August 20

Numbers 5:11-7:89

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, we want to hear and know you more. We know you want to speak to us. You want us to know your will.  We pray the distractions would all be dissolved, removed and we can hear you plainly. Amen

5:11-31  – This is likely perceived as a peculiar procedure for going about testing whether there has been infidelity or not.  But the underlying matter was that fidelity [latin root comes from the word for being true/faithful/loyal] was a paramount matter in testing whether a culture will survive or not. This culture with God at the heart needed to endure, because God endures.  If people are not loyal to those they have pledged their lives to in front of God and others, then they will not be loyal to anything else either. I realize that our assessment here is being made in a day when faithfulness is not much revered in the current culture of the third millennium that we find ourselves in.  But that does not change hearts, the facts, nor the truth. Discovering that one has been betrayed is just as painful today as it was 3 or 4 or 5,000 years ago. So the truth really hasn’t changed has it?  We must be true to God and His family which is our family.  If we refuse to, then the culture dies. This test basically says, if you’re going to be deceitful then may as well die now before the death spreads to the whole culture.

6 –  The regulations for vows of a Nazirite; someone separated/consecrated to the Lord had a rigorous path to follow.  He must have nothing to do with anything fermented – this was to doubly ensure 100% sobriety 100% of the time for focus.  The ensuing details, we just read, were manifold and vigilance was required; no stumbling allowed.  And whatever vow that person was making to the Lord was a grave matter and it was to be kept.  Remember Samson was a Nazirite. He had tremendous strength when duty called for it. Samson never cut his hair and never ingested any fermented drink. Lore would tell us that Samson was this burly huge soul that would be on the “world’s strongest man” competition today. Not the case. Samson was normal size and yet the strength of the Spirit of God would come over him. Therein was his strength. When his vows were violated, the strength left him.  I trust we can take that to heart.  The closing benediction, “The Lord bless thee and keep thee…” Pray that with people.  My husband has prayed Numbers 6:24-26 with total strangers who were distressed, even in public places, on several continents. EVERYONE has been grateful to have this prayer prayed over them.  There is power in God’s blessing.
7 – This chapter of scripture was far more awesome than we may think just reading it through “at face value”.  They had obligations to fulfill and there was an amazing result to be experienced once the obligations were met.  Yes, the contents are repeated each time identical for each tribe; yes, it was said 12 times. Is repetition boring? Well Is breakfast boring? You’ve all had thousands of them!  Is chewing boring. Does anyone rise up and declare they are tired of eating so they are going to take this year off? God doesn’t get tired of sunrises (thank God!) does He?  No. The point is that each tribe must each bring their offering. No one had to do greater or lesser.  It is repeated to instill the solemnity of the matter. How many graduations have you been to where the reader 1/3 the way through guffaws that he is tired of reading all these losers’ names, “aw, just throw the degree folders into the crowd, they’ll each find their own folder in time.  The exercise will build character…”?  No, That is unacceptable.  Each name mattered, each tribe mattered, each offering mattered. This is weighty stuff, not boring material.  Was this 12 days worth it?  Once the entirety of it was completed, Moses entered the Tent and from between the cherubim above the Ark of the Covenant, the Lord spoke to him. Moses could audibly hear the voice of God!!  It said this twice in Numbers 7:89.  I say whatever we need to do to fulfill what God wants us to do so to have the Lord speak to us – wherever we need to be, whatever we must complete so to hear the Lord we best do and be there.  Yes, this is all very worth it.

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