A reminder of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was baptized in October 1994. He had won his 1st two Winston Cup races, which were great thrills; but following his baptism, he said “This is the happiest day of my life.” (Jeff Strite - Sermon Central). … More

Following

The record here in chapter 9 deals with the second Passover. The first was instituted in Egypt and recorded in Exodus 12. At the first Passover event, the Israelites were given the command to “observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever” (Ex. 12:17). Because it was a memorial feast, its main point was to remind the Israelites of their great deliverance from Egypt’s bondage. The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread together were an eight-day religious observance (Lev. 23:5,6) celebrating the Israelite’s escape from slavery in Egypt by God’s power. Think of this awesome event, where at least fifty thousand lambs were required.

God wanted all of His people to be eligible to partake in the soul searching events of the feast, and for the most part there were no major hindrances. But some men found themselves, at the time of the Passover, victims of an unfortunate circumstance. They had defiled themselves by contact with a dead body or entering the home of a person who had died (Lev. 19:28), and this prevented them from participating in the Passover meal. God did not adjust the requirements, but the standards of holiness were maintained. However, since it was the duty of all men to participate in the feast, God did allow the men to celebrate the Passover one month later.

We read about a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night that guided and protected the Israelites as they traveled across the wilderness (vv. 15-22). Whenever the cloud stopped, the Israelites were to stop. The cloud and the fire were not just something that happened in nature, but they were the vehicle of God’s presence and the visible evidence of Him directing His people. The cloud was visible during the day and the fire could be seen at night. The principle was that of leadership and following. If the cloud moved, the Israelites must follow; if the cloud stopped the Israelites must stop (v. 17).

Application

Whenever I follow God’s guidance I know that I am where God wants me, whether I’m moving  or staying in one place. He has a purpose in placing me where I am right now.

Numbers 9:1-23 (English Standard Version)

And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, "Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it." So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, "We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the LORD's offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?" And Moses said to them, "Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you." The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the LORD's offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native." On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they remained in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they set out. And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.

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