Friday, May 17, 2024

2024.05.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 10:11–36

Read Numbers 10:11–36

Questions from the Scripture text: On what day was the cloud taken up (Numbers 10:11)? From where did the children of Israel go (Numbers 10:12)? To where? What was unique about this specific journey (Numbers 10:13)? Who led the first camp (Numbers 10:14)? Under whom? Who went with them  (Numbers 10:15)? Under whom? Who else went with them (Numbers 10:16)? Under whom? What was taken down next (Numbers 10:17)? Who set out with it? Who led the next camp (Numbers 10:18)? Under whom? Who went with them (Numbers 10:19)? Under whom? Who else went with them (Numbers 10:20)? Under whom? Then who went, carrying what (Numbers 10:21)? Why were they behind the actual tabernacle? Who led the third camp (Numbers 10:22)? Under whom? Who went with them (Numbers 10:23)? Under whom? Who else went with them (Numbers 10:24)? Under whom? Who led the last camp (Numbers 10:25)? Under whom? Who went with them (Numbers 10:26)? Under whom? Who else went with them (Numbers 10:27)? Under whom? How does Numbers 10:28 summarize the section thus far (cf. ch2)? Whom did Moses invite to go with them (Numbers 10:29)? What did he promise, on what basis? How did Hobab answer in Numbers 10:30? But what new request did Moses make in Numbers 10:31? And what did he promises him in return (Numbers 10:32)? How long did they journey (Numbers 10:33)? Who (what?) is said to have done the searching for a resting place? What was leading them (Numbers 10:34)? What would set out (Numbers 10:35a)? And what would Moses pray that YHWH would do (verse 35b)? To accomplish what (verse 35c–d)? And what would rest (Numbers 10:36a)? And what would Moses pray that YHWH would do (verse 36b)? Unto whom (verse 36c)?

What does the Lord provide His church for her task in this world? Numbers 10:11–36 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these twenty-six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that, among other things, the Lord provides His church with order and leadership, expertise, and His own power and presence.

According to Numbers 10:11-13, this passage is covering the first three-days’ worth of journeying (cf. Numbers 10:33) from the Wilderness of Sinai to the Wilderness of Paran. By the time we get to Paran (Numbers 12:16), we will be shocked by how long Israel’s wickedness could make a three-days’ journey actually take!

But in this passage, there is no hint of this trouble. The focus is upon the Lord’s provision to His people.

The Lord had provided order and leadershipNumbers 10:11-28. The order matches up with what was commanded in chapter 2. Now, we learn the added details of the Gershonite and Merarite position (Numbers 10:17), carrying the tabernacle structure on wagons (cf. Numbers 4:21–32, Numbers 7:7–8), and the Kohathite position (Numbers 10:21a), carrying the holy things on poles (cf. Numbers 4:1–20, Numbers 7:9). This was wisely timed so that the structure could be set up beforehand, to receive the holy things. The wisdom of the entire order is emphasized with the naming of the camp standards and the leader of each tribe/army.

The Lord provided expertiseNumbers 10:29-32. YHWH Himself is leading His people where to go, and now He adds a local expert in wilderness-living. Moses himself is a bit of an expert, and the Lord adds his brother-in-law to help. Moses tries to convince Hobab (Numbers 10:29) to come. This is a difficult thing to do, since Hobab has land and people already (Numbers 10:30). But, twice, Moses urges him that YHWH is doing good to Israel, and that there will be an abundance of good for him to share in (end of Numbers 10:29Numbers 10:32b). The text seems to assume that verse 32 has settled the matter, and indeed we find Hobab still with them in the land (cf. Judges 4:11). The Lord Himself, Who leads us, continues to send and use human servants whom He equips for usefulness to His people.

The Lord provided His power and presenceNumbers 10:33-36. The ark itself may have been physically out in front (Numbers 10:33). Or, it may be that verse 33 is a way of saying that the cloud’s resting place determined the location of the ark, and thus the location of the entire camp by relation to it. Either way, the point is that YHWH Himself was leading them (Numbers 10:34). Indeed, when the ark itself moved, Moses prayed to YHWH Himself to arise and scatter His enemies (Numbers 10:35, cf. Psalm 68:1–2, Psalm 68:7). And, when the ark itself rested, Moses prayed to YHWH Himself to return to the multitudes of His people (Numbers 10:36, cf. Psalm 68:3–6). It is not as if YHWH can “move.” But these visual tokens that He had given His people reminded them that He Himself would assure them success, and that He Himself is the One Who is with them. We, too, continue to need that assurance, but we have something better than the ark. We have our Kinsman Redeemer, sitting on the throne of glory, having His enemies being made a footstool for His feet. The fact that we do not have all of these externals now, and that the only sacraments and holy days are the ones that Jesus has instituted, announces to us that our Prophet, Priest, and King has passed through the heavens for us and brought us into the true Holy of Holies by union with Him!

What sort of order and leadership has the Lord provided His church generally? What has He provided your congregation, specifically? What sort of expertise has He provided those who lead His church? How does He communicate to us His own power and presence in the church?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for so wisely, carefully, and powerfully providing for Your church. Forgive us our sins, and grant unto us that we would not complain or doubt, but trust You and do our part cheerfuly, through Christ—in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH68A “God Shall Arise, and by His Might” 

No comments:

Post a Comment