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Bible Pathways 02/28/2002

February 28

Read Numbers 34 -- 36

In Today's Reading:

The doorway to Canaan was open and the conquest about to begin. With military precision, the Lord gave Moses specific locations and designated their purpose. Six times God demanded that a murderer was to be put to death (Numbers 35:16-19). Don't forget the consequences of ignoring Lord's instructions.

Verses for Today:

Our Creator demands that, whoever kills any person (by premeditated intent), the murderer shall be put to death by the testimony of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. . . . You shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death: but he shall surely be put to death. . . . You shall not pollute the land in which you live: for blood defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it (Numbers 35:30-31).


The boundaries of Canaan; dividing the land; inheritance of the Levites; cities of refuge; laws concerning murder and manslaughter; laws of inheritance.

The Israelites were commanded to defeat and drive out the Canaanites and destroy their places of idol worship (Numbers 33:50-56). The per fect will of God is revealed in His Commandments and it is important for us, as His creation, to follow His Commandments. When we do not, as Israel often failed to do, sin abounds and brings with it much suffering and sorrow. This may not be politically correct in today's world; but, that does not change the fact that God sets standards for His creation that are best for our welfare.

As messengers of the Lord, the Levitical priests were responsible for teaching and maintaining the highest regard for God, His Word, and the sacredness of human life (Deuteronomy 33:10; Malachi 2:4-8).

A death which had been caused by an accident was rightly judged as manslaughter. God does not consider the taking of another's life in self-defense or in time of war as murder. He often commanded the Israelites to defend their country and themselves and directed them to bring His judgment on ungodly nations through acts of war.

A murderer had to be put to death, regardless of age or whether it was a man or a woman. A prison sentence, rehabilitation, insanity plea or any kind of financial settlement was not allowed, for the Israelites would defile the land if they allowed a murderer, who had taken the life of another person. But a murderer's most serious offense was the crime against His Creator, for he had forcefully taken from God His rightful authority over a life He had created.

Without a doubt, the prosecution and execution of criminals is an exceedingly painful situation that we would prefer to avoid. However, it is necessary to maintain justice and order, the welfare of our society and, most importantly, the blessing of God on a nation. Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life. . . . For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers (Revelation 22:14-15).

A Thought from Psalms: I have chosen the way of truth: Your judgments have I laid before me (119:30).

Christ Revealed:

As the Christians' city of refuge (Numbers 35). In Him we are protected from the judgment of God (see Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 6:18).

Word Studies:

34:5 fetch a compass = take a turn toward; 35:11 at unawares = accidently; 35:15 unawares = unintentially; 35:26 come without = go outside; 35:31 satisfaction = ransom; 36:4 jubilee refers to every fiftieth year, when all debts were canceled (see Leviticus 25:10-12).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Martin Sabo (MN) (28th) and Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) (29th) · Pray for President George W. Bush · Country: Tajikistan (6 million) southeast central Asia · Major languages: Tajik and Russian · Almost entirely Muslim · 82% Muslim; 4% Russian Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: When you are afraid, have confidence in and rely upon the Lord (Psalms 56:3-4).

Optional Reading: Luke 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11

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