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home March 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Numbers 27:1-11; Numbers 34, 35, 36

A Place to Call Our Own

We all want a place to call our own. Families want their own homes. Teachers want their own classrooms. Office workers want their own spaces. Ministers want their own places of ministry. In today's Bible reading we see that the Israelites are no different. Sure, they now have a recognized homeland, but until God brings them into the Promised Land of Canaan, they are but strangers and wanderers in the wilderness (Hebrews 11:8-9).

The Promised Land of Canaan is a picture of heaven. We are also wanderers and strangers on earth, but some day, if we have a personal relationship with God through faith in his Son Jesus Christ, we will not only have peace with the LORD, forgiveness, and spiritual life (more...)—we will also be citizens of heaven (Hebrews 13:14; Revelation 22:14).

The LORD marks out the borders of Israel's land before she enters it. Her land stretches from Lebanon and Syria in the north to the Yarmuk River to the east to the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee). Then its borders trace south to the Jabbok River and Arnon River, east of the Jordan River to the south of the Dead Sea, east of Edom's northern border. From there the border follows west to the brook (Wadi) of Egypt in the south and follows along the Mediterranean Sea all the way to the northern border (see map). This place would be home to the Israelites. Is there a place for us in heaven where we can call our home?

Jesus says

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:2-3, NIV).

Is your place in heaven secure? If so, you can rejoice! If not, you can secure a place, not by holding it with a Visa card, but by having your sins washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:27 says “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (NIV). The blood of Jesus Christ will wash you as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18) and you will wear a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10a). If you have the robe of righteousness, you have the Visa to secure your room in heaven. Furthermore, God seals you with his Holy Spirit, so that you are his child with rights, privileges and an inheritance in heaven (Ephesians 4:30; 1Peter 1:3-5).

In our space or place of our own we want security, and we want to be treated right. Under Israel's theocratic system of government, God looks after her interests. He sets up a justice system, specifically dealing with murder. He orders six cities of refuge to be built where an accused murderer can flee to find protection until his case is decided (also see Deuteronomy 19).

So, will everyone who murders another person be protected? No. Although in recent lessons we learned that God does not want us to act in vengeance, the LORD allows appointed Israelites (usually male family members) to act in vengeance on behalf of their loved one who is murdered. No one, however, is to be put to death unless at least two witnesses see the killing. The accused murder, unless found guilty, is to live in the city of refuge until the high priest dies; then he can return to his own home and property. If he is tried and found guilty, however, he is turned over to the avenger of blood. Through this system God brings justice and peace to the land. Praise the LORD that in heaven there will be no murders or other violence; it will be a place of perfect peace (Isaiah 9:7).

Another principle we may apply from God's justice system is to treat all people with fairness and equity. How do we do this in our family, our church, our business, or other organizations? We are not to execute anyone—that is our government's job—but do we have any discipline procedures in place to bring justice and peace in our organizations? Do we give people a fair hearing before meeting out discipline? Do we deal with injustice and/or criminal acts with equity and fairness? If we do these things our family, business, church or other organization will most likely be a place of peace.

Securing Our Position

In today's Bible reading we also learn that there is a threat to one of the clans of Israel because God granted property rights to some widows (Numbers 27:1-7). The threat is that if they marry into some other tribe, their own property rights will be lost (Numbers 36:1-4). How well do we protect property rights for widows and their families and others who might lose them? We must speak up for the widows, orphans, and those who are destitute, defending their rights and caring for their needs (Psalm 68:5; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27). The situation is resolved by the decision that the widows must marry within their own tribe and so preserve their inherited property.

We were once spiritually destitute orphans. Who preserves our spiritual inheritance for us? Jesus says he left us the Holy Spirit when we came into the family of God so that we would not be like orphans, alone and destitute (John 14:17-18). The Apostle Peter writes,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV).

It is the LORD who preserves our heavenly inheritance. Let's praise him for that.

Lessons to Live By

  • If we have a personal relationship with God through faith in his Son, we not only will have peace with God, forgiveness, and spiritual life (more...)—we will also be citizens of heaven (Hebrews 13:14; Revelation 22:14).
  • If you have the robe of righteousness, you have the Visa to secure your room in heaven. Furthermore, God seals you with his Holy Spirit so that you are his child with rights and privileges and an inheritance in heaven.
  • Praise the LORD that in heaven there will be no murders or other violence; it will be a place of perfect peace.
  • Like God provides a homeland and places of safety, we should provide peace and safety in our home, business, church, or other organizations.
  • Treat all people with fairness and justice.
  • It is God who preserves our heavenly inheritance.

Focus verse

Deuteronomy 16:20, NIV “Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: Like the Israelites, we want the best for our children, but we all make mistakes. When we reflect back on our lives, what did we do that we regret and wish the next generation will do differently? Deuteronomy is a repeat of the first law and is given to the second generation of Israelites so they might obey and be blessed by God in the Promised Land.

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