Before the people of Israel are to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land, Moses recounts to the people all of their past journeys and instructs them according to God’s word. We see throughout Scripture that right before God fulfills His promises, there are often times of waiting and resting. These are not times to he ignored or squandered, but they are for our benefit and for us to understand our purpose in moving forward.
Judeo-Christian Clarion — Portions
The weekly Torah portion, called a ‘parashah’, combined with a Haftorah and New Testament reading can help us to see the themes which run throughout Scripture. We have this yearly Scripture reading schedule here for you.
Matot + Massei: Drive Out the Inhabitants
As the time for Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness begin to draw to a close, God instructs Moses on how the people are to conduct themselves when they enter the land. They are not to show any mercy on the inhabitants, but are to drive them out and destroy their idols. What can we learn from God’s instructions to the people who are about to enter the land?
Pinchas: The Zeal of Phinehas
The previous portion concluded with the end of a plague brought on by the Israelites’ affair with the daughters of the Midianites and their idols. The plague was brought to a close when Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, drove a spear through an Israelite man and the Midianite girl he had just brought home. God rewards him for this act, which was done in zeal. But what is zeal, and what is its place in the life of a believer?
Balak: The Counsel of Balaam
Balaam, asked by the king of Moab to curse Israel, finds himself in an interesting predicament. The king of Moab asks him to curse Israel, but Balaam is only able to say what God tells him to. After all is said and done, Balaam was not able to curse Israel and collect the reward for doing so, but this is not the last we hear of him.
Chukat: The Brazen Serpent
The story of the bronze serpent is one that naturally piques one’s interest. There are some striking parallels between this account and the words of Yeshua (Jesus), so we are going to take a closer look at this.
Korach: Korah’s Sin
Korah was a Levite, born into the tribe which God had chosen to serve Him in a special way. In this portion, he and a group of leading men in the community rise up against Moses, saying that he has assumed too much in making himself the leader of the people, even though it was God who had put both Moses and Korah in their respective roles. Although this is an extreme example of discord compared to anything we may encounter in our lives, there are lessons here which are important to learn.
Shelach: Seeing and Disbelieving
This portion depicts the sad results of the Israelites’ unbelief. After the spies come back from the land of Canaan, they tell the people that the inhabitants of the land are too powerful to overcome. We see that the writer of Hebrews warns us, believers, about falling into disobedience according to their example. Therefore we are going to take a closer look and see what this means for us.
Beha’alotcha: Meat Lovers
When reading through the records of the children of Israel wandering through the wilderness, we see their behavior is far from ideal. Perhaps we have looked down on their poor attitudes and convinced ourselves that if we had been among them in those days, surely we would have acted much different. Let’s take a closer look.
Naso: The Nazirite
One of the ways the Israelites could assume an extra level of dedication to God was to take on a Nazirite vow. There were special regulations which applied to this person for a predetermined period of time, and during this time they were devoting themself to God in a special way. Let’s take a closer look.
Bamidbar: Duties of the Levites
The book of Numbers derives its name from the fact that the first chapter records the size of each of the tribes of Israel, counting all of the men who are of the age where they would be able to go into battle. The Levites, however, were not included in this census, because their job consisted solely of caring for the things of God, and thus they wouldn’t go out into battle like the rest of the nation.