PASSOVER AND MOVING CLOUD
Father, your clock keeps perfect time. Help me not to run ahead of you or lag behind you, but to walk with you.
Read NUMBERS 9
9 The Lord spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, 2 “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. 3 Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations.”
4 So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, 5 and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses.
6 But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day 7 and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the Lord’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?”
8 Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you.”
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they are still to celebrate the Lord’s Passover, 11 but they are to do it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. 13 But if anyone who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, they must be cut off from their people for not presenting the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. They will bear the consequences of their sin.
14 “‘A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate the Lord’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.’”
The Cloud Above the Tabernacle
15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Give thanks that Christ is our Passover.
What a year it had been for the Israelites! Escape from Egypt after the first Passover, arrival at Mount Sinai, Yahweh’s self- revelation to them, the giving of the Law and regulations, the building of the tabernacle, the apostasy of the golden calf, and so much more. Now they are to celebrate their second Passover feast. The obligation and the privilege are in our reading. None are to ignore the celebration of deliverance – and foreign visitors are to join in. None are to miss it, even if their personal circumstances mean that they have to celebrate a month later. Not to celebrate is a sin.
The Passover is central to our understanding of the ministry of Jesus. He is our Lamb. At Passover he was crucified. It was during a Passover meal that he inaugurated the Lord’s Supper and commanded us to continue to celebrate it until his return. The Supper for us signifies not only our Exodus from the captivity of sin, but Christ as our substitute and atonement. To fail to avail ourselves of the opportunity of participating is to be disobedient to the command of Christ, just as a failure to keep the Passover was for the Israelites.
Ever since the Exodus, the Israelites had seen the presence of God in the cloud that first led them and then rested over the tabernacle when it was completed. Here was the promise that God would go with them.1 This was what made all the regulations for the tabernacle so important and worthwhile. It was the living God who led them by his presence through the wilderness. We Christians have the promise of the continual presence of Jesus with us by his Spirit. How should we live as a temple of the living God?2 How are we led by him?
Spend time reflecting on the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Heavenly Father, may your kingdom come, may your will be done in my life and around me today, as it is being done in heaven.
1 Exod 33:12–23 2 1 Cor 6:19,20
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