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February 24 - Morning

"Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you."
- Deuteronomy 4:2

Do Not Add and Do Not Subtract from the Commands of the Covenant


This statement, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it,” is typical language found in Near Eastern treaty documents form the time of the book of Deuteronomy.  Assyrian King Esarhaddon and Babylonian King Hammurabi both used this formula when they declared and wrote their laws. Hammurabi included this same warning and called down curses on those who altered his laws.  Egyptian scribes included this policy in their documents. This same feature forbidding alteration of the text of the covenant and laws is also found in the Lipit-Ishtar law code.

Yet, the Words of God are more than the policies of a human government. This command from God continues throughout the record of the revealed Words from God. The command that the custodians of God's written revelation maintain the integrity of God’s Word is a policy demanded and enforced throughout the text of Scripture:

Deuteronomy 12:32: “See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Proverbs 30:6: “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”
Galatians 3:15: “ Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.”
Revelation 22:18: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.”
Ro’sh (Hb) – Head (Eng) – ro’sh is the Hebrew noun that is translated as “head,” “top,” “first,” and “sum.” To lift up your head in Job 10:15 was meant to declare yourself innocent, but in Psalm 83:2 the lifting up of your head meant you intended to start a war.
Do I have friends that serve as my counselors? Do I have a source of daily advice? Am I a friend that can and does provide wise council to those who trust me? I will surround myself with wise counselors who can help me prevail in life.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

Numbers 3

General Text




Personal

Spouse

Church

Avoid immorality
Welfare
Australia



Fragments from the stone decorations of the New Testament Temple Mount.
A labeled model of the south side of the Temple Mount as it appeared in 70 AD.




Someone to Quote

"You have your joys where you have your longings."
- Tertullian, 197 AD

Something to Ponder

There is a clear scriptural chain of prophetic continuity through the complete Old Testament revelation from Moses in 1440 BC until Nehemiah 407 BC.

- Moses - Gen.- Deut (Neh 9:14; Luke 24:27
- Joshua - End of Deut., Joshua
- Samuel - history of Samuel and David (1 Chron. 29:29)
- Nathan & Gad - recorded events in the reign of David (1 Chron. 29:292 Chron. 12:15)
- Nathan, Ahijah, Iddo - wrote Solomon's day (2 Chr9:29-31)
- Shemaiah, Iddo - chronicled events in Rehoboam's reign (2 Chron. 12:15)
- Iddo - wrote of the events of Abijah's reign(2 Chron. 13:22)
- Jehu - recorded events Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:34)
- Isaiah - Isaiah wrote of the events of the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:32
- (Hozai?) - An unknown prophet wrote of Manasseh’s reign (2 Chron. 33:19)
- Jeremiah - prophesied and recorded the final days of Judah during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim through Zedekiah (Jeremiah 1:1-3)
- Ezekiel - prophecied and recorded events from July 5, 593 until April 28, 573 BC during the Babylonian captivity (Ezek. 1:2; 40:1)
- Daniel - l prophesied and recorded events from 605-536 B.C. or from Jehoiakim of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon until Cyrus and Darius of the Medo-Persians (Daniel 1:1; 10:1)
- Ezra - taught the word of God and recorded events to exiles returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 6:18; 7:11; 9:4) - Zechariah - prophesied to Jerusalem in 520 BC (Zechariah 1:1)
- Malachi - Malachi closed the time of revelation around 432 BC – until the coming of “the prophet Elijah”, or, John the Baptist (Malachi 4:5)
- Nehemiah - Nehemiah was governor in Jerusalem for two terms (445-432 and a second term somewhere between the years 430-407). Nehemiah compiled the final prophetic books with all the previous revelation into an organized collection of written revelation known to Christians today as the Old Testament (Nehemiah 1:1; 5:14;13:6)

Here’s a Fact

The Persians designed a highway system, or The Persian Royal Road. It ran 1,700 miles from Susa through Arbela (near Nineveh) to Sardis on the cost of the Agean Sea. The road was paved in necessary places, maintained by the state and had stations posted every 15 miles so the couriers could get a fresh horse. (The Persians invented horseshoes for this road.) A letter would travel from Sardis to Susa in 7 days. In other words it was possible to communicate between Jerusalem and Susa, or between the land of Judah and Babylon in a matter of days. (Maps)

Proverb

"The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers."
- Proverbs 24:5-6

Coach’s Corner

Opportunities can be completely missed or totally exploited.

Job 10:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 
If I am guilty—woe to me!     Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame     and drowned in my affliction.
Psalm 83:2
New International Version (NIV)

See how your enemies growl,     how your foes rear their heads.
Exodus 10
New International Version (NIV)
The Plague of Locusts
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.[a] 11 No! Have only the men go and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.[b] Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
The Plague of Darkness
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”
25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”
Footnotes:
  1. Exodus 10:10 Or Be careful, trouble is in store for you!
  2. Exodus 10:19 Or the Sea of Reeds
Numbers 17
New International Version (NIV)
The Budding of Aaron’s Staff
17 [a]The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”
So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.
The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.
10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.
12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?”
Footnotes:
  1. Numbers 17:1 In Hebrew texts 17:1-13 is numbered 17:16-28.
Numbers 3
New International Version (NIV)
The Levites
This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.
The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstborn and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai. They had no sons, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.
The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a] 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”
11 The Lord also said to Moses, 12 “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”
14 The Lord said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai, 15 “Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.” 16 So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.
17 These were the names of the sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
18 These were the names of the Gershonite clans:
Libni and Shimei.
19 The Kohathite clans:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
20 The Merarite clans:
Mahli and Mushi.
These were the Levite clans, according to their families.
21 To Gershon belonged the clans of the Libnites and Shimeites; these were the Gershonite clans. 22 The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 7,500. 23 The Gershonite clans were to camp on the west, behind the tabernacle. 24 The leader of the families of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael. 25 At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use.
27 To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites; these were the Kohathite clans. 28 The number of all the males a month old or more was 8,600.[b] The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary. 29 The Kohathite clans were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 30 The leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31 They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use. 32 The chief leader of the Levites was Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsible for the care of the sanctuary.
33 To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites; these were the Merarite clans. 34 The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 6,200. 35 The leader of the families of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail; they were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle. 36 The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use, 37 as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs and ropes.
38 Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the east of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.
39 The total number of Levites counted at the Lord’s command by Moses and Aaron according to their clans, including every male a month old or more, was 22,000.
40 The Lord said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names. 41 Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the Lord.”
42 So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the Lord commanded him. 43 The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273.
44 The Lord also said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the Lord. 46 To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, 47 collect five shekels[c] for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. 48 Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”
49 So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites. 50 From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels,[d] according to the sanctuary shekel. 51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.
Footnotes:
  1. Numbers 3:9 Most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint (see also 8:16) to me
  2. Numbers 3:28 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts 8,300
  3. Numbers 3:47 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams
  4. Numbers 3:50 That is, about 35 pounds or about 16 kilograms


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