Lord, we delight to do Your will.
Read NUMBERS 9:1–14
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.’”
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.
“Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on Thee; / Hushed my heart to listen, in expectancy” (Emily Crawford, 1864–1927).
“Just stand still for a moment!” There are times in all our lives when someone says that to us. In the rush and bustle of life we occasionally need to take a breather. That is exactly what the Israelites are told to do by Moses in verse 8. It is a command repeated to God’s people throughout Scripture.
The Book of Numbers is often recruited by the New Testament as a pattern of how not to behave as God’s people, but there are occasions when the children of Israel actually set a good example—and chapter 9 is one of them. It is Passover time again, and obedience to the rules and regulations of the celebration is demanded (3). The Israelites want to do things in the right way (5) and they have questions about it—what happens if someone is ritually defiled through bereavement (7)?—and about the future—what if someone is away on a journey at Passover time (10)? Their desire to do right is admirable, and their need to stand still and listen for God’s guidance is our need, too. When they wait upon the Lord, he listens to their cry and graciously answers (10–14). Those who through no fault of their own are unable to keep the Passover at the appointed time are able to do so a month later, but anybody who willfully fails to keep the Passover faces a punitive response from God. That is also true for the foreigner who joins himself to God’s people.
As God’s new-covenant people, we know that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Our desire to be obedient to him should drive us in all our words and actions—but there will be times when we must stand still and wait to hear the command of the Lord.
How am I going to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord today?
Lord, we understand that You are a God of order and that You demand conformity to Your prescribed rules. Help us to keep them.