Numbers: only by blood…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Numbers 14:1-16:35

Focus: Numbers 15:22-36

With children, when they make a genuine mistake, parents are gentle and understanding. However, when they deliberately disobey or cause trouble, parents need to discipline them. One of the hardest things for parents is to draw the fine line between grace and discipline; especially when the genuine, unintentional mistakes are quite serious in matter. The sudden outburst of frustration is not what the child needs, but rather understanding even when accompanied by a firm, yet gracious, rebuke. However, discipline must be made firm, even when gracious, that a child recognises the consequences of their actions. (Heck, the same thing applies to all people at any level…)

God’s dealings with His people is no less different. In the provisions of the sacrificial system, provisions were made for the unintentional sins of the people and individuals. Upon recognising the unintentional sins, they were to bring prescribed offerings to the priest, and by the shedding of blood atonement would be made and they would be forgiven. However, in the event that they intentionally, defiantly sin then that person was to be cut off from the people of God. For despising God’s word and commands, there was no atonement or forgiveness of sin.

Fortunately, in 21st century, in the age of the Kingdom, we live under the atonement of the blood shed by Jesus upon Calvary. It does not change the fact that atonement needs to be made for sin, however, it does change the fact that our guilt is now dealt with. For the ancient Israelite, no sacrifice was sufficient to pay the full penalty of guilt. Only Jesus, by His perfect sacrifice, was able to atone for our guilt in His death. While we may still face the human consequences of our faults, we no longer fear facing the eternal consequence of death and judgment for our sins.

At this point, and in closing, the words of the apostle Paul ring loud (Romans 6:1-14):

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? … For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. … The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. … For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Next Reading: Numbers 16:36-19:22