Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Numbers, chapters 18 through 20, recording Moses and Aaron’s sin at the rock in Meribah, and Aaron’s death. Some impressions from the text:
- Aaron and his sons, along with the Levite ministers in the tabernacle, were separated from the rest of the congregation in many ways. Two of the big ones are addressed in chapter 18. They were to devote themselves entirely to the priesthood and ministry respectively, and not concern themselves with acquiring or maintaining material well-being. Complementing that was a second distinction, they got to live off of the tithes and offerings presented by the people to the Lord. This is a rough analogy of how believers are to regard our relationship to God. We devote ourselves fully to Him, forsaking temporal concerns, and rely on his provision. It’s an imperfect analogy; the tithes and offerings came from people who had to concern themselves very much with earthly provision. But all images merely approximate.
- At Meribah, the congregation once again grumbles for lack of water. These folks never seem to learn their lesson. Once again, they act as though they had it better as slaves in Egypt, and target Moses for blame as if they weren’t being led through the wilderness by a miraculous cloud in which God dwells.
- Moses no doubt felt the same frustration toward the congregation that we feel as readers, and more. It finally drives him to sin. He takes the criticism personally, and seeks to save face by taking credit for the miraculous production of water from a rock. This costs him dearly, as God decrees that – after all that Moses has been through – he will not live to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.
- We each know, on an intellectual level, that we will someday die. It’s not a fact we spend much time dwelling upon, and rightfully so. But imagine what it would be like to know with certainty that you would die on a specific day, at a specific place. That’s what happen to Aaron. The Lord told Moses to take him atop Mount Hor, strip him of his garments, put them on his son, and then wait for him to die. Not terribly dignified. Imagine going for a hike, stripping off your clothes because you won’t be needing them anymore, and lying down to die. Those were Aaron’s final moments. Except they weren’t. As a believer, he shares the same fate as any other, eternity in God’s presence. If we believe, we can be assured of the opportunity to one day quiz him on his many unique experiences.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
The book of Numbers lives up to its name. – Numbers 1-2
Tests and tributes. – Numbers 5-6
God leads Israel from Sinai into the wilderness. – Numbers 8-10
Rebellion and disobedience run rampant among Israel. – Numbers 11-13
Rebellion proves costly. – Numbers 14-15
Korah’s rebellion. – Numbers 16-17