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March 22: Numbers 3 | Psalm 148-150 | Luke 13-14

Reading 1 - Numbers 3

"Having considered the order to be assumed by the worshipers in their travels through the wilderness, Moses now [in Num 3] gives attention to the workers in the service of Yahweh. The tribe of Levi is separated for that purpose. Its members are in as distinct relation to the Book of Numbers as the priests are to the Book of Leviticus. They are appointed to guard the Tent of Meeting from any pollution from without, or to attend to it and its various parts during its travels, whilst the priests attend to the sanctuary when it is set up, and have their place therein as intercessors and worshipers.

"The Levites face outwards, guarding the Tent of the Tabernacle from pollution; the priests face inwards, leading to God. This is the essential difference between what might be termed ministry and priesthood. Both the Levites who minister or prepare for worship, and the priests who conduct that worship, are types of the saints, who both minister and act as a spiritual priesthood (Heb 13:15,16; 1Pe 2:5). The Levitical service is from God and for God, but towards men. It defines what the Scriptures call 'ministry'. The name 'Levi' signifies 'joined'', and their work was to help men in their approach to God, so that they might be joined with Him in fellowship" (HP Mansfield, "Christadelphian Expositor").

Reading 2 - Psalm 150

"Praise the LORD.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD."

Psalm 150 is more than an artistic conclusion to a book of hymns and prayers. It is a prophecy... of the last result of the devout life, and of the last result of all God's works in the earth.

When the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God, and when the blessed have been invited to receive that kingdom prepared for them -- then... there will be assembled on mount Zion the great multitude, who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb out of all nations and peoples and tongues. Surely there will first be a great hush among that magnificent host, as the Lord enters His holy temple, and "all the earth keeps silence before Him" (Hab 2:20). This will be the most eloquent silence the world has ever known. What thoughts will then fill the hearts of God's people!

Then from the players gathered in their thousands, the music... beginning softly... will rise steadily to a triumphant crescendo of praise. All kinds of instruments will be employed: trumpets to rouse, harps to soothe, organs for solemnity, timbrels for rhythm, cymbals for emphasis. And with it all, every one who has breath, knowing and fully understanding the purpose of that God-given breath, will praise the Lord in the song which no man hitherto could sing -- the song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev 14:3; 15:3). This universality of praise will be the keynote of all life, when at last, in fulfillment of every consecrated hope since time began, "the tabernacle of God will dwell with men" (Rev 21:3), and God Himself will be "All in All" (1Co 15:28).

In awed contemplation of such a picture, we hear the still small voice of God's Spirit whispering even now in the ear of conscience: "Praise ye the Lord." Amen.

Reading 3 - Luke 13:28,29

"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God" (Luk 13:28,29).

This parallels Gen 13:14. Here is an interesting twist. In Genesis we hear God telling Abraham that He will give him the land in all directions, as far as he can see, as an eternal inheritance. Abraham is promised all the land, "north, south, east and west"... AND a great multiplying of his seed! Notice how this is echoed in the New Testament, when Jesus says: "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see ABRAHAM, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out..." But in the gospels, Jesus seems to "interpret" this promise (specifically, the east, west, north, south allusion) to mean -- not only 'your borders will be extended in all directions', but especially 'people (Gentiles!) will come to you (and God's kingdom) from all directions'!

There seem, then, to be two different (but related) ways in which the promises to Abraham will be fulfilled:

  • the obvious one: the expansion of Abraham's "territories" outward, to cover the whole earth (Rom 4:13), and

  • the people of those territories coming inward, to Abraham and His God!

Either way, the same result is achieved: the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge and the glory of the LORD.


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