May 9, 2022

(Numbers 17-18, Psalm 55; Optional 1 John 2:1-6, Proverbs 22:17-21)

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NUMBERS 17-18 – So much complaining, rebellion and death (from righteous judgment) in Num 16! These 2 chapters today are God’s firm, clear reaffirmation of His choice of Aaron and HIS line as the ONLY ones who could draw near to His presence as priests. And then much of Num 18 is instructions on how the tithes and offerings were to provide for the tribe of Levi who were dedicated to serving the Lord and His people.

Num 17:5, 8 – As I’m tracing the huge theme of both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of people, I’ve written “S!” in my margin at Num 17:5.  A few things rub some folks the wrong way, but we need to prayerfully reflect on… 1) God has the right and sovereign authority to choose.  2) All human leadership (other than the sole exception of Jesus who’s both 100% human AND 100% divine) will many times show that they’re still sinners, but God REALLY does choose to set some in unique callings of leadership / service / responsibility. And this is for the GOOD / protection / blessing of the whole group (see Num 17:10-13, 18:1-7, 18:21-23).  3) The one chosen by God is FRUITFUL! There’s clear EVIDENCE of His choice. Compare Num 17:5, 8 to Jn 15:16 and Matt 13:23.

Num 17:10 – This very sober warning by God is LOVING (“lest they die”). Compare Num 18:4-5. We should stop saying, “I love you BUT I’m going to say something tough.” Instead: “I love you SO I’m willing to say something tough to call you to LIFE instead of death” (compare Deut 30:19-20, Jn 10:10).

Num 17:12-13 – Num 17-18 (if heeded and obeyed) is graciously given by God to prevent this from happening!

Num 18:1-7 – The people NOT chosen for the unique calling of Aaron’s line saw only PRIVILEGE in Num 16, but notice the weighty RESPONSIBILITY that God lays on leaders (compare James 3:1).

Num 18:12, 25-32 – Notice that ALL (including the Levites who made their living from others’ tithes / offerings) were to give of their BEST to God. Of course we’re simply giving back a little as a reminder that it ALL comes from Him (see 1 Chron 29:10-14, Rom 11:35-36)!

PSALM 55 – David the Psalmist has been betrayed by a close friend (see v 12-14), and his heart is broken. This Psalm gives us God-inspired words to use in casting our burden on Yahweh (see the command and promise in v 22).

Ps 55:22-23 AGAIN remind us of the end of the story for the TWO PATHS in life. When our hearts are breaking, we must return to this again and again.

Optional 1 John 2:1-6 – All through the book we’ll see EVIDENCE that someone belongs to God! If there’s only a PROFESSION of faith without a new DIRECTION, the person is fooling themselves. But those that DO belong to God have Jesus as their Advocate / Defense Attorney (v 1-2)!

Optional Proverbs 22:17-21 – Both 1) the intentionality and EFFORT necessary for growing in true knowledge and wisdom. AND 2) the WORTH / value of wisdom!