Sunday, April 13, 2014

Numbers 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 2. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In chapter one of Numbers we saw a kind of census taken. Here in chapter two the nation is given some structure and the places where each tribe will camp are established.
  • When the tribes are listed and given land, the tribe of Judah comes first. Judah was the fourth son of the patriarch of Israel, Jacob, and so should have come fourth. But Jacob's first three sons (Reuben, Simeon, and Levi) were not given the place of honor because of past failings (see Genesis 49:3-7).
  • In verse 17 we see that the Israelites put the Tent of Meeting (the place where Moses would go to connect with God) in the center of their community.
  • The chapter ends by saying that the Israelites were "each with his clan and family." For a people who had been trapped in slavery, this was an amazing blessing for which they should have been stunned and grateful.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We see in this chapter that there were consequences for Reuben, Simeon, and Levi's sins. When we go to God and, through Jesus, confess our sins, He promises to forgive them (see 1 John 1:9). But we still may suffer the consequences of our sins. This is one reason (of many!) why it's not wise to have the attitude of, "I can sin because I know God will forgive me."
  • Just as the Tent of Meeting was put in the center of the camp, we need to have meeting with God at the center of our lives. The first priority of everyday is passion for and intimacy with God.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What are things you've done in the past that you've suffered because of? How does the consequences of sin and losing honor because of failings make you not want to sin? How can you keep this in mind when you're tempted?
  • Would you say that communication and intimacy with God has been at the center of your life lately? What practical steps could you take to create a passion for this and build it as a habit in your life?