Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4- Marching Orders

March 4, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Numbers 2:1-3:51; Mark 11:27-12:17;
Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:24-25

Numbers 2:1-3:51

Marching orders in the military are instructions from a superior officer for troops to depart.  Today we see Israel's superior military officer (God) giving instructions for how the tribes of Israel were to position themselves around the Tabernacle to move the camp and march towards the Promised Land.

Four tribes were the lead tribes and were given banners that had a symbol on them.  Some bible experts believe that these symbols were an ox, an eagle, a lion, and a man.  Those symbol are seen again in the book of Ezekiel and in the book of Revelation. When the tribes saw their banner go up the people of those tribes knew to go under their banner in order to move the camp. 

The camp was set up in the following order:
  • East of the Tabernacle: Tribes of Judah (Lion), Issachar, and Zebulun
  • South of the Tabernacle: Tribes of Reuben (Man), Simeon, and Gad
  • West of the Tabernacle: Tribes of Ephraim (Ox), Manasseh, Benjamin
  • North of the Tabernacle: Tribes of Dan (Eagle), Ashur, Naphtali and Levi
We are told that the Levites are considered a substitute for the first born of each family of Israel, which must be dedicated to the Lord.  Instead of taking everyone's first born male, God sets aside the tribe of Levi to play that role (Lev. 3:45-48).  Remember, God is painting a picture of a spiritual reality.  His first born son is going to save the world.  God is using the nation of Israel as a living picture.

The census established the Israelites' pedigree.  They knew their genealogical position, which told them who they were.  These marching orders tell them their place within the community.   Do you know your spiritual pedigree?  Are you part of God's family?  Also, do you know your place within that community?  What are your gifts?  How do you fit within the body? 

It is important to know who you are in Christ and what your marching orders are as you march towards the blessed Christian life on this earth and eventually into the new heaven and the new earth for eternity.

Mark 11:27-12:17

We were just talking about pedigree and position.  Jesus has both pedigree and position, but today in the New Testament reading the Pharisees are questioning both of these in Jesus.  They ask who has given him the authority to drive out the merchants in the Temple.  I'm sure they were upset that the money they were going to glean as a percentage of the take from those merchants is now in jeopardy.  Anyway, Jesus tests their faith and courage by asking by what authority did John the Baptist baptize people.  The Pharisees are afraid to answer because John was a popular person among the Israelites. By the time Jesus is asking this, John had become a martyr. Jesus is showing that he is as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.

Jesus launches into a story when the Pharisees refuse to answer him.  Let me just take a minute to reemphasize that God is a story teller. He loves stories and knows that teaching truth is best done through stories.  This whole book, the Bible, is a story.  We are living characters in His magnificent tale.  Our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good decisions and bad decisions reflect His beautiful complicated masterpiece.  We are important to the story.  The Pharisees are important characters, too, and Jesus is about to give a picture of their role in the story.  He does this through the story of the man who planted a vineyard (God), then let tenant farmers (the nation of Israel and the religious leaders) tend the land while he was gone.  When he sent his servants (the prophets) to harvest the land, the tenant farmers beat up his servants.  Then the man finally sent his son (Jesus).  The wicked tenant farmers killed the son. Jesus says that the man (God) will kill the wicked farmers and give the land to others (believing Israelites and Gentiles who trust in Christ).  Well, that sums up the gospels, folks!

Needless to say, the Pharisees now want to kill Jesus.  Ha!  The story is prophetic.

What character are you in God's story?  Are you a good guy or an evil guy?

Psalm 47:1-9

Vs. 4 He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance... Vs. 8 God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne.  These are prophetic words for Israel and for all people on earth.

Proverbs 10:24-25

"The fears of the wicked will all come true; so will the hopes of the godly."  If you have the proper hope, which is hope in God, this statement is true.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. That would be very cool if the banners had those same figures mentioned in Ezekiel.

  2. Yes. It would tie things together, nicely. These also remind me of the creatures John sees in the book of Revelations.

  3. Maybe credit the source of the image you are using? ;)