Daily Hope

April 6, 2022 - Numbers 33-34

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana is known for saying many catchy phrases to express his skepticism and view of life and society. History does have similarities and cycles that appear to repeat themselves but always with a slight twist!

Israel is on the cusp of entering the land of promise which the Lord had stated they would inhabit. They had been to the entrance of the land once before and because of unbelief and rebellion they were turned away and made to wander in the wilderness! Moses recounts the history of the journey and key points that occurred while travelling to the land God had promised Israel. A trip that should have taken two weeks continued for 40 years!

History does not repeat itself in this instance. Instead, the Lord gave Moses' instructions for conquering the land (33:50-56). They would occupy the land, but a stern warning was given to Israel if they failed to drive out the inhabitants. If Israel allowed the former occupants to remain in the land, these people would become pricks in Israel's eyes and thorns in her side (33:55).

Further instruction was given in regard to boundaries and how they were to be established in the land once it was conquered. While the locations of the boundaries are not always easily identified, a general outline can be established from the Mediterranean Sea eastward to the Sea of Galilee and down the Jordan River to the Dead Sea. Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh had acquired the land east of the Jordan River. Joshua and Eleazar were to be the leaders that divided the land between the tribes and designated what each tribe received. Each tribe was to appoint a leader to represent them in this process of appropriation.

Mark Twain stated, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." Like the nation of Israel, we can often sin, repent, and follow afresh the Lord's teaching. The problem arises when we learn enough to not commit the same infraction but do one that is similar. May we learn to flee the appearance of sin and not walk close to the line of temptation (1 Timothy 6:11).

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