It was a big deal. The first anniversary of the Passover. The original event had taken place in Egypt in conjunction with the tenth plague. The blood of unblemished lambs had been applied to the lintels and doorposts of houses. “When I see the blood,” the LORD had promised, “I will pass over you” (Exo 12:13).
All the people of Israel did just as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. (Exo 12:50-51)
God had commanded before the blood was even shed, “You shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statue forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening…” (Exo 12:17-18)
And an entire year had passed. Hundreds of thousands of Israelites were in the wilderness of Sinai on the fourteenth day of the first month. “And they kept the Passover… according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did” (Num 9:5). But Numbers 9 goes on to describe an interesting scenario.
And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, “We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the LORD’s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?” (Num 9:6-7)
Tough question. Good question. Notice Moses’ humble, wise response:
“Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.” (Num 9:8)
Thousands of years later, isn’t that a wise principle we should remember? When we or others find it very easy and natural to say…
- “Why can’t we?”
- “I think God would be okay with this.”
- “In fact, I think God would like this.”
- “Why should we be left out?”
- “We have a good reason.”
- “I think we should be able to…”
- “Why shouldn’t we?”
- “Wouldn’t it make good sense to…”
- “We’re excited to try…”
- “I think it would be best to…”
- “As long as we’re zealous and sincere…”
…there’s still much we can learn from Moses’ wise, restrained reasoning. “Wait. Before we act or assume or presume, we need to consult the word of God.”
Just because I can doesn’t mean I should. I may think it makes perfectly good sense, but that doesn’t automatically mean my Creator agrees. My eagerness, enthusiasm, and sincerity isn’t a license to do whatever I want. As it turns out, the LORD had something to say about the matter (Num 9:9-14), and it probably wasn’t what those unclean men or Moses would have guessed. What if Moses had just assumed what God thought or presumed he had the right to answer the question on his own?
If a servant of the LORD with the stature of Moses realized the authority of the Almighty needed to be consulted and respected, shouldn’t I?