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Numbers 34-36


A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year

           After setting the boundaries for where His People will live, God provides for those who lead them spiritually. These Levites will not have the same opportunity as the rest of the people to attain land through conquest so the Lord provides for them and in doing so makes sure their presence is spread throughout the tribes not just in one place.
         God also establishes six Cities of Refuge for those who have killed someone accidentally. The need is obscure to us in a society based on law and courts. However, the Israelites are in the process of moving from a tribal to a settled society. During this transformation from the family-based to courtroom justice, there's a need for some way to protect the participant in an accident from unreasonable retribution, while relieving the victim's family members from the obligation to exact it.
         The final chapter of Numbers is taken up with the underlying importance of property and inheritance. Previously (chapter 27) these women have received from Moses permission to inherit their father’s land. Now their need to marry is the occasion for a decision that property may not pass from tribe to tribe and that marriage should be within tribal groups. The situation is foreign to us; the obedience of the women in question is noteworthy none the less.
         Spiritual leaders are not, normally expected, to participate in business or military life. This means their ability to provide for themselves and their families is limited in a unique way. Because of this, God makes a special provision:  they are supported through the offerings brought by His People to God. It might be an interesting question whether Levites or priests would have been allowed to sell tapes or books about what they did, for their own profit. It is an even more basic question, however, whether God’s People today fully understand how serious He is about meeting the needs and providing for the families of those who serve as His spiritual leaders. Throughout history, advantage has been taken both ways.
         What is our refuge for the accidental sins we commit?  We can sometimes ask forgiveness from the people involved; and when we can, we should. We can sometimes make amends for whatever we have done; and when we can, we should. However, we also have access to God’s forgiveness at every instant of our lives. Having been unburdened of the need for any further atonement for our sins beyond the death of Christ on the Cross, we can concentrate instead on being more sensitive to our continuous need for  spiritual growth which compels us to daily seek a deeper commitment to God and to earnestly desire not only to overcome our shortcomings, but also to grow more like the people He wants us to be. This involves us in making amends with people we offend.
         What could you do today to be more obedient to God’s will in your life?  What steps might you take to become more like Christ:  in your attitudes, actions, concern for the needs of others?  Make up your mind to work at this today.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011