Friday, June 14, 2024

2024.06.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 15:1–21

Read Numbers 15:1–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the Lord still doing for the people (Numbers 15:1-2Numbers 15:17-18)? From what types of animals are they to make what types of offerings (Numbers 15:3-10Numbers 15:19-21; cf. Leviticus 1–7)? What do these offerings make unto YHWH (Numbers 15:3Numbers 15:10Numbers 15:13Numbers 15:14)? In addition to the animal and the grain, what does this chapter add is to be offered, that they will especially have in the land? What do Numbers 15:13-16 emphasize three times?

What do these sacrificial laws mean? Numbers 15:1–21 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these twenty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord is keeping His covenant with Israel.

This is a merciful and encouraging response, by the Lord, to the events in chapter 14.

He assures them that they will come into the land. Numbers 15:2 and Numbers 15:17 both emphasize that this is for when thy come into the land. Specifically, the addition now of the measures of the drink offerings are new regulation, tied to the produce of the land which the Lord will give them. Truly, He has heard Moses’s prayer that they be forgiven (cf. Numbers 14:17–20). 

He assures them that He will continue to be pleased with them, through sacrifice. In Numbers 15:3Numbers 15:10Numbers 15:13Numbers 15:14, the Lord repeats the refrain that these sacrifices will be “a sweet aroma to YHWH.” We remember from our Leviticus studies that this is not because the Lord enjoys roasted meat, but because the smoke and the aroma that rise are identified with the worshiper coming near to God in the substitute. It is His Son in Whom we ascend/draw near, and it is His Son with Whom He is well-pleased, and it is in His Son that we are also well-pleasing to Him! Even after al that Israel has done, the Lord has not gone back on this. Truly, He is patient and merciful and forgiving, just as He said!

He continues to give them an evangelistic purpose. From the promise to Abraham, to the mixed multitude of Exodus 12, to Moses’s prayer just last chapter, there has been this repeated theme of Israel being a means by which God comes to be glorified in all the nations. That again takes center stage in Numbers 15:13-16. Military slaying is not the only way that Israel will conquer. Strangers, foreigners, will be brought into and under Israel and become worshipers who are also pleasing to the Lord in Christ!

When do you most need reminded that the Lord keeps His promises because He is faithful, not because you are?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for keeping Your promises to us in Your faithfulness, and for being pleased with us for Jesus’s sake. Gather to Yourself, in Him, worshippers with whom You are pleased from all the nations, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

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