What if you had more than enough resources? What if you had more than enough people? What if you had more than enough money? What if you had more than enough stuff?
What if God told you to limit yourself and not use them all?
Are you good to your word? Are you good to doing what you say you will do? Are you good at doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it?
Will you be generous? Will you be kind? Will you joyful? Will you be willing? Will you trust?
As we consider these questions, let’s reflect on what is in this morning’s reading…
Keeping or Nullifying Vows
1Moses spoke to the princes of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael saying, “This is what Adonai has commanded: 2Whenever a man makes a vow to Adonai or swears an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he is not to violate his word but do everything coming out of his mouth. 3“Suppose a woman in her youth vows to Adonai or obligates herself by a pledge in her father’s house. 4If her father should hear her vow or her pledge with which she obligated herself and her father says nothing to her, all her vows and every pledge by which she has obligated herself will stand. 5But if her father should forbid it on the day of his hearing it, none of her vows or pledges by which she has obligated herself will stand. Adonai will forgive her because her father has forbidden her. 6“Suppose she should marry, after her vow or a rash promise of her lips by which she obligated herself. 7Now if her husband hears about it but says nothing to her on the day he hears about it, her vows will stand and her pledges by which she has obligated herself will stand. 8But if her husband should hear about it and on the day he hears it he forbids it, he thereby nullifies her vow and her rash promise by which her lips have obligated her, and Adonai will forgive her. 9“Any vow or obligation of a widow or a divorced woman will be binding on her. 10If in her husband’s house she vowed or obligated herself by pledge under oath, 11and her husband should hear it and say nothing to her, not forbidding her, all her vows and every pledge by which she has obligated herself will stand. 12But if her husband should nullify them on the day when he hears of them, nothing from her lips, whether vow or pledge, will stand. Her husband has nullified them and Adonai will forgive her. 13Her husband may ratify or veto any vow or sworn oath to deny herself. 14“But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he is confirming all her vows and all her oaths that are on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her on the day of his hearing about it. 15But if he nullifies them after hearing about it, he will bear her guilt.” 16These are the statutes that Adonai gave to Moses relevant to relationships between a man and his wife, as well as between a father and his young daughter still living in his house.
–from Numbers 30
Is your word good for anything? Is your word your bond?
Vengeance on Midian and Balaam
1Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 2“Take vengeance on the Midianites for Bnei-Yisrael. Afterward you will be gathered to your people.” 3So Moses spoke to the people saying, “Mobilize some of your men for battle. They will go out against Midian to carry out Adonai’s vengeance on Midian. 4Send into the battle 1,000 men from each of the tribes of Israel.” 5So from the thousands of Israel 1,000 from each tribe were assigned, 12,000 in all. 6Moses sent them into battle, 1,000 from each tribe, and with them Phinehas son of Eleazar the kohen, who took with him articles from the Sanctuary and trumpets for signaling. 7They fought Midian just as Adonai had commanded Moses, and killed every male. 8Among the slain they also killed the Midianite kings: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9Bnei-Yisrael also captured women and sons of Midian, along with all their herds and flocks, and plundered all their goods. 10They burned with fire all the Midianite cities, settlements, as well as all their camps. 11They seized all the plunder and all the spoil, both people and animals. 12They brought the captives, plunder and spoils to Moses, Eleazar the kohen and to the assembly of Bnei-Yisrael at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan at Jericho. 13Moses, Eleazar the kohen, and all the princes of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14But Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands, the commanders of hundreds, those returning from the campaign of the war. 15Moses said to them, “You let all the women live? 16Why, they are the ones—because of Balaam’s advice—who caused Bnei-Yisrael to be unfaithful to Adonai in the matter of Peor, so that the plague was on the community of Adonai! 17So now, kill all the boys and kill every woman who has been intimate with a man. 18But save for yourselves every girl who has not been intimate with a man. 19“Any of you who has killed anyone or touched the body of anyone who has been killed must stay outside the camp for seven days. You must purify yourselves, on the third and seventh days—you and your captives. 20Also purify every item of clothing as well as every item made of leather or wood.” 21Eleazar said to the men of the army who had gone to war, “This is the regulation of the Torah Adonai gave to Moses: 22The gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead, 23and anything able to pass through fire is to be put through the fire and will then be clean. It is also to be purified with the water of cleansing. Anything that cannot stand the fire is to be put through the water. 24You are to wash your clothes also on the seventh day. You will then be clean and may then come into the camp.” 25Adonai said to Moses saying, 26“Count the total spoil from the captive people and animals—you, Eleazar the kohen and the princes of the fathers of the community. 27You are to divide the spoil between those fighting in the war, taking part in the battle, and the rest of the community. 28You are also to set apart from the men of war going into battle tribute to Adonai, one item from every 500, whether persons, cattle, donkeys or flock. 29From their half share, take and give it to Eleazar the kohen as Adonai’s part. 30From the half of Bnei-Yisrael, you are to take one in 50, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, flock, or any other animals, and give them to the Levites, those charged with the care of Adonai’s Tabernacle.” 31So Moses and Eleazar the kohen did just as Adonai commanded Moses. 32The remaining plunder taken by the people of the army was 675,000 sheep, 3372,000 cattle, 3461,000 donkeys, 35and from the human spoil were 32,000 women who had never been intimate with a man. 36The half share of those going into battle was 337,500 sheep, 37of which Adonai’s tribute was 675, 3836,000 cattle, of which Adonai’s tribute was 72, 3930,500 donkeys, of which Adonai’s tribute was 61, 4016,000 persons, of which the tribute to Adonai was 32. 41Moses gave the tribute, Adonai’s part, to Eleazar the kohen just as Adonai had commanded Moses. 42From the half belonging to Bnei-Yisrael, which Moses had set apart from that of the fighting men, 43half belonging to the community was: 337,500 of the sheep, 4436,000 cattle, 4530,500 donkeys, 4616,000 persons. 47From this half, Moses took one out of very 50 persons and animals, as Adonai had commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, those charged with the care of the Tabernacle of Adonai, just as Adonai had commanded Moses. 48Then the officers over the units of the army, the commanders over thousands and hundreds, came to Moses. 49They said to him, “Your servants have counted the heads of the men of war under our command, and not one is missing. 50So we have brought as an offering to Adonai the gold items each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces to atone for ourselves before Adonai.” 51Moses and Eleazar the kohen received the gold from them, all the crafted items. 52All of the gold presented as a gift to Adonai came to 16,750 shekels from the commanders of thousands and hundreds. 53Each of the men of the army had taken plunder for himself. 54Moses and Eleazar the kohen received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting as a memorial for Bnei-Yisrael before Adonai.
–from Numbers 31
Will you do it His way even if it seems like it isn’t enough? Will you allow Him to work in you and through you so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you give it all up to Him? Will you do it His way?
Collection for Jerusalem and Final Greetings
1Now concerning the collection for the kedoshim, as I directed Messiah’s communities in Galatia, you do likewise. 2On the first day of the week, let each of you set something aside, saving up whatever is gained, so no collections take place when I come. 3Then whenever I arrive, I will send whomever you approve with letters of introduction to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it is advisable for me to go also, they will go with me. 5But I will come to you after I have passed through Macedonia—for I am passing through Macedonia. 6Perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey—wherever I go. 7For I do not wish to see you now just in passing—for I hope to stay on with you for a while, if the Lord permits. 8But I will stay on at Ephesus until Shavuot, 9for a great door has opened wide for me, though many are in opposition. 10Now if Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear among you—for he is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11No one, then, should treat him with disrespect. But set him on his way in shalom, so that he might come to me; for I am expecting him, along with the brothers. 12Now about our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers and sisters, and he was quite unwilling to come now—but he will come when he has an opportunity. 13Be on the alert! Stand firm in the faith! Be men of courage! Be strong! 14Let all that you do be done in love. 15Now I urge you, brothers and sisters (you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves in service to the kedoshim), 16also to submit to people such as these, and to everyone working together and laboring. 17I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, for they made up for your absence. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men. 19Messiah’s communities in Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the community that meets in their house. 20All the brothers and sisters greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21This greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. 22If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be cursed. Marana, tha! Our Lord, come! 23The grace of the Lord Yeshua be with you. 24My love be with you all in Messiah Yeshua.
–1 Corinthians 16
Will you do it in love? Will you do it with joy? Will you do it willingly? Will you do it obediently? Will you do it for Him and in His way?