What You’ve Missed…
* Balaam died. No word on that awesome donkey of his though.
* God tells Moses he’s going to die soon. I wonder how awkward that conversation was.
* We finished the book of Numbers and now find ourselves in Deuteronomy, where Moses is giving an incredibly long farewell speech, mostly reminding the people of everything that’s happened over the last forty years. My high school history teacher had a hard enough time keeping the attention of 35 young adults who were confined to desks in a small classroom. How the heck does Moses speak to a million people in the middle of the desert?
Daily Readings: Numbers 25, Deuteronomy 2-3, Deuteronomy 9
Rather than focus on one crazy or bizarre aspect of the Bible today, I want to quickly hit on three. And seeing as it’s Monday, and you’re probably in the middle of getting some serious work or procrastination accomplished, I’ll go ahead and get this party started.
One. There is a dude in the Bible named Phinehas, and that dude is a serious badass. Basically at this point in the story some of the Israelite men have gotten a little too friendly with the local Moabite women, yeah, that kind of “friendly”, and have as a result, defiled themselves and all of Israel. God tells Moses to have these men executed in broad daylight. I’ll let Scripture speak for itself here.
“Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent…when Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spear and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped…” (Numbers 25:6-8)
Yeah. That’s a scene straight out of 300. (I wonder if he had beautifully sculpted abs as well.) Also, this might be the quickest “quickie” in the history of mankind. Forget Elvis. Phinehas is a man who knows how to take care of business.
Two. Speaking of badasses, Israel as a whole also knows how to throw down. As God continues to bring His people to the Promised Land, he has them conquer a few nations in the process. Actually, “wipe out” is probably a better phrase. Why? Because the Israelites took some advice from that bad guy karate teacher in The Karate Kid whose hobby (and profession) is to train suburban kids to fight each other in ancient hand-to-hand combat. His advice and personal motto which the Israelites adopted? “No mercy.”
“Then King Sihon declared war on us…But the LORD our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed everyone – men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared.” (Deuteronomy 2:32-35)
Did you get that? The good guys, God’s chosen people, killed everyone. Even children. They didn’t take prisoners. They didn’t have pity on the handicapped or the weak. For any sports fans out there, let me put it this way; the Israelites showed up to play.
Oh yeah. They did this more than once. No mercy indeed. Score one for the Cobra Kai. (Author’s note: The new Karate Kid movie makes me weep for the future.)
Three. So the book of Deuteronomy recaps a lot of what’s happened, and in Chapter 9 Moses recounts the deal with the golden calf idol. Now, I don’t know if the guy is bragging or what, but he throws in some info we didn’t seem to get the first time around. I would like to share this information with you now.
“I was there (on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments) for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water.” (Deuteronomy 9:9)
I was pretty impressed with this, until a few verses later when Moses mentions how he came down the mountain to find the people sinning by worshiping the idol they’d made. It was what Moses said next that completely shattered my brain.
“Then, as before, I threw myself down before the LORD for forty days and forty nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed…” (Deuteronomy 9:18)
By my reckoning, Moses didn’t eat in between these two events, which means, Moses didn’t eat or drink anything for eighty straight days! I can hardly make it from breakfast to lunch without a snack, and this guy goes eighty days without anything!?! That’s almost three months! Three months without food or water! Is that even scientifically possible? I mean, clearly it happened, and I believe it…it just blows my mind. (I’m open to the idea that it is possible Moses had a li’l somethin’ somethin’ to eat on his way down the mountain…but still…even one meal in 3 months is pretty much the same as no meals in 3 months.)
Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
Real hungry. Lunch couldn’t have come at a better time.