Rev. Wayne Huebner, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Affton, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Numbers 15.
The whole nation has rebelled, and God has pronounced judgment on the older generation of Israel. To add insult to injury, they charged into battle against God’s command even after their punishment was pronounced.
Numbers 15 answers the questions that naturally arise: What would happen now? Would they still be God’s people? Would God still forgive them? God speaks to the people words of reassurance and comfort: their children will still inherit the Promised Land, and they may all still participate in Israel’s cherished rituals to receive God’s forgiveness. Even if the whole nation forgets one of God’s commands, even if a foreigner violates one of the rules, there is forgiveness for all people if they would receive it in repentance and faith. From beginning to end, as even their blue tassels testify, God is foremost concerned about His relationship with His people.
Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
Laws About Sacrifices
15 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you, 3 and you offer to the Lord from the herd or from the flock a food offering[a] or a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or at your appointed feasts, to make a pleasing aroma to the Lord, 4 then he who brings his offering shall offer to the Lord a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah[b] of fine flour, mixed with a quarter of a hin[c] of oil; 5 and you shall offer with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, a quarter of a hin of wine for the drink offering for each lamb. 6 Or for a ram, you shall offer for a grain offering two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a third of a hin of oil. 7 And for the drink offering you shall offer a third of a hin of wine, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 8 And when you offer a bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or for peace offerings to the Lord, 9 then one shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with half a hin of oil. 10 And you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, as a food offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
11 “Thus it shall be done for each bull or ram, or for each lamb or young goat. 12 As many as you offer, so shall you do with each one, as many as there are. 13 Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 14 And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. 16 One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”
17 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 18 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land to which I bring you 19 and when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall present a contribution to the Lord. 20 Of the first of your dough you shall present a loaf as a contribution; like a contribution from the threshing floor, so shall you present it. 21 Some of the first of your dough you shall give to the Lordas a contribution throughout your generations.
Laws About Unintentional Sins
22 “But if you sin unintentionally,[d] and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses, 23 all that the Lordhas commanded you by Moses, from the day that the Lord gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord for their mistake. 26 And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.
27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. 30 But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the Lordand has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”
A Sabbathbreaker Executed
32 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. 35 And the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.
Tassels on Garments
37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow[e] after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”
- Numbers 15:3 Or an offering by fire; so throughout Numbers
- Numbers 15:4 An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters
- Numbers 15:4 A hin was about 4 quarts or 3.5 liters
- Numbers 15:22 Or by mistake; also verses 24, 27, 28, 29
- Numbers 15:39 Hebrew to spy out