February 14

Read Numbers 5 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

The Lord bestows a precious, threefold blessing on the Israelites. Don't miss the spiritual application.

Verses for Today:

Whosoever is defiled by the dead . . . you shall put . . . without the camp . . . that they defile not their camps. . . . When a man or a woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to trespass against the Lord . . . Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and . . . shall recompense (make restitution for) his trespass with the principal . . . and add to it the fifth part . . . and give it to him . . . whom he has trespassed (wronged) (Numbers 5:2-3).

Highlights:

Laws concerning cleansing, confession and restitution, jealousy; the Nazarite vow.

Israel needed to recognize the necessity of confessing sin. God is absolutely Holy and therefore cannot tolerate sin. But God is also merciful; conse quently, He is always willing to forgive: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

It is important to realize that sin against our fellow man is first of all a sin against God. Therefore, a person who stole from his neighbor could not simply confess it to God and ask for forgiveness. Confession and restitution were both necessary, but never without the atonement sacrifice.

Confession (repentance) is more than mere admission of wrongdoing, since mere confession does not accept responsibility for the offense. When God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin in the Garden, each, in turn, confessed that what he or she had done was wrong, but neither accepted responsibility. Adam blamed his wife and his wife blamed the serpent. Both fell short of true, biblical confession and repentance.

Confession can easily be an excuse that attempts to assume innocence before God in order to avoid responsiblity for our sins.

Jesus illustrated this point in a parable of how excuses are all a part of self-justification and self-justification is simply a form of self-worship, saying: A certain man gave a great supper, and invited many: And sent his servant . . . to say to them . . . Come; for all things are now ready. And they all . . . began to make excuses (Luke 14:16-18). In this parable of Jesus, He is rebuking people who were making excuses instead of simply admitting they didn't want to do His will. They had what appeared to be legitimate concerns. But, unfortunately, they gave those concerns priority over the Kingdom of God.

All who do so think that they are an exception to the necessity of making Christ Lord of their lives. However, if we confess and forsake our sins and admit that we alone are responsible for our sins, we can turn our failures into a renewed relationship with our Creator. This is a genuine, biblical confession of sin.

We all find time for the things that are important to us. Indifference to reading the Only Guide that our Creator has provided in order to gain the most out of life is commonplace. It isn't what man does not know, but what he will not do, that is the root of the matter. The Apostle Paul was greatly used of God because he recognized how vital it was to allow Christ to be Lord of His life and could say: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

A Thought from Psalms: I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Your righteous judgments (119:7).

Christ Revealed:

As the One who blesses us and keeps us (Numbers 6:24-26; compare Jude 1:24-25).

Word Studies:

5:7 recompense = to make full restitution of the principle plus 20%; 5:8 kinsman = a relative; 5:12 go aside = commits adultery; 5:13 be kept close = she keeps it a secret; taken with the manner = caught in the act; 6:3 moist = fresh; 6:4 vine tree = grapevine; kernels even to the husk = not even the seeds or skins; 6:6 come at = go near; 6:9 by him = near him; 6:12 lost = void; 6:19 sodden = boiled.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), Rep. Nick Lampson (TX), and Rep. Richard Neal (MA) · Pray for the President · Country: South Africa (43 million) on the southern tip of the African continent · Major languages: Afrikaans and English · Religious freedom · 67% Protestant; 20% animism, magic, and ancestor worship; 10% Roman Catholic; 3% Asian religions · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that God delights in your joy (Psalms 43:4).

Optional Reading: Luke 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9