Bible Pathways 2/21/2004
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 due to 14,700 unburied corpses. The Law required that whosoever touches the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifies not himself, defiles the Tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel (Numbers 19:13).
The blood of the red heifer was burned with the carcass and its ashes were mixed with running water (19:17) and sprinkled upon the defiled ones in order to restore them to the 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. Today, whether it be through our thoughts, the books we read, or our association with unbelievers, we face temptations that must be avoided. God has said: Be . . . holy: for I am holy (I Peter 1:16).
The red heifer sacrifice was symbolic of Christ. Through His death on the cross, He has given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (II Peter 1:4). It is the plan of God that Christ's own life be reproduced in Christians that see beyond the cross to the glorious crown.
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 manifest humility, patience, love, and all that represents His character. Like Paul, let us say: I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
19:6 hyssop = a bushy plant used for cleaning; 20:3 chode = argued; 20:12 sanctify Me = uphold Me in reverential honor; 20:13 strove = contended; 20:14 travail = hardship; 20:15 vexed = afflicted; dealt harshly.
Through the rock that Moses struck (Numbers 20:8-11; see Exodus 17:6). Christ, our Rock, Who was struck once through His death on the cross, does not need to be struck again. That spiritual Rock that followed (accompanied) them . . . was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). For in that He died, He died to sin once (Romans 6:10).
Government Officials: Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. John Shimkus (IL), and Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) · Country: Paraguay (5 million) in southern South America · Major languages: Spanish and Guarani · Religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord when you are oppressed (Psalm 102:8-13).
Optional Reading: Luke 8
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10