the Levites as a gift unto Aaron, and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the Tabernacle of Congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come near unto the Sanctuary. Then Moses and Aaron and all the Congregation of the children of Israel did with the Levites, according unto all that the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites: so did the children of Israel unto them. So the Levites were purified, and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a shake offering before the Lord, and Aaron made an offering before the Lord, and Aaron made an atonement for them, to purify them. And after that, went the Levites in to do their service in the Tabernacle of Congregation, before Aaron and before his sons: as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did unto them. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This also belongeth ro the Levites: from five and twenty years old and upward, they shall go in, to execute their office in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. And after the age of fifty years, they shall cease from executing the office, and shall serve no more. But they shall minister with their brethren in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, to keep things committed to their charge, but they shall do no service: thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge. And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year, after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,The children of Israel shall also celebrate the Passover at the time appointed thereunto. In the fourteenth day of this month at even, ye shall keep it in his due season: according to all the ceremonies thereof shall ye keep it. And they kept the Passover in the fourteenth day of the first month at the even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the Lord had commanded the children of Israel. And certain men were defiled by a dead man, that they might not keep the Passover the same day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron the same day. And those men said unto him, We are defiled by a dead man: wherefore are we kept back that we may not offer an offering unto the Lord in the time thereunto appointed among the children of Israel? Then Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, If any among you, or of your posterity shall be unclean by the reason of a corpse, or be in a long journey, he shall keep the Passover unto the Lord. In the fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it: with unleavened bread, and sour herbs shall they eat it. They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinance of the Passover shall they keep it. But the man that is clean and is not in a journey, and is negligent to keep the Passover, the same shall be cut off from his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his due season, that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger dwell among you, and will keep the Passover unto the Lord, as the ordinance of the Passover, and as the manner thereof is, so shall he do: ye shall have one law both for the Tabernacle of the Testimony: and at even there was upon the Tabernacle, then afterward the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the Tabernacle, they lay still. And when the cloud tarried still upon the Tabernacle a long time, the children of Israel kept the watch of the Lord, and journeyed not. So when the cloud abode a few days upon the Tabernacle, they abode in their tents according to the commandment of the Lord: for they journeyed at the commandment of the Lord. And though the cloud above upon the Tabernacle from even unto the morning, yet if the cloud was taken up in the mourning, then they journeyed: whether by day or by night the cloud was taken up, then they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they pitched, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed, keeping the watch of the Lord at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Numbers 8-9)
- But now I go my way to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, your hearts are full of sorrow. Yet I tell you the truth, It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, that Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believed not in me: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye shall see me no more. Of judg,ent, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Hobeit, when he is come which is the spirit of truth, he will lead you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, shall he speak, and he will show you the things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath, are mine, therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and show it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again a little while, and ye shall see me: for I go to the Father. Then said some of the disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again a little while, and ye shall see me, and, For I go to the Father. They said therefore, What is this that he saith? A little while? we know not what he saith. Now Jesus knew what they would ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves, of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, and the world shall rejoice, and ye shall sorrow, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy. A woman when she travaileth hath sorrow because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore are in sorrow: but I will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy shall no man take from you. And in that day shall ye ask me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in parables: but the time will come, when I shall no more speak to you in parables: but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day shall ye ask in my Name, and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I am come out from the Father, and came into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and thou speakest no parable. Now know we that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee. But this we believe, that thou art come out from God. Jesus answered them, Do you believe now? Behold, the hour cometh, and is already come, that ye shall be scattered every man into his own, and shall leave me alone: But I am not alone: for the Father is with me. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace: in the world ye shall have affliction, but be of good comfort: I have overcome the world. (John 16:5-33)
- For he shall judge the world in righteousness, and shall judge the people with equity. The Lord also will be a refuge for the poor, a refuge in due time, even in affliction. And they that know thy Name will trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not failed them that seek thee. Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: show the people his works. For when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth it, and forgetteth not the complaint of the poor. Have mercy upon me, O Lord: consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, That I may show all thy praises within the gates of the daughter of Zion, and rejoice in thy salvation. The heathen are sunken down in the pit that they made: in the net that they hid, is their foot taken. The Lord is known by executing judgment: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands, Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall turn into hell, and all nations that forget God. For the poor shall not be always forgotten: the hope of the afflicted shall not perish forever. Up Lord: let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the heathen may know that they are but men. Selah. . (Psalm 9:8-20)