Study from Numbers 9: 1-12; then from Numbers 1 - 2; Passage for Reflection: Numbers 2: 1-2 … NIV 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2 "The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family."
My Journal for Today: Sometimes when one (well, at least yours truly) reads passages like those from Numbers, as I have this morning, it’s a bit hard to extrapolate God’s intent from the historical context to the personal one in the here-and-now, going through centuries of sociological change to get from then to now. But with the help of my devotional author today, Dr. Smith has taken me from the documentation of the Israelite soldiers and even the counting of the Priesthood, centuries before Christ, to an application which would apply from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant and right into my heart as a 21st century Christian. And Dr. Smith does so by asking a very simple, but pointed question: “If I were a community of one, where would God’s special place be?”
And as God’s very special timing would have it, last night in our weekly small group, which is somewhat like a first century home church, I was teaching on the subject of putting God (i.e., Christ) at the center of our lives; i.e., giving Him the center-piece of our worship, which is our 24/7 lifestyle, … where He is the focus of our living. And in that teaching our group was to study and memorize two passages from the New Testament, Luke 9: 23 and Matthew 6: 33 (which I really hope you have already memorized – and if not I’ll leave it to you to seek them out for study. These passages help the New Testament Christian disciple to see the essence of Christian living (or “worship,” if you will); and that is to place our relationship and walk with Christ at the center of our community of the heart, where God’s temple resides Spiritually in the lives of any Christian.
If you read through the passages from the Book of Numbers [mentioned above], you’ll read that God wanted to put Himself, in the Tabernacle, no matter where it moved with these nomadic people, smack dab in the center of His people. And God dictated to Moses exactly how this would take place, … which tribes would be on the East, the West, the North, and the South; and the designation of the Levites to watch over the Tent of Meetings, i.e., the Tabernacle, which was to be placed strategically in the center of the guardians of God’s community … at the center of the lives of His people. And as we move forward in time, God’s New Covenant Tabernacle has been established in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who now resides in the hearts of each Christian, who becomes a community of one. And God expects to be established with each of us as His priesthood; and we are to place His Tabernacle – i.e., our relationship with Christ - at the center of our hearts so that everything in our lives will center on a lifestyle of worship of Him.
That is what Jesus was saying to His church and to us in the two passages referred to above (from Luke 9: 23 and Matt. 6: 33); and isn’t it wonderful how even the structure of the first community of believers in the Old Testament in the Book of Numbers spoke to this truth by the structure of how the community was to be constructed … the Tabernacle at the center for worship and with God residing there for His worshipping people to be able to focus on Him as our Center of their sacrificial worship.
Think on that for a while; and see that even the listings of people and the construction of the earliest of God’s communities became a picture of how our hearts should be put together for worship today. Can I hear a witness of “Hallelujah!” from anyone reading here?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, …Oh Lord, Hallelujah that You were preparing Your Tabernacle of Worship in ancient Israel to be a picture of where You now reside in my heart. And may my life be a reflection of You being the center of my worship this very day. Amen