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Scripture reading – Numbers 9-10
The Passover Memorial (Numbers 9:1-5)
Numbers 9 marked the beginning of the second year that Israel was encamped at the base of Mount Sinai. It was “the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt” (9:1). The LORD then commanded Moses to speak to “the children of Israel [to] keep the passover” (9:2).
The LORD had instituted the Passover to serve as a perpetual memorial of the night He spared the firstborn of Israel from death (Exodus 12:1-14). That night, the angel of death passed over the households where the blood of the Passover lamb was applied to the doorposts (Exodus 12:21-30). The day after, the LORD liberated the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:31-36).
Requirements Concerning the Observance of the Passover (Numbers 9:6-14)
We find an occasion when some men of Israel were defiled by handling a dead body, were unclean, and could not observe the Passover (9:6-10). However, in an exercise of divine grace, the LORD allowed those men to celebrate Passover the next month (9:11-14).
The LORD Commanded the Starts and Stops of His People (Numbers 9:15-22)
The Tabernacle served Israel as a visual reminder of God’s presence amid the Twelve Tribes. When the sanctuary was raised, the LORD’s presence was marked by a “cloud [that] covered the tabernacle [in the day]…and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. 16So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night” (9:15-16).
Because the LORD was the Shepherd of Israel, He led the nation through the wilderness. The people journeyed when “the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle” (9:17a). When the cloud stayed, “the children of Israel pitched their tents” (9:17b). In other words, the LORD decreed the “starts and stops” of His people, and they followed the movements of the cloud and the pillar of fire throughout their journey (9:21-23).
Silver Trumpets Heralded the Movements of the Tribes of Israel
Israel was a theocracy, a nation whose government was under the Law of God and was led by spiritual leaders. Aaron and his sons, the priests of Israel, were responsible for sounding the trumpets (10:8). To them, the LORD gave the charge to communicate His direction to the people.
The silver trumpets sounded four messages. (10:3-10)
There was a sound to assemble (10:3-4), a sound for journeying (10:5-6), and a sound to call to arms (10:9). Finally, there was a sound that heralded festivals and sacrifices (10:10). Of necessity, the sounds of the trumpets had to be clear and distinct for the people to understand the message (10:3-4, 7).
The departure from Mount Sinai was recorded in Numbers 10, and the nation of Israel set out on her journey for the Promised Land (10:11-13, 33-36). The leaders of the tribes were named (10:14-28); however, the cloud served as a reminder of the Lord’s presence and protection. The God of Israel was the Commander and Chief of Israel.
Closing Thoughts and a Closing Appeal:
In his letter to Corinth, Paul warned believers to ensure that the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in the congregation left no uncertainty (1 Corinthians 14:6). He exhorted the same in his epistle to Titus, writing, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).
Like the silver trumpets of Israel, preachers of God’s Word are not to give an “uncertain sound” (1 Corinthians 14:8). Accept nothing less than the accurate and unapologetic exposition of the Word and will of the LORD! Sound the trumpet!
Questions to consider:
1) What prevented some men from observing the Passover? (Numbers 9:6-7)
2) How did the LORD respond to those men who could not keep the Passover? (Numbers 9:10-12)
3) How did the LORD make His presence known in Israel? (Numbers 9:15-16)
4) When was Israel to journey? (Numbers 9:17-23)
5) Who was to blow the trumpets? (Numbers 10:8)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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