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February 6, 2023 - Numbers 17-21

Instructions regarding the priests: their responsibilities and provisions for them as those who ministered before the Lord. Regulations for cleansing, especially for those who have dealt with dead bodies. These and all the other instructions to Israel were given, not in order to burden them with incredibly heavy laws to make their live miserable; rather, for their own good. God had fought their battles, had delivered them from their enemies, and had shown them how to live in the world and before him so that they would be a blessed people. But Israel (like ourselves, sometimes?) so often forgot all God’s faithfulness. And, so, there is Miriam’s death followed by more complaining by the people because of a lack of water and God’s provision of water gushing from the rock. It’s always amazing, isn’t it, to see and to experience God’s grace and mercy even in the face of such complaining and rebellion.

The narrative continues to tell of Moses’ failure to uphold God as holy before the people, of Aaron's death, and of Israel beginning to bump up against various enemies as she makes her way to Canaan. This is just an amazing story! It’s a story to remember and celebrate. This is not Hollywood. It’s no mere big screen spectacle, it’s the story of God's amazing provisions and care for his people, and all this leading, ultimately, to the sending of the Redeemer. The story never grows old.

Guide me, O my great Redeemer,

pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but you are mighty;

hold me with your powerful hand.

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,

feed me now and evermore,

feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,

where the healing waters flow.

Let the fire and cloudy pillar

lead me all my journey through.

Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,

ever be my strength and shield,

ever be my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,

bid my anxious fears subside.

Death of death, and hell's Destruction,

land me safe on Canaan's side.

Songs of praises, songs of praises

I will ever sing to you,

I will ever sing to you. --William Williams (1745)

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