8/30 Reading (Numbers 27-29; Acts 19)

Numbers 27: I like that the first part of this chapter focuses on the daughters of Zelophehad, who didn’t have any sons. I think it’s pretty cool that they had the courage to approach Moses and request inheritance. Then God explained the ordinance/rules that need to be considered in case a man has no sons, or no children, or…and so on. This seems very progressive/modern for that time.

The second half focuses on God telling Moses that it is time for him to pass on his authority to Joshua because he rebelled against God with the rock/water situation in chapter 20. Moses isn’t given another chance and Joshua is officially commissioned as the new leader. Although only some of his authority is given to Joshua: “You shall give him some of your authority, so that all the congregation of the Israelites may obey” (Num. 27.20). Kinda interesting.

Numbers 28: Another chapter on offerings. I’m assuming this is here because of the partial transition of authority from Moses to Joshua. The reader is reminded how to handle a daily offering, month offering, and yearly offerings (specifically with respect to passover and festival of weeks). It’s interesting that even with the recent “promotion” of Joshua, God continues to direct Moses to share this information with the people.

Numbers 29: Another chapter on the festivals. Again, this is following what was done in chapter 28. This chapter focused on the blowing of the trumpet, day of reconciliation, and festival of booths. As with chapter 28, Moses is the one who shares all of this information with the people.

Acts 19: Paul arrives in Ephesus. The notes indicate that this is where he wrote 1 and 2 Corinthians. He was there for over 2 years, so that makes sense. There’s an interesting story here. It centers around Paul and his ability to do miracles:

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, ¹² so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. ¹³ Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” ¹⁴ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. ¹⁵ But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” ¹⁶ Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. (Acts 19.11-16)

Then I read in the notes that Ephesus was a town known for magic. This specific example now makes sense. First, it’s just an interesting story. Second, when Luke wrote this the church was still building and growing. This is a great way to showcase Christianity. Third, this is an effective way to tell people of other faiths that the miracles from God are real and the magic used by others isn’t real.

More turmoil emerges from the supporters of Artemis, chief divinity of Ephesus and her temple. As with earlier problems, the ones creating turmoil can’t show that anything wrong has happened. They are forced to release Paul’s supporters.

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