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Bible Pathways - Feb. 21, 2009


February 21

Numbers 19

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Your heart will break as disobedience by two men of God results in a terrible judgment. You will find two deaths recorded here, as well as a nation sealing its own fate by refusing to help the people of God. How gloriously Christ is typified twice in today's reading.

The law of the red heifer was introduced following the death of 14,700 Israelites (16:49). And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin (19:9). The Israelites had falsely accused Moses and Aaron of killing Korah and those with him who had attempted to overthrow the leadership of Moses and Aaron (16:3).

Although 14,700 had died, all the congregation of the children of Israel had murmured against Moses and Aaron (16:41). The survivors were equally guilty and God warned them: Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the Tabernacle . . . lest they . . . die (18:22). A new revelation of the exceeding seriousness of sin and its consequences was made known through this new ordinance. We would have not known sin, but by the Law (Rom. 7:7).

If an Israelite touched a dead beast he was unclean for one day, but if he touched a dead man he was unclean for seven days (Num. 19:11). The sinfulness of a man's corrupt nature is viewed as seven times more defiling than any vile animal. The slightest touch of a bone from a dead man defiled one for seven days. It taught Israel not to ignore the defiling effect of what is often dismissed as little sins. Even when he touched a grave he was unclean for seven days. This points out how even hidden things such as evil thoughts defile, for they are the source of all sins (Prov. 23:7; Matt. 12:35).

All the sacrifices illustrated the various aspects of the death of Christ for the sins of the world. The red heifer sacrifice was instituted for the faithful who, as they go through life, sometimes fall into sin and need to be forgiven and cleansed (comp. I John 1:7,9). Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:11,19).

Thought for Today:

Just because we are doing a good thing does not make it acceptable to God. It still must be done with no ulterior motive.

Christ Revealed:

Through the rock that Moses struck (Num. 20:8-11; also Ex. 17:6). Christ, our Rock, who was struck once through His death on the cross, can not be struck again. That spiritual Rock that followed (accompanied) them . . . was Christ (I Cor. 10:4).

Word Studies:

19:2 spot =defect; 19:6 hyssop =bushy, leafy plant that grows in the walls in Jerusalem similar to mint; 19:10 stranger =foreigner; 20:3 chode =expressed anger; 20:10 fetch =bring; 20:12 sanctify Me =hold Me in reverential honor; 20:13 strove =contended; 20:14 travail =hardship, affliction; 20:15 vexed =mistreated; 20:24 gathered to his people =died; 20:29 house =people.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Duane & Mary Ann Seaburg • Staff: Mary Kay Wagner • Government Officials: Rep. Charles Boustany (LA), Rep. Phil Hare (IL), Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. John Shimkus (IL), and Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) • Country: Botswana (1.5 million) in southern Africa • Major languages: English and Setswana • Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs • 58% Christian; 40% Indigenous; .8% Baha'i; .2% Muslim; .2% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Forgive others without exception, and then ask the Lord to forgive you (Matt. 6:12).

Optional Reading: Luke 8

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9

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