Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Lord reminds us how much time has passed since the Exodus (9:1). The nation celebrates its second Passover. It was of vital importance that they remember the One who freed them from slavery. The protection of the Lord was evident in the cloud by day and the awesome pillar of fire by night.
At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the Tabernacle they rested in their tents (9:18). It may have seemed strange when the cloud first began guiding the Israelites that it did not lead them into the wilderness far from their enemies (Ex. 13:20). But, when the cloud was taken up from the Tabernacle (Num. 9:17), it turned and led them to a place where they were surrounded by the sea and the mountains.
The whole congregation was afraid and murmured as they saw Pharoah and his armies advancing toward them (Ex. 14:10). This experience was designed to establish Israel's confidence in the presence of God to protect and direct them to the promised land. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the Tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and. . . . whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the Tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed (Num. 9:16-17,22).
Later, when Israel made the golden calf, the Commandments of the Lord were broken and the nation was defiled. Immediately Moses removed the tent of God a considerable distance from the unfaithful camp. Only then could the cloudy pillar descend to the tent door, and the Lord talked with Moses (Ex. 33:7-9). His presence could remain in Israel only as they faithfully trusted Him.
Once Christians have committed themselves to the Lord, God will arrange circumstances to test their faith in His presence, just as He did with Israel at the Red Sea.
When we are obedient to Him, His presence enlightens our minds, strengthens our lives and guides our steps. The presence of God with His disciples is the secret of their strength and victory (II Chr. 20:15,17).
As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity . . . even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (Rom. 6:19).
Thought for Today:
The prophet Isaiah called Jesus Immanuel or "God with us." To be able to walk with Jesus is to walk with God. Are you walking with God (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23)?
The Passover (Numbers 9:2) serves as a beautiful illustration of the redemption Christ accomplished at Calvary as the Lamb of God (John 1:29; I Cor. 5:7).
8:2 over against =in front of; 8:4 beaten =hammered; 8:14 Mine =for the special purpose of God; 8:18 for =instead of; 9:7 kept back =prohibited from; 9:8 Stand still =wait; 9:10 posterity =descendents; 9:11 unleavened bread =bread without yeast, a symbol of Christ as the sinless offering; 9:12 ordinances =biblical laws; 9:13 forbeareth =neglects, fails; cut off =excommunicated; season =ime; 9:14 sojourn =live temporarily; 9:15 reared =erected; 9:17 abode =remained; 9:18 pitched =camped; 9:19 charge =order.
Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Ora Anderson • Staff: Benjamin Wallace • Country: Belize (236,000) on the eastern coast of Central America • Major languages: English and Spanish • Religious freedom • 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for those who have hurt you (Matt. 5:44).
Optional Reading: Luke 3
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9