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Day 59 – Obligations to God


Thoughts and Reflection

As we read today’s passages, it is important to realize that there is a time difference between the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy. In the book of Numbers, the Israelites have just been freed. In Deuteronomy, they have been wandering in the wilderness for almost 40 years. In Exodus, God established the Passover as a perpetual celebration. The Israelites are now instructed how to celebrate the same ritual sacrifice every year going forward. Anyone who refuses to participate in the Passover is cut off from the covenant.

Jesus also taught us to celebrate him and remember him at the last supper. As in the Passover, those who refused to worship the Lord in the Eucharist are cutting themselves off from the new covenant.

While we forget God in times of darkness, we also can’t do so when things are going well and we do not feel that we need him. This is the temptation that is highlighted in Deuteronomy 8.

Let us remember to praise God in both times of darkness and times when things are going well.

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 8

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 ‘Speak to Aaron and say, “When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps must throw their light towards the front of the lamp-stand.” ‘

3 Aaron did this. He set up the lamps to the front of the lamp-stand, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

4 This lamp-stand was worked in beaten gold, including its stem and its petals, which were also of beaten gold. This lamp-stand had been made according to the pattern Yahweh had shown to Moses.

5 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

6 ‘Separate the Levites from the Israelites and purify them.

7 This is how you must purify them: you will sprinkle them with purifying water, and they will shave their bodies all over and wash their clothes. They will then be clean.

8 They will then take a young bull, with the accompanying cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you will take a second young bull for a sacrifice for sin.

9 You will then bring the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting, and assemble the whole community of Israelites.

10 Once you have brought the Levites before Yahweh, the Israelites will lay their hands on them.

11 Aaron will then offer the Levites, making the gesture of offering before Yahweh on behalf of the Israelites, admitting them to Yahweh’s service.

12 ‘The Levites will then lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, one of which you will offer as a sacrifice for sin, and the other as a burnt offering to Yahweh, to perform the rite of expiation for the Levites.

13 Having brought the Levites before Aaron and his sons, you will present them to Yahweh with the gesture of offering.

14 That is how you will set the Levites apart from the Israelites, for them to be mine.

15 The Levites will then begin their ministry in the Tent of Meeting. ‘You will purify them and offer them with the gesture of offering

16 because, of the Israelites, they have been dedicated to me in place of all those who first emerge from the womb, instead of the first-born; of all the Israelites, I have taken them for my own.

17 For all the first-born of the Israelites, whether human or animal, do indeed belong to me: the day I struck down all the first-born in Egypt, I consecrated them to myself,

18 and now, in place of all the first-born of the Israelites, I have taken the Levites.

19 Of the Israelites, I give the Levites to Aaron and his sons, as dedicated men, to minister in the Tent of Meeting on behalf of the Israelites and perform the rite of expiation for them, so that no disaster befalls the Israelites when the Israelites come close to the sanctuary.’

20 Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israelites dealt with the Levites exactly as Yahweh had ordered Moses concerning them; this is what the Israelites did with them.

21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes, and Aaron presented them with the gesture of offering before Yahweh. He then performed the rite of expiation for them to purify them.

22 The Levites were then allowed to perform their ministry in the Tent of Meeting in the presence of Aaron and his sons. As Yahweh had ordered Moses concerning the Levites, so it was done with them.

23 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

24 ‘This concerns the Levites. From the age of twenty-five onwards, the Levite will exercise his ministry and do duty in the Tent of Meeting.

25 After the age of fifty, he is no longer bound to the ministry; he will have no further duties;

26 but he will still help his brothers to assure the services in the Tent of Meeting, though he himself will no longer have any ministry. That is how you will act as regards the ministry of the Levites.’

Numbers 9

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, in the desert of Sinai, in the second year after the exodus from Egypt, in the first month, and said:

2 ‘The Israelites must keep the Passover at its appointed time.

3 The fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, is the time appointed for you to keep it. You will keep it with all the laws and customs proper to it.’

4 Moses told the Israelites to keep the Passover.

5 They kept it, in the desert of Sinai, in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight. The Israelites did everything as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

6 It happened that some men had become unclean by touching a dead body; they could not keep the Passover that day. They came the same day to Moses and Aaron,

7 and said, ‘We have become unclean by touching a dead body. Why should we be excluded from bringing an offering to Yahweh at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?’

8 Moses replied, ‘Wait here until I hear what order Yahweh gives about you.’

9 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

10 ‘Speak to the Israelites and say: “Any of you or your descendants who becomes unclean by touching a dead body, or is away on a long journey, can still keep a Passover for Yahweh.

11 Such persons will keep it in the second month, on the fourteenth day, at twilight. They will eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs;

12 nothing of it must be left over until morning, nor will they break any of its bones. They will keep it, following the entire Passover ritual.

13 But anyone who is clean, or who is not on a journey, but fails to keep the Passover, such a person will be outlawed from his people. For not having brought the offering to Yahweh at its appointed time, the person will bear the consequences of the sin.

14 “A resident alien who keeps a Passover for Yahweh, will keep it in accordance with the ritual and customs of the Passover. You willhave one law for alien and citizen alike.” ‘

15 On the day the Dwelling was erected, the cloud covered the Dwelling, the Tent of the Testimony. From nightfall until morning it remained over the Dwelling looking like fire.

16 So the cloud covered it all the time, and at night it looked like fire.

17 Whenever the cloud rose from the Tent, the Israelites broke camp, and wherever the cloud halted, there the Israelites pitched camp.

18 At Yahweh’s order, the Israelites set out and, at Yahweh’s order, the Israelites pitched camp. They remained in camp for as long as the cloud rested on the Dwelling.

19 If the cloud stayed for many days on the Dwelling, the Israelites performed their duty to Yahweh and did not set out.

20 But if the cloud happened to stay for only a few days on the Dwelling, just as they had pitched camp at Yahweh’s order, at Yahweh’s order they set out.

21 If the cloud happened to remain only from evening to morning, they set out when it lifted the next morning. Or, if it stayed for a whole day and night, they set out only when it lifted.

22 Sometimes it stayed there for two days, a month, or a longer time; however long the cloud rested on the Dwelling, the Israelitesremained in camp, and when it lifted they set out.

23 At Yahweh’s order they pitched camp, and at Yahweh’s order they set out. They performed their duty to Yahweh, as Yahweh had ordered through Moses.

Deuteronomy 8

1 ‘You must keep and put into practice all the commandments which I enjoin on you today, so that you may survive and increase in numbers and enter the country which Yahweh promised on oath to your ancestors, and make it your own.

2 Remember the long road by which Yahweh your God led you for forty years in the desert, to humble you, to test you and know your inmost heart — whether you would keep his commandments or not.

3 He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh.

4 The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet were not swollen, all those forty years.

5 ‘Learn from this that Yahweh your God was training you as a man trains his child,

6 and keep the commandments of Yahweh your God, and so follow his ways and fear him.

7 ‘But Yahweh your God is bringing you into a fine country, a land of streams and springs, of waters that well up from the deep in valleys and hills,

8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines, of figs, of pomegranates, a land of olives, of oil, of honey,

9 a land where you will eat bread without stint, where you will want nothing, a land where the stones are iron and where the hills may be quarried for copper.

10 You will eat and have all you want and you will bless Yahweh your God in the fine country which he has given you.

11 ‘Be careful not to forget Yahweh your God, by neglecting his commandments, customs and laws which I am laying down for you today.

12 When you have eaten all you want, when you have built fine houses to live in,

13 when you have seen your flocks and herds increase, your silver and gold abound and all your possessions grow great,

14 do not become proud of heart. Do not then forget Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slave-labour,

15 who guided you through this vast and dreadful desert, a land of fiery snakes, scorpions, thirst;

16 who in this waterless place brought you water out of the flinty rock; who in this desert fed you with manna unknown to your ancestors, to humble you and test you and so make your future the happier.

17 ‘Beware of thinking to yourself, “My own strength and the might of my own hand have given me the power to act like this.”

18 Remember Yahweh your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to act effectively like this, thus keeping then, as today, the covenant which he swore to your ancestors.

19 Be sure: if you forget Yahweh your God, if you follow other gods, if you serve them and bow down to them — I testify to you today — you will perish.

20 Like the nations Yahweh is to destroy before you, so you yourselves will perish, for not having listened to the voice of Yahweh your God.’

Psalm 93

1 Yahweh is king, robed in majesty, robed is Yahweh and girded with power.

2 The world is indeed set firm, it can never be shaken; your throne is set firm from of old, from all eternity you exist.

3 The rivers lift up, Yahweh, the rivers lift up their voices, the rivers lift up their thunder.

4 Greater than the voice of many waters, more majestic than the breakers of the sea, Yahweh is majestic in the heights.

5 Your decrees stand firm, unshakeable, holiness is the beauty of your house, Yahweh, for all time to come.


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