May 22, Reading 1 – Numbers 35:9-36:13


Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

The Cities of Refuge were places that people guilty of manslaughter could live – restricted but productive lives with their families. Justice was served as far as the victim’s family was concerned too because the person guilty of manslaughter didn’t get off scot-free. Justice in family, church and society needs to show fairness, common sense and humanity.

SJA Notes

* Dear Lord God, great is Your steadfast love toward us, Your faithfulness endures forever!

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.”

This God-given law was in place at the time of Jesus – When the chief priests, leaders of the people, teachers of the law showed their hypocrisy.

In the gospel of Mark we read,

“For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.”


“Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.”

Clearly there was no obedience here to the law given through Moses.

Further down in today’s passage we read,

“Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.”

Mark’s description of Barabbas leaves us in no doubt,

“And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.”

The chief priests knew this law. They were fully aware of what God had said through Moses.

The action of swapping out Barabbas for Jesus went completely against God’s commands.

What of us then? What do we do when God’s word gets in the way of something we want? How do we react when the mirror that is God’s word reveals the truth of our motivations?

James tells us what to do,

“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

It is hard to have the reality of our sinful thoughts and desires being shown up against the holiness of God.

It is hard to choose the narrow way when what we want is that glittering thing down the broad road.

Let’s be encouraged to persevere as God’s word is revealed to us, planted and grown within us.

* Almighty God,

May we delight in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.

Please help us listen to Your word today and onwards.


May 21, Reading 1 – Numbers 34:1-35:8


Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

God set the boundaries of the Promised Land. John in Revelation 21 describes the boundaries of Jerusalem Above. Boundaries remind us that He is our Lord – we respect His will and desire. The Ten Commandments also are boundaries of a different sort. People who accept the boundaries make good neighbours!

SJA Notes

* Mighty God, through the abundance of Your steadfast love we enter Your house, lead us in Your righteousness, make Your way straight before us.

“… From the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few;”

We see here the tithing principle of giving a portion back to the Lord of what He has already given.

The tribes were to give cities to the Levites, the number determined by the size of the land they had (related to the size of the tribe).

We read in God’s word the importance of the first-fruits, the first-born.

In Numbers 3 we read of God’s intent in consecrating, setting apart, the firstborn who opens the womb. We read of the Levites being substituted in for the rest of Israel’s firstborn, and the link to what happened in the rescue out of Egypt.

In Romans 12 we have another layer added onto this understanding,

“I appeal to you therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

We are all in Christ set apart and consecrated. So all that we do is to be first-fruits, given to the Lord.

We are to give back to God from what He has given to us – The best of our work, our time and energy, our worship.

As with Israel so with us – We do not need to give the same as someone else, we do not measure our giving against others in God’s church.

Instead we give our of whatever measure God has given us, with hearts full of generosity.

* Dear Lord God,

Thank You for Your love as Father, Son and Spirit – You have given to us so very much!

Thank You for giving us means to give back to You.

Please help us to wrestle with what we need to give and how we need to give it.

Thank You Lord!


May 20, Reading 1 – Numbers 33


Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Moses recorded every stage of their journey. The succeeding generations needed to know that God kept Israel throughout all their journeys. He knows each stage of your life too. The invasion of Canaan is founded in God’s judgment – with the warning to Israel that the same awaits them if they too are unfaithful to their Creator.

SJA Notes

* Holy God, blessed is the one who makes You their trust. You are the LORD God Almighty, none can compare with You!

“On their gods also the LORD executed judgements.”

There is a symmetry here with the exodus from Egypt (God stamping down the judgement on the Egyptians, on their gods) and the entry and order into the promised land (the eradication of other gods).

“… And destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places.”

_Have no other gods but ME_, says the Lord.

He said it loud and clear as Israel left Egypt.

He says it here as Israel were given the responsibility to act and drive out the people and wipe their gods from the land. Other gods, NOT-YAHWEH gods.

We are called to do the same. To have a single God, the LORD – No other gods but Him.

And the land we are promised, the kingdom that cannot be shaken, our King Jesus is preparing it.

We read in Hebrews 12,

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, …”

We have a kingdom that cannot be shaken!

What is it then to us but that we offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices, acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).

This will guard us in the HERE NOW against idolatry, while we for the NOT YET THERE.

* Dear Lord,

You are a holy God who does not accept other gods.

Please help us to have no other gods but YOU.

Please guard our hearts and minds against idolatry.

Please write Your word on our hearts, to protect us Lord, to teach us Your ways.