Blessed and set apart….

17 03 2011

DAY SEVENTY-FOUR : Numbers 2 v. 10 – 3 v. 51; Luke 1 v. 39 – 56; Psalm 34 v. 1 – 10

NUMBERS – following on from yesterday’s reading, God continues to instruct Moses on the layout of the camp, clan by clan. On the south side will be the Reuben, Simeon and Gad clans (151,450 men); the Levites will camp around the Tent of Meeting; on the west side will be the Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin clans (108,100 men); finally, on the north side will be the Dan, Asher and Naphtali clans (157,600 men).
So, they set themselves out, just as God instructed.

Thumbnail picture of Levite, High Priest and Priest

The Levites
– Aaron’s family (Nadab and Abihu (who both perished when they brought ‘unauthorised fire’ into the tabernacle), Eleazor and Ithamar), the priests, are to be assisted by the Levite clan, who will take care of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting.
The Levites represent the ‘firstborn males’ of all in Israel – “The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine.”
The Levites are counted, from the sons of Levi, Gershon, Kohath and Merari and their clans.
Gershonites (7,500 males) camped on the west and were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, coverings and curtains.
Kohath clans (8,600 males) camped on the south and were responsible for the care of the sanctuary, the ark, table, lampstand, altars, under the direction of Eleazar.
Merari clans (6,200 males) camped on the north and were responsible for the care of the frames, crossbars, posts, pegs and ropes.

I loved the clan called the “Mushites” – I’d like to have been a Mushite, I think – son of Mush !!

Moses and Aaron and families camped to the east of the Tabernacle, keeping charge of the sanctuary.

Total number of Levites – 22,000.
When the total number of firstborn males across Israel was counted, it came to 22,273, so for the Levites to represent all the firstborn males, the excess 273 was covered by a ‘redemption’ tax – 5 shekels for each one (1,365 shekels total) were collected. The money was given to Aaron and sons.

The redemption money, and the Levites representing / substituting for the firstborn of all Israel, do point me towards Jesus’s redemption of us, and His standing in for us, in our place.LUKE
Mary visits Elizabeth – how touching this moment is, when Elizabeth gets a surprise visit from Mary, and the baby in her womb leaps for joy. Elizabeth is the next in Luke’s gospel to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” and she pronounces a string of blessings – Mary is blessed, the holy baby she is carrying is blessed, Elizabeth herself is blessed, and Mary once more is blessed!

Mary’s Song – just as Miriam burst into spontaneous song having crossed the Red Sea and escaped their slavery in Egypt, Mary sings out her joyful praise (her ‘magnificat’).
She sings of her devotion to God – her Lord, her Saviour
She sings of her humility and blessedness
She sings of God’s might and holiness,
His faithfulness throughout the ages.
His raising up of the humble (Mary, herself, an example of this).
He brings down the proud.
He fills the hungry, and empties the wealthy.
He remembers His covenant with Israel.

If Mary stayed three months, I guess she was there for the birth of John – what a moment !
Then she returns to Nazareth, her pregnancy certainly evident to all by then. What a vulnerable position for her to be in. I wonder if she’d been tempted to stay with her relatives, Elizabeth, Zachariah and baby John ?
Interesting context for this psalm, set when David is pretending to be mad before Abimelech, before being driven away (poss. 1 Samuel 21 v. 10 – 15).
“I will bless the Lord at all times – His praise shall continually be in my mouth….
I sought the Lord and He heard me – and He delivered me from all my fears….
O taste and see that the Lord is good – blessed is the one who trusts in Him….
Those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing.”




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