1 In the first month of the second year after their departure from the land of Egypt, the Lord told Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai: 2 “The Israelites are to observe the Passover at its appointed time. 3 You must observe it at its appointed time on the fourteenth day of this month at twilight; you are to observe it according to all its statutes and ordinances.” 4 So Moses told the Israelites to observe the Passover, 5 and they observed it in the first month on the fourteenth day at twilight in the Wilderness of Sinai. The Israelites did everything as the Lord had commanded Moses. 6 But there were some men who were unclean because of a human corpse, so they could not observe the Passover on that day. These men came before Moses and Aaron the same day 7 and said to him, “We are unclean because of a human corpse. Why should we be excluded from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time with the other Israelites?” 8 Moses replied to them, “Wait here until I hear what the Lord commands for you.” 9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 10 “Tell the Israelites: When any one of you or your descendants is unclean because of a corpse or is on a distant journey, he may still observe the Passover to the Lord. 11 Such people are to observe it in the second month, on the fourteenth day at twilight. They are to eat the animal with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; 12 they may not leave any of it until morning or break any of its bones. They must observe the Passover according to all its statutes. 13 “But the man who is ceremonially clean, is not on a journey, and yet fails to observe the Passover is to be cut off from his people, because he did not present the Lord’s offering at its appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin. 14 “If an alien resides with you and wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, he is to do it according to the Passover statute and its ordinances. You are to apply the same statute to both the resident alien and the native of the land.” — Numbers 9:1-14
by Tony H. Nunn
“Marching orders” were always very clear the first seventeen years of my life, since my dad was a career soldier and we lived on army posts. He was ordered to Europe during World War II, to Korea twice, and finally back to Germany. Those orders had a great impact on my family, but they were the “Marching Orders,” and they were not questioned.
When I read today’s scripture, its clear that God’s marching orders were made very plain to His people through their leader, Moses. God gave them clear and exact instructions on how and when to observe and celebrate the Passover. There was no room for interpretation or questions. They knew exactly what to do.
Now, the “escapees” from Egypt were not famous for following instructions, but after a year of wandering in the desert, having manna fall from heaven every day, and a cloud/fire showing them the way, surely they were now ready to follow God’s instructions and to celebrate what God had done for them in the Passover.
The main question that occurs to me is this: “Has God been just as clear and exact with us today?”
I think so! Galatians 5:14 says, “For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus made it very simple when He gave us His “Marching Orders.”
- Love God and love your neighbors! Matthew 22:36-39
- How? Feed the hungry and the thirsty, take the strangers in, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the prisoners. Matthew 25:35-36
- Make disciples who make disciples to do the same. Matthew 28:19-20
Those are our marching orders. Start in your Jerusalem today—where you live, work and play.
- Do you know your neighbors who live right around you? Can’t love them if you don’t know them!
- Do you have a neighbor in need? What can you and other Christians do to help? Pray that God will show you where He is at work in your neighborhood, and join Him!
- Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org when you have made a goal of getting to know at least three more of your neighbors whom you don’t already know and what you experience when you get to know them.
- For more information on this topic, read The Art of Neighboring, or click on the following website: http://www.artofneighboring.com/
- Finally, let’s celebrate every day what God has done for us through Jesus!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.