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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read the boundries of the land of Canaan. It’s important to realize that this land is not a abstract idea, but rather a tangible, real world place. Both Judaism and Christianity are historical religions. The stories we are reading did happen. The Israilites were enslaved for 400 years, then wandering for 40 until they were given the Promised Land. God did speak to them during this time. This helps us root our fath in both matter, spirit, body and soul.

We are starting to read the psalms of ascent (Psalms 120-134). Some of the psalms of ascent are psalms of joy, others are hymns and aothers are lament. Psalm 120 speaks how God is truly present in thimes of distress. They remind us all about the great joys and trials of life. We are to worship God in all circumstances.

Daily Readings

Numbers 34

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

2 ‘Give the Israelites this order. Say: “When you enter the country (Canaan), this will be the country which forms your heritage. This is Canaan as defined by its boundaries:

3 “The southern part of your country will start from the desert of Zin, on the borders of Edom. Your southern boundary will start on the east at the end of the Salt Sea.

4 It will then turn south towards the Ascent of the Scorpions and go by Zin to end in the south at Kadesh-Barnea. It will then run towards Hazar-Addar and pass through Azmon.

5 From Azmon the boundary will turn towards the Torrent of Egypt and end at the Sea.

6 “Your seaboard will be on the Great Sea; this will be your western boundary.

7 “Your northern boundary will be as follows: you will draw a line from the Great Sea to Mount Hor,

8 then from Mount Hor you will draw a line to the Pass of Hamath, and the boundary will end at Zedad.

9 From there it will run on to Ziphron and end at Hazar-Enan. This will be your northern boundary.

10 “You will then draw your eastern boundary from Hazar-Enan to Shepham.

11 The boundary will run down from Shepham towards Riblah on the east side of Ain. Further down it will keep to the eastern shore of the Sea of Chinnereth.

12 The frontier will then follow the Jordan and end at the Salt Sea. “Such will be your country with the boundaries surrounding it.” ‘

13 Moses then gave the Israelites this order: ‘This is the country, where your heritages will be assigned by lot, and which Yahweh has ordered to be given to the nine tribes and the half-tribe,

14 for the tribe of the Reubenites with their families and the tribe of the Gadites with their families have already received their heritage; the half-tribe of Manasseh has also received its heritage.

15 These two tribes and the half-tribe have received their heritage on the other side of the Jordan by Jericho, to the east, towards the sunrise.’

16 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

17 ‘Here are the names of the men who will divide the country up for you: the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun,

18 and you will take one leader from each tribe to divide the country up into heritages.

19 Here are the names of these men: ‘For the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;

20 ‘for the tribe of the Simeonites, Shemuel son of Ammihud;

21 ‘for the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad son of Chislon;

22 ‘for the tribe of the Danites, the leader Bukki son of Jogli;

23 ‘for the sons of Joseph: for the tribe of Manasseh, the leader Hanniel son of Ephod;

24 ‘for the tribe of the Ephraimites, the leader Kemuel son of Shiphtan;

25 ‘for the tribe of the Zebulunites, the leader Elizaphan son of Parnach;

26 ‘for the tribe of the Issacharites, the leader Paltiel son of Azzan;

27 ‘for the tribe of the Asherites, the leader Ahihud son of Shelomi;

28 ‘for the tribe of the Naphtalites, the leader Pedahel son of Ammihud.’

29 These were the men whom Yahweh ordered to divide Canaan into heritages for the Israelites.

Deuteronomy 33

1 This is the blessing that Moses, man of God, pronounced over the Israelites before he died.

2 He said: Yahweh came from Sinai, from Seir he dawned on us, from Mount Paran blazed forth, For them he came, after the mustering at Kadesh, from his zenith as far as the foothills.

3 You who love the ancestors! Your holy ones are all at your command. At your feet they fell, under your guidance went swiftly on.

4 (Moses enjoined a law on us.) The assembly of Jacob comes into its inheritance;

5 there was a king in Jeshurun when the heads of the people foregathered and the tribes of Israel were all assembled!

6 May Reuben survive and not die out, survive though his men be few!

7 Of Judah he said this: Listen, Yahweh, to the voice of Judah, and bring him back to his people. That his hands may defend his rights, come to his help against his foes!

8 Of Levi he said: To Levi, give your urim, to your faithful one, your thummim, having tested him at Massah, having striven with him at the Waters of Meribah.

9 Of his father and mother, he says, ‘I have not seen them.’ He does not acknowledge his brothers, nor does he know his own children. Yes, they have kept your word, they hold firmly to your covenant.

10 They will teach your customs to Jacob, and your Law to Israel. They will put incense before you and burnt offerings on your altar.

11 Yahweh, bless his worthiness, and accept the actions he performs. Crush the loins of those who rise against him and of his foes, so that they rise no more!

12 Of Benjamin he said: Beloved of Yahweh, he rests trustfully near him. The Most High protects him day after day and dwells between his hillsides.

13 Of Joseph he said: His land is blessed by Yahweh. For him the best of heaven’s dew and of the deep that lies below,

14 the best of what the sun makes grow, of what springs with every month,

15 the first-fruits of the ancient mountains, the best from the hills of old

16 the best of the land and all it holds, the favour of him who dwells in the Bush. May the hair grow thick on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the consecrated one among his brothers!

17 First-born of the Bull, his the glory. His horns are the wild ox’s horns, with which he gores the peoples to the very ends of the earth. Such are the myriads of Ephraim, such are the thousands of Manasseh.

18 Of Zebulun he said: Prosper, Zebulun, in your expeditions, and you, Issachar, in your tents!

19 On the mountain where the people come to pray they offer upright sacrifices, for they taste the riches of the seas and the treasures hidden in the sands.

20 Of Gad he said: Blessed be he who gives Gad space enough! He lies there like a lioness; he has savaged arm and face and head.

21 Then he took the first portion for himself, saw that there was stored up for him a leader’s share. He has come at the head of the people, has carried out the saving justice of Yahweh and his judgements on Israel.

22 Of Dan he said: Dan is a lion cub leaping from Bashan.

23 Of Naphtali he said: Naphtali, sated with favours, filled with the blessings of Yahweh: the west and south are to be his domain.

24 Of Asher he said: Most blessed of the sons let Asher be! Let him be the most privileged of his brothers and let him bathe his feet in oil!

25 Be your bolts of iron and of bronze and your security as lasting as your days!

26 No one is like the God of Jeshurun: he rides the heavens to your rescue, rides the clouds in his majesty!

27 The God of old is your refuge, his the eternal arm which here below drives the enemy before you; he it is who says, ‘Destroy!’

28 Israel rests trustfully. The well-spring of Jacob is chosen out for a land of corn and wine; there heaven itself rains down dew.

29 Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, O victorious people? Yahweh is the shield that protects you and the sword that leads you to triumph. Your enemies will try to corrupt you, but you yourself will trample on their backs.

Psalm 120

1 [Song of Ascents *{* The Songs of Ascents (Pss 120-134) were sung by pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem.} ] To Yahweh when I am in trouble I call and he answers me.

2 Yahweh, save me from lying lips and a treacherous tongue!

3 What will he repay you, what more, treacherous tongue?

4 War-arrows made sharp over red-hot charcoal.

5 How wretched I am, living in Meshech, dwelling in the tents of Kedar!

6 Too long have I lived among people who hate peace.

7 When I speak of peace they are all for war!

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