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"Trial By Fire" - ever hear this term? I think this term may have gotten its genesis here in Numbers chapter 16. Korah's rebellion caused Moses to explain how this true trial by fire would go down in verses 4 through 7 - "Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow those who are chosen to enter his holy presence. You, Korah, and all your followers must do this: Take incense burners, and burn incense in them tomorrow before the LORD. Then we will see whom the LORD chooses as his holy one." A trial by fire indeed occurs subsequently in this chapter. Here's how Boticelli depicts this scene of scripture in the Sistine Chapel in Rome (note that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine - whereas other artists painted the walls - I just learned this just now!):
Verses 12 & 13 stood out as completely strange, as these 2 men had somehow now thought that instead of being a prison, Egypt was now in their minds a paradise?.... "Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they replied, "We refuse to come! Isn't it enough that you brought us out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us here in this wilderness, and that you now treat us like your subjects?" I wonder if we do this in our lives? Think that things that used to be so bad for us are now somehow good? I know I've done this. I've left situations or relationships or bad habits - knowing they were simply bad for me - and then later down the road I've sometimes thought to myself, "ahh... I miss xyz or doing xyz... I should go back to that." And I do. And I regret it all over once again. There is a somewhat obscure R.E.M. song that goes "Don't go back to Rockville - and waste another year." I think of this song on occasion when I am tempted to go back to something I know I shouldn't go back to - I sing to myself, "don't go back to Rockville." Perhaps Dathan and Abiram should have been singing to themselves - "don't go back to Egypt - and waste another year..." What about you? Is there an Egypt / Rockville or two in your life that you've left behind? Are you ever tempted to go back? Do you sometimes even think you might have been wrong about how bad things were back then.... that it might have really been a land flowing with milk and honey even! Well, I know we'll all have our moments of going backwards.... but I pray we see the True land of milk and honey in front of us that is only available through a relationship with Jesus and the Father - and that we won't go back to our "Egypts"...
Today in Numbers chapter 17 verse 8 we read how God stopped the questioning of the Israelite community about Aaron and his houses' unique priestly authority - "When Moses went into the Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, he found that Aaron's staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds!"
The 2nd sentence in Numbers chapter 18 verse 20 stood out to me today: "And the LORD said to Aaron, "You priests will receive no inheritance of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your inheritance and your share." What a beautiful thing to hear from God! I am your inheritance and your share. In your life today, is God your inheritance and your share? Do you want God to be your inheritance and share? Does anything else at all compare to this glorious inheritance?
Worship God: Per my reflections in Numbers above, and somewhat related to that old R.E.M. song, here is Building 429's great song "End of Me:"
Have you reached the end of you? Click here for the beginning of eternity!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "The LORD said to Aaron, 'You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.'" Numbers 18:20 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray in thanksgiving if the Lord is your inheritance, through a saving faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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