Let’s turn in our bibles now to Numbers, chapter six. As we get into the sixth chapter of the book of Numbers, the first thing that is dealt with is the vows of the Nazarite. The vow of the Nazarite was a vow of consecration of a person’s life to the Lord. You’re gonna just separate yourself for the Lord, for a period of time. “I’m gonna dedicate my life, I’m just gonna consecrate myself”, and you would determine the amount of time. Six months, a year, “I’m just gonna give this year to God, I’m just gonna consecrate myself for this year’s period, or six month period, or three month period”, or whatever time you designated when you made your vow. The conditions of the vow on your part, verse three,
You are not to drink any wine or similar drink, you’re not to drink vinegar that’s made from wine, nor vinegar made from a similar drink, nether shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes, or raisins. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is produced by the grape vine, from the seed to the skin (6:3-4).
So you were prohibited from the grape vine, anything that grows on the grapevine. Whether it be processed or whatever. The wine, the grape juice, the raisins, or whatever, were to be deleted.
All of the days of this period of separation or consecration, no razor shall come upon his head: until the days are fulfilled, that you’ve separated yourself to the Lord, shall let the locks of the hair grow (6:6).
The third thing is that you’re not to go near a dead body. Even if a member of your own family should die, during this period of consecration, you weren’t to go near their dead bodies. If someone should accidentally die next to you, then you would have to go through the purification rites. You would have to offer three sacrifices to the Lord, and then you’d have to start all over on your period of time. The time that you’d done up to that point, didn’t count. You’d have to shave your head and start all over again. So, the vow of the Nazarite. The vow of total consecration.
Now, we remember when Manoah and his wife could not have children. An angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife out in the field, and told her that God was going to give her a son. That she wasn’t to drink any wine or strong drink, neither was a razor to come to his head, for he was to be a Nazarite unto God, from his birth. So we remember the birth of Samson, and how that God’s Spirit was upon his life and would come upon his life, and that tremendous strength that he would have when the anointing of God’s Spirit would come upon him. The vow of the Nazarite. It was to be a vow from his birth. It was something that was to be a lifelong thing. He was to live a life that was totally consecrated to the Lord.
But unfortunately, Samson had a weakness in his flesh. God wanted to use Samson for a marvelous work. God wanted to use Samson as the deliverer of God’s people. Samson could easily have gone down in the annals of the old testament heroes of faith, as one of the greatest deliverers in the history of the nation of God’s people. He had that potential. Being separated from his mother’s womb unto God, as a Nazarite. But he had a weakness in his flesh.
Ultimately this weakness in his flesh brought him to the place of, the breaking of that vow, as he revealed to Delilah, the secret of his strength. His consecration to God which was represented by his long hair. You ask so many people, “What was the secret of Samson’s strength?”, and immediately they’ll answer, “His long hair”. Not so. There’s no strength in long hair. You don’t have to have any hair. The strength was in his consecration to God, and any man who consecrates his life to God is a man of strength and power. The strength is in commitment. When his hair was cut, the vow, the Nazarite vow was broken, the Spirit of God departed from his life. Even though he didn’t realize it at first. Without that anointing and power of the Spirit, he was weak just like any other man, and the Philistines overcame him. He was defeated before the enemy. The secret of strength.
Jesus was to be known as a Nazarite. So there are indications that perhaps from His birth, Jesus kept the vows of the Nazarite, a life of total separation unto God. There’s only one really in history who ever kept those vows completely, and that was Jesus. He lived a life that was separated unto God His entire life. Never once did He break that. A life of commitment, consecration.
Now, after the period of time that you had established for your vow, you were to shave your head at the door of the tabernacle, and take the hair from his consecrated head; and, put it under the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. So all this time, no razor is to come to your head. Not to shave, but when the vow is over, say, “I’m going to you know, make a consecration of my life for a year, unto God”, so I come in with this shaggy hair and the beard and all, and I shave it all off, at the door of the tent of the congregation, or the tent of meeting; and, I take it and I put it on the fire under the sacrifice of the peace offering.
The priest then takes the boiled shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake from the basket, or unleavened wafer, puts them in the hands of the Nazarite after he’s shaved his hair, and then he waves them as a wave offering to the Lord. This is the law of the Nazarite (6:19-21).
[Now in verse twenty two,] The Lord spoke to Moses saying speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel, say to them, Jehovah bless you and keep you: Jehovah make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you: Jehovah lift up his countenance on you and give you peace. And thus shall you put my name on the children of Israel; and I will bless them (6:22-27).
The duties of the priest were two fold. Number one, he was to go in before God, representing the people. As a sinful person you could not directly approach the holy God. As a sinful person, you were allowed only within the outer court, of the tabernacle with your offering. The priest would meet you in the outer court, he would receive your offering from you. When the offering was slain, he would take the blood of the offering, and go into the holy place where he would take the blood and put it upon the horns of the altar, as he stood there before God, representing you, offering the sin offering for you.
Having then represented you before God, the priest would return and then represent God to you. So the second portion of the priestly duty was representing God to the people. First, representing the people to God. Secondly, representing God to the people. So he became God’s representative. He stood there in God’s place, to represent God.
Now we are told that we are a royal priesthood, holy nation. That we are a kingdom of priests unto the Lord. We in the church are representatives of God, to the world. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me”. We are to represent Him before the world. God is very concerned in how He is represented. Let me say unfortunately, God has been greatly misrepresented. A lot of people out there today, supposing to be representatives of God, are really misrepresenting God. How many times do I hear God being represented as, on the verge of bankruptcy, broke, and almost out of business. And if you don’t send in a generous offering this week, God’s gonna file bankruptcy, and His whole program is going down the tubes. Because, poor God has to depend upon you to keep His work going. And if you don’t come through, you’re letting God down, and He needs your help desperately, this week, to meet the crisis. What a tragedy to represent God that way. When God said, “Hey, if I needed something, I wouldn’t ask you. For the earth is mine, and the fullness thereof, and everything that is in it. Why should I ask you for something?” The cattle on ten thousand hills belongs to Him. God never comes to you for a hand out. He’s not about ready to be sent to the poorhouse. It’s tragic that often times God is represented that way. I think of how many times God is misrepresented by man, and, “I wonder God, how many times do I misrepresent you?”
Now Jesus, was a perfect representation of God. You want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. You want to know what the Father is like? Jesus said, “Look at me. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”. As the book of Revelation tells us, chapter one, “He was the true and the faithful witness”.
Now God wants us to also be witnesses. We are witnesses of Jesus Christ before the world. I represent Jesus, before the world. But I must be careful how I represent Him. If I say that I am a Christian, then people are going to be watching me to see what a Christian is like, to know what Christ is like, because “Christian” really means Christ like. That’s where the name originated. Because they were so much like the Lord, they just called them Little Jesus’, Christians, Christ like.
But what is Jesus like? Well I know what He’s like because I read the new testament. I know that He’s compassionate. I know that He’s very sensitive. I know that He is tender. I know that He is loving. I know that He is giving. Am I compassionate? Am I giving? Am I loving? Am I kind? Do I go out of my way to help someone? If I represent Him, I should. I should be doing the things that Jesus did, as His representative. In order that the world today might know the love of Jesus, compassion of Jesus. Where are they gonna see it? Through me. If I am a true representative. But if I get angry and upset, if I am annoyed and irritated at slight little provocation’s. If I’m yelling and cursing, then surely, I am not a representative of Jesus, who said, “Bless those that curse you, bless and curse not. Pray for those who despitefully use you”. If I am to be His representative, those are the things that I must do.
Now I know that that isn’t a part of my nature or character, I can’t do that naturally. For I’m not naturally that kind of a person. Naturally, I love to get even. I find some kind of tremendous satisfaction in getting even with someone. I love it when I can put them in their place. They say something nasty to me, I love it when I have a nastier retort that just shuts them up, wipes them out! I get satisfaction and enjoyment from that, but I’m not representing Jesus. I’m representing a nasty guy by the name of Chuck. But I’m not to represent me. The world surely doesn’t need me! The world needs Jesus, and I need to represent Him. He is very concerned in how I represent Him. I can’t represent Him in my own nature, because I don’t have naturally, the same characteristics of Jesus.
The only way I can truly represent Him, is to be filled with the Spirit, and to walk in the Spirit. “If you walk in the Spirit, then you will not fulfill the desires of your flesh.” And the desires of my flesh, really are to get even. To get vengeance. So I must be filled with the Spirit. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses unto me”. For without that power of the Spirit, I fail to be a witness, but as I yield to that Spirit, His Spirit in me, then I am being changed from glory to glory, even by the Spirit dwelling within me.
The more I’m being changed, the Spirit is conforming me into the image of Jesus Christ. The word of God conforms us into the image of Jesus Christ. Ephesians four, “God has placed within the church, pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the working of the ministry”. The building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, into that complete person. Unto the measure, the stature, the fullness of the image of Jesus. The word of God working in me. The power of God’s Spirit working in me. I’m being changed into what? Into the image of Jesus Christ, to where I’m becoming more and more everyday, a representative of Him. A true representation of Him. It’s not of myself, it’s only through the power of the Spirit.
Now it is interesting to me how God wanted to be represented. God said, “This is the way that you’re to put my name”. Now the name of God is Yahweh or Jehovah. We’re not certain of the pronunciation. Nobody knows for sure. There are those who have the Church of Yahweh. And, of course, you’ve heard of the Jehovah Witnesses. So people latch on to the name of God, and they make a big thing over it, you know, whether it be Yahweh, or Jehovah, or whatever. But that name of God. There’s a lot of things the bible has to say about the name of God. You might go through sometime with your Concordance. This is again for special credit. Look up where it says the name. The name Jehovah is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.
The bible says that God has honored His word above His name, and really there’s no greater name to which God has given honor. Of course we read, “There is no other name given among men, whereby we must be saved”. Jehovah Shewa, the Lord our Salvation, or Jesus. So this is the way God wanted His name to be put on the people. When you’re representing God and putting His name on the people, this is how God wants to be represented, “Jehovah bless thee and keep thee”. God wants people to know that He is a God of blessing, a God of love, a God who gives to His people, and a God who will keep His people. The keeping power of God. “Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling”. Peter said, “Unto you who are kept by the power of God through faith”. Jehovah bless thee and keep thee. Jehovah make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The face of God shining upon us. We live in an eternal day. There’s no need for sun or moon in heaven, for the lamb shall be the light thereof. There is no night there. Perpetual day.
This evening, we pulled back the drapes and looked at that beautiful, lovely view out of our bedroom window, towards Saddleback, the most beautiful formation of clouds. The clear blueness of the skies. The greenery of the spring growth, you know, the mustard flowers, and the greenery. It was, Kate and I, I went over there and opened up the drapes, and she said, “What are you doing?”, and I said, “I’m letting you in on a beautiful scene”. So we stood there together, just looking at that beautiful, beautiful scenery, and she said, “You know, I think spring must be my favorite time of the year”. Oh you remember, second service, I think I said that this morning. She didn’t hear me, but that’s why we get along together so well. We both love spring. The sunshine of God’s face. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. So the second characteristic of God’s graciousness, or God’s grace. God wants you to know that He is gracious.
Now, a young man came up to me this morning after the service, and he said, “Chuck, what can I do? I have so misrepresented God! I have known the Lord, I’ve walked with the Lord, but then I walked away from the Lord and I so misrepresented God. What can I do?”, and I said, “Remember God is gracious, though you have misrepresented Him, God is gracious. That’s the way the Lord wants to put His name upon the people”. “I’m gracious, forgiving”, and then the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. The God of peace imparts His peace to us. So, the Jehovah bless, Jehovah gracious, and Jehovah give you peace. Be gracious to you, bless you, ah. That is the God that we serve. No wonder we love Him. That is the God that we are to represent. If I am representing God, then I am going to be seeking to be a blessing to people. I’m going to be gracious towards people, and I’m going to seek peace, because I’m God’s representative.
As we get into the seventh chapter, we find that the leaders of Israel, verse two,
Made an offering to the Lord, and in their offering the twelve tribes [twelve leaders of the twelve tribes] they brought [first of all] six carts, [covered wagons], and twelve oxen; every two tribes furnished one cart and each tribe furnished one oxen. And they were brought to Moses to give to the Levites for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, to each man according to his service. So Moses took the carts and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites. Now two of the Levites and four of the oxen they gave to Gershon, according to their service (7:2-7):
Now remember last week, the families of Levi were divided up into which portion of the tent that they would carry, whenever they moved the tabernacle. How that they had this whole procession. Aaron and his sons would come in and take and cover the ark of the covenant, and cover the table of the show bread, cover the lampstand, put the stage through so they could carry them. Then the other things were wrapped up, and part of the Levites were to carry the curtains, and another part were to carry the boards and the whole thing. So here were covered wagons when they moved camp. The Levite families were given these covered wagons, so that they could put these boards and these curtains and all, in the wagons, for the moving of them.
So four carts, and eight oxen were given unto the sons of Merari, [because they were carrying the boards and these poles and everything else, the heavier part] so they had four carts and two carts for Gershon. But to the sons of Kohath they didn’t get any carts because the family of Kohath they carried on the stays???, the ark of the covenant, and the show bread, and the altar. [and so forth, with were carried with those sticks that were put through the rings??? and so they were borne by hand not put in a cart.] So the leaders offered this dedication offering. Then they brought other offerings to the Lord. And the other offerings the leader of each tribe came with the offering for the tribe. And from the tribe of Judah, was Nahshon; and he offered a silver platter, that was a hundred thirty shekels of weight, a silver bowl that weighed seventy shekels,; and both of them will filled with flour and oil as a grain offering. He offered a gold pan that was full of incense, one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in the first year as a burnt offering: a kid of the goats as a sin offering: And two oxen, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs, in their first year (7:7-17).
Now in the rest of the seventh chapter, you find the repetition, each tribe gave the same offering. Each tribe gave a silver platter, gave a silver bowl, gave this golden pan, and gave the same offering. So it names the leader of the tribe, and the tribe that he was from, and it repeats the same offering over and over. Each tribe gave the same. Now it does get rather repetitious as you read it through, that’s why we’re going to jump it. It’s one of the longest chapters in the bible. It’s one in which God lists the offerings of the various tribes. It is interesting to me that God kept such accurate record, even though they were such duplicate type of records, yet God kept an accurate record of what the people gave. I’m certain that He still does.
[In the eighth chapter]The Lord spoke to Moses to speak to Aaron, concerning the arrangement of the lamps. The seven lights that give light in front of a lampstand. Now this lampstand [verse four] was of hammered gold, from it’s shaft to it’s flowers, it was hammered work: according to the pattern which the Lord had shown to Moses to make the lampstand. [And then there was the dedication at this point, of the Levites for their service.] Take the Levites [verse six] from among the children of Israel and cleanse them in a ceremony, thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, let them wash their clothes, and make themselves clean. Then let them take a young bull with it’s grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and take another young bull as a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting: you shall gather together the whole assembly of the children of Israel. Now the whole assembly, the congregation was to be gathered. (8:1-9).
Gonna be a day, “We’re gonna consecrate these Levites for their service to God”. They’re gonna go through this cleansing ritual, in order that they might serve the Lord for the people, on behalf of the people.
So, call in the whole assembly and bring in the Levites before the Lord, the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites (8:10).
So all of the people of Israel lay their hands on these fellows. Each month of our board meeting, at the close of our board meeting, we sort of adopted an interesting little ritual, of sorts, in that I sit in the chair, and all of the board members lay their hands on me and pray for me. I’ll tell you, I love that. Just really great to have these men, laying their hands on me and praying for me and for the ministry of the church. I just love it and appreciate it. Often times on the Saturday night prayer meeting, when we’re through praying, If I don’t slip out fast enough, the fellows say, “Chuck, sit in the chair!”, and the guys there will lay their hands on me and pray for me, and I just appreciate that, and I love that. It’s just a tremendous blessing!
Here were the Levites and all of the congregation of Israel reaching in and laying their hands on these guys. “You’re gonna serve the Lord for me, and may God bless you, and may God help you to serve the Lord in my stead”. So, the congregation laying their hands on the Levites.
So you’re to bring the Levites before the Lord: the children of Israel lay their hands on them, and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as though they were a wave offering. [Now a wave offering, you lift up, well he didn’t lift them all up and wave them before the Lord, but as in a symbolic sense. “Here they are Lord”, as a wave offering before you.] And then the Levites shall lay their hands of the heads of the young bulls: and you will offer one as a sin offering, and the other as a burnt offering, to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites (8:10-12).
So the Israelites, the children of Israel, lay their hands on the Levites, now the Levites, being cleansed, start their ministering, but before they do, they lay their hands on these two bulls. The one is the sin offering, the transferring of their guilt over onto the bull, it was slain, offered as a sin offering. The second one, the burnt offering, was the offering of consecration. So it is these men are to be consecrated unto God, in this service to the Lord.
And thus you shall separate the Levites [or consecrate them] from the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. For they were wholly given to me from the children of Israel; I have taken them for myself [verse sixteen] instead of all who open the womb, of the firstborn of the children of Israel. For all of the firstborn [verse seventeen] of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I struck all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified [or set them apart] to myself (8:14-17).
Now when God passed through the land of Egypt, and destroyed the firstborn in the land, God made a provision for the redemption of the firstborn. Moses instructed the people, “Take a lamb of the first year without blemish, kill it. Put the blood in a basin, and with a hyssop bush, sprinkle the blood upon the lentils??? and the door posts of your house, and when the Lord passes through the land this night, when He sees the blood upon the door, He’ll pass over the house so that the first born will not be slain”. So the lamb was a substitute for the firstborn in the house. It died instead of the firstborn, whereas in the land of Egypt, when the Lord passed through and each family when they awoke, found that the firstborn child had been slain, there in the camp of Israel, where the blood was protecting the houses, not a child was slain. They were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. They had been purchased. Their life was purchased by the life of the lamb, which blood was shed for the family. Now the Lord said, “In that night, I really purchased all of the first born. They became mine. They owe their lives to me, and thus they are mine”.
That is what redemption implies. When you’ve been redeemed by someone, it now implies that you belong to that person. “You who have been redeemed through Jesus Christ, really are no longer your own.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and he said, “What! Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, and you are not your own! You’ve been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are His”. You’re really not your own anymore. If you’ve been redeemed by Jesus Christ, you don’t belong to yourself. You don’t have the right to do what you want to do. You don’t have the right to follow your own plan or your own ambition. You belong to Jesus Christ, and your life is His. You’re not your own, you’ve been bought with a price, you’ve been redeemed. That means you’re no longer your own. You belong to Him. God said, “I redeemed them all and I claimed them that night for mine. They’re mine. The night that I passed through, and I wiped out the first born, by sparing these they become mine”. So by giving you eternal life through Jesus Christ, you actually give up your rights to yourself. I no longer am a self determinant creature. I surrendered those rights to the Lord, and He now, is the one who has the right to tell me what to do, how I am to do it, where I am to do it, and when I am to do it. Your life belongs to God!
How many of us are robbing from God, that which He purchased, by our own self-willed ways? We don’t have this concept down in our minds at all. You may accept it in theory form, but in practice, I’m afraid we’re far from it. To realize, “Hey! I belong to Him”! “I’ve been crucified to Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ is living in me and the life that I am now living in the flesh, I am living by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I’m not my own. I’ve been bought with a price.” I’m to glorify God both in my body and spirit, which belongs to Him. I’m to live for Him, not for me. Anytime I live for me, I’m actually taking from Him, that which is His. That which belongs to Him. That which He redeemed.
God laid claim on it. He said, “I claimed them. The night that I passed over them in Egypt and spared their lives, I claimed them. They belonged to me that night. I purchased them”. So you’ve been purchased, you belong to Him.
[So God says], I have taken the Levites, this cleansing rite for the Levites because I’ve taken the Levites instead of the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given them as a gift now to Aaron an his sons, to the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle, [rather than the firstborn of every family being there, God took the Levites instead.] So Moses, and Aaron, and all of the congregation of the children of Israel, did according to that which the Lord commanded Moses. And they purified themselves, washed their clothes; Aaron presented them as a wave offering they offered the sacrifices. Now [verse twenty four] this is what pertains to the Levites: from twenty five years old and above one may enter to perform the service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting (8:18-26).
Now you remember this was a portable place of worship. It could be broken down and moved, and was broken down and moved many times. Sometimes they’d set it up for a day. Sometimes they’d set it up for five days. Sometimes they’d set it up for a week. Sometimes for a year. You never know how long this place is gonna be sitting here. Because they could collapse it and move it. So these guys that were doing this moving, they had their jobs all assigned. You know, “You guys are gonna roll up the portion of the curtain over here, and you guys roll up this curtain. You guys carry these boards”, and they were directed in the service that they were to do in the moving of the tabernacle. They could not enter into this until they were twenty five years old, and as soon as they were fifty years old. Out of here! No more carrying, no more labor. Now you could stand there and direct the others, you had the experience now. Been around, you know how the thing is put together, you know how the thing is taken apart. So you stand there and you supervise after fifty. I like that. Not really, I too much like to get my hands into things. But after fifty years of old, they were, they must, it says, they must cease performing the work. So they can attend to the other needs, but they shall do no work. That’s the Levites, from twenty five to fifty they were able to come in and do this service of moving.
[Now in chapter nine,] The Lord spoke to Moses in Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they’d come out of the land of Egypt. [So two years now there at Sinai.] Let the children of Israel keep the Passover in it’s appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, ye shall keep it at it’s appointed time (9:1-2).
That’s why the Jews begin their days in the evening, twilight. Sundown begins the day. We begin our days at midnight, they begin the days at sundown. Their day went from sundown to sundown, and they still observe their days from sundown to sundown. Their Sabbath day begins, Friday evening sundown. Goes to Saturday evening sundown. And so,
At twilight keep the appointed time; according to all the rites and ceremonies, you’re to keep it. So Moses told the children of Israel, they were to keep the Passover. Now there were certain men, [verse six] who were defiled by the body of a dead person, [They had touched a dead body and they didn’t have the time to go through the purification rites. So they came to Moses. They said, “Look, we are unclean, we’ve touched a dead body, we can’t go through the ceremony. What shall we do?”] So Moses said to the, Stand still here, that I might hear what the Lord will command concerning you (9:1-8).
Now I like this. Moses took every issue to the Lord. “What are we gonna do about us? You know, we can’t observe the Passover, we touched a dead body. What shall we do”. Moses said, “Wait a minute, let me find out from the Lord”. I like that. He had enough wisdom to seek the Lord for each decision. “Here’s an issue that hasn’t come up. We haven’t faced this before. What are we gonna do about it”? “Well, what does the Lord want us to do about it?”
I think of that verse of the song, “Oh what needless pain we bear, only because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” If you don’t know what to do about a certain situation, rather than just moving in on it, wait. Pray! Stand still. “Let’s just see what God has to say about this.” I think a lot of times, in our wanting to get moving, “Let’s do something!”, that a lot of times just doing something, we do it wrong. “Let’s see what the Lord has, stand still, see what the Lord has to say about this.”
So Moses went in to inquire of the Lord, concerning these men. So the Lord gave the command. [Keep it in the second month, on the fourteenth day. You missed the first month, so you to are observe it in the second month, it’s okay that you eat your bitter herbs and so forth and the Passover dinner in the second month.] And on the fourteenth month, on the second day, they shall keep it. [Now it is interesting. Verse twelve:] They’re not to leave any of the lamb until the morning, nor are they to break one of it’s bones (9:9-12):
Now the bone of the lamb was to be broken. The Passover lamb. You remember when Jesus was hanging on the cross, because of the day of preparation for Passover was at hand. The Sabbath. They were preparing. They had to prepare before sundown to get things ready for the Sabbath. The day of preparation. They came to Pilot and they said, “We don’t want these bodies hanging there on these crosses on the Sabbath day. Let us go ahead and break their bones to hasten their death.” So they were given permission to break the bones of the fellows hanging there on the crosses. They went to the two thieves, and they took these sledges and broke their leg bones to hasten their death.
But when they came to Jesus, they found that He was already dead, so they did not break His bones. In order that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken”. That’s because He was God’s Passover lamb for us. The requirement of a Passover lamb, not a bone could be broken. So Jesus, dying in our behalf, not a bone of Him was broken. He was dying in our behalf. He was already dead.
Interesting, in this month’s issue of the American Medical Journal, this prestigious magazine for doctors, there’s one of the most fascinating articles by a group of doctors, I believe they’re from Minnesota, who wrote this fascinating article in describing, from a medical standpoint, from a pathologists standpoint, the death of Jesus Christ. A fascinating article. In the article, they say that there’s no way that He could’ve survived, that as some rumors say, He just went into sort of a trance, and you know, so the resurrection wasn’t really real. He wasn’t really dead. These pathologists have come to the conclusion that there’s no way He could’ve survived, and not been dead. But they describe the death by crucifixion. The flagellation??? and all. It is an extremely interesting article. If any of you can get hold in the library, this month’s issue of the American Medical Journal, you’ll find a quite fascinating article.
So not a bone [verse twelve] of the sacrifice was broken, in order that it might be again in perfect harmony with Jesus, the perfect type (9:12).
Now if a man just doesn’t observe the Passover, because he doesn’t want to, he’s not away on a journey, he’s not ceremonially unclean, [He just, why should I do it?”] that person is to be cut off from the people. You’re not a part of God’s people, so he was to be cut off as a part of God’s people. [If he just arbitrarily didn’t observe it because he didn’t want to.] If the sojourner is in your land and he wants to observe the Passover; [He’s got to go by the rules. One rule for everyone. Now in verse fifteen we find God beginning now to guide them with this cloud. And the instructions concerning the cloud. Now on the day that the whole thing was raised up. When they put the whole thing together, they raised it up. It’s now all set here. The curtains and everything are all set. The tabernacle (???is all set???).] On the day that it was raised up the cloud of God’s presence covered the tabernacle, the tent of testimony: and from the evening until morning, it was in the appearance of fire. This cloud of God’s presence, at night time, looked like just a fire glowing above the tabernacle. And in the day it had just the appearance of a cloud resting upon the tabernacle (9:13-16).
Now remember the children of Israel were camped all the way around the tabernacle. Their tents facing the tabernacle, so at night if you got up in the night, and you came out of your tent door, you’d look towards the center of the camp, and you’d see this glow of a fire, over the tabernacle, and you’d be reminded that God’s presence is in the midst of the people. God is dwelling in the midst of His people. During the day you come out of your tent, you see the cloud that is there, and again reminded of the presence of God in the midst of His people.
Sometimes I wish that we had more reminders of God’s presence. I dwell in the presence of God. I forget that. Because I forget that, I sometimes do things that when I realize, I become embarrassed. You know, when Moses wiped out that Egyptian, he said he looked this way, and he looked that way and he didn’t see anybody. But he didn’t look up. He thought he had gotten by with his act. He thought no body saw him, he didn’t realize God saw him. I think that’s so often true of us. We look this way, we look that way, “Alright!”, you know, but God sees us. God dwells in the midst of His people. We need to be reminded of that. “That I do nothing in secret, but what God knows.” So, this cloud.
Now whenever this cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, then the children of Israel would journey: [verse seventeen] and in the place where the cloud settled, there they would pitch their tents (9:17).
So they were guided by this cloud. The cloud would get up and move in the middle of the night, and they all had to wake up, you know, get the kids up, and load things up, and start moving. Follow that cloud!
Then the cloud would settle down again, and they would pitch the tent, right where the cloud had settled. Even when the cloud continued for many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel just stayed there (9:19).
They camped there. There several days, they just camp in the one spot.
And so it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle for a few days, then they would remain encamped. Then when the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey: whether by day or night whether the cloud was taken up, they would journey (9:20-21).
Whenever it would move, they would move. Whether it was day or night. That could’ve been you know when you’re traveling everyday, and the cloud stops every night, you have to set up the tabernacle. Morning the thing starts moving again, you have to break the thing down, start going again. It could be a rather tedious trip, you know.
So whether it was two days, a month, a year, whenever the cloud remained over the tabernacle, they’d stay [parked], whenever it moved, they would move (9:22).
[In chapter ten the Lord said,] Make two silver trumpets for yourself, make them of hammered work: use them for the calling of the assembly, and for directing the movement of the camp. [So two things, to call an assembly and to direct the movement of the camps.] When they both of them blow, all of the assemblies shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (10:1-3).
So, you’re in your tent, and you’re eating dinner with your family, and all of a sudden these two trumpets blast. “Drop everything. We’ve got to get to the tent!”, you know, “Tent of the..”, it was the call for the people to come and to stand before the Lord, at the tabernacle of meeting.
If they blew only one of them, then just the leaders of the people would gather (10:4).
That was to assemble the leaders. Blow both trumpets everybody gathers. Blow one trumpet, the leaders gather together. Then they had a special blast for advance, time to move camp. Probably “ta ta ta da ta da!”. You know that came from somewhere! It could go clear back to Moses, who knows! They sounded the advance. “Charge”. So when they sounded this sound on the trumpets to advance, the tribes Judah, and the tribes that were out to the east in front of it, they would pack up their tents, start moving along. When the sounded the second time then those that were on the south side moved out. It’s like troops moving out. The armies in front moved out, and the second sound of advance, the troops on the south side would start moving out.
And when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but not the sound of the events: So the sons of Aaron and the priests shall blow the trumpets and this shall be to you as an ordinance to you throughout your generations. And when you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets; and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. And also in the day of your gladness, your appointed feasts, the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings (10:7-10);
So on the special days, these blasts of the trumpets. The holidays, the holy days. The other day when my wife and I were in Jerusalem, as the Sabbath began, we heard this blast. It sounded like an air raid warning. We were there at the beginning of the Yom Kippur war, when these horns went off. It was, it sounded a little bit like a Shofar horn though. Kay said, “What is that?”, I said, “Well I don’t know, I think it is calling the people to the beginning of the Sabbath”. The sun was going down, Friday evening. “I think it’s the call of the beginning of the Sabbath.” It went on and on and on, and began to wonder, “Wow, could it be an air raid?” Then it ceased, and indeed, that’s what it was. It was announcing to all of Jerusalem, and boy you could hear it all over the place, it sounded like the thing was just outside of our window of our hotel. But you could hear it all over Jerusalem. The call to the people, the Sabbath is beginning. Cease your labor. Now the Sabbath begins. And I thought, “Oh that’s beautiful!” No separation of church and state. You know they recognize that God is a very important part of our national life.
Oh would to God, that we had that recognition of the importance of God in our national life. What fools to try to remove God from the national life. It’s a tragedy! Really! It’s a tragedy that a few fools can bring such a disregard of God within our national life. They say, “Oh separation of church and state”, and that’s nowhere in the constitution. That’s something that has been made up. There was no intention of separation of church and state. There was the intention that there should not be any church mandated by the state, and I agree with that a hundred percent. But what we sought to establish was not freedom from religion, but freedom of religion.
The tragic misinterpretation by the supreme court is that they’ve interpreted the constitution as a freedom from religion. Never intended by the early fathers, founding fathers of this church, of this nation. You go back and read the early documents. Read them in prayer meetings and all, and you’ll realize that it was never intended to mean freedom from God or freedom from worship. But, freedom to worship after the dictates of a person’s own heart, with no state mandated church or religion. These people were aware that God was a very part of their national existence, and as a result were strong.
Now it came to pass [verse eleven] the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, [So in the second year the second month, the twentieth day, after the fellow who weren’t able to observe the Passover, got it in the second time around.] the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of testimony. [They’ve been dwelling now in mount Sinai all this time.] And the children of Israel set out from the wilderness of Sinai; on their journeys, and the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran (10:11-12).
So they started out for the first time, according to the commandment of the Lord. So I imagine a lot of confusion this time, as the first time they’re breaking the thing down, first time getting the thing loaded in the carts. It’s a good practice run, you know. “Let’s go through it now.” They’re going to be moving quite a bit from now on. This is the beginning of their journeys. It’s the beginning of this routine. So they started out for the first time.
In the standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first. [The trumpet blew and Judah moved out with his troops.] Issachar and Zebulun, the three tribes that were on the east side. Then [when they moved out] the tabernacle was taken down; [verse seventeen] and the sons of Gershon [the family of Levites] and the sons of Merari set out carrying the tabernacle. And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their armies (10:14-18):
So first of all Judah, goes to the east, then the tabernacle was dismantled, and then the camps on the south, Reuben and his troops moved out. Simeon and Gad.
Then the Kohathites [The porters of the Levites, the carriers.] set out carrying the holy things. The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival. [They went in, Aaron and his sons and broke down everything.] And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim came in then behind these holy things: along with Manasseh and Benjamin, then finally the rear guard was formed by the camps [or the tribes] of Dan and Asher, and Naphtali (10:21-27).
So you see this procession. The three tribes in the front, the Gershonites, the Merarites, carrying you know, that portion of the tabernacle. The curtains, and the stakes, and the fords, and so forth. Then the next tribe of Simeon and Gad, and then the Kohathites wore these posts, carrying the ark of the covenant, and the tables and so forth. Then the last of the six tribes coming up behind. So they’re on the move. Three and a half million people! What a sight that must have been! What a sight! Striking off into the wilderness. Three and a half million of them.
Now Moses said to Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses; father in law, We are setting out for the place for which the Lord said, I will give it to you: now come with us, and we will treat you well: for the Lord has promised good things to Israel (10:29).
So he’s talking to his brother in law. As they start to go, they’re leaving the area of Sinai, where his brother in law lived. Moses when he was working for his father in law, was working in this area of Sinai. (From here to Moab. Moses, now he’s striking out through the desert. Hobab grew up in the desert. He was a desert man. He knew where the water was, he knew how to find the water, he was desert wise. So Moses is asking him to go along with him and be blessed with those blessings that God has promised. “We’ll treat you well.”
He said to Moses, I will not go; but I will depart back to my own land and back to my own family. And Moses said, Please do not leave; inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, [You know all about the desert, you know all about desert life. You know how to camp in the wilderness. You can help us.] and you can be our eyes (10:31).
Spotting those oases, and spotting the areas where there’s water. It’s interesting to be around a person who is desert wise. I spent some time with a prospector out in the desert, greatest time. This guy was really a good desert savvy. He knew how to find water. He knew how to get the water out of the cactus if we needed it. He just has a desert savvy. It was just great to be with him and to learn how to survive in that hostile environment, really. Those that have that desert savvy. So he said, “Come on! You will be our eyes”.
It will be Moses said, If you will go with us, it shall be, that whatever good the Lord does to us, we’ll share with you. So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey for three days: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for three days journey, to search out a resting place for them (10:32-33).
Now in the first chapter of Deuteronomy, verse thirty three, I find a verse that to me is very interesting and just says an awful lot. Deuteronomy one, thirty three. Verse thirty two it gives you sort of a shot into it. “Yet for all of that you did not believe Jehovah your God, who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents. To show you the way you should go, in the fire by night, and in the cloud by day.” He’s saying here that God went before them, to pick out the place for them to pitch their tent.
I am thrilled that God goes before me, and I never arrive at a place that God has not preceded me there, and prepared that place for me. God goes before you. You never come to an experience in your life that God hasn’t preceded and prepared you a place to pitch your tent. As the children of Israel started to settle down and they say, “Oh this looks like a great place to pitch our tents”, yes God has prepared that place for you. “I went ahead of you.”
But I’ve also found that God also prepares me for every place I come. He not only prepares a place for me, but He prepares me for the place. So that work with God in my life, as He’s preparing me for those experiences that are yet in the future. He’s preparing me now, for that which He is wanting for me. Wanting to do for me, wanting to do through me. And God is preparing you for His purposes and His plans, and that which He has for you in the future. By the time you get there, you’ll find that God’s already prepared a place for you, and He’s already prepared you for the place. I might even speak on that, that Sunday morning that we get to Deuteronomy. I like that scripture.
So whenever the ark set out, Moses said, Rise up, O Jehovah, let your enemies be scattered; and let those that hate you flee before you. And when the ark rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel (10:35-36).
I like that. Ready to move? “Rise up O Jehovah! And let those that hate you, flee before you”. When it’s settled, “Return O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel”. So they move. They began now, their movement through the wilderness.
We start now getting into very interesting and exciting experiences as they begin to move. “We’ve got everything all set, it’s all in order, we know how to move, and we’ve got the thing all organized, and we start moving.” And as they start moving, their experiences are valuable lessons to us as we move with them through this wilderness. So may the Lord bless us as we take this spiritual journey with them, as we head towards the promised land.
God bless you, give you a beautiful week, cause your life to overflow with His goodness and cause us to realize that we’re not our own, that we’re bought with a price. We belong to Him. Therefore anything and everything that we have, really is His. I’m not mine to order, I am mine to listen and to follow orders, as He prepares me to be His representative before this world. May He fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit, that your reactions might be His reactions. That you will love as He loved, give as He gave, work as He worked. That others might come to see Him and know Him through your life, that is lived for His glory. In Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7045