Sunday, May 11, 2014

Numbers 8

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 8. 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?)
  • This chapter outlines ceremonies involving "Levites." The Levites were considered partial Israelites: the Levites and Israelites shared some ancestors, but the Levites were not as "full-blooded" as the Israelites.
  • In Old Testament times, people had to purify themselves after becoming "unclean." Someone could become unclean by, among other things, touching a dead animal, coming in contact with the blood of an animal, or violating one of many rules the Israelites had follow. The idea was that God is perfectly clean, so to truly honor him you had to become clean before worshipping him or bringing him an offering.
  • God instructs Moses to have the Levites undergo these cleansing ceremonies so that they could become his people. God was pursuing a relationship with them.
  • Verses 15 through 19 refer to events that had already happened or were about to happen. The main point of these references is that God is going out of his way to invite the Levites to become his people, and is welcoming them with open arms.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Just like the Levites were outsiders whom God invited to become his people, God is inviting all of us to give our lives to him and to live life with him. 
  • Thankfully, because of what Jesus did, we do not have to go through purification rituals. When Jesus died on the cross, he died to cleanse us from our sins once and for all. If we give our lives to him and accept that purification and live a new life, we become God's people.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • God invites you into a relationship, and you don't have to go through any rituals to make yourself "unclean." If you haven't accepted this offer of new life in God, what's holding you back? Make time today or this week to talk to someone you trust about questions or doubts you may have about God.
  • If you have given your life to God, what could you do this week to invite others into a relationship with him? Is there a co-worker you could invite to Verve, or a friend who has been asking questions about God? Making the first move may be intimidating, but through doing so you could change someone's life forever.