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April 4, Day #95 – A Story with a Happy Ending

Today we conclude our readings in the book of Numbers with chapters 35-36. Chapter 35 focuses on the cities and pasturelands that were to be given to the Levites, who received their towns and pastures from among the rest of the Israelites and within their respective inheritances. The Levites, who were not granted any tribal inheritances because the LORD Himself was to be their inheritance (cf., Deuteronomy 18:1-2), were given forty-eight towns as well as six cities of refuge. The cities of refuge constitute a picture of Christ in His protective ministry over the sinner who flees to Him for refuge or shelter from judgment. “A person who has killed someone accidentally may flee there” (verses 11 and 15). Here in chapter 35, we see God’s view of life - it is sacred, inviolable, and His alone to give and take. This section emphasizes the monstrous nature of murder – nine times in this chapter, God says that a murderer is to “be put to death” (verses 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 30, and 31). Notice: “Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed except by the blood of the one who shed it” (verse 33). God takes this matter very seriously. Why? Keep in mind that murderers killed His Son and in the process, they shed innocent blood, for Jesus was guilty of nothing. The book of Numbers concludes with the Lord’s clarification about the inheritance for Zelophehad’s daughters (cf., Numbers 27; March 30, Day #90). “They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father. No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe … so Zelophehad’s daughters did as the LORD commanded Moses” (verses 6-10). Seems like a story with a happy ending.

Psalm 40:9-17 captures the emotions of us all. I, for one, do not want God to “withhold His mercy” from me (verse 11), and I often feel like “troubles without number surround me” (verse 12). Like David, I frequently cry out, “be pleased O LORD to save me; O LORD; come quickly, Lord, to help me” (verse 13), for I too, “am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay” (verse 17). Who cannot pray this prayer?

In Luke 9:28-56, we see the Transfiguration, and we read, “Two men, Moses, and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem” ‭‭(verses ‭30‬-‭31‬). The exodus of the Israelites from Egypt was an Old Testament picture of Christ’s exodus from this earth, by way of the cross. Jesus is greater than Moses or Elijah (cf., Hebrews 3:1-6), for the “voice” from heaven said, “This is my Son, Whom I have chosen, listen to Him” (verse 35). Here, these two Old Testament witnesses – Moses, as representative of the law, and Elijah, as representative of the prophets, appeared with Jesus to certify Him as Israel’s Messiah. This section closes with Christ healing a boy with an evil spirit, “an argument among the disciples” about who was the greatest (verse 46), and opposition to Jesus by some Samaritans “because He was heading for Jerusalem” (verse 53). Seems like a silly, immature reason to oppose Jesus.

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