Numbers 9

Those who by circumstances are compelled to absent themselves from God’s ordinances,
may expect the favor of God’s grace under their afflictions,
and those who of choice absent themselves may justly expect the tokens of God’s displeasure.

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

2 Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.

3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.

4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.

5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.

6 ¶ And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:

7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?

8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

9 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.

11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.

13 But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.

14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.

15 ¶ And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.

16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.

18 At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.

19 And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.

20 And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.

21 And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.

22 Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.

23 At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Numbers 9:1-14 – Keeping the Passover

   The Passover was celebrated in Egypt, Exodus 12; in the Wilderness, Leviticus 1:14; and in the land of Canaan, Joshua 5. The thought of our redemption must underpin all the great movements of individuals and the Church, This one was specially memorable, because it led to the institution of “the little Passover,” Numbers 9:6-7. Moses did not hasten to give an answer of his own, but waited upon God. The divine nature makes allowance for disabilities, over which we have no control. See II Chronicles 30:13-20.
   In the welcome given to strangers, we discover the wideness of God’s mercy. We, too, were strangers and foreigners, Ephesians 2:19-21. My soul, never forget how thou wast once a stranger to the covenant of promise! Thine were the crumbs of the feast! But God has made thee sit with the children and included thee in the gracious provisions of His covenant! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 9:15-23 – The Cloud upon the Tabernacle

   We cannot decide on the shape of this cloud; whether it was a great cumulus, or spread out over the camp like an umbrella, so as to shelter the people from the sun glare. As the night fell, the shekinah-fire, that burned at its heart, became apparent. But whether it sheltered by day or illumined by night, it was always the symbol of the divine presence. All this prefigured the guidance and shelter that are afforded to His people by our Lord. Compare John 8:12.
   Friends may urge you to change your sphere. The scarcity of your resources and the pressure of your foes may appear to force a move. A nameless fear may suggest that you will never hold your ground. But so long as the cloud doesn’t move, you must tarry where you are. Where the cloud broods, the manna falls. “My soul, wait thou only upon God” (Psalm 62:5)! Never go in front of God, nor lag behind, nor hesitate to strike your tent, if He leads on. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 9:19—When the cloud tarried.

   This was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike the tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathered from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host. Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying! Sometimes the cloud tarried for two days, or a month, or a year; then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger—there was no option but to remain encamped. The Psalmist says (Psalm 40:1), “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” And what He has done for the Old Testament saints He will do for believers throughout all ages.
   Still, God often keeps us waiting. Face to face with threatening foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go? Is it not time to strike our tent? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse? May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters? There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, rock-water, shelter, and defence. God never keeps us at a post without assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.
   Wait, domestic servant, before you give notice! Young man, do not be in a hurry to make a change! Minister remain at your post! Until the cloud clearly moves, you must tarry (Numbers 9:8). Wait, then, thy Lord’s good pleasure! He will be in plenty of time! —Our Daily Homily