Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 02/21/2003

February 21

Read Numbers 19 -- 20

In Today 's Reading:

Red heifer sacrifice; Miriam's death; Moses strikes the rock twice; Edom refuses Israel passage; Aaron's death

The red heifer sacrifice was instituted in the wilderness of Paran at a time when all Israel was under the sentence of death. The law required that anyone who touches a corpse - the body of a person who has died - and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle of the LORD (Numbers 19:13).

The blood of the red heifer was burned with the carcass, and its ashes were mixed with running water and sprinkled upon the defiled ones in order to restore them to a holy God. The Hebrew word for "running" also means "living" - implying not only cleansing from sin, but renewal of life. The water of purification was made from the ashes of just one heifer, which was sufficient for all the people.

Through the red heifer ordinance, God gave a new revelation of the importance of cleansing from defilement - whether it be through our thoughts, our conversations, the books we read, our associations with unbelievers, or whatever we may do that defiles our minds or bodies. God has said: Be holy, because I am holy (I Peter 1:16).

The red heifer sacrifice is symbolic of Christ. Through His death on the cross, He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires (II Peter 1:4). It is the plan of God that Christ's own life be reproduced in Christians.

Since humility is a means of overcoming pride, jealousy, greed, and envy, some assume we should pray for humility; but the real need is to pray that Christ be magnified in our lives. God does not give humility or patience or love as separate gifts of His grace. The indwelling Christ is the answer to every need. As we pray for Him to live out His life in us, we will express humility, patience, love, and everything else that reveals His character. Paul said: I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

Christ Revealed:

Through the rock that Moses struck (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8-11). Christ, our Rock, who was struck once through His death on the cross, does not need to be struck again. And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). For in that He died, He died to sin once for all ( Romans 6:10).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. John Shimkus (IL), and Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) · Country: Romania (22 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Rumanian and Hungarian · Religious freedom · 70% Eastern Orthodox; 7% Protestant; 6% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for the privilege of publishing His Word (Psalms 68:11).

Optional Reading: Luke 8

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10

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