Monday, April 20, 2009

Cool Bible Stuff

Ok, first I need to apologize to my blog for neglecting it...but nothing spectacular has really been going on lately! Therefore, I will share with some of you guys some of the things I have been learning in my devotions. These past couple of months have been pretty good.

1: Most of you guys know the story when David tried to transport the ark to Jerusalem right? Uzza reached out his hand and touched the ark to steady it and God killed him. The classic lesson learned from this text is that David should have had people carry the ark and not try to transport it using oxen and a cart. I never really knew where this came from until I read the book of Numbers. First, you need to read about half way through chapter four of Numbers and learn and learn about a clan of the tribe of Levi called the Kohathites. These people were responsible for transporting the most holy equipment in the temple of the Lord.

Now, skip to Numbers 7:6-9 and read:

6 So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. 7 He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their work required, 8 and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. 9 But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible.

In these verses, you find justification for the proper way to carry the most holy instruments!

2: I have also been reading the census material found in Numbers. There were basically 2 census taken: one towards the beginning of their journey through the wilderness and one before they were about ready to march into the land of Canaan. You will find that in between these two Census, the population of Israel actually decreased! This is likely due to the number of people killed by God for all the complaining Israel did in the desert. Yes, God does take sin seriously!

3:Last night I read Numbers 24:21-25. This is a prophesy of Balaam about the future of the Kenites.

21 Then he saw the Kenites and uttered his oracle:
"Your dwelling place is secure,
your nest is set in a rock;

22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed
when Asshur takes you captive."

23 Then he uttered his oracle:
"Ah, who can live when God does this? [e]

24 Ships will come from the shores of Kittim;
they will subdue Asshur and Eber,
but they too will come to ruin."

For those of you who don't remember who the Kenites are, they were related to Jethro, the father in law of Moses. They appear when Saul attacked the Amalekites and told the Kenites to get out of the land of the Amalekites so they would not be destroyed. In this story, Saul was supposed to destroy all the Amalekites including the animals; but he did not do this.

Later in this prophesy, Balaam predicts that the Kenites would be destroyed by Asshur, which was the ancient capital of Assyria. Obviously, this prophesy was fulfilled around the time of Assyria's conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel. This prophecy later states that the cities of Asshur and Eber would then be conquered by ships from the shores of Kittim.

Kittim can mean a number of different things in the Bible. It mostly refers to the Romans, Assyrians, and in some cases can be interpreted as invader. This prophecy likely refers to the Greek or Roman conquest of the world because they used ships in warfare ("Ships will come from the shores of Kittim"). If this is true, most secular scholars say that the Book of Numbers was last 'revised' around 400 BC; in many cases, this is to discredit biblical prophecy by saying these things happened before the prophecies were written. The problem here is that Alexander the Great lived at about 350 BC, so even IF the book of Numbers was last 'revised' in 400 BC, it still predicted the conquest of the Greeks after the book of Numbers was written.

I also discovered an interesting story about Balaam. According to the Rabbis, Balak, the king of Moab, begged Balaam for a way to stop the Israelites and find a way to defeat them. Balaam told him the only way was to get Israel to forsake God and practice idolatry. Therefore, the Moabites began to introduce the Israelites to Baal worship. Interestingly enough, in Numbers 25 right after the story of Balaam, you find a story of Israel involved in sexual immorality and idolatry with the Moabites!

Anyways....hope you guys find this stuff interesting and be sure and let me know if I made any errors! :)