Today’s Bible reading is Numbers 25-26, Psalm 52, and Luke 8. Our devotional is from Numbers 25-26.
Today’s reading assignment (Numbers 25-26) sets the stage for the beginning of the end of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness.
Reminding us “evil communications (companions) corrupt good manners (morals)” (1 Corinthians 15:33), Numbers 25 opens with a tragic decision made by some in Israel. We read, “the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab” (25:1). The influence of the Moabite women did not stop with the lust of the flesh, for we read in the next verse they invited the men of Israel to share in sacrificing, eating, and bowing down to their gods (25:2).
Consider three spiritual lessons from today’s Bible reading.
The first, familiarity with the ways of the wicked leads inevitably to the Temptation of Sin. Having cast aside all moral restraint (Numbers 25:1-3), the people provoked the LORD to wrath, worshipping Baalpeor, the Canaanite god of fertility represented as a bull (25:3).
A second lesson is the Tragic Consequences of Sin (25:3b-5, 9). The sins of the people were so egregious they provoked the LORD to anger and He demanded justice (25:3b-4). Placing the responsibility for the sins upon the “heads of the people” (25:4), the LORD demanded they be slain and their bodies hanged in the sun as a warning to the nation (25:5).
One sin led to another until one man was so brazen in his sin he “brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel” (Numbers 25:6, 14-15). Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, and grandson of the late high priest Aaron, was so moved with godly zeal, he rose up and slew the man and the woman, and the LORD stopped the plague leaving 24,000 dead in Israel. (25:10-13).
Numbers 26 opens with a reminder of the plague that had taken 24,000 lives (26:1; 25:9) and closes with a review of an entire generation that perished in the wilderness, save two men, Caleb and Joshua (26:65).
The LORD commanded Moses and Eleazar to take a second census of the males, 20 years and older, by tribe and household, before they crossed the Jordan River. The census served two purposes: The first, to number men by tribe who were old enough to go to war (25:2). The second, to use the count of each tribe as the basis for assigning geographical territory in the Promise Land (Numbers 26:52-56). With the exception of the tribe of Levi, twelve tribes of Israel are named and include a total of 57 families (26:5-50).
The priestly tribe of Levi and its households is also named and numbered (26:57-62). Unlike the other tribes that will be assigned lands, the Levites were assigned forty-eight cities in the Promise Land (Numbers 35:1-8).
A third lesson from today’s Bible reading is, the LORD is faithful to His Word and promises.
“The LORD had said…They shall surely die in the wilderness” (14:29; 25:65a). Murmuring, faithlessness, and a love for the sins and idols of Egypt had dominated the affections of the first generation and all had died with the exception of two men, Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 26:65). I close with a timeless truth:
Galatians 6:7 – 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith