Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 37

Numbers 11–15, 1 Corinthians 1–2

Bible text(s)

The Place Named Taberah

1The people began to complain to the LORD about their troubles. When the LORD heard them, he was angry and sent fire on the people. It burnt among them and destroyed one end of the camp. 2The people cried out to Moses for help; he prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. 3So the place was named Taberah, because there the fire of the LORD burnt among them.

Moses Chooses Seventy Leaders

4There were some foreigners travelling with the Israelites. They had a strong craving for meat, and even the Israelites themselves began to complain: “If only we could have some meat! 5In Egypt we used to eat all the fish we wanted, and it cost us nothing. Remember the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic we had? 6But now our strength is gone. There is nothing at all to eat — nothing but this manna day after day!”

7(Manna was like small seeds, whitish yellow in colour. 8-9It fell on the camp at night along with the dew. The next morning the people would go round and gather it, grind it or pound it into flour, and then boil it and make it into flat cakes. It tasted like bread baked with olive oil.)

10Moses heard all the people complaining as they stood about in groups at the entrances of their tents. He was distressed because the LORD was angry with them, 11and he said to the LORD, “Why have you treated me so badly? Why are you displeased with me? Why have you given me the responsibility for all these people? 12I didn't create them or bring them to birth! Why should you ask me to act like a nurse and carry them in my arms like babies all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? 13Where could I get enough meat for all these people? They keep whining and asking for meat. 14I can't be responsible for all these people by myself; it's too much for me! 15If you are going to treat me like this, take pity on me and kill me, so that I won't have to endure your cruelty any longer.”

16The LORD said to Moses, “Assemble seventy respected men who are recognized as leaders of the people, bring them to me at the Tent of my presence, and tell them to stand there beside you. 17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the spirit I have given you and give it to them. Then they can help you to bear the responsibility for these people, and you will not have to bear it alone. 18Now tell the people, ‘Purify yourselves for tomorrow; you will have meat to eat. The LORD has heard you whining and saying that you wished you had some meat and that you were better off in Egypt. Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19You will have to eat it not just for one or two days, or five, or ten, or even twenty days, 20but for a whole month, until it comes out of your ears, until you are sick of it. This will happen because you have rejected the LORD who is here among you and have complained to him that you should never have left Egypt.’ ”

21Moses said to the LORD, “Here I am leading 600,000 people, and you say that you will give them enough meat for a month? 22Could enough cattle and sheep be killed to satisfy them? Are all the fish in the sea enough for them?”

23“Is there a limit to my power?” the LORD answered. “You will soon see whether what I have said will happen or not!”

24So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He assembled seventy of the leaders and placed them round the Tent. 25Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the spirit he had given to Moses and gave it to the seventy leaders. When the spirit came on them, they began to shout like prophets, but not for long.

26Two of the seventy leaders, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp and had not gone out to the Tent. There in the camp the spirit came on them, and they too began to shout like prophets. 27A young man ran out to tell Moses what Eldad and Medad were doing.

28Then Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' helper since he was a young man, spoke up and said to Moses, “Stop them, sir!”

29Moses answered, “Are you concerned about my interests? I wish that the LORD would give his Spirit to all his people and make all of them shout like prophets!” 30Then Moses and the seventy leaders of Israel went back to camp.

The LORD Sends Quails

31Suddenly the LORD sent a wind that brought quails from the sea, flying less than a metre above the ground. They settled on the camp and all round it for many kilometres in every direction. 32So all that day, all night, and all the next day, the people worked catching quails; no one gathered less than a thousand kilogrammes. They spread them out to dry all round the camp. 33While there was still plenty of meat for them to eat, the LORD became angry with the people and caused an epidemic to break out among them. 34That place was named Kibroth Hattaavah (which means “Graves of Craving”), because there they buried the people who had craved meat.

35From there the people moved to Hazeroth, where they made camp.

Numbers 11GNBOpen in Bible reader

Miriam is Punished

1Moses had married a Cushite woman, and Miriam and Aaron criticized him for it. 2They said, “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?” The LORD heard what they said. 3(Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth.)

4Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “I want the three of you to come out to the Tent of my presence.” They went, 5and the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance of the Tent, and called out, “Aaron! Miriam!” The two of them stepped forward, 6and the LORD said, “Now hear what I have to say! When there are prophets among you, I reveal myself to them in visions and speak to them in dreams. 7It is different when I speak with my servant Moses; I have put him in charge of all my people Israel. 8So I speak to him face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he has even seen my form! How dare you speak against my servant Moses?”

9The LORD was angry with them; and so as he departed 10and the cloud left the Tent, Miriam's skin was suddenly covered with a dreaded disease and turned as white as snow. When Aaron looked at her and saw that she was covered with the disease, 11he said to Moses, “Please, sir, do not make us suffer this punishment for our foolish sin. 12Don't let her become like something born dead with half its flesh eaten away.”

13So Moses cried out to the LORD, “O God, heal her!”

14The LORD answered, “If her father had spat in her face, she would have to bear her disgrace for seven days. So let her be shut out of the camp for a week, and after that she can be brought back in.” 15Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until she was brought back in. 16Then they left Hazeroth and set up camp in the wilderness of Paran.

Numbers 12GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Spies

(Deut 1.19–33)

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Choose one of the leaders from each of the twelve tribes and send them as spies to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” 3-15Moses obeyed and from the wilderness of Paran he sent out leaders, as follows:

Tribe Leader
Reuben Shammua son of Zaccur
Simeon Shaphat son of Hori
Judah Caleb son of Jephunneh
Issachar Igal son of Joseph
Ephraim Hoshea son of Nun
Benjamin Palti son of Raphu
Zebulun Gaddiel son of Sodi
Manasseh Gaddi son of Susi
Dan Ammiel son of Gemalli
Asher Sethur son of Michael
Naphtali Nahbi son of Vophsi
Gad Geuel son of Machi

16These are the spies Moses sent to explore the land. He changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua.

17When Moses sent them out, he said to them, “Go north from here into the southern part of the land of Canaan and then on into the hill country. 18Find out what kind of country it is, how many people live there, and how strong they are. 19Find out whether the land is good or bad and whether the people live in open towns or in fortified cities. 20Find out whether the soil is fertile and whether the land is wooded. And be sure to bring back some of the fruit that grows there.” (It was the season when grapes were beginning to ripen.)

21So the men went north and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin in the south all the way to Rehob, near Hamath Pass in the north. 22They went first into the southern part of the land and came to Hebron, where the clans of Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of a race of giants called the Anakim, lived. (Hebron was founded seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23They came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there they cut off a branch which had one bunch of grapes on it so heavy that it took two men to carry it on a pole between them. They also brought back some pomegranates and figs. 24(That place was named the Valley of Eshcol because of the bunch of grapes the Israelites cut off there.)

25After exploring the land for forty days, the spies returned 26to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had brought. 27They said to Moses, “We explored the land and found it to be rich and fertile; and here is some of its fruit. 28But the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there. 29Amalekites live in the southern part of the land; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and Canaanites live by the Mediterranean Sea and along the River Jordan.”

30Caleb silenced the people who were complaining against Moses, and said, “We should attack now and take the land; we are strong enough to conquer it.”

31But the men who had gone with Caleb said, “No, we are not strong enough to attack them; the people there are more powerful than we are.” 32So they spread a false report among the Israelites about the land they had explored. They said, “That land doesn't even produce enough to feed the people who live there. Everyone we saw was very tall, 33and we even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that is how we must have looked to them.”

Numbers 13GNBOpen in Bible reader

The People Complain

1All night long the people cried out in distress. 2They complained against Moses and Aaron, and said, “It would have been better to die in Egypt or even here in the wilderness! 3Why is the LORD taking us into that land? We will be killed in battle, and our wives and children will be captured. Wouldn't it be better to go back to Egypt?” 4So they said to one another, “Let's choose a leader and go back to Egypt!”

5Then Moses and Aaron bowed to the ground in front of all the people. 6And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of the spies, tore their clothes in sorrow 7and said to the people, “The land we explored is an excellent land. 8If the LORD is pleased with us, he will take us there and give us that rich and fertile land. 9Do not rebel against the LORD and don't be afraid of the people who live there. We will conquer them easily. The LORD is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them; so don't be afraid.” 10The whole community was threatening to stone them to death, but suddenly the people saw the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appear over the tent.

Moses Prays for the People

11The LORD said to Moses, “How much longer will these people reject me? How much longer will they refuse to trust in me, even though I have performed so many miracles among them? 12I will send an epidemic and destroy them, but I will make you the father of a nation that is larger and more powerful than they are!”

13But Moses said to the LORD, “You brought these people out of Egypt by your power. When the Egyptians hear what you have done to your people, 14they will tell it to the people who live in this land. These people have already heard that you, LORD, are with us, that you are plainly seen when your cloud stops over us, and that you go before us in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15Now if you kill all your people, the nations who have heard of your fame will say 16that you killed your people in the wilderness because you were not able to bring them into the land you promised to give them. 17So now LORD, I pray, show us your power and do what you promised when you said, 18‘I, the LORD, am not easily angered, and I show great love and faithfulness and forgive sin and rebellion. Yet I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.’ 19And now, LORD, according to the greatness of your unchanging love, forgive, I pray, the sin of these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”

20The LORD answered, “I will forgive them, as you have asked. 21But I promise that as surely as I live and as surely as my presence fills the earth, 22none of these people will live to enter that land. They have seen the dazzling light of my presence and the miracles that I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they have tried my patience over and over again and have refused to obey me. 23They will never enter the land which I promised to their ancestors. None of those who have rejected me will ever enter it. 24But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land which he explored, and his descendants will possess the land 25in whose valleys the Amalekites and the Canaanites now live. Turn back tomorrow and go into the wilderness in the direction of the Gulf of Aqaba.”

The Lord Punishes the People for Complaining

26The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 27“How much longer are these wicked people going to complain against me? I have heard enough of these complaints! 28Now give them this answer: ‘I swear that as surely as I live, I will do to you just what you have asked. I, the LORD, have spoken. 29You will die and your corpses will be scattered across this wilderness. Because you have complained against me, none of you over twenty years of age will enter that land. 30I promised to let you live there, but not one of you will, except Caleb and Joshua. 31You said that your children would be captured, but I will bring them into the land that you rejected, and it will be their home. 32You will die here in this wilderness. 33Your children will wander in the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last one of you dies. 34You will suffer the consequences of your sin for forty years, one year for each of the forty days you spent exploring the land. You will know what it means to have me against you! 35I swear that I will do this to you wicked people who have gathered together against me. Here in the wilderness every one of you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken.’ ”

36-37The men Moses had sent to explore the land brought back a false report which caused the people to complain against the LORD. And so the LORD struck them with a disease, and they died. 38Of the twelve spies only Joshua and Caleb survived.

The First Attempt to Invade the Land

(Deut 1.41–46)

39When Moses told the Israelites what the LORD had said, they mourned bitterly. 40Early the next morning they started out to invade the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go to the place which the LORD told us about. We admit that we have sinned.”

41But Moses said, “Then why are you disobeying the LORD now? You will not succeed! 42Don't go. The LORD is not with you, and your enemies will defeat you. 43When you face the Amalekites and the Canaanites, you will die in battle; the LORD will not be with you, because you have refused to follow him.”

44Yet they still dared to go up into the hill country, even though neither the LORD's Covenant Box nor Moses left the camp. 45Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived there attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hormah.

Numbers 14GNBOpen in Bible reader

Laws about Sacrifice

1The LORD gave Moses 2the following regulations for the people of Israel to observe in the land that he was going to give them. 3A bull, a ram, a sheep, or a goat may be presented to the LORD as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice in fulfilment of a vow or as a freewill offering or as an offering at your regular religious festivals; the smell of these food offerings is pleasing to the LORD. 4-5Whoever presents a sheep or a goat as a burnt offering to the LORD is to bring with each animal a kilogramme of flour mixed with one litre of olive oil as a grain offering, together with one litre of wine. 6When a ram is offered, two kilogrammes of flour mixed with 1.5 litres of olive oil are to be presented as a grain offering, 7together with 1.5 litres of wine. The smell of these sacrifices is pleasing to the LORD. 8When a bull is offered to the LORD as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice in fulfilment of a vow or as a fellowship offering, 9a grain offering of three kilogrammes of flour mixed with two litres of olive oil is to be presented, 10together with two litres of wine. The smell of this sacrifice is pleasing to the LORD.

11That is what shall be offered with each bull, ram, sheep, or goat. 12When more than one animal is offered, the accompanying offering is to be increased proportionately. 13All native Israelites are to do this when they present a food offering, a smell pleasing to the LORD. 14And if at any time foreigners living among you, whether on a temporary or a permanent basis, make a food offering, a smell that pleases the LORD, they are to observe the same regulations. 15For all time to come, the same rules are binding on you and on the foreigners who live among you. You and they are alike in the LORD's sight; 16the same laws and regulations apply to you and to them.

17The LORD gave Moses 18the following regulations for the people of Israel to observe in the land that he was going to give them. 19When any food produced there is eaten, some of it is to be set aside as a special contribution to the LORD. 20When you bake bread, the first loaf of the first bread made from the new corn is to be presented as a special contribution to the LORD. This is to be presented in the same way as the special contribution you make from the corn you thresh. 21For all time to come, this special gift is to be given to the LORD from the bread you bake.

22But suppose someone unintentionally fails to keep some of these regulations which the LORD has given Moses. 23And suppose that in the future the community fails to do everything that the LORD commanded through Moses. 24If the mistake was made because of the ignorance of the community, they are to offer a bull as a burnt offering, a smell that pleases the LORD, with the proper grain offering and wine offering. In addition, they are to offer a male goat as a sin offering. 25The priest shall perform the ritual of purification for the community, and they will be forgiven, because the mistake was unintentional and they brought their sin offering as a food offering to the LORD. 26The whole community of Israel and the foreigners living among them will be forgiven, because everyone was involved in the mistake.

27If an individual sins unintentionally, he is to offer a one-year-old female goat as a sin offering. 28At the altar the priest shall perform the ritual of purification to purify the person from his sin, and he will be forgiven. 29The same regulation applies to all who unintentionally commit a sin, whether they are native Israelites or resident foreigners.

30But any person who sins deliberately, whether he is a native or a foreigner, is guilty of treating the LORD with contempt, and he shall be put to death, 31because he has rejected what the LORD said and has deliberately broken one of his commands. He is responsible for his own death.

The Man who Broke the Sabbath

32Once, while the Israelites were still in the wilderness, a man was found gathering firewood on the Sabbath. 33He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community, 34and was put under guard, because it was not clear what should be done with him. 35Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must be put to death; the whole community is to stone him to death outside the camp.” 36So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD had commanded.

Rules about Tassels

37The LORD commanded Moses 38to say to the people of Israel: “Make tassels on the corners of your garments and put a blue cord on each tassel. You are to do this for all time to come. 39The tassels will serve as reminders, and each time you see them you will remember all my commands and obey them; then you will not turn away from me and follow your own wishes and desires. 40The tassels will remind you to keep all my commands, and you will belong completely to me. 41I am the LORD your God; I brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD.”

Numbers 15GNBOpen in Bible reader

1From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes —

2To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Blessings in Christ

4I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. 5For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. 6The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you 7that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. 11For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. 12Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ”. 13Christ has been divided into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples?

14I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. 16(Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.

Christ the Power and the Wisdom of God

18For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power. 19The scripture says:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”

20So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skilful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness!

21For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For what seems to be God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

26Now remember what you were, my brothers and sisters, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29This means that no one can boast in God's presence. 30But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free. 31So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”

1 Corinthians 1GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Message about the Crucified Christ

1When I came to you, my brothers and sisters, to preach God's secret truth, I did not use big words and great learning. 2For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially his death on the cross. 3So when I came to you, I was weak and trembled all over with fear, 4and my teaching and message were not delivered with skilful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God's Spirit. 5Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God's power.

God's Wisdom

6Yet I do proclaim a message of wisdom to those who are spiritually mature. But it is not the wisdom that belongs to this world or to the powers that rule this world — powers that are losing their power. 7The wisdom I proclaim is God's hidden wisdom, which he had already chosen for our glory even before the world was made. 8None of the rulers of this world knew this wisdom. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as the scripture says:

“What no one ever saw or heard,

what no one ever thought could happen,

is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.”

10But it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even the hidden depths of God's purposes. 11It is only the spirit within people that knows all about them; in the same way, only God's Spirit knows all about God. 12We have not received this world's spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us.

13So then, we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. 14Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit. Such people really do not understand them; they are nonsense to them, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis. 15Whoever has the Spirit, however, is able to judge the value of everything, but no one is able to judge him. 16As the scripture says:

“Who knows the mind of the Lord?

Who is able to give him advice?”

We, however, have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2GNBOpen in Bible reader
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