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In Case You Missed It -- Numbers 15, Psalm 84

If I had to predict what stuck out to you while reading Numbers 15, I am sure the capital punishment for sabbath-breaking provoked reflection on the importance of the fourth commandment. Also, you might be having difficulty imagining how Israel remembered all the sacrifices they were to offer. Though we could spend more time on those particulars, I want to highlight a recurring theme in Numbers. Three times in today’s chapter, God reiterates that both Israel and foreigners (non-Israelites) are to make the same offerings and in the same way (Numbers 15:13-14, 15:16, 15:29). Many of us are accustomed to thinking of “God’s chosen people” simply as those who are born in the line of Israel. We don’t imagine Israel primarily as those chosen by God and intended to bring the nations into the worship practices of the true God, YHWH. Even in Moses’ day, the circle of God’s “chosen people” wasn’t to be exclusive to Israelites. God commands non-Jewish inclusion to the family of God long before the days when apostle Paul would make this a major theme of his teaching. In Mosaic law, like New Testament theology, being chosen never means that our election is intended to terminate with us or with our kind; rather, we are chosen that we might welcome others into the family of God’s chosen people.

Jeremiah Vaught