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Numbers 15 is not disconnected from Numbers 14, which ends with disobedient people trying to enter the Promised Land after they had rejected it. The rebellious Israelites were routed in that battle.
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, which I am giving you,” (Numbers 15:1–2 NASB)
This message is not for those who rebelled and were to die in the wilderness. This message is for the younger generation.
The rebellious ones tried to “repent” but they were actually acting in further rebellion. This is written for our understanding so we will know how God acts and thinks. When we say “no” to God and then we try to say “yes,” sometimes our “yes” comes too late. God cannot be mocked. When we try to assume that God will keep His promises to us on our terms and not on His terms, we invite trouble on ourselves.
“… then make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering or a sacrifice to fulfill a special vow, or as a freewill offering or in your appointed times, to make a soothing aroma to the LORD, from the herd or from the flock.” (Numbers 15:3 NASB)
Every freewill offering is pleasing to God because of the heart of the person bringing it. Everything we give to God is something God gave to us first.
We see in Numbers 15:4-12 that the more expensive the animal, the greater the grain and wine offerings to accompany it. There is a reason to all these offerings.
“All who are native shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD. If an alien sojourns with you, or one who may be among you throughout your generations, and he wishes to make an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, just as you do so he shall do. As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD. ‘There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.” (Numbers 15:13–16 NASB)
The sacrifices a person presented have more to do about their social status not necessarily their wealth (Numbers 15:17–21).
When they were ready to enter the land, the first thing the people were to do is to give a freewill offering of a portion of the harvest. When you give a gift to God, you are really giving it to your High Priest, Yeshua. God wants to be appreciated for His gifts, just as we want to be appreciated when we give a gift (Numbers 15:22–26).
God’s response to a sin done in ignorance, whether it’s an individual or a communal sin is to request an offering of repentance. The priest will run interference and present the offerings to God. God winks as long as we remain ignorant but once God shows us our error, we have to respond in repentance.
Most of us have entered into the community ignorant of God’s rules until God show them to us. We had no knowledge about the Sabbath or the Holy Days until God showed them to us. We used to enjoy Christmas and Easter and He winked at our ignorance until He was ready to show us the truth. God is not looking to find fault with all of us, He is looking to save us from our faults.
The native born is to do sacrifices, the sojourner can if they wish. However if the sojourner chooses to present a sacrifice to the Lord, they are to do it the same way the Israelite does it. The bar will not be lowered for the sojourner. If you are just a visitor, God doesn’t require anything of you but if you want to join the community, become a citizen of Israel, you have to act like a citizen of Israel, upholding the same standards. You receive the same blessings but you also take on the same burdens and responsibilities (Numbers 15:30–31).
For a native Israelite be “cut off” from the people means he is no longer a part of the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He no longer has any rights to those promises. You can not mock God and expect for it to end well.
The latter part of this chapter is an example of a presumptuous person. This story is not inserted randomly.
“Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.’ So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (Numbers 15:32–36 NASB)
This man had been in the community for at least three years. He knew when the Sabbath was, he knew what resting meant, yet he didn’t care to rest. This stoning took place outside the camp, “cut off” from the community.
What we see and do really does matter to God. We ignore the Word of God and do what we want to do at our peril.
Tassels on garments
“The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.’” (Numbers 15:37–41 NASB)
This tassels, or ציציתות tzitzitot (H6734), are made from multiple strands of thread. The more strands woven together, the stronger the tzitzit. That shows the strength and power of God’s word.
Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.