9/1 Reading (Numbers 33-35; Acts 21)

Numbers 33: Chapter is a retelling of the journey up to this point. Nothing much to add…just that they’ve walked a long way and have been traveling for a long time. Although, at the end God made it clear that they must drive out all the people who currently live in Canaan. If not, they will continue to be a problem for the Israelites.

Numbers 34: Chapter is a description of the boundaries of Canaan. Not much else happens

Numbers 35: Discussion of the distribution of land to the Levites. We learn about the setting aside cities of refuge. We also learn what should happen to people if they accidentally murder someone as well as if they purposely murder someone. The most interesting part comes from the discussion about how much land to give the Levites:

“And as for the towns that you shall give from the possession of the Israelites, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it obtains, shall give of its towns to the Levites” (Num. 35.8).

The larger tribes were given more land than the smaller tribes, so they have to give up more land to the Levites than the smaller tribes. Kinda like distribution of wealth?

Acts 21: Return of the “we” passages. This really makes me want to learn more about this. I will need to start doing some research on the “we” passages. I know that research must exist that addresses them.

Paul arrives in Jerusalem. The leaders are happy with his efforts and the expansion of the church. But they are also concerned:

Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the law. ²¹ They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. (Acts 21.20-21)

So Paul has to go through a purification process in hopes of appeasing the others. It doesn’t work. Paul is caught by some angry Jews and nearly beaten to death. A military leader intervenes, arrests him, and takes him away. The chapter ends with this leader giving Paul permission to address the people.

I just got off the phone with my Dad. We talked for a while about Paul. His story is fascinating. He started as Saul, who sought to kill the early Christians. Jesus visits him and questions why he did those things. He becomes a believer (after he goes blind and Jesus heals him), spreads Christ’s message for several years, then heads back to Jerusalem knowing that he faced prison and persecution. He has to go through a purification process when he returns, but still doesn’t seem afraid. Just amazing.

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