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Jan 29, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 29

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Desert Wanderings

You taught Israel to walk in faith through 40 years’ wandering in the desert: Help me to trust in you today, O God.


Disappointingly, immediately after the blessings of Balaam comes news that the people are drawn into sexual sin and idol worship of the Baal of Peor.  It is interesting to note that the animals Israel was commanded to sacrifice were animals revered by the surrounding nations.  It has been suggested that one reason for the commands was to help free Israel from the tendency to idol worship that had taken hold of them in Egypt, that is in evidence here in chapter 25, and that will be a continual temptation to them in Canaan.

A second census is taken as the people prepare to enter the Promised land and divide it among the tribes.  The twelve tribes do not exactly correspond to the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel:  Instead of a single tribe of Joseph, there are two tribes named after his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  The tribe of Levi has no allotment of the land.  Instead, they will be given cities in every tribe so they can perform their duties among all the tribes of Israel.

Today’s Reading

Numbers 25-28

Today’s Question

Who is designated to succeed Moses, and what is he appointed to do?

Join the discussion below!

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  • Joshua son of Nun was chosen to be the successor of Moses – to continue and lead the Isrealites into the Promised Land so that there’s continuety in leadership. Bible tells us he was a man of the Spirit and would be a good shepherd to the flock as is our Lord Jesus to us Christians.

    • Every time I read the Old Testament, I find something new. I agree. Joshua is a symbol of what Jesus will do fully and completely later on.

  • Moses must die of same transgression with his brother on striking the rock. But before he die he must be satisfied to see the view of the promised land, Canaan as the sight for better life or believed to be heavenly. He has a peaceful death and be rested together with the other Patriarchs. He won’t have any fear of evil in the dark valley of death as he just merely passing waiting for Jesus Christ to raise them up.

    • Jose, I often wondered what happened to OT people who sinned and therefore were put to death. We sin and when we repent are forgiven and hopefully with prayer and confession are back in God’s graces. But these poor people sinned and some got death soon thereafter. Now those like Moses who yes he sinned because he didn’t directly follow God’s instructions was truly a righteous man and will go to heaven, but the had to wait for JC? Can you please explain further.

      • Luz, The answer to that is really very uncertain. Today we could have some ideas from Judaism. But they are primarily focused on life here and now rather than on the afterlife, Judaism does not have much dogma about the afterlife, and leaves a great deal of room for personal opinion. As Christians, whenever we are ask that question, we begin explaining that by what happened at the Transfiguration, and God said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:1-5 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him……. ) The encounter in the OT is usually God speak face to face, while today, we listen to the Word, Jesus Christ. Like the good thief on the cross, Jesus speak face to face, today you will be with me in Paradise. The New Covenant was

        • In this bible study group we are truly blessed to have you in our group. Thank you for shedding some light on many thought provoking questions that the entire group brings up. I cannot thank you enough.

          • Thank you so much. What I have Luz, is just my desire to share the understanding from Christ gifts, not my own. It is not also a learning from any formal education at school of Divinity and Religious Study or a degree, because I have nothing. I believed I have this because of my faith and perseverance in my faith.

  • We see God’s spirit working through Moses when he changed Hoshea’s name to Joshua, he must have foreseen the making of a great leader and warrior to lead the people. Today, in our church we see that same spirit (the Holy Spirit) working when our cardinals choose our pope.

  • Moses had put his faith and trust in the Lord for so many years. Moses was a humble man and obeyed God’s wishes most of the time. He asked the Lord to “appoint a man over the congregation, who shall go out before them and come in before them…and that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd.” Numbers 27:16-17 God had Joshua in mind and instructed Moses to take Joshua before the priest, Eleazar and the congregation in order to show that Joshua was now their leader.
    Joshua was more of a military leader than a spiritual leader and it was his task to lead the Israelites into Canaan, the promised land. In this reading I look upon Joshua as being the conduit that the Israelites needed in order to enter the promised land.
    When Jesus died for our sins, the gates of heaven were opened and we have been allowed access to be with our eternal Father. But here is the caveat. There are hills and valleys that we encounter throughout our life here on earth. The devil and his evil doings have one goal, which is to keep us away from the gates of heaven! Could these be the false gods that the Israelites were enjoying along with the extras when they encountered the Moabites? Are their false gods any different from ours of today? I don’t think so. The devil is so cunning and ruthless. Again, I am reminded that God’s unconditional love for us has no bounds. He will take care of us if we allow Him to enter our heart completely and without question.
    May the devil hear this and take heed of the faith of the Catholic church! We will beat you to the ground, you slimy creature!
    May God bless each and everyone that hears God’s call! May God also bless those that need to hear God’s call!

  • God knows we humans need human leaders who are strong, worthy, true, and faithful to Him whom we can follow. Which is why we see Joshua chosen as that leader who would lead the Israelites into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. But not before he is consecrated before the Lord. Our leaders are carefully and prayerfully chosen as well…and consecrated before the Lord. The commissioning and consecration of God’s chosen is a sacred sign given by God for the benefit of his people…Let us remember this as we honor and respect those chosen to lead us in the various offices blessed in this manner in the Church today.

  • Joshua succeeded Moses. He was commissioned as the Israelites’ shepherd, to lead them in and out of battle, and given SOME of Moses’ own power. The footnote is interesting: in the ceremony Eleazar, the priest, sought confirmation from the Lord for Joshua’s commissioning, indicating that Joshua did not possess the gift of direct revelations from God as Moses had.

  • To me God’s choise of Joshua is a big duh. In everything we read Joshua has been faithful. Only he and Caleb were faithful to God when they were sent to view the promised land, He has been Moses faithful number one.

    • Joshua, not really a big duh!!!. He is the most able leader of Israelites. God appoints a successor, even Joshua; who had signalized himself by his courage in fighting Amalek, his humility in ministering to Moses, and his faith and sincerity in witnessing against the report of the evil spies. This man God appoints to succeed Moses; a man in whom is the Spirit, the Spirit of grace. He is a good man, fearing God and hating covetousness, and acting from principle. He has the spirit of government; he is fit to do the work and discharge the trusts of his place. He has a spirit of conduct and courage; he had also the Spirit of prophecy. That man is not fully qualified for any service in the church of Christ, who is destitute of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whatever human abilities he may possess. And in Joshua’s succession we are reminded “that the law was given by Moses,” who by reason of our transgression could not bring us to heaven; but “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” for the salvation of every believer.

      • Jose that is exactly what I meant by duh. If I were the president of a big corporation, Joshua is the man, I would appoint. CEO. Joshua has truely earned this position.

        • Thanks Barbara, I really thought so, and don’t worry, both of us truly emphasized the role of Joshua as the type of Jesus in the final analysis of human salvation. Alleluia!! Alleluia!!!

    • Barbara, I think we must have the same sense of humor. I should take a lesson from your ability to be succinct in your posts, however. Joshua does seem the logical choice for successor.

  • Some key events took place in these chapters – the Hebrew culture was being invaded casually by some Hebrew’s marrying Moabite women and adopting their religious beliefs. God was being replaced by foreign gods. The event is written about so abruptly that the message taken is that we as a society could be easily misdirected. And don’t we know it. In the 1950s, America was at its height in Catholic worship. Less than 40 years later, society fell into trappings of contraceptives (which lead to a greater attention to pornography) and gay lifestyles, to the point that disagreeing with any one of these things is seen as hateful.

    It’s interesting that Chapter 26 focuses on the population of the Hebrew’s (specifically the military) indicating that the numbers fell in 40 years – you’d imagine the numbers to have grown

    Chapter 27 provides some insights into Hebrew culture and rights of women; for which they gained property. The insertion of such a law at this point demonstrates God’s mercy as well as demonstrating that all members of God’s people, including women, are in need to be protected and cared for.

    Also in Chapter 28, Moses lays hands on Joshua to lead the people into the Promised Land. Joshua becomes their new leader. And a great choice it was – he was totally devoted to God. Notice how power/authority is passed on from one to another – by the laying of hands and always in the “presence” of God.

    • I especially like your reference in Ch 28 how power/authority is passed on: the laying on of hands and in the presence of God! Thanks!

    • Interesting note that the population has fallen. But remember that during the forty years in the desert the entire generation over the age of twenty have died. Caleb and Joshua and being the only exceptions, There have also been several groups which have been wiped out as punishments (ie Korah’s rebellion). After reviewing the accounts of the Israelites unfaithfulness. It is a miracle that as many made it to the promised land as did. And even these are proving themselves to be weak.

    • Joe, I agree of your mention of America’s decadence in moral degradation. The most prophetic Humanae Vetae encyclical of the 60’s could have prevented the prevalence of the use of contraceptives and promiscuity, but evil spirit was much stronger that many of Catholic Churches today are now closing and bankrupt.

    • If I may add Joe on Chapter 27, Hebrew Women’s Rights. The five daughters of Zelophehad considered themselves as left
      destitute, having neither father nor brother to inherit any land. Their
      believing expectation that the word of the Lord would be performed in
      due season, and their desire of an interest in the promised inheritance;
      and the modest, candid manner in which they asked, without secret
      murmurs or discontents, are a good example.

      They ask for a possession in
      the land of Canaan. Herein they discovered, 1. Strong faith in the
      power and promise of God, concerning the giving of the land of Canaan to
      Israel. 2. And earnest desire of a place and name in the land of
      promise, which was a type of heaven. 3. Respect and honor for their
      father, whose name was dear to them now he was gone.

      He never had done
      any thing that might bar his children’s claim. It is a comfort to
      parents when they come to die, if though they have smarted for their own
      sin, yet they are not conscious of any of those iniquities which God
      will visit on their children. God himself gives judgment. He takes
      notice of the affairs, not only of nations, but of private families, and
      orders them according to his will. The petition is granted. Those who
      seek an inheritance in the land of promise, shall have what they seek
      for, and other things shall be added to them.

    • I sometimes get bogged down and frustrated when reading the Old Testament. Thanks for your summary, it clarified some things for me.

  • Moses asks the Lord to set over the community someone who would be a leader in all things, to guide them in their actions and to be like a shepherd over the sheep (Jesus is the ultimate leader in all these ways). The Lord recognized Joshua as a man with qualities of a good leader, courageous, prudent, and with a strength of will and had Moses invest him with laying on of hands. Recognizing him before the whole community and putting God’s (and Moses’) stamp of approval on Joshua so the Israelites would obey him. Joshua is to present himself to the priest Eleazar so the decisions of the Lord will be made clear to him so the entire community will act in one accord with the Lord.

  • When reminded of God’s judgement that he would not enter the promised land, Moses’ first thought was for his people. He knew how much they needed the right leader to lead them into battle and then to shepherd them. To be a leader in all seasons looking after the physical and spiritual well-being of such an unruly flock to my mind, is asking the impossible. But then one of the many wonderful things about God is that He does the impossible.

    I noticed that in answering Moses’ prayer, God asked Moses to invest Joshua with some of the power God had given Moses. Moses’ simply obeyed. He didn’t plead, beg or begrudge the power transfer. The answer to Moses’ prayer involved giving up some power yet Jesus tells his disciples “Ask and it shall be given unto you”. Most of the time when we ask, we receive (even if it is a no, or not yet), when certain people pray, God asks them for something to enable the prayer to be answered. When some people ask how they may serve God, they are led to the married or single life, a ministry in the Church etc. Whilst others are asked to give up things such as wealth, a career and/or lifestyle to take Holy Orders, religious vows or adopt a different way of life. Yet the giving up is not a loss but a “freeing up” for the next step in life’s journey. It seems to me that in praying and investing some of his power in Joshua, Moses would be free for the next step in his journey.

  • In Chapter 26, notice is here taken of and not numbered the children of Korah; they died not, as the children of Dathan and Abiram; they seem not to have joined even their own father in rebellion. If we partake not of the sins of sinners, we shall not partake of their plagues too.

    • In distributing these tribes, the general rule of equity is prescribed; that to many should be given more, and to fewer less. Though it seems left to the prudence of their prince, the matter at last must be settled by the providence of God, with which all must be satisfied.

  • Pax et Bonum!

    Hola! My name is Rafael, this is my 1st post. I have been on this Bible study
    journey from day 1. I notice a parallel in the book of Numbers and the book of
    Acts, where Paul (already commissioned by Christ) needs hands (Church) to be laid on him before he’s authorize to preach the Gospel. In the book of Numbers 27:18, 22 God is telling Moses, “Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man in whom the Spirit dwells, and [lay] your hands on him. […] and to give him a share of your authority, so that the whole community of the Israelites may obey him…laid his hands on him and instructed him, as Yahweh had directed through Moses. In The Book of Acts we read hands being laid on another person (really 2): “On one occasion while they were celebrating the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have called them.” So, after fasting and praying, they “laid their hands” on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3) Saint Paul was called by Jesus (vocation/John 15:16), but the church commissioned Paul. Jesus delegated his authority to the Apostles (the church) when He said: “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.”
    (Luke 10:16) God bless!

    • Hello Rafael , Hola, welcome, fa’afetai lava, thanks, you have really been Spirit filled. May God bless you and all your love ones.

    • Thanks Rafael, citing divine Tradition in the words of St. Paul. “Jesus delegated his authority to the Apostles (the church) when He said: “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.”(Luke 10:16) Added Timothy to the picture, “If I (St. Paul) am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great…” [1 Tim. 15-16]. Refuting Protestant’s Sola Scriptura position clearly biblical here and rejected by them. Insisting that we could come (saved) to Christ without the church. Really??

      • Gracias Jose, 1st Tm 3:15 is one of the many verses I remembered when I 1st started studying apologetics (1st Peter 3:15; Acts 17:16-34). Joe, I always wonder, which church Jesus had in mind when He taught his apostles. “If your brother or sister has sinned against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are in
        private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If you are not listened to, take with you one or two others so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he still refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the [Church],…(Mt
        18:15-17). (Which church are we suppose take the dispute to?) God bless!

        • A couple of things I read regarding Matthew 18:15-17 and the “church” Jesus refers to:
          1. Some theologians suggest this verse was written at a later date, after the Church was established.
          2. Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience, and at that time, there was no separation of church and state. Grievances were brought before the priests and the judges. The church was the religious leaders at the time in Judaism, not the Church as we understand it now, after Pentecost.

          Pentecost was the birth of the Catholic Church, where the Eucharist was and is celebrated.

          • Amen! Gracias Helena! Pentecost was the birth of the Catholic church, and The Last Supper was the birth of the Apostolic [succession] of the Priesthood–God bless!!!

  • I found Moses is a very passionate person. He killed the Egyptian when his people was mistreated. Now when he knew that he & Aaron were not allowed to be at the Promise Land, he worried about their welfare of his people and asked God to select a leader to lead them. God selected Joshua because he was please in God’s eyes as a faithful person. The Spirit of God will lead him regardless he is a powerful person or not. God wants us to be faithful to Him and He will take care of the rest.

  • Joshua was chosen as the leader of the Israelites to succeed Moses. “And the LORD replied to Moses: Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hand upon him.
    Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole community, and commission him in their sight. Invest him with some of your own power, that the whole Israelite community may obey him.” Numbers 27: 18-20

    This triggered a memory with me when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Joshua was a leader in battle for God and the Israelites as we are in battle to defend our faith when receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.

  • Its like putting a new coach in before the big game! Joshua has much on his plate but his qualities and “resume” so to speak are top notch.

  • Looking at the next generation of leaders, it appears natural that Joshua would be the choice as he has shown his faith in the Lord and his willingness to fight to gain and maintain the Promised Land for the Israelites. Joshua is appointed to not only lead the people into the Promised Land but to be their leader and shepherd – he has the task of going before them to assure their safety, to care for them and to protect them from their enemies. God gave Joshua “some” of Moses’ authority (Numbers 28, 20). I am curious what authorities were not granted Joshua? God did this so “all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey.” Hopefully, the sons of Israel read this verse because they seem to forget this part over and over again.
    It is commendable of Moses that he has not complained or tried to explain away his disobedience of the Lord’s command regarding the stone. He has silently taken his punishment and it has not appeared to impair is leadership of the people. He is a good man.

  • Moses trusted Joshua and had been mentoring him for leadership for a long time. Ex.32:15-20, stuck in my memory how Joshua heard the noise in the camp, and from that incident with the golden calf he may have really understood for the first time the trials and tribulations required of a leader for God. He understood his appointment of the rituals of offerings; Daily, Monthly, Passover and designated Feasts for the Lord. As our Priests of today complete the offerings at Mass, Joshua will maintain his leadership for the people by fulfilling the ritual offerings Moses taught him.

  • Joshua was designated by the Lord to Succeed Moses to go to war to defend Israel against its enemies and to lead the people into the Promised Land…

    The Lord tells Moses to choose Joshua and lay hands on him to be his successor and the new leader of the people of Israel. This is a gesture that precludes the Apostolic Succession that Jesus initiated before His Passion and death on the cross on the night He was betrayed. From His Apostles, it was then passed down to the ones that were chosen in every generation. This has become the tradition of the Catholic Church up to the present day. +

  • Joshua succeeds Moses because God knows the character and abilities of all people and therefore knows best whom to appoint. God says, “Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man of spirit,” which may mean one who is endowed with a courageous spirit and ability for leadership.

    Moses laid his hands on Joshua and commissioned him, as the Lord had directed. It is Joshua who will go out for battle and lead the people to the promised land.

  • As The Lord is speaking to Moses about him rebelling against his order to manifest his sanctity by means of water he let him know that his life would be taken. Moses then ask the Lord to appoint someone in his place. With or without Moses inquiring this God already knew whom he was going to appoint. I do this as well I ask similar questions when in actuality Instead I need to put my trust in God because he already has the plan sketched out for each of us before brining us into the World. Although, instead of the Lord letting Moses know he’s taken care of this already he let’s him know before anyone else that Joshua will succeed him. He mentions that Joshua as the son of. Nun, a man of spirit.

  • God told Moses who he was to appoint to be the leader of Israel and he had Joshua anointed by the priest. It was the work of the Lord and Joshua was who God chose because he was obedient to the Lord. Moses recognized it was time to pass the leadership and was obedient. Leadership is a commission to be used by the Lord as the Lord chooses. Mankind looks for power but the power is the Lord’s.

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