Being the Doorkeeper with God as Our Shield

“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of Thine anointed. For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.” Psalm 84:9-12 (KJV)

This Psalm was written for the “sons of Korah” (Numbers 16). Korah was a leader of rebellion against Moses and Aaron, along with Dathan and Abiram. Because of their rebellion they perished and much of their families also.

The Psalmist writes to those sons of Korah who did not participate in the rebellion. God is a shield to all those who trust in Him. The “shield” is also the king whom God has anointed.

Note that the Psalmist is saying that one day as a doorkeeper in the house of God is better than a thousand days in the tents of wickedness; even if with the wicked you are given the best amenities, and made wealthy by it.

God, the LORD, is our sun and shield; our light, our protector. It matters not what the world or the SCOTUS throws at us. The LORD of the Universe still reigns, His laws, and institutions are still up and going. What He said in Genesis 1 – Revelation 22 still stands.

“Blessed is the man [the individual] that trusteth in Thee”. The trust we show in YOU, O Lord is by believing your word. When we turn our backs against Your word, we turn our backs on You.

Deal Quickly with Sin

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” Numbers 25:6-9 (KJV)

The world and those caught up in unholiness do not understand holiness, and this zeal which Phinehas had for the holiness of God. Many of those who profess to be Christians are okay with the world and its unholiness; thus, portraying to the world, an unholy god.

Verse 3 of chapter25 tells us that the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, because they had joined themselves with the very people who had been trying to have them cursed by Balaam. Balaam showed that he hated God, His holiness, and His people by leading the people of Moab to join with Israel in flagrant rebellion against God (Revelation 2:14).

I am not going to try and explain Phinehas’s actions, except God did approve of them, because of His zeal; and due to his zeal for the holiness of God the plague which had came on the people was stopped. God also blessed Phinehas, and his family (Numbers 25:12-13). The actions of Phinehas most likely saved the lives of thousands more of the people of Israel.

Sin was dealt with by God through the death of His Son. God Himself struck Him (Isaiah 53:4-9). That is how God views His holiness. How quickly will I deal with sin in my own life? How about you? Let us deal first with our own sin, then we can with mercy deal with the sins of others.

Blossomed Authority

“And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.” Numbers 17:6-9 (KJV)

Following God’s judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram in chapter 16 because of their rebel hearts; and questioning of Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership, and authority God tells Moses to collect the “rods” of the “Prince” of each tribe, with Aaron’s among them. Their names were placed on each rod.

This was done to stop the murmurings of the people (v. 5). The LORD also said, “The rod I choose shall blossom” and it did far more.

These rods were not separated one from another, but put before the ark of the covenant. The Testimony was the Ten Commandments of stone within the Ark.

We can see from the above text that Aaron’s rod is the one that blossomed,and bear fruit of almonds. Now cut, dead, rods just do not bear fruit, little lone, blossom. It was the authority of God showing the people of Israel who was His chosen High Priest. That was what God said. That is what would stand.

The rod, budding, and blossoming, then bearing fruit is also a picture of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Risen from death to life, blossoming, and bearing the fruit of the glory of God.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26). Believing, trusting Him you will never die. Do you believe this? Will you believe this?

The LORD Bless You

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

This blessing was given to the Priests of Israel to bless the people. It was not an earned blessing, but a blessing from the hand of God’s mercy and grace. Of this blessing it has been said,

Here is a benediction that can go all the world over, and can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it: it is the speech of God: every letter may conclude with it; every day may begin with it; every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing—keeping—shining—the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems. D. L. Moody, Notes from My Bible, pg. 41
from BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Lord Jesus Himself is our greatest blessing and the greatest fulfillment of this blessing. It is however a blessing in which we can be a blessing to others.

From this preacher,

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Keeping the Way

“But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.” Numbers 3:38-39 (KJV)

In previous chapters the order was given for the twelve tribes encampment around the Tabernacle; with the place of God’s presence in the midst of them.

Then between the twelve tribes, and the Tabernacle was the Levites placed as GOD ordered around the Tabernacle. Notice in the above verses the ones near the gate or entrance of the Tabernacle was Moses and Aaron, and his sons; that would include their families, and the purpose of their being there was “Keeping the charge of the sanctuary…”. The word “charge” has to do with “Guard”. They were the one’s to keep out the “stranger”, so that he/she might not die.

I can see in this that the purpose of the minister of God the Biblical preacher is to tell others that there is only one way to God, and that Jesus is the “Door” (John 10:1-9). To try and enter another way is to perish.

Every Christian is to be a guardian of the way to God. We are to show men, women, boys, and girls the way to God. The way to God is through the “Door”, and Jesus says “I am the Door” (John 10:7, 9)

It is a great harm to lead others to believe that there are alternative ways to God, other than through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Responsible for Sin

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” Exodus 32:31-35 (KJV)

Moses had been on the Mount receiving instructions of the worship of God for the people of Israel.  They had previously received the Ten Commandments in word, having heard the voice of God speaking to them in Exodus 20.

The first Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me”.  The second is “You shall not make for yourself any graven image…”, and that is exactly what Aaron and the people had done.  They had disobeyed God the LORD of all glory.  They, by making the golden calf, had separated themselves from the worship of YaHWeH.  They transgressed the law of God.

Moses, the man of God, the prophet of the Law of God, prays that if someone is to perish for their sin, “…Blot me, I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou has written”.  It is apparent from God’s response that no one is responsible for the payment of sin except the one committing the transgression.

There is the promise of God that “Mine Angel shall go before thee…”, but there is still a visitation of judgment that must be made upon sin.

God has not, nor will He ever forsake His  people; but Oh how His people have forsaken Him.  Yet, He is merciful.  He is forever with us.

We are the ones responsible for our own sin debt, but God has provided a Substitute who has paid the price, by becoming “sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The name of that Substitute is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Purpose of Judgment

“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.” Exodus 7:2-6 (KJV)

In these verses we know the children of Israel have been enslaved in Egypt for around 400 years.  This was foretold by GOD to Abraham back in Genesis 15:13; and now God is about to fulfill His promise of deliverance.

Egypt has been a cruel taskmaster to Israel in the midst the land.  Forced labor, unrealistic standards for making brick, and building numbers, and living conditions.  God had heard their cry, their pleading for help.  Now help has come.

God sends His messengers; Moses and Aaron to deliver God’s word to the Pharaoh of Egypt.  He does not hear nor does He intend to let the people go.  The Lord of all creation has given Pharaoh opportunity to release the people without pain, sorrow, judgment; and he has refused.  Now GOD will show Himself strong to the Pharaoh, to Egypt and to His own people.  They will know that “I am the LORD” God says.

When I read the Scriptures that is a continued theme throughout the Bible.  God works, He moves, He judges, that we might know that He is the LORD.

The greatest way that was and is shown us is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The wrath of God upon sin was poured out upon His Son.  His love for mankind was shown in that He judged Jesus His only begotten Son in our behalf.

O hear the word of the LORD today.  Believe Him.  Call on Him and He will hear you.

Thus Saith the LORD… 012014

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in Mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.’ And the LORD spake unto Moses, ‘Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.’  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.”  Exodus 7:17-22

Thus saith the LORD…

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.'”  Exodus 5:1-2

Day 86 – A Better Covenant

When I began doing this 90 days of reading through the Bible my thinking on these posts were not to write commentaries on what I had read, but that is probably what they are.  They are more my thoughts on what I have read, and certainly not verbally inspired as the Scriptures are.  I had intended to write with more brevity, and in that I have probably failed.  Today; five days from the finish line; let me try and be brief with little word from me and more from the LORD’S Word.

My reading today was Hebrews 7 through James 3.

Hebrews 7 begins speaking of Melchizedek who is a mystery character of the Bible.  Hear what the writer of Hebrews says of Him –

“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”  Hebrews 7:1-3 (KJV)

Who is this Melchizedek?  According to the writer of Hebrews, inspired by God; he sounds as though he is an eternal being.  He is the King of righteousness, the King of Salem – Peace; at least there is no record of a mother or a father, no genealogy.  He is one “Made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually”.

The priesthood of Levi, the Aaronic priesthood needed to make sacrifices daily, but the writer of Hebrews says of Jesus;

“For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”  7:26-28

In chapter eleven much is spoken of faith.  It gives us a clearer understanding of faith.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1)  We find examples of faith from Abel to David, Jepthah, Samuel, Samson, the prophets and many unnamed ones.  Samson and Jepthah were real rascals, yet we find them to be awarded in the roll call of faith.  Praise the Lord.

Have faith in God.  I will not say anything of James today.  That will come; the Lord willing, in tomorrow’s post.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 8 – Holiness and the LORD

Sometimes, maybe much time is made of mocking all that is holy.  Even among Christians it is not often taken seriously.  Someone who becomes devoted to living holy is often told something like, “O, come on now.  You can’t be serious”.  God is serious about holiness, because He is holy.

In reading Leviticus you will find much about “Holiness”.  You will find it stated by the LORD, “Be holy; for I am holy” many times.  I read that several times as I was reading Leviticus 9 – 22 this morning.

When two sons of Aaron did not take holiness seriously; or right worship seriously they died,

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1-2 (KJV)

Their death seems to have been due to entering the most Holy Place with alcoholic drink on them;

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, ‘Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.'”  Leviticus 10:9

Whatever the “strange fire” was that Nadab and Abihu took into the Holy Place it was not holy unto the LORD.  God takes holiness among His people very seriously, and so should the Christian of today.

As we look at Leviticus with all its commandments, requirements for holiness, laws for dealing with body sores, and skins rashes, and leprosy, sexual relationships, eating; the right kinds of animals, insects and fish to eat, etc. it seems like it would be an impossible feat to meet God’s requirements for holiness.  I believe that to be an accurate assessment of our situation.

With all that God requires for our holiness we all fall short.  I mean who would always be aware of sitting on something that is unclean (Leviticus 15).  Only God would always know that.

The declaration of the Law is that we are Guilty, Guilty, and Guilty of being unholy; unless we can keep the whole law.  There is only One who did.  His name is Jesus Christ and He was and is the atonement for all our sins.

God has said many times through my reading to day, “I am the LORD”.  That is it.  He is holy; and He requires holiness of His people.  It is only attainable through the once and for all shed blood of His Son; who was our atonement, and scapegoat for our sins (Leviticus 16); carrying our sin away.  God is still serious about sin and holiness.  Jesus rose bodily from the grave, and ever lives as our intercessor.

Blessed be the holy name of the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 7 – From Deliverance to Glory

The book of Exodus begins with the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in bondage in Egypt.  They are in bitter enslavement to Egypt.  Exodus ends, however, fulfilling the meaning of its title “Exodus” and the children are free from bondage.

My reading this morning included Exodus 35 – Leviticus 8.  I will not be commenting on the Leviticus reading, but only on the Exodus portion, and particularly the ending.

From bondage in Egypt the children of Israel, are delivered after many wonderful things which God performed through His servants Moses and Aaron.  Plagues which came upon Egypt; unlike anything they had ever witnessed; or ever would witness in their lifetimes.  It was God’s plan to deliver them, His way.  It would not be the way of Moses, nor the way of Aaron; but God’s.

It is God’s intention that His name be glorified and nothing else.  That is the greatest desire of God; that He be glorified.

The Exodus shows us the children of Israel on a journey from Egypt, through the wilderness; at least to Mount Sinai; receiving God’s commandments; instructions, and designs on worshipping God.

In the Exodus we see sin raise its ugly, demonic head while Moses is on the Mount receiving the law; and after they have said, “All that God commands we will do.”  They call on Aaron to make them gods (32:1-2) of gold and to honor for their deliverance from Egypt; I suppose.  God tells Moses to go down quickly, and he finds a riotous, debaucherous worship more in tune with the surround peoples than godly going on; defiling everything the people has said they would do.

Yet, God in His grace and mercy brings them to His glory.  They see His glory in the “tent of the congregation” or tabernacle,

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

And, even Moses cannot enter due to His glory upon the tabernacle.

That shows us, that even Israel, and the Law cannot bring us into His glory.  The law fulfilled in God’s only begotten Son, His blood sacrifice on the cross, His burial, and resurrection can bring sinful man, redeemed, cleansed, and into the very presence of God.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who has given His own blood that we might go into the very presence of God.  I pray you find yourself there today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021411

Reading Numbers 16 – 18 for today.

As we begin the reading today we find in chapter sixteen three men of the Levites (v. 8), Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who bring an uprising against God.  They claim that it is against Moses and Aaron, but in the truth of it; it is against God and His leadership.  They have called on 250 princes of Israel to join them.

Moses’s first response was to fall on his face.  My first thought for this is that it is an act of petitioning God in humility for these men and their rebellion against Him.  My how people of God need to fall on their faces before Him.

There are many times those who are following a leader often think they can do a better job or service than is being given.  After all; who did Moses think he was assuming all of this authority for himself? They were questioning.  Are we not just as holy as Moses and Aaron?  They were in fact showing unholy characteristics.  They were not following God; but their own devices, and thinking.

God judges these men and those who followed them by opening the ground to “swallow” them up; and then, closing the ground up.  Now, many will say, “God had no cause for this judgment”.  He most certainly did.  The text does not say it, but it seems an almost certainty that Korah’s, Dathan’s and Abiram’s intent was to take over leadership and lead the Israelites back to Egypt.  They certainly didn’t have God’s plan in their hearts; or they would have not had a problem with the leadership of Moses; a wise and meek man (12:3)

Following the judgment upon this rabble of men and families, the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron (v. 41), and then they witnessed and saw the glory of the LORD appear upon the tabernacle.

“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.’  And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.  And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.  Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.  And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.”  Numbers 16:46-50 (KJV)

They are in quite the rebellious mood.  It is not of God.  Because of their rebellion God says, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” v. 45  And a plague begins upon the people, and before Moses and Aaron could act for the atonement of the people 14,700 people have died (v. 49).

One of the things about a good leader is that they love the people whom they lead.  Even when they mess up he still pleads for them.  Sacrifices for them. Will give his/her life for them.  This was Moses.  Sin was in the camp.  Atonement must be made to deliver the people from this plague of death.

The wrath of God is swift; and so too  is His grace.

How ought God’s people, Christians, of today respond to those whom God has placed in leadership?  We have a few Scriptural references:

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”  Hebrews 13:7″Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  Hebrews 13:17

And about leadership God says,

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”  Acts 20:28

In all things follow the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Believe Him, obey Him, love Him with all your heart, mind and soul.

Remember to read Numbers 16 – 18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

We will look today at Numbers 10:1-10; dealing with the silver trumpets.

Here Moses is leading, possibly 2 million people or more, through the wilderness.  Leading them to a “land of milk and honey”; a prosperous, bountiful land.  There would be total chaos without some form of getting the people to gather at the right place and time.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.  And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.  When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.  When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.  But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.  And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.   And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. ‘”  Numbers 10:1-10 (KJV)

Two million people would cover a lot of ground; especially with their tents/booths, possessions, the tabernacle and other things.  They were to camp in an orderly fashion as has been described in chapter two.  The tabernacle was to be in the midst of the camp.  A picture in itself of God/YHWH dwelling in the midst of His people – “God with us”  Immanuel.

Of verses 1 – 10 in our observations for today the ESV Study Bible notes say…

“Num. 10:1–10 The Silver Trumpets. How was Israel to move in step with the cloud of God’s presence? A large group of people needed to be marshaled, or else any movement was bound to be chaotic. So the primary purpose of the trumpets was to signal when the different tribes were to set out (see vv. 5–7). But they are also to be used to summon the congregation (v. 3) or the chiefs (v. 4). Their use in war and on the festival days is also prescribed (vv. 9–10). But blowing the trumpets was more than just a way of summoning the people to come to the tabernacle or to follow the cloud; it was a kind of prayer, a plea to God to remember his people and their needs, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God (v. 9; cf. v. 10). Two silver trumpets (v. 2), according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.291), were just over a foot in length and flared. They are pictured on Titus’s arch among the plunder he brought to Rome from Jerusalem. Two ways of blowing the trumpets are mentioned here: simply blowing (Num. 10:3–4, 7), and sounding an alarm (vv. 6–7). The difference is that blowing involves long notes, whereas sounding an alarm is done with staccato blasts. On the day of your gladness (v. 10) would include such occasions as festivals or victory celebrations after battle.”

We can see in the Scripture text that there are certain reasons for blowing the trumpets.  1) To call an assembly; 2) For the journeys, each tribe being called out by the sound of the trumpets in their order; 3) calling the princes of each tribe to meet; 4) For an alarm; 5) for when they offer their sacrifices and offerings; 6) For their solemn days; 7) For the beginning of each month; and 8 ) For a memorial unto the LORD.  He tells us, “I am the LORD your God”

There is a reference to these trumpets in the New Testament…

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”  1 Corinthians 14:8

There are at least six other references to trumpet in the New Testament – Matthew 6:2; 24:31;  1 Corinthians 15:52;  Hebrews 12:19;  Revelation 1:10; 4:1 – for differing and similar occasions.

The silver trumpet was a reminder of the wondrous grace of the Living God and His promise of the Messiah who was to come and die for the sins of the world.  What better reasons are there for assembling, worshipping and being diligent in our battle for truth.

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021111

Reading today from Numbers 7 – 9.

Will focus today on chapter 8:1-4 dealing with what is called the menorah; the light of the tabernacle.

It has been said that darkness is only the absence of light, and that cold is the absence of heat.  I can see that from a spiritual point of view; God’s point of view.  Especially for the human race.  We can be assured, however, that whether in darkness or cold God is present, and is speaking whether we hear or not.

The lamp or Menorah was the only source of light for the tabernacle.  It would have been the first thing to tend upon entering the actual “tent”, filling the bowls with olive oil for the burning for light.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.’  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.”  Numbers 8:1-4 (KJV)

This lampstand/menorah was positioned on the South side of the tabernacle, and the table of Shewbread was on the North side.  The menorah was to be positioned to focus the light on the bread of the table.  There were to be twelve loaves of bread on the table, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As we can also see in these verses we are told once again that the candlestick is made of pure beaten gold.  It is made by taking a piece of gold and forming it with a hammer, I suppose, or some other like tool; to shape it into this beautiful object known as a menorah.  In its original form it had three lamps on one side, and three on the other side with one in the middle.  A total of seven lights burning.  Seven for complete light.  We might think that would not be much light.  Seven lamps burning in such a small room, however, would illuminate the room quite well.  Have you ever been in a cave, in total darkness, without your flashlight turned on or without any light burning?  It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.  One person lighting a single match can light up a room of a cavern.  Darkness is dispelled.  Darkness flees in the presence of a sign of light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  He has also told those who follow Him,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 4:14-16

As I read the Scriptures it becomes even more clear, every time I read through the Bible, that the overwhelming evidence is that both Old and New Testaments point to Jesus Christ as the central character of Scripture.  Even the last book of the Bible tells us,

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

He is the light of a dark heart.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light.  He is the light that shows men where to find bread; for He also said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48).

Come out of the darkness of sin and death; into the light of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.

Please read Numbers 7 – 9

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021011

Reading today from Numbers 4 – 6.

My comments today will deal only with the following verses –

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.   And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.'” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

We can see reading from Scripture that it is God’s desire to bless His people.  He desired to bless His people Israel and to give them peace.  The verses of blessing are familiar to both Jews and Christians, and are often spoken; probably not as often as they could or should be among some Christians.

This blessing was given to Moses to give unto Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel.  Moses followed the LORD’s command and delivered it just as God had said.  It follows the law given concerning the Nazarite vow for consecrating one’s self to the LORD.  There was blessing to one who consecrated himself to the LORD and would basically for a life time or for only a month follow the life of a priestly pattern.  We have this blessing given to show us that God wants to bless all His people who will obey His commandments through loving Him.

It is a wonderful thing when God’s face is toward us, looking upon us.  It is a dreadful thing when we think of His back being toward us.  In the Blessed Son we are assured that His face is toward us; and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must remember that the greatest blessing is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Son of God.  In Him we have the “Peace of God that passes understanding”.  All these others are given for types, figures of the true.

Remember to read Numbes 4 – 6 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020911

Reading Numbers 1 – 3 today.

Today I want to consider verses 11 – 13 of chapter 3,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because all the firstborn are Mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD.'”  Numbers 3:11-13 (KJV)

In beginning the book of Numbers we find that it is named correctly for they are numbering or counting the people.  In particular they are counting the males of each of the twelve tribes from the age of twenty up.  The total number comes up to 603 thousand plus.  That is only males 20 years of age and above.  By looking at these numbers we get an idea of the multitude of people who were being led through the wilderness following their deliverance from Egypt.  If we were to just think of each male having a wife that would equal 1.2 million people.  If we add only one child, then, we are nearing 2 million people.  Moses and Aaron had a large task and work to do.

Now, let’s get to the above verses.

Back in Egypt on the day of deliverance the Passover had begun with the shedding of the blood of many lambs; their blood put on the door posts and lintels of each Jewish home as commanded by the LORD.  The Word of the LORD was that every firstborn in the land of Egypt would die.  Israel would not be untouched by this, unless, they obeyed God and applied the blood in God’s prescribed manner.  In doing so the firstborn of Israel were saved from this angel of death.

God redeemed the firstborn of Israel.  They are His.  In order not to take every firstborn for Himself; He took the Levites as the tribe which would serve Him as priests and servants to the people in the tabernacle.  This was an honor and a burden for the Levites.  They were consecrated to the LORD for the task.  They were assigned their duties in raising the tabernacle, and in taking it down; and transporting it when they moved by God’s leadership through the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

One thing that stands out clearly in the above text is that God states, “The Levites shall be Mine”.  Of the firstborn the LORD says, “All the firstborn are Mine”.  As we read the Scriptures; especially the Old Testament; we will find and emphasis placed on the firstborn son.

Jesus Christ is not just the firstborn Son of God, but His only born Son.  It is through this only born Son that we have a High Priest, eternal in Heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding for His own.

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”  Hebrews 8:1-2

Remember to read Numbers 1 – 3 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020411

Reading Leviticus 14 – 16.

Cleansing and forgiveness of sin are two of the main ideas we receive from these chapters.  From leprosy to the scapegoat on the day of atonement we find the provisions of God for these things; for His people.

One thing that I observe as I read these chapters is that I am glad these offerings, and cleansings have taken place in the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  All the law has been fulfilled in Him.  There is no more need for ritual and blood sacrifices.  It was all taken care of – not done away with – but fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

One of the sacrifices mentioned is that involving two birds.  One was to be slain; the other was to live and use the live bird to dip into the blood of the slain bird with cedar wood and hyssop with scarlet; and the living bird was to be let go.  This is for the cleansing of one’s house from a plague in the house.  This was probably some mold or something of that order.

There are  matters of issues of blood, and copulation; and the uncleanness of these, and how they were to be cleansed.

In chapter 16 we come to one of the most important events or Feasts of Israel.  I believe it is  the final one of their year.  This day of atonement is a once a year event.  It required particular care from the high Priest.

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”  Leviticus 16:21-22 (KJV)

This day required much sacrifice.  The blood of a bullock was offered by the high priest; first slaying the animal at the altar of burnt offering, taking the blood into the holy of Holies, sprinkling the blood seven times upon the Mercy seat, then, coming out getting the two goats; killing one goat, shedding its blood, while the priests laid their hands (as they had done with the slain goat) on the live goat.  The live goat was then taken away by a “fit man”.   There are some who believe that the man who took the live goat into the wilderness would take the goat to a bluff and push the goat over the edge so the goat would not return.

This offering of the scapegoat was and is a picture, a shadow of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of mankind.  The dead goat shows Christ Jesus as becoming our sin, paying the ultimate price for sin.  The living goat being taken into the wilderness could be a shadow of His burial, taking our sins away; never to see them; never to be bound by them again; always having forgiveness for sins committed; never to have them held against us.

One of the elements of the gospel that I see is much overlooked is the “burial”.  We say the gospel is “The death, the burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ”, but we never hear it mentioned.  The message of the cross and resurrection is powerless without the burial of Christ.  First, it shows that He died.  Second it shows that there is the cleansing and removal and forgiveness of sin; which God will never hold against us.

When we put our faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross; and  this includes the burial and bodily resurrection; then all our sins are cleansed; we are forgiven; and made righteous, just and holy in the sight of God.  As Paul the apostle has written;

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1

Please read Leviticus 14-16

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020211

Today’s Bible Reading is for Leviticus 8 – 10

There are three things I want us to see in today’s reading.  The first two have to do with the fire of God found in verses 23 and 24 of chapter 9; at least the first three verses of chapter 10 and verses 16 – 20 of the same chapter.

The fire of God is very repetitious; and usually when God’s word repeats something it is due to the fact of God’s making a very clear statement.  It matters.  It matters very much.  Part of the reason that it matters is because of God’s holiness, power, and you could even add His awe-inspiring ways.  It is enough to strike fear into the heart of those who would follow Him, believing Him.

There are many today who are teaching that God does not desire us to fear Him; but I beg to differ with that.  We should shudder at the thought of offending the Creator GOD who has made all things and even sustains them by His own power (Colossians 1:17)

“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”  Leviticus 9:23-24 (KJV)

It is a fear and reverence which realizes a greater power and presence than one’s self.  It is a fear that causes one who is loved by Him and loves Him to seek to know Him better; and to get closer to Him.

The tabernacle is starting its operation with the  offering, the glory of the LORD appears to all the people.  Fire comes out from before the LORD and consumes the burnt offering and fat.  Where did the fire come from?  It came from God, the LORD.  The people who witnessed this marvelous event were awe-struck and fell on their faces.   Ever an act of humility, reverence, and worship.  They recognized the presence and power of God.

Many times when we see God move in a powerful way there are some so eager to see it again, that they will try and manipulate the act of God all over again.  This may be what happens with Nadab and Abihu in 10:1-2,

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”  Leviticus 10:1-2

“Strange fire” had been offered to the LORD by Aaron’s two sons.  What this entailed is not fully explained in the text.  There have been several suggestions:  1) is that they were intoxicated and that is why the warning of verse 9 is given concerning the drinking of wine; 2) that they may have made their own concoction for a fiery event of their own.

It really seems to me that the event of the last two verses of chapter 9 leading up to these verses in chapter 10 may suggest that they were so zealous and eager to see this miraculous event again that they violated God’s clear direction on entering the tabernacle and the offerings that God showed Himself strong for His righteousness.  This clearly made an impact on the people and Aaron.

From this we go to verses 16-20 where we find that God’s commandment concerning the “goat of the sin offering”:

“And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, ‘Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.’  And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?  And when Moses heard that, he was content.” Leviticus 10:16-20

It seems that Eleazar and Ithamar had not taken the meat of the sin offering  to eat it as God’s commandment had said.  They had broken the commandment to do so.  Moses was rightly angry with the sons.  Aaron has quickly stepped in behalf of his sons and spoke of the grief of the day.  Their may have been fear in Aaron’s and his son’s minds and heart for the events and what they had witnessed God doing as well as grief  over losing his two sons. When Moses heard Aaron’s grief he went no further with the issue, thus we see the mercy of God.

When fire comes out from God; it must come from God alone.   When we – God’s people – try and manipulate the power of God; or try and imitate the power of God strangely; ie., in our own flesh;  for our own benefit, or notoriety; then, why should we be shocked to see God claim it for Himself.  I believe it was Charles H. Spurgeon who said, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.

Someone has said, “When we fear God; we need fear nothing else.”  The right fear of God; not a fear that keeps us from God; but the fear that draws us to Him for salvation, solace, peace, and His glory will cause us to fear nothing the world can throw at us.

The fire of God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).

Join us in reading Leviticus 8 – 10

-Tim A. Blankenship