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Radical Restitution

Numbers 5:1-10 

 

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Then the LORD said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the LORD by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged. But if the person who was wronged is dead, and there are no near relatives to whom restitution can be made, the payment belongs to the LORD and must be given to the priest. Those who are guilty must also bring a ram as a sacrifice, and they will be purified and made right with the LORD. All the sacred offerings that the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. Each priest may keep all the sacred donations that he receives.” (Numbers 5:5-10)

Reflect

God included restitution, a unique concept at that time, as part of his law for Israel. When someone was robbed, the guilty person was required to restore the loss to the victim and pay an additional interest penalty. When we have wronged others, we ought to do more than apologize. We should look for ways to set matters right and, if possible, leave the victim even better off than when we harmed him or her. When we have been wronged, we should still seek restoration rather than striking out in revenge.

God wants his people to live his way, and this includes relationships, in the community and in marriage and family. This means confessing sin, making restitution, and restoring broken relationships before the Lord. Our faith must work in all areas of life, not just in worship services.

Respond

When have you felt like exacting revenge on someone? What can you do to heal that relationship instead? If that seems impossible, pray for the person, asking God to bless him or her and to work on the attitudes, thoughts, and intentions of both of you. 

 



A Contrite and Humble Spirit

“But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

 

Jesus told this story in a parable, but perhaps he had seen it happen. He said of the publican, “This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; but he that humbles himself shall be exalted.” How easy it is to let our pride get the better of us. We might say to ourselves, “What I did was a little thing. I’m so much better than the person who…” We fill in the blank with whatever sin is worse than what we did.


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Aaron’s Men

Numbers 3:1-13 

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Then the LORD said to Moses, “Call forward the tribe of Levi, and present them to Aaron the priest to serve as his assistants.
They will serve Aaron and the whole community, performing their sacred duties in and around the Tabernacle. They will also maintain all the furnishings of the sacred tent, serving in the Tabernacle on behalf of all the Israelites. Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been given from among all the people of Israel to serve as their assistants. Appoint Aaron and  his sons to carry out the duties of the priesthood. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the sanctuary must be put  to death.”

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