The Passover Celebrated
9 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, “We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the LORD’s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?” And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.”
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the LORD’s offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”
The Cloud Covering the Tabernacle
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they remained in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they set out. And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.
Numbers 9 Commentary
by Hank Workman
I have a friend who prays about everything, even in the middle of conversations. He told me of several instances where literally in the middle of the conversation with someone, he would pause telling the person to hold a moment, then bow his head. He was looking for a response to whatever they were speaking.
What makes this more astounding to me is he told this story when I was a chaplain for the local police department. You see, he was the Chief of Police at the time. His title didn’t mean anything, his initial actions or even reactions were not something to consider. He sought God for answers over and over again.
I know people who pray about everything. My Mom was one of the greatest prayer warriors I knew. Her life still challenges me today on this aspect. But my friend is also right up there in making such an impact on me. His literally stopping mid-conversation in order to determine how he should respond speaks to the depth of his relationship with Jesus.
This is what I personally find so challenging in the crisis at hand. Passover is being reinstated to the people. This would be their second celebration/festival since they left Egypt. The event marked the first was the night of their deliverance. This now is being set up as a yearly observance and remembrance of God’s deliverance of them.
When this was set by God, several men came to Moses. They were ceremonially unclean yet wanted to participate in the celebration and bring their offerings as well before Him. Were the men caught off guard with the announcement? It’s very possible. This also would have been a hard call on Moses’ part when I think about it. It made sense that these men weren’t ready. Their hearts were right but they weren’t physically able due to their circumstance.
But here’s the lesson, Moses didn’t respond with what he thought was best. “Let me find out what the Lord commands concerning you!” (Numbers 9:8) I dare say, it would have been an easy answer really in particular if the request showed the legitimacy of their hearts. But Moses still looked to God to direct.
God chose not to adjust His requirements. This was all about His holiness, which is why the law was given; respecting their Deliverer and following through with his command, even though they maybe had legitimate reasons. The caveat though here was God provided a second date for them to celebrate after they were clean. He added, didn’t adjust.
We face countless decisions throughout our day. When dealing with another who is struggling or caught in some sin, we also are faced with choices to our response. There are times that what would make sense is an exception to the situation in our advice. Sometimes we maybe compromise unwittingly without realizing it when we speak of our own thoughts in the matter. We must never lose sight of the fact God is working around us.
Sometimes how He is moving and requiring of us or even another may not make sense. But this is where our finite thinking needs to be put aside. God, who is always seeking the bigger picture is looking for obedience. He also continues to set a standard of that obedience with what the Holy Spirit impresses upon us. Jesus knows what is best in the situation for so many reasons.
Before we answer let us be reminded of this story of Moses who sought God for a response. God gave the answer which never compromised who He was. Pray the Holy Spirit will quicken your own response to be much the same when you find yourself in some conversation with another or when a decision is being asked of you. “Let me find out what the Lord says about all this…” should be our first response and then follow whatever He speaks.
Numbers 9 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What an amazing scene!
Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. 16 So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.Numbers 9:15-16 NASB
The pillar of cloud and pillar of fire would remind them that they were with the Lord and that He was also with them. It’s a powerful reminder of how He leads us today. When He leads us into uncharted territory, we will experience His power and authority at deeper levels than ever before. He will give us reminders and keep us on point. He will not take His presence from our sight.
The power in this analogy is that God becomes a compass. When we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will follow His glory and accomplish His will. Today, we have both the Spirit and the Word to guide us in this same way.
“The cloud and the fire were manifestations of God’s will. When the cloud rose, the people were to set out. When the cloud settled, the people were to encamp. There was nothing predictable in the movement or settling of the cloud; all was dependent on God’s sovereignty. The people saw the glory and the will of God in the cloud’s actions.”Nelson’s New Illustrated Commentary