“In Your Making Go Up”
Torah: Numbers 8:1–12:16
PROPHETS: Zechariah 2:10–4:7
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Revelation 11:1–19
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Setting Up Lamps and Setting Apart Levites
God’s Ministering Servants
Israel’s army is counted and ready. Israel’s priests (sons of Aaron) have been set apart (Leviticus 8) and have begun ministering (Leviticus 9), and every Israelite tribe has brought offerings to God (Numbers 7). Moses has just gone into God’s Presence and begun speaking with Him (7:89).
In obedience to God’s instructions through Moses (vv. 1–2), Aaron sets up the lamps to light the Holy Place (vv. 3–4; cf. Exodus 25:37 and 27:20–21) and sets apart the Levites to assist in Tabernacle ministry.
Setting apart the Levites includes instructions for the ceremony (vv. 5–14), a theological rationale for it (vv. 15–19; cf. 3:11–13 and Exodus 13:11–16), a description of obedience to it (vv. 20–22), and some final instructions regarding appropriate age of service (vv. 23–26). Only Aaron’s “household” had unveiled access into the inner chambers of God’s house and even that was highly limited.
What does it mean in your life today for God to be “building you into a spiritual house (or“household”) to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5)?
Torah 3 & 4
Remember The Liberator!
Follow The Leader!
Now that Israel has covenanted with God, received His instructions, and built a dwelling place in the heart of the community for Him to dwell in, Israel is almost ready to leave Sinai and set out for the Promised Land! Before leaving, however, Israel will celebrate Pesach and remember their freedom as a gift from God (9:1–14). According to Mark 14:22–25, what is one way to celebrate your freedom in Messiah and remember it as a gift from God?
When God’s holy community travels, He leads them both directly by the cloud (vv. 15–23) and indirectly by the trumpets (i.e. using the people who blow the trumpets, 10:1–10). These silver trumpets were to be used to lead the entire community, or just leaders, to gather for meeting, to lead the community out of the camp or into a battle, and to call the community to remember God whenever they observe their chagim (feasts) and appointed offerings.
How do you primarily seek God’s direction—through some kind of direct leading, or perhaps more indirectly through others that He’s put in your life? Is God perhaps speaking to you in places or in ways that you have not been open to? How can you rectify that?
torah 5 & 6
Complaining All The Way
At last, Israel leaves Sinai at God’s leading (vv. 11–13). Their caravan order is given (vv. 14–28) along with descriptions of Moses’ interaction with his father-in-law (vv. 29–32; cf. Exodus 18:27 which is probably not chronologically placed) and the three-day journey that would lead them to Taberah (vv. 33–34; cf. 11:3).
Moses cries, “Kuma Adonai!” (“Rise up, O Lord”sound familiar?) when the ark is lifted and “Shuva Adonai” (“Return, O Lord”) when it rests. Despite God’s promises and His leading, the people grumble and complain. (Are we much different?!)
In what ways do you tend to grumble and complain? What would it look like to exercise faith in that area of your life?
Initially, God sends fire to burn the outskirts of the camp (11:1–3) and then He sends His Spirit to temporarily rest upon Israel’s leaders (vv. 4–29). Read carefully Moses’ challenge to Joshua in verse 29. This is discipleship! What is Moses teaching Israel’s future leader, and what can we glean, about God’s desire for all people (cf. Joel 2:28–29 and Acts 2)?
torah 7 &
God still, however, chastises His people for their faithless complaining by sending more quail than even Moses could have dreamed of. If this national rebellion wasn’t bad enough, Moses was also faced with rebellion amongst leaders (this won’t be the last time!). Miriam’s getting tsara’at (infectious skin affliction) is likened to the rebuking and public shaming of being spit on in the face.
There is a common pattern of complaining (vv. 1–2) followed by God’s chastisement (vv. 3–10) bringing about repentance (vv. 11–16). Does this cycle at all sound familiar? Do you tend to complain a lot? What do you think drives this complaining? Miriam and Aaron complained because they questioned Moses’ God-given authority. Ultimately they wavered in their trust in God. In whom were they trusting? Since we all stumble when we trust in ourselves, we should also expect to receive God’s chastisement at times.
How does Hebrews 12:1–14 encourage you to respond to God’s chastisement? How can you yield to Him more? Seek Him in prayer that you might know the depth of His mercy so that you can become a vessel of this mercy to others.
Encouragement After Exile
After Israel’s return from Babylonian captivity, God raises up Zechariah (along with Haggai) to stir up His community to love and good deeds (cf. Hebrews 10:24) and thus encourage God’s people to live out their calling. Specifically, he calls them to rebuild the Temple, a job that the people had abandoned for some time due to external challenges and internal discouragement. The visions to God’s prophet are given to encourage courageous faith-based obedience by His people.
How will God build His dwelling place according to 4:6? Whose kingdom are you focusing on building—God’s or your own? Whose energy are you drawing upon to do it—your own “might” and “power” or the Ruach (Spirit) of Adonai?
According to v. 7 of 1 Corinthians 12:4–7, for what does God’s Spirit labor? What opportunities is God giving you to invest yourself in building others up for His glory?
Encouragement During Exile
The visions of God’s prophet in the book of Revelation are given to encourage courageous faith-based obedience by His people while we are figuratively “in exile” from our true home in heaven and in the physical manifest Presence of God for all eternity! “What begins with the chastising of Jerusalem (vv. 1–2), and the mission of the two witnesses (vv. 3–12), culminates in the rescue of the remnant (v. 13). Judgment begins on earth (vv. 14–18), and the temple of God in heaven opens to the eyes of those on earth (v. 19).” (Feinberg, J. Walk Numbers! 2002, p. 61)
What encouragement is there for you in these words from God? How does it encourage you to live out your calling to be a light, pointing people to the source of all light (cf. John 8:12–18, 30)?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.