Levites

Day 148-150

Numbers 31

return of balaam(deep inhale)

Ahem.

He dies.

Over the course of the invasion of Midian by the Israelites, there is a quick, almost throwaway line about Balaam being put to the sword. Doops. As C.S. Lewis wrote, and as I have previously quoted, some men serve God as sons while others serve as tools. It seems like this tool outlived his usefulness.

In other news, the Israelites burn the towns and rape the fields, or something. Or maybe they plunder the fields, steal the towns, and rape the livestock. I think I’m getting my war stuff mixed up.

But seriously, they put all the men and boys to the sword, kill any woman who is not a virgin, and take all the virgins.

It is interesting to note that anyone who killed another human, even in what might be called a “righteous war,” is considered unclean and must be cleansed. At times, it seems, force may be necessary, but that makes it no less distasteful.

Articles must also be cleansed with fire or water, as appropriate.

The commanders, it is written, did not lose a single man in the battles, and so they return to Moses and Eleazar and offer them gold articles as an offering to the Lord. The articles are taken as a memorial for the Israelites.

A point of note in this chapter: the Lord is given His tribute, which is entrusted to Eleazar the priest. The Levites are given a portion of the tribute as well. It is important in our victories to give credit, to pay tribute, to the Lord and to those who lead us as His servants. The Levites abdicated their worldly inheritance in exchange for their divine obligation. Even though those who serve God must renounce certain worldly pleasures, in time they will be given their own rewards, as appropriate for their service.


Numbers 32

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this chapter, and Mr. Henry’s concise commentary is little help.

Basically, a couple of the tribes request the recently conquered land so that they may build cities and have fields for their livestock. They would rather live there than in Canaan, and Moses goes off on them for this. He condemns them thus in Numbers 32, verses 14-15:

“…a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”

Matthew Henry does make a good point here:

“If men considered as they ought what would be the end of sin, they would be afraid of the beginning of it.”

Moses outlines the consequences of the sin of these tribes and they quickly attempt to find a solution. They offer to send their armies out ahead of the other tribes, and vow not to return to their lands until all of Canaan is in the hands of the Israelites. Moses warns them of the consequences of not keeping their word, but allows them to make this vow.

Here’s what I don’t get. They deny the inheritance, the Promised Land offered them by the Lord. And yet, by making this vow to support and to lead ahead of their brother tribes, they seem to be doing fine.

What I’m wondering is, is this a case like Balaam, several chapters ago, where God finally just gives them what they want and allows them to sin, regardless of how detestable? Or is this something else, some kind of alternative?

It seems to me closer to the first one. If they don’t want the Promised Land of Canaan, then God isn’t going to force them to take it. There is no one dragging us to heaven. We have to seek it and (most of all) accept it for ourselves.


Numbers 33

This chapter features a summary of the travels of the Israelites. I’m glad this exists because let me tell you, this journey has been really hard to follow. I think someone knew that people wouldn’t want to keep track of everything, and so here outlined it. Huzzah!

I feel like there is another quick point I can make here: there are things that are not in the Bible because they do not relate to the relationship between man and God. The Bible is not a textbook; it does not explain the mechanisms by which the world operates nor the methods by which God interacts physically with the world. The miracles are important; the methods maybe not so much. It is important to remember that miracles are possible; the opening of Balaam’s mouth by God was just as miraculous as His giving a voice to a donkey.

The travels of the Israelites are probably important. Matthew Henry explains that the Israelites were led forward and backward, all over by the guidance of the Lord.

“The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way.”

The Israelites are commanded, when they go into Canaan, to destroy the temples and crush the idols, and to drive the people away. God warns (Numbers 33:55) that anyone left

will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides.”

It is important to note that this is metaphorical; we must eradicate all traces of our sin, and especially of outward temptation. We must guard ourselves carefully against temptation, lest it threaten our inheritance, lest it threaten the gifts that God has for us.


Good day to you all. Peace be upon you.

Day 136

Hey, check that out! I come back and the fan (???) had blown the pages of my Bible back to Genesis 40, which talks about Joseph and his whole dream-interpretation thing in Egypt, which coincidentally I just talked about with the Jehovah’s Witnesses this morning! I think they think they’re getting closer and closer to converting me. I don’t see that happening, and I don’t think God does either, but I do enjoy the talks.

Man, I feel like I had some really profound revelation earlier today but I can’t remember what it was! That’s going to irritate me.

The best I can remember is that there is another verse 3:16 that I learned about today, as opposed to the popular one from John. The JW showed me this today, and I’ll quote from their translation:

“All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

— 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I like this verse because it almost makes the origin of the Bible irrelevant as the subject of argument. All scripture is inspired of God. Done and done. But not only that! Because it is so inspired, it is beneficial in many ways. I have heard Christians liken the Bible to an owner’s manual for life. I can see that. It just takes time and patience to learn how to read it.

Alright, down to business.

Numbers 19

God’s commandment here is to slaughter and burn a red heifer so that it’s ashes can be used for purification. There is a whole step-by-step process on how to do this right.

This chapter is some very interesting fodder for people who talk about old religious prescriptions as having healthy and practical purposes: in this case, God discusses the fact that handling a dead body makes one unclean, or that if a person dies in a tent, anything stored in an open container is now unclean. This sounds like the kind of thing we know from modern medicine: dead people rot and carry diseases.

I wonder if the ashes of the cow somehow had a soapy or cleansing effect. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things.

Anyway, I’m seriously falling asleep in the chair, so I’m going to bed.

Sleep well, and peace be upon you.

Day 135

Numbahs! Numbahs everywhere! So this was supposed to be yesterday’s, and then I’ll also do today’s… and by the time I’m done, tomorrow will be today, but then I’ll do that today’s post later.

Capisce?


Numbers 18

Sometimes I just want to write these like crappy middle-school essays: “Numbers 18 is a very good chapter. I liked Numbers 18 because it has Aaron and Moses. Aaron and Moses are brothers.” Etc., etc.

So the deal here is that God tells Aaron that hey, his line pretty much has to bear all the responsibility for the tabernacle and will “bear the iniquity associated with [their] priesthood.” (Numbers 18:1) And God gave to his family the Levites to do all the heavy lifting.

God describes here that the service of the Levites and the priesthood are “gifts.” It should be seen as a Good Thing when God entrusts us with responsibility. The work will not always be easy but the benefits are excellent: God gives the hard tasks to those He trusts.

Also, speaking of benefits, God outlines all the fringe bonuses to taking on this extreme level of responsibility. Aaron and his sons, as priests, get this laundry list of stuff that they get from all the tithes and offerings and what have you. The catch here is that they don’t get any land as an inheritance, since all the duties and offerings and such are that inheritance.

God then reminds them to make sure to always offer the best parts, the consecrated parts to God, and then to keep what is left. Because seriously, God will fry you if you mess this up. There is no room for error.

See you at Numbers 19!

 

Day 133

Went to church this morning. I don’t know if I was tired or what but it was not as emotional but it was enlightening. As an update/continuation from yesterday, I did indeed dream last night. It was a dream of war and international strife. I’m not so sure it was an actual war, though, because despite being decked out in combat gear and getting ready to get into a combat-ready vehicle, I think my “unit” was going to bring aid to some area hit by a natural disaster.

It was interesting.

But, in relation to my dream (and last night’s weather), I learned that James and John, two of the Apostles, were called by Jesus the “Sons of Thunder.” Apparently it is suspected that a) this has to do with their temperament or that b) the transliteration is not entirely accurate. I might say a little of both.

The word “revival” was in my head today at church. It’s a good description of my vision of the future, in terms of faith, but it’s already been appropriated and given meaning by various Christian sects. The other thing I got out of church came directly from the sermon, which spoke about finding God’s purpose for oneself.  The pastor talked about how in the Bible, there are many stories about someone waiting and having patience for God to act through them, but the pastor mentioned that it’s not just waiting — another term that is used is preparing.

It gave me a good perspective on my blog: perhaps this three year endeavor is preparation. For what, I can only guess. I sort of hope it’s in line with my vision, but I know that whatever God has me do will be good. He and I had a productive talk last night. I still have a lot to work on. A lot to prepare for.

The other thing, that came into my head while I was driving around for work today was a sort-of answer to a question I’ve had for a long time. So the conundrum goes like this:

The Bible exists. I’m staring at one now.

I have no way of knowing if anything (in general, but that’s another story) that happened in the past is actually true, therefore I can’t know that the Bible is true.

And then it goes on like: then why is it so important? Do I accept it just because I have no reason to believe otherwise? At that point, wouldn’t I believe anything that is equally a) distant in time and b) irrefutable?

So phooey on all that. I mean I know at some point, theoretically, people had to be around to witness events and write them down and its possible that they got embellished over time but how on earth do you explain something like the resurrection being written down but not actually happening because it seems like the kind of thing people would remember very clearly and the issue is that that event is like the whole crux (no pun intended) of Christianity but on the other hand even though overt miracles like that don’t really seem to happen any more the truth of the matter to me seems to be that every moment of our lives is miraculous and who are we as mortals to say that one miracle is more or less miraculous than any other but how in the world do you explain the resurrection using any kind of science because what the eff unless of course Jesus actually was God at which point I guess anything is possible but that can never be proven so then it all has to be accepted on faith which to an outside observer means and does nothing but the truth of the matter is that faith makes real changes in people’s lives.

Yeah, it’s a run-on sentence. What of it?

Anyway, the sort-of answer I got about all this is that ultimately I believe it because I want to believe it. But why? Couldn’t I then believe anything I “wanted” to believe? Isn’t that what everyone does?

So then the next question was, “Why should I want to believe it?” And the answer is tied to what I wrote above about faith: because of what it means to people, what it means to me. It is a transformative faith, one that brings about the betterment of human beings, individually and as a whole. We can be so much more than what we are, and this faith, this book elaborates on how and why that is as well as why we should seek to grow and how to achieve that growth.

I used to believe that we are who we are, and that’s okay. As I’ve said, there’s no guilt in who we are, but we should have the good sense to look higher, look at the possibilities of what could be, and have the good sense to be ashamed of our miserable state. People can suffer so much and yet never seek to change. The Bible has been good to me thus far, and God in combination with the book have done great things in my life. I want to see God do great things in other people’s lives too.

Numbers 16

Rekris. I click away for like a minute and come back and realize how much I wrote. This is part of why I didn’t originally want to do this tonight. Of course, if I weren’t distracted by the rest of the internet I’d probably be fine. Or I’d find a different distraction. My brain is dying fast; I’m super tired and going to wrap this up.

Basically, a bunch of Levites call out Moses saying essentially that they want to take over the priesthood and that Moses can shove it up his ass. So Moses tells them, alright, you’re-so-smart, get your holy censers and your incense and the 250 of you meet me at the tabernacle in the morning.

So this happens. And predictably, God shows up and tells Moses and Aaron to go right ahead and step back because He’s gotta waste some fools. “Consume them in a moment,” He says in Numbers 16:21.

Moses and Aaron convince God to dial it back a notch and just deal with those responsible. So everyone backs up from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the three guys behind this whole debacle. Moses, says look, if I’m not the appointed priest, then these men and their families will die a nice natural death. But if I am, then they’re about to get eaten by the earth.

I’ll give you three guesses as to what happens, and the first two don’t count.

The ground shakes and caves in right below their tents. Them, their stuff, their families, just gone. So the people start freaking out and scattering, but… God just smokes em. Every one of the 250 dissenters is fried by holy fire. Oh, and Aaron takes the consecrated censers to hammer them into a covering for the altar, so commandeth the Lord.

Anyway, the next day, the congregation comes to Moses and Aaron and complains about all the people who died the previous day. God has had about enough, and barely gives Moses and Aaron warning before bringing death down upon the people in a giant wave of wrathful plague. Aaron lights his incense and runs out into the crowd to make atonement and stop the death. Sure enough, we get into a “Hold me back, bro! Hold me back!” situation where the plague literally stops in a line right where Aaron is.

You’d think by now the people would learn to stop messing up, right? Nobody’s perfect. :\

Good night, all. Peace be upon you.

Day 120

So this was supposed to go up yesterday but I figure since I’m waiting for the tire shop to repair my punctured front right, I might as well get an update done.

Blah. I don’t know who i’m trying to kid. I’m exhausted and starving over here. And by starving I mean hungry. I probably have a couple dozen tons of life-sustaining body fat on me; I’ll be fine.

Numbers 3

You know, this chapter isn’t very long, but it sure seems long when it’s all math and genealogy. Houses of so-and-so this, and son of so-and-so that.

Also, since now we’re going back to Aaron and Moses talking to God on Mount Sinai, it seems that this whole darn section is told out of chronological order. I can see why someone would want to write a chronological Bible, but I have no idea how much research or guessing it would take to get this whole book in order. Oy.

Anyway, God explains to Moses that when he took (read: killed) all the firstborn of Egypt, he took (read: appropriated, maybe? Sanctified?) all the firstborn of Israel. But, because babies make terrible temple guardians, but more likely because coordinating and demanding responsibility from a bunch of different people from different tribes is a pain in God’s butt, God has sanctified and appointed the Levites in exchange for all the firstborn of Israel. So He has Moses take a census.

All the Levite males from one month old on up number 22,000. All the firstborn males of Israel from one month old and above number 22,273. So there is a 273 person difference.

God tells Moses to cover the difference, so Moses takes 5 shekels of redemption payment per person, as per the Lord’s instruction, and gives the money, all 1,365 shekels to the family of Aaron.

Done and done.

Peace be upon you!

Day 81-84

tuckeranddale

“Hello, officer. We have had a doozy of a day.” ¹

Now I hope you’ve all seen Tucker & Dale vs Evil, but if you haven’t, go do that. It’s what the blog I ripped that picture from calls

“An outstanding horror comedy that fully delivers on its hilarious premise.

But seriously. It’s been a tough week.

I’m seriously considering turning this (at least halfway) into an audio blog. I’m driving myself crazy trying to hit my daily updates. Talking would be much easier. I can talk for days.

Case in point, I almost talked my partner’s ear off about the movie Maleficent. In my opinion, cool premise, poor execution. Could I make a more popular movie? Could I make a better moneymaker? Not likely. But I bet I could tell a more interesting story, given the premise. I might have to. But that’s for another time.

…Did I mention I had a Red Bull?

…like ten hours ago?


Exodus 31

Rapid-fire-Exodus-go! Hyaaaaaa!

Yugi-Exodia

Sorta like this. ²

(Update: I was going to split this into four posts, but I’m so wrapped up in you guys seeing my humorous commentary that I lumped them all into one. But I swear all the chapters of the Bible that were supposed to be in here are in here. It’s not a cop-out, I swear. Don’t judge me!)

So God just finished going over a bunch of shhhhh–stuff with Moses, laying out rules for arks and altars and sacrifices and all kinds of covenant-y stuff. Now He is telling Moses a) the specific people Moses will need to get those things built, and b) a quick reminder to absolutely, I’m not kidding you guys keep the Sabbath day holy. Seriously, if a guy works on the Sabbath, f***in’ kill him.

In the end, Moses comes down with

“two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”

— Exodus 31:18, NKJV

Interesting thing I heard once that is only somewhat relevant: I once read somewhere that in old Hebrew law or tradition or something, when you made a covenant or a deal with someone, you made two copies of the deal so that each person had a copy. The story goes that the two tablets were identical, as “a deal” so to speak had been made between man and God. I forget what the significance (if any) was supposed to be of one party keeping both copies of the agreement, but oh well. Something to look up.


Exodus 32

Alright, people. My partner’s asleep, not feeling so hot, and I’m supposed to be at church for the first time in forever in less than 5 hours. Let’s do this.

So the Israelites, like the most ungrateful little… rackin’-frackin’-sassafras… They’re sitting there waiting for Moses and they finally get bored of not knowing who or what to worship or how for that matter, and so they tell Aaron to fashion them a god. Or gods, depending on translation.

And Aaron, who has been Moses’ voice (so it was implied back in Exodus 4:14) for all this time, says “Sure.” The people give Aaron their gold, and he turns it into a calf. Calfs4Gold, 1-800-GOLDCALF, or visit us online at http://www.calfs4gold.com.  Send us your gold, get calfs now! If I didn’t need to sleep, I would photoshop this. 1000 imaginary points to anyone who takes a “Cash 4 Gold” business sign/ad and fixes it like this. Heck, they’re imaginary; make it a million.

God starts b–

God starts complaining to Moses and telling him what is going on. “Seriously you guys we just went over all this stuff why can’t you follow some simple orders oh for My sake…” And so on.

God gets really mad, Moses tells him to be cool (essentially), and so Moses goes down to take care of this for himself. He gets down, sees the golden calf, and shits a brick. (It’s hard to censor the word “shits.”) Moses drops the f***ing tablets from the f***ing LORD and rips Aaron a new a**hole.

Aaron, meanwhile, is basically like, “Well, I took all this gold and boom, calf. Dunno what to tell you. It happens.” So Moses rounds up the faithful, the line of Levi, and they proceed to reorganize and bring everyone back to God and JUST KIDDING THIS IS THE OLD TESTAMENT THEY F***ING KILL EVERYONE.

bearsharkawesome

Three rows down on a Google image search for “blatant theft” “awesome explosion.” ³

Moses goes and prays to God and asks for forgiveness for the people and God basically tells Moses that those calf-worshiper guys are effed in the A. Shouldn’ta done that, boys and girls!

I’ve almost been up for 24 hours. Does it show?


Exodus 33

So apparently there’s this weird side effect of talking to God where either your face glows like some Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer s*** or you just come back with a goofy-a** grin. Maybe both. They “goofy grin” one I’ve experienced firsthand. As long as I’m not crazy. Which I might be.

Oh whoops, that’s Exodus 34.

Whatever!

In Exodus 33, God comes down as a pillar of cloud and spends some time talking to Moses. Moses utters a pretty good prayer in Exodus 33:13, NKJV:

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.”

Moses wants to see God in all His glory, but God basically tells him that won’t happen. God tells Moses to hide in “the cleft of [a] rock,” and God covers Moses up, and then walks by so that Moses can get a glimpse of the Lord’s back. Back of the head? God’s traps and lats? Dat butt? Who knows.


Exodus 34

God I’m so tired. Honestly, God just tells Moses to make some new tablets, since Moses f***ing broke the other ones. Then God comes down and basically goes over all the laws of the Law again. He reaffirms the promise that He has made to the Israelites. Moses neither ate or drank for the time he went back up to get the Lord’s triplicate/quadruplicate copies of the Law. So he goes back down, and we get Mr. Glow-Face like I mentioned earlier.

Anyway, folks, that is all. I need to go to bed and be up for church in only 3 hours.

I love you all; thanks for reading. And an extra thanks to my subscribers! You folks encourage me so much.

Peace be upon you.


¹ Tucker & Dale vs Evil, 2010. Image retrieved from: http://horroreffect.blogspot.com/2011/10/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-super-funny.html

² Yu-Gi-Oh! Takahasi, Kazuki.  Image retrieved from: http://desenhospaint7.blogspot.com/2013/05/desenhos-animes.html

³ FIM Fiction. (That’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I cannot guarantee the SFW-ness of this site.) Image retrieved from: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/206371/wheeehoohoohoohoo-one-hundred-follower-ultra-mega-orgy-bonanza-special-extravaganza