I didn’t have much to say about Numbers today. Just for my own recollection I’ve included the subtitles for each chapter if I don’t write anything else.
Numbers 12: Miriam and Aaron challenge Moses, God defends Moses, and then God punishes Miriam.
Numbers 13: Moses sends some scouts up ahead and explore Canaan. When they return they freak everyone out with their description of the people who already live there. They refer to the nephilim again, which makes me think about the book series I talked about way back when I was reading Genesis. It is the Belial Series by R.D. Brady.
Numbers 14: People complained again and God got mad again. I found it really interesting that Moses pretty much challenged God here. It’s almost like Moses is really close to being an equal. He seems to play to God’s ego a little bit:
Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, ¹⁶ ‘It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ ¹⁷ And now, therefore, let the power of the Lord be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying, ¹⁸ ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children to the third and the fourth generation.’ ¹⁹ Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.” (Num 14.15-19)
God agrees to what Moses suggests, but he still punishes everyone telling them that their current generation won’t make it to the promise land, but their children will.
One thing that I keep thinking about when I read about God’s anger is why do some people feel the need to present God only as a peaceful deity? Does it scare people to share that God got angry and killed people? Does that make him any less important to people? This is a question I want to explore further.
Acts 15: Chapter is all about the Jerusalem Council where Paul and Barnabas advocate for acceptance of the Gentiles into Christianity. They don’t want the Gentiles to have to follow the Law of Moses. The council agrees but says that the Gentiles still need to avoid some things that are offensive to Jews. This included worshipping false idols, sexual immorality, eating meat from animals that were improperly slaughtered, and consuming blood.
I am a little curious as to why some argued that the Gentiles would have to accept the Jewish customs considering many in the Jewish community didn’t follow Jesus?
There was a lot of debate and questioning going on at the Jerusalem Council, with many arguing that the Gentiles would have to be circumcised. I like what Peter says to them:
“‘Fellow believers, you know that, early on, God chose me from among you as the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and come to believe. God, who knows people’s deepest thoughts and desires, confirmed this by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, but purified their deepest thoughts and desires through faith. Why then are you now challenging God by placing a burden on the shoulders of these disciples that neither we nor our ancestors could bear? On the contrary, we believe that we and they are saved in the same way, by the grace of the Lord Jesus.’” (Acts 15.7-11; CEB Study Bible, p. 248 NT).
This is just so well said. To me Peter is letting all of us know that if we are willing to accept Jesus, then we are welcome. The message in my church is “all are welcome.”