Day 55 – Obedience to God

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we cover a lot of ground! First, there is something different about Psalm 88. It ends in darkness while every other Psalm ends in hope. Jesus experienced darkness at the end of his life. When he was abandoned by his friends while he was in custody and before he was put to death. We have all felt this type of abandonment and this Psalm specifically speaks to us during this lonely time.

God instructs the Levites to carry the sacred objects from the Tabernacle. They couldn’t just carry them with their hands, they had to use poles since they were so holy and not touch them. Remember that only priests can approach these holy things. Just as the Levites have specific jobs to do, God appoints each family to their service tasks. This is just like us in many ways. We all have a purpose in this life and as St. John Henry Newman says, “I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.”

Moses also warns the people not to fall victim to turning to idol worship again and make the same mistakes their ancestors did. God wants to be our own God and in doing so we cannot turn to any false ones.

Do you know what your task is in this world? Pray to God today if you don’t and ask him to show you.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Numbers 4

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 ‘Take a census by clans and families of the Levites descended from Kohath:

3 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age and eligible for military service, who will have their duties in the Tent of Meeting.

4 ‘These are the duties of the Kohathites: looking after those things that are especially holy.

5 ‘When camp is broken, Aaron and his sons must come and take down the screening curtain, and cover the ark of the Testimony with it.

6 Over this, they will put a covering of fine leather, over which they will spread a cloth entirely of violet-purple. They will then fix the poles to the ark.

7 ‘Over the offertory table they will spread a violet cloth, and on it put the dishes, cups, bowls and libation jars; the bread of permanent offering will also be on it.

8 Over these they will spread a scarlet cloth and cover the whole with a covering of fine leather. They will then fix the poles to the table.

9 ‘They will then take a violet cloth and cover the lamp-stand, its lamps, snuffers, trays and all the oil jars used for it,

10 and will lay it and all its accessories in a covering of fine leather and put it on the litter.

11 ‘Over the golden altar they will spread a violet cloth, and cover that with a covering of fine leather. They will then fix the poles to it.

12 ‘They will then take all the other objects used in the service of the sanctuary, put them in a violet cloth, with a covering of fine leather, and put it all on the litter.

13 ‘When they have removed the ashes from the altar, they will spread a scarlet cloth over it,

14 and on this place all the objects used in the liturgy, the fire pans, hooks, scoops, sprinkling basins and all the altar accessories. Over this they will spread a covering of fine leather. They will then fix the poles to it.

15 ‘Once Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy things and all their accessories at the breaking of camp, the Kohathites willcome and carry them, but without touching any of the holy things on pain of death. Such is the load for the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting.

16 But Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, is responsible for looking after the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the daily cereal offering and the anointing oil, and for supervising the entire Dwelling and everything in it, the holy things and their accessories.’

17 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

18 ‘You must not let the group of Kohathite clans be lost to the rest of the Levites.

19 But deal with them in this way, so that they may survive and not incur death by approaching those things that are especially holy. Aaron and his sons will go in and assign to each of them his task and load,

20 in such a way that they have no need to incur the death penalty by going in and setting eyes on the holy things, even for an instant.’

21 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

22 ‘Take a census of the Gershonites by families and clans, too:

23 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for military service, who will have their duties in the Tent of Meeting.

24 ‘These are the duties of the Gershonite clans, their functions and their loads.

25 They will carry the curtaining of the Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting with its covering and the covering of fine leather that goes over it, the screen for the entrance to the Tent of Meeting,

26 the curtaining of the court, the screen for the entrance to the court surrounding the Dwelling and the altar, the cords, all the accessories for worship, and all the necessary equipment. ‘They will be responsible for these things.

27 All the duties of the Gershonites, their functions and their loads, will be carried out under the direction of Aaron and his sons: you willsee that they fulfil their charge.

28 Such are the duties of the Gershonite clans in the Tent of Meeting. Their work will be supervised by Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest.

29 ‘You will take a census of the Merarites by clans and families.

30 You will take a census of all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for military service, who will have their duties in the Tent of Meeting.

31 ‘The load they carry and the duties incumbent on them in the Tent of Meeting will be as follows: the framework of the Dwelling, its cross-bars, poles and sockets,

32 the poles round the court with their sockets, pegs, cords and all their tackle. You will draw up a list of their names with the loads for which each is responsible.

33 ‘Such are the duties of the Merarite clans. All their duties in the Tent of Meeting will be supervised by Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest.’

34 Moses, Aaron and the leaders of the community took a census of the Kohathites by clans and families:

35 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for military service, for duties in the Tent of Meeting.

36 The number of men counted in their clans came to two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

37 Such was the total number of men in the Kohathite clans who were eligible for duties in the Tent of Meeting and whom Moses and Aaron counted at Yahweh’s bidding through Moses.

38 A census was taken of the Gershonites by clans and families:

39 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for military service, for duties in the Tent of Meeting.

40 The number of men counted in their clans and families came to two thousand six hundred and thirty.

41 Such was the total number of men in the Gershonite clans who were eligible for duties in the Tent of Meeting, and whom Moses and Aaron counted at Yahweh’s bidding.

42 A census was taken of the Merarite clans by clans and families:

43 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for military service, for duties in the Tent of Meeting.

44 The number of men counted in their clans came to three thousand two hundred.

45 Such was the total number of men in the Merarite clans, whom Moses and Aaron counted at Yahweh’s bidding through Moses.

46 The total number of Levites whom Moses, Aaron and the leaders of Israel counted in their clans and families,

47 all the men between thirty and fifty years of age, eligible for religious duties and for those of transporting the Tent of Meeting

48 came to eight thousand five hundred and eighty.

49 At Yahweh’s bidding through Moses, a census was taken of them and each man was assigned his duty and load. And so the censuswas conducted by Moses as Yahweh had ordered him.

Deuteronomy 4

1 ‘And now, Israel, listen to the laws and customs which I am teaching you today, so that, by observing them, you may survive to enter and take possession of the country which Yahweh, God of your ancestors, is giving you.

2 You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing from it, but keep the commandments of Yahweh your God just as I lay them down for you.

3 You can see for yourselves what Yahweh has done about the Baal of Peor; Yahweh your God has destroyed all those of you who followed the Baal of Peor;

4 but those of you who stayed faithful to Yahweh your God are all alive today.

5 Look: as Yahweh my God commanded me, I have taught you laws and customs, for you to observe in the country of which you are going to take possession.

6 Keep them, put them into practice, and other peoples will admire your wisdom and prudence. Once they know what all these laws are, they will exclaim, “No other people is as wise and prudent as this great nation!”

7 And indeed, what great nation has its gods as near as Yahweh our God is to us whenever we call to him?

8 And what great nation has laws and customs as upright as the entirety of this Law which I am laying down for you today?

9 ‘But take care, as you value your lives! Do not forget the things which you yourselves have seen, or let them slip from your heart as long as you live; teach them, rather, to your children and to your children’s children.

10 The day you stood at Horeb in the presence of Yahweh your God, Yahweh said to me, “Summon the people to me; I want them to hear me speaking, so that they will learn to fear me all the days they live on earth, and teach this to their children.”

11 So you came and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain flamed to the very sky, a sky darkened by cloud, murky and thunderous.

12 Yahweh then spoke to you from the heart of the fire; you heard the sound of words but saw no shape; there was only a voice.

13 He revealed his covenant to you and commanded you to observe it, the Ten Words which he inscribed on two tablets of stone.

14 Yahweh then ordered me to teach you the laws and customs that you were to observe in the country into which you are about to cross, to take possession of it.

15 ‘Hence, be very careful what you do. Since you saw no shape that day at Horeb when Yahweh spoke to you from the heart of the fire,

16 see that you do not corrupt yourselves by making an image in the shape of anything whatever: be it statue of man or of woman,

17 or of any animal on the earth, or of any bird that flies in the heavens,

18 or of any reptile that crawls on the ground, or of any fish in the waters under the earth.

19 When you raise your eyes to heaven, when you see the sun, the moon, the stars — the entire array of heaven — do not be tempted to worship them and serve them. Yahweh your God has allotted these to all the other peoples under heaven,

20 but Yahweh has chosen you, bringing you out of the iron-foundry, Egypt, to be his own people, his own people as you still are today.

21 ‘Yahweh is angry with me because of you; he has sworn that I shall not cross the Jordan or enter the fine country which Yahweh your God is giving you as your heritage.

22 Yes, I am to die in this country; I shall not cross this Jordan; you will go over and take possession of that rich land.

23 Be careful not to forget the covenant which Yahweh your God has made with you, by sculpting an image or making a statue of anything, since Yahweh your God has forbidden this;

24 for Yahweh your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25 ‘When you have fathered children and grandchildren and have grown old in the country, when you have grown corrupt and made some image, doing what Yahweh regards as wrong and so provoking his anger-

26 today I call heaven and earth to witness against you — you will quickly vanish from the country which you are crossing the Jordan to possess. Your days will not be prolonged there, for you will be utterly destroyed.

27 Yahweh will scatter you among the peoples, and only a small number of you will remain among the nations where Yahweh will have driven you.

28 There you will serve gods made by human hand, of wood and of stone, that cannot see or hear, eat or smell.

29 ‘If, however, from there you start searching once more for Yahweh your God, and if you search for him honestly and sincerely, you willfind him.

30 You will suffer; everything I have said will befall you, but in the final days you will return to Yahweh your God and listen to his voice.

31 For Yahweh your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant which he made on oath with your ancestors.

32 ‘Put this question, then, to the ages that are past, that have gone before you, from when God created the human race on earth: Was there ever a word so majestic, from one end of heaven to the other? Was anything like it ever heard?

33 Did ever a people hear the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire, as you have heard it, and remain alive?

34 Has it ever been known before that any god took action himself to bring one nation out of another one, by ordeals, signs, wonders, war with mighty hand and outstretched arm, by fearsome terrors — all of which things Yahweh your God has done for you before your eyes in Egypt?

35 ‘This he showed you, so that you might know that Yahweh is the true God and that there is no other.

36 To instruct you, he made you hear his voice from heaven, and on earth he let you see his great fire, and from the heart of the fire you heard his words.

37 Because he loved your ancestors and, after them, chose their descendants, he has brought you out of Egypt, displaying his presence and mighty power,

38 dispossessing for you nations who were larger and stronger than you, to make way for you and to give you their country as your heritage, as it still is today.

39 ‘Hence, grasp this today and meditate on it carefully: Yahweh is the true God, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other.

40 Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and live long in the country that Yahweh your God is giving you for ever.’

41 Moses then set aside three towns in the east, beyond the Jordan,

42 to which any killer might flee who had accidentally, without any previous feud, killed his fellow; by taking refuge in one of these towns he could save his life.

43 These were, for the Reubenites, Bezer in the desert on the tableland; for the Gadites, Ramoth in Gilead; for the Manassehites, Golan in Bashan.

44 This is the Law which Moses presented to the Israelites.

45 These are the stipulations, the laws and the customs which Moses gave the Israelites after they had left Egypt,

46 beyond the Jordan in the valley near Beth-Peor, in the country of Sihon the Amorite king who had lived at Heshbon. Moses and the Israelites had defeated him when they left Egypt,

47 and had taken possession of his country, as well as that of Og king of Bashan — two Amorite kings to the east beyond the Jordan,

48 from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley, all the way to Mount Sion (that is, Hermon) –

49 and of the whole Arabah east of the Jordan as far as the Sea of the Arabah, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah.

Psalm 88

1 [Song Psalm Of the sons of Korah In sickness In suffering Poem For Heman the native-born] Yahweh, God of my salvation, when I cry out to you in the night,

2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for help.

3 For I am filled with misery, my life is on the brink of Sheol;

4 already numbered among those who sink into oblivion, I am as one bereft of strength,

5 left alone among the dead, like the slaughtered lying in the grave, whom you remember no more, cut off as they are from your protection.

6 You have plunged me to the bottom of the grave, in the darkness, in the depths;

7 weighted down by your anger, kept low by your waves.

8 You have deprived me of my friends, made me repulsive to them, imprisoned, with no escape;

9 my eyes are worn out with suffering. I call to you, Yahweh, all day, I stretch out my hands to you.

10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise up to praise you?

11 Do they speak in the grave of your faithful love, of your constancy in the place of perdition?

12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, your saving justice in the land of oblivion?

13 But, for my part, I cry to you, Yahweh, every morning my prayer comes before you;

14 why, Yahweh, do you rebuff me, turn your face away from me?

15 Wretched and close to death since childhood, I have borne your terrors — I am finished!

16 Your anger has overwhelmed me, your terrors annihilated me.

17 They flood around me all day long, close in on me all at once.

18 You have deprived me of friends and companions, and all that I know is the dark.

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