Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 3 June 2022:
Numbers 35:2, 3 – “And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities. The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts.”
The Levites were provided with enough cattle, flocks, livestock, land, and crops to be self-reliant. They had priestly duties, but they still had to work their land and cattle.
Numbers 35:12 – “The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.”
God was concerned about protecting the accused from revenge and ensuring that they received a fair trial. Cities of refuge were not intended to protect people from justice but rather to ensure justice. Those who went to cities of refuge were still held accountable.
Numbers 35:16 — “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.”
Murderers could not flee to cities of refuge.
Numbers 35:17 – “And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.”
God does not treat one murder different from another. Murder is murder and the same capital punishment applies.
Numbers 35:18 – “The murderer shall be put to death.”
In God’s eyes, there is just and unjust killing. Murderers are to be held accountable with the penalty of death.
Numbers 35:20, 21 – “And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer.”
God forbids someone punishing someone else out of emotion or for selfish purposes. The goal must be godly justice, not revenge. God used avengers of blood to represent the interests of the victim in order to protect the victim from acting out of vengeance. The avenger of blood was protected by the law and had the authority to put the criminal to death.
Numbers 35:28 — “…after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.”
The death of the Priest brought restoration and freedom to the accused. The high priest was a model of Christ: and so this release was a shadow of our freedom and redemption by the death of Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10 — We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
How do you rejoice while enduring hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, slander, dishonor, poverty, and sorrow? How do you endure such things with patience, kindness, genuine love, and even joy? Only by being overwhelmed by the grace of God, by being crucified with Christ and raised to new life in Him, by trusting God’s perfect providence through all circumstances, and by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. This sort living isn’t natural, it is supernatural. A positive mental attitude, positive self-talk, and resolute willpower are valuable but not enough. Moses wasn’t humble enough, Solomon wasn’t wise enough, and Peter wasn’t courageous enough; nor are you sufficient in your own virtues to live the life that can only be lived in Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
To prove the point, just consider how well on a daily basis you live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” This seems impossible — “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
With Bible commands such as, “Fear not…. Resist…. Endure….” etc., we are tempted to try to muscle our way through it, relying on our own strength, rather than the power of God, relying on our natural abilities rather than the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Where we appear successful, we tend to glorify ourselves rather than God, and we become vulnerable to hubris and sin. On the contrary, when we rely on the power of God and demonstrate virtues beyond our natural abilities, He is glorified, and we remain rightfully humble, which also produces grace in us (forgiveness, generosity, and genuine love towards others) as well as increased faith and hope in God who continues to demonstrate His love and faithfulness in our lives. Walk in the Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- Romans 5:5 — And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 — For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- Galatians 5:16 — But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
- Galatians 5:22-26 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
- Romans 8:9 — You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
- Romans 8:14 — For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
- Romans 8:13 — For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
- John 14:26 — But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 June 22: Seek to walk in the Spirit today rather than solely in your own abilities. Abide in Christ, and practice the presence of God throughout the day. Journal your experience.