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man walking on railroad tracks March 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Numbers 27:12- 30:16

Back on Track

When a train gets off track it may cause hazards to people and property. When a person gets off track in his life, it affects him and possibly his family and organizations to which he may belong. He is wise if he considers where he went wrong and then tries to get back on track. The same is true in sports, businesses, churches and other organizations. How do they get back on track? They need a good plan, discipline, and accountability. What about us – have we gotten off track in our spiritual lives? The Israelites had gotten off course, and now that they were back on track, they needed to re-establish good habits. We can learn from them.

The Israelites had rebelled against God when he led them to the Promised Land because they were afraid of giants in the land. As a consequence, those who were twenty years old and older died over a period of forty years (except Joshua and Caleb). Now God's period of judgment was complete, and he brought them back on track. This new generation began to trust the LORD. Although they were still sinners, he was bringing the second generation of Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land to receive their inheritance.

To get back on track it is sometimes necessary to change leadership. Moses and Aaron had been Israel's leaders for the last forty years, but they had gotten off track when they took glory for themselves in getting water for the Israelites at Meribah (Numbers 20:9-12; 27:14). The Israelites needed new leadership. Moses, the humble and selfless leader that he was, knew he was done, but he wanted God to provide a shepherd to lead the people into the Promised Land. God chose Moses' aid and military leader, Joshua. Joshua's name means “savior” and is the same name as the New Testament name of “Jesus”. Joshua was a type of Christ (more…). Joshua was a type of Christ because it is Christ who leads us into the Promised Land of heaven for every one who chooses to follow him. Joshua was filled with the Spirit of God. It was Joshua who always completely obeyed the LORD in everything. It was Joshua who would lead the Israelites into victory over their enemies so that they could inherit the land. Moses commissioned Joshua publicly before all the people to take his place; and then as God directed, Moses gave him some of his authority so that they would respect Joshua as they did him. Moses allowed Joshua to go to the priests for spiritual direction from the LORD. At Joshua's command the entire community of Israel would move or set up camp. It is a wise leader who will realize it is time for him to move on and to ask God for a successor to whom he may hand over authority and responsibility. Pride or profit should not stand in the way of the best interests of the people. Sometimes leaders can repent and change, but sometimes there needs to be a change in leadership. Following God's will and keeping people on track is what is most important.

In Numbers 28:1- 30:16 there was a directive given to the Israelites regarding sacrifices and vows. What was the purpose of reviewing the daily and periodic sacrifices to the LORD and the law regarding vows? Weren't these taught to the first generation of Israelites when they were before Mount Sinai? Yes, that is true, but that had been forty years ago, and their parents were rebels. Most likely the Word of God was not faithfully taught and carried out in their daily practice. They were off track spiritually. A major part of getting back on track is to re-establish regular good habits. Do we have the regular good spiritual habits of Bible reading, prayer, church, and practicing godliness? There is a special emphasis in this portion of the book of Numbers on daily burnt offerings, in addition to weekly Sabbath offerings, monthly new moon offerings (something new), and the special days of Passover and the Day of Atonement and their accompanying feasts. Our spiritual habits must be daily habits if we want them to be effective. We should read our Bibles, pray, be actively involved in a good church, do good works of kindness in our family and community, and be a witness of God's grace and blessings.

In addition to these regulations for the Israelites was a new one regarding the keeping of vows. Keeping vows is extremely important to God (Numbers 30:2). This particular regulation protected Israelite women, especially, from making foolish vows (Numbers 30:3-16). Otherwise, everyone was to keep his/her vows to the LORD and accept whatever consequences there might be. Sometimes when we seek to get back on track, spiritually, we, too, make rash vows that are difficult to fulfill. The Scriptures warn us about making rash vows (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12). Let us be fully committed to the LORD to obey him, but let us not be over-zealous by making emotionally based promises we cannot keep.

Lessons to live by:

  • When a person (or organization) has gotten away from what he knows he should be doing, he is wise if he considers where he went wrong and then re-establishes good habits.
  • God offers forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life through Jesus Christ (more...). To get back on track spiritually requires confession of sin, asking forgiveness of God and anyone offended, and making any restitution necessary.
  • For an organization to get back on track, it is sometimes necessary to change leadership.
  • A major part of getting back on track is to re-establish regular good habits. Do we have regular good spiritual habits of Bible reading, prayer, church, and practicing godliness? Our spiritual habits must be daily habits if we want them to be effective.
  • Let us be fully committed to the LORD to obey him, but let us not be over-zealous by making emotionally based promises we cannot keep.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (NIV)

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