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baseball player March 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Numbers 27:12–30:16

Getting Back on Track

It is almost baseball season, and several players who played poorly last year are looking to get back on track. How do they do that? They need a good plan, discipline, hard work and accountability. What about us—have we failed or lost discipline in our spiritual lives? The Israelites rebelled against God and suffered for it, but now that they are back on track, they need to re-establish good habits. We can learn from them.

The Israelites rebelled against God when he led them to Canaan because they were afraid of giants in the land. As a consequence, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years until those who were at least twenty years old died (except Joshua and Caleb). Now God's period of judgment is complete, and he is bringing the Israelites back on track. This new generation begins to trust the LORD. Although they are still sinners, he is leading the second generation of Israelites from Egypt into Canaan to receive their promised inheritance.

To get back on track it is sometimes necessary to change leadership. Moses and Aaron had been Israel's leaders for the last forty years, but they failed at Meribah; they took glory for themselves when they were told to speak to a rock in order to get water for the Israelites (Numbers 20:9-12; 27:14). The Israelites need new leadership. Moses, the humble and selfless leader that he is, knows he is finished, but he wants God to provide a shepherd to lead the people into the Promised Land. The LORD chooses Moses' aid and military leader, Joshua.

Joshua's name means “savior” and is the Hebrew language equivalent of the New Testament Greek name, “Jesus”. Joshua is a type of Christ (more…). He is a type of Christ because it is Jesus Christ who leads us into the Promised Land of heaven for every person who chooses to follow him. Joshua is filled with the Spirit of God. It is Joshua who always completely obeys the LORD in everything. It is Joshua who will lead the Israelites into victory over their enemies so they can inherit the land. Moses commissions him publicly before all the people to take his place; and then as God directs, Moses gives him some of his authority so they will respect Joshua as they do himself. Moses allows Joshua to go to the priests for spiritual direction from the LORD. At Joshua's command the entire community of Israel moves or sets up camp. It is a wise leader who will realize it is time for him to move on and to ask God for a successor to whom he may hand over authority and responsibility. Pride or profit should not stand in the way of the best interests of the people. Sometimes leaders can repent and change, but at other times there needs to be a change in leadership. Following God's will and keeping people on track is what is most important.

In Numbers 28:1–30:16 there is a directive given to the Israelites regarding sacrifices and vows. What is the purpose of reviewing the daily and periodic sacrifices to the LORD and the law regarding vows? Weren't these taught to the first generation of Israelites when they were before Mount Sinai? Yes, that is true, but that was forty years ago, and their parents were rebels. Most likely the Word of God was not faithfully taught and carried out in their daily practice. They were off track spiritually.

A major part of getting back on track is to re-establish good regular habits. Do we have the spiritual habits of Bible reading, prayer, church, and practicing godliness? There is a special emphasis in this portion of the book of Numbers on daily burnt offerings, in addition to weekly Sabbath offerings, monthly new moon offerings (something new), and the special days of Passover and the Day of Atonement with their accompanying feasts. Our spiritual habits must be daily habits if we want them to be effective. We should read our Bibles, pray, be actively involved in a church committed to following the teachings of God's Word, do good works of kindness in our family and community, and be a witness of his grace and blessings.

In addition to these regulations for the Israelites is a new one regarding the keeping of vows. Keeping vows is extremely important to God (Numbers 30:2). This particular regulation protects Israelite women, especially, from making foolish vows (Numbers 30:3-16). Otherwise, everyone is to keep his/her vows to the LORD and accept whatever consequences there might be. Sometimes, when we seek to get back on track, spiritually, we, too, make rash vows which are difficult to fulfill. The Scriptures warn us about making rash vows (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12). Let us be fully committed to the LORD to obey him, but let us not be over-zealous by making emotionally based promises we cannot keep.

Lessons to Live By

  • When a person (or organization) has gotten away from what he knows he should be doing, he is wise if he considers where he went wrong and then re-establishes good habits.
  • God offers forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life through Jesus Christ (more...). To get back on track spiritually requires confession of sin, asking forgiveness of God and anyone offended, and making any necessary restitution.
  • For an organization to get back on track, it is sometimes necessary to change leadership.
  • major part of getting back on track is to re-establish regular good habits. Do we have regular good spiritual habits of Bible reading, prayer, church, and practicing godliness? Our spiritual habits must be daily habits if we want them to be effective.
  • Let us be fully committed to the LORD to obey him, but let us not be over-zealous by making emotionally based promises we cannot keep.

Focus Verse

Joshua 1:8 (NIV) “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

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A Look Ahead: If Israel stays on track then the LORD will bless. He is jealous over them (and us) in love. He is so jealous that he will act in vengeance against others who try to harm us or will discipline us if we get off track again. God exercises Vengeance and gives Rewards in his love and faithfulness. Find out more in our Next Lesson.

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