Numbers 9 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence Bowlin
The Passover meal and the Shekinah Glory cloud were two great signs of God’s relationship with Israel. The Passover was commemorated to remind Israel of the Lord’s strong hand in delivering them out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and it particularly reminded them of the fact that they had been purchased or redeemed by God through the blood of the sacrifice. Because the Lord had passed over their homes when taking the lives of all the firstborn in Egypt, He had claimed Israel as His firstborn son.
Therefore, in later observances of this sacred meal, if anyone failed to join in the feast, he or she would be excluded from the covenant and cut off from the people of Israel, hence the need for a make-up date for those who were providentially hindered from participating. However, if anyone had no legitimate excuse for failing to participate, he would, indeed, be cut off from Israel, for ultimately, the Passover meal points to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And anyone who fails to share in Christ’s sacrifice is likewise cut off from the New Israel, which is why the disciples were told to wipe the dust off of their feet at the house of any who failed to receive the gospel message.
The Shekinah glory cloud was also a symbol of God’s relationship with Israel; particularly it was a symbol of God’s presence and his protection, and during the time of the wilderness wanderings it also signified His daily guidance. Notice, here, that there are a number of verses describing the same concept over and over again from different perspectives, all of which essentially are stating that at the command of the Lord Israel camped and at His command they set out on a journey. In fact, the word “command” is used again and again to demonstrate that Israel’s every move was dictated by God. Whether the glory cloud remained an hour, and day or many days, the Israelites moved to keep up with it, for by so doing, they were walking with God under his guidance and protection.
Some people today might prefer to have the Lord tell them what to do and when each day, but it wouldn’t take long for the Israelites to grumble and complain against the Lord’s leading. Today the Lord doesn’t give us daily signs and wonders to move us along in our faith, nor does He speak to us through a mediator from a behind a curtain. Instead, He Has spoken to us through His Son in these last days and the Word of Christ and His apostles has been recorded for us that we might know the mind of Christ and might pattern our walk accordingly in a manner pleasing to the Lord. But although we have much more freedom today than the Israelites did in determining what we will do and when or where, we still are called to live our lives according to God’s commands.
Of course, we don’t seek to keep God’s commands in order to be saved. No, those of us who share in Christ’s Passover through the Lord’s Supper observed this sacrament in order to be assured that the Lord has already saved us by grace through faith. But now that we are saved and set aside as God’s purchased possession, as His firstborn, we seek, by the power of the Spirit, to live a life that is worthy of our calling, and the only way we can do that in good conscience is by keeping God’s commands. So we search the Scriptures daily for God’s Divine light to guide us in everything.