Where will you turn for directions? Where will you turn for hope? Where will you turn for instructions? Where will you go for help? How far off track do you have to go before you will stop? How long will it take you before you realize you have gotten out of alignment?
Today’s reading begins speaking to this area…
Sprouting of Aaron’s Rod
1Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 2“Speak to Bnei-Yisrael and get a rod from each ancestral house, twelve staffs in all, from each prince according to his ancestral household. Write each man’s name on his staff. 3Write Aaron’s name on Levi’s staff, for there is to be one staff for the prince of each tribe. 4Then you are to place them in the Tent of Meeting, before the Testimony, where I meet with you. 5It will come about that the staff of the man I choose will sprout. I will then rid Myself of the grumblings of Bnei-Yisrael, who are grumbling against you.” 6So Moses spoke to Bnei-Yisrael. Each of their princes gave him a staff, one staff for each prince according to their ancestral houses, twelve staffs in all, and Aaron’s staff was among them. 7Moses placed the staffs before Adonai in the Tent of Testimony. 8The next day, Moses entered the Tent of Testimony and behold, Aaron’s staff, from the house of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds! 9Moses then brought all the staffs from Adonai’s Presence to all Bnei-Yisrael. They looked and each man took his staff. 10Adonai said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s staff back in front of the Testimony to keep as a sign to the sons of rebellion, so that it may put an end to their grumblings against Me, and so they will not die.” 11Moses did just as Adonai had commanded him. 12But Bnei-Yisrael said to Moses saying, “Look! We will die! We are all lost! We are lost! 13Anyone approaching the Tabernacle of Adonai will die! Must all of us die?”
–from Numbers 17
Will you be able to live selfless with each other? Will you be able to put others first? Will there be a mutual respect? Will there be a mutual agreement? Will you do unto others as you would want them to treat you? Do you have self-control? Will you be light to others? Will you live out a life that will transform others? Will you testify of God in how you live so that others may glorify God? Will you share the love of God with others by living a life that shows His hand working in and through you?
Kohen Duties and Portions
1Adonai said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and the house of your father with you will bear the guilt for the Sanctuary, and you and your sons will bear the guilt for your priesthood. 2Bring with you your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may join you and assist you, both you and your sons with you, before the Tent of the Testimony. 3They are to perform their duties for you and for all matters related to the Tent. They must not approach the implements of the Sanctuary or the altar—otherwise, both you and they will die. 4They are to team with you and attend to the Tent of Meeting, for all the service of the Tent. But no unauthorized person may intrude upon you. 5So you are to attend to the Sanctuary and the care of the altar, so no further wrath will fall on Bnei-Yisrael. 6“See, I have personally taken your kinsmen, the Levites, from among Bnei-Yisrael as a gift for you and your sons with you, dedicated to Adonai to serve in the work of the Tent of Meeting. 7But you and your sons with you are to maintain your priesthood for everything pertaining to the altar and inside the parokhet . I am giving you the ministry of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone unauthorized who approaches will die.” 8Adonai then said to Aaron, “See, I have given you charge over all My offerings. All the sacred things from Bnei-Yisrael I have given to you as set aside for you and your sons as a permanent share. 9You are to have the part of the most holy things that is kept from the fire. Whether grain, sin or guilt offerings that they bring to Me as most holy—they are for you and your sons. 10You are to eat it as most holy. Every male may eat it— it is set apart for you. 11This also is yours: the gift of the wave offerings of Bnei-Yisrael. I have given all the wave offerings as a permanent share to you, your sons and your daughters. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 12All the finest olive oil, the finest new wine and grain they give to Adonai from their firstfruits, I have given them to you. 13All the firstfruits of the land that they bring to Adonai will be for yours. Anyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 14Every devoted thing in Israel is yours. 15The first offspring of the womb from all flesh, whether human or animal, offered to Adonai, is yours. However, you are to redeem the firstborn of man and the firstborn of unclean animals. 16When they are a month old, you are to redeem them at the redemption price of five shekels of silver by the Sanctuary shekel, or 20 gerahs. 17But the firstborn of the ox, sheep or goat you are not to redeem. They are holy. You are to sprinkle their blood on the altar, and their fat you are to burn as a fire offering, a pleasing aroma to Adonai. 18Their meat—the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh—is yours. 19Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings which Bnei-Yisrael present to Adonai, I have given to you, your sons and your daughters with you as a permanent share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before Adonai for you and your offspring.” 20Adonai said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land nor share among them. I am your portion and your share among Bnei-Yisrael. 21See, I have given all the tithes in Israel to the sons of Levi as an inheritance in return for all the work of the service they are doing in the Tent of Meeting. 22From now on, Bnei-Yisrael must never trespass the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and die. 23The Levites will perform the service of the Tent of Meeting. They will bear the responsibility for their iniquity. It is a permanent ordinance throughout your generations. So among Bnei-Yisrael they are to receive no inheritance. 24For I have given the tithes that Bnei-Yisrael present to Adonai as an offering to the Levites as an inheritance. That is why I said they would receive no inheritance among Bnei-Yisrael.”
25Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 26“Speak now to the Levites and say to them: When you receive from Bnei-Yisrael the tithe which I have given to you as your inheritance, you are then to offer to Adonai a tithe of that tithe. 27Your offering will be reckoned as grain from the threshing floor or the fullness of the winepress. 28Thus you will also present an offering to Adonai from all your tithes that you receive from Bnei-Yisrael, and from that you are to give Adonai’s portion to Aaron the kohen. 29From all your gifts that you receive, you are to present the best and holiest from them as Adonai’s portion. 30“Say to them: When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and of the winepress. 31You and your household may eat it in any place. It is your wage for your service in the Tent of Meeting. 32“In presenting the best part in this manner, you will bear no guilt in these matters. You will not defile the holy things of Bnei-Yisrael, so you will not die.”
–from Numbers 18
The answer is God! We need to turn to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom and direction! We need to give up what we have to God and allow Him to use it! God is able to take the little you have and multiply it for a greater good. Consider the lady with a handful of flour and a little bit of olive oil! Consider the lady with the little bit of oil! Consider the boy with the fish and loaves! Consider the impact it had when it was given over for the work of God! Feeling lost? Turn to God!
God Is the Strength of My Heart
1A psalm of Asaph. Surely God is good to Israel, to the pure in heart. 2But as for me, my feet almost slipped. My steps nearly slid out from under me. 3For I envied the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4For there are no pains at their death, their body is healthy. 5They have none of humanity’s trouble, nor are they plagued like others. 6Therefore, they put on pride as a necklace, and violence wraps around them like a garment. 7Their eyes bulge out from fatness. The imaginations of their hearts run wild. 8They scoff and wickedly plan evil. From on high they threaten. 9They set their mouth against heaven. Their tongue struts through the earth. 10Therefore His people return here, while they drink their fill. 11So they say: “How does God know? And does Elyon have knowledge?” 12Behold, such are the wicked— always at ease and amassing wealth. 13Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure, and washed my hands in innocence. 14For all day I have been stricken, my chastisement comes every morning. 15If I had said: “I will speak thus,” surely I would have betrayed a generation of Your children. 16But when I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling in my eyes— 17until I entered the Sanctuary of God, and perceived their end. 18Surely You put them in slippery places. You hurled them down to destruction. 19How suddenly they became a ruin— terminated, consumed by terrors. 20Like a dream when one awakes, thus when You arise, my Lord, You will despise their form. 21When my heart was embittered and I was pierced in my heart, 22I was brutish and ignorant. I was like a beast before You. 23Yet I am continually with You. You hold my right hand. 24You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. 25Whom have I in heaven but You? On earth there is none I desire besides You. 26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27For behold, those far from You will perish. You put an end to all who like a harlot are unfaithful to You. 28But for me, it is good to be near God. I have made my Lord Adonai my refuge. So I will tell of all Your works.
–from Psalms 73
Let’s live more interested in building up than puffing up! Let’s live by love rather than knowledge!
Concerning Idol Sacrifices
1Now concerning idol sacrifices, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone thinks he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 4Therefore concerning the eating of idol sacrifices, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him. 7But that knowledge is not in everyone—some, so accustomed to idols up until now, eat food as an idol sacrifice; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8But food will not bring us before God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better off if we do eat. 9But watch out that this freedom of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For suppose someone sees you—who have this knowledge—dining in an idol’s temple. If his conscience is weak, won’t he be emboldened to eat idol sacrifices? 11For the one who is weak is destroyed by your knowledge—the brother for whom Messiah died. 12In this way, when you sin against the brothers and sisters and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Messiah. 13For this reason, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I do not cause my brother to stumble.
–from 1 Corinthians 8
Will you step out of your comfort zone and reach out a hand to help others? Will you answer the prompting of the Spirit? Will you say what He asks you to say? Will you do what He asks you to do? Will you turn to Him when you are lost?
A Mitzvah on Shabbat
1Yeshua entered the synagogue again, and a man with a withered hand was there. 2Now some were carefully watching Him, to see if He would heal him on Shabbat, so that they might accuse Him. 3He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here in the center.” 4Then He said to them, “Is it permitted on Shabbat to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5After looking around at them with anger, grieved by their hardness of heart, He says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out right away with the Herodians and began plotting against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Crowds Clamor for Yeshua
7Yeshua withdrew to the sea with His disciples, and a large crowd from the Galilee followed. From Judea, 8and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon, a great number, hearing all He was doing, came to Him. 9He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn’t mob Him. 10For He had healed many, so that all those afflicted fell down before Him in order to touch Him. 11And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, would fall down before Him and cry out, “You are Ben-Elohim!” 12But Yeshua strictly ordered them not to make Him known.
Appointing the Twelve
13Now He climbs up on the mountain and calls those He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14He appointed twelve (whom He also named emissaries), so that they might be with Him and He might send them to proclaim the Good News, 15and to have power to drive out demons. 16And He appointed the Twelve: to Simon He gave the name Peter; 17to Jacob and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, He gave the name Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder; 18and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Jacob the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot; 19and Judah from Kriot, who also betrayed Him.
Binding the Strong Man
20Then He comes into a house, and again a crowd gathers so they couldn’t even eat. 21When His family heard about this, they went out to take hold of Him; for they were saying, “He’s out of His mind!” 22The Torah scholars who came down from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by beelzebul,” and, “By the ruler of demons He drives out demons.” 23He called them and began speaking to them in parables: “How can satan drive out satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but his end has come. 27“But no one can enter a strong man’s house to ransack his property, unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will thoroughly plunder his house. 28Amen, I tell you, all things will be forgiven the sons of men, the sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever slanders the Ruach ha-Kodesh never has release, but is guilty of an eternal sin!” 30For they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
A Spiritual Family Begins
31Then His mother and brothers come. Standing outside, they sent word to Him, summoning Him. 32A crowd was sitting around Him, and they tell Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34Looking at those sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
–from Mark 3