Bible Readings for May 24th
Numbers 33 | Psalm 78:1–37 | Isaiah 25 | 1 John 3
In Numbers 33, we see the whole story of Yahweh’s covenant with his people laid out in brief, recounting every event from the day of their redemption out of the hand of Egypt (Num. 33:3) all the way through the mission that Yahweh was giving his people on the brink of the Jordan River (Num. 33:49) as they prepared to enter into the Promised Land. By this story, Moses reminds Israel of Yahweh’s faithfulness to them through their forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
Then, Yahweh instructs Moses to charge Israel with their mission in Canaan: Israel was to drive out the inhabitants and destroy entirely the remnants of false worship from the land (Num. 33:50–52). After they took possession of the land, they would then receive their inheritance according to the size of their tribes (Num. 33:53–54). But Yahweh closes this passage with a warning: if his people fail to drive out the inhabitants of the land, those inhabitants would be a thorn in the side of Israel, and Yahweh even goes so far as to say this: “And I will do to you as I thought to do to them” (Num. 33:56)—that is, Yahweh would drive Israel out of the Promised Land.
The reason that Yahweh is deadly serious about all this is that he knows just how quickly Israel could be led astray from following him if they do not expel from the land the foreign people and their false gods. And, as we continue to read this story, we find that Yahweh was absolutely accurate in his warnings—the people would fail to drive the inhabitants completely out of the land (Judg. 1:27–2:5), initiating a cycle within Israel of idolatrous apostasy, subjugation to foreign powers, redemption as Yahweh raises up new leaders to save his people, and then back into apostasy after those leaders died. It was only after Israel had been entirely crushed, conquered completely, and under the boot of Rome that God would send his Son into the world—not to be just one more charismatic leader who would save God’s people for a season, but to lay down his life in order to save his people for all eternity.
If you are in Christ, this is your story. This is your redemption, when Yahweh brought you out of your bondage to sin and death, and this is the inheritance that he offers you—nothing less than eternal union with the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Preach this story again and again to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you through his Son, not only to stay vigilant in putting to death the last vestiges of sin in your life (Rom. 8:13), but also to renew yourself with hope that Yahweh will be faithful to complete the good work he began in you (Phil. 1:6).
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.