Day 64: Consequences of Sin

Numbers 15:1-41 This chapter offers various instructions on ritual offerings of sacrifice, the celebration of the Sabbath, and the use and types of liturgical vestments.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 False prophets have been known in every age, and the people of Israel could not allow themselves to be deceived. Since idolatry posed such a tremendous danger in undermining the moral purity of the Chosen People, anyone responsible for leading others into this sin would be put to death. (CCC 675, 817, 2114)

Ch 14:1-21 Any practice that resembled the pagan customs was to be avoided since Israel was a people SET APART. (CCC 2171)

Ch 14:1 Sons of the Lord your God: This title, given to the people of Israel and their kings, indicates an intimate, familial relationship with God. (CCC 441)

Ch 14:22-29 Tithing: This refers to giving a tenth of one’s produce or income. Tithing is a recognition that the land with its fertile harvests ultimately comes from God; in gratitude for his blessing, we return a portion of the fruits of our labor. In Deuteronomy, tithing was directed to the Levite priests-who without land of their own relied on this support-and to the poor, the widowed, travelers, and orphans. (CCC 2449)

Psalm 96 This psalm appears almost word-for-word in First Chronicles (cf. 16:23-33) and is very similar to parts of Psalms 105 and 106. It is prayed at the Mass during the night on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) since it is a psalm of great joy that the Lord has come among his people in order to announce salvation to all and will return again to judge the world. (CCC 2096, 2143, 2628)

  • The narrative of Numbers 15 is now interrupted with laws and ordinances.

  • Once Israel enters the Promised Land, they will have to offer cereal and drink offerings.

  • At first glance, this change in genre seems ill placed since Israel will not enter the Promised Land for another forty years.

  • However, with a bit more reflection, one sees that it fits perfectly into the narrative.

  • In Numbers 14, Israel refused to enter the land flowing with milk and honey, dooming themselves to another forty years in the wilderness.

  • When they finally do enter, they will be required to make an offering of the fruit of the land.

  • The cereal and drink offerings will be a constant reminder of the land’s fruitfulness and of the first generation’s lack of trust in God.

  • In just this way, many sections of law and ordinances are interjected into the narrative of the Old Testament to make clear the penitential nature of laws given as a consequence of Israel’s sins and lack of trust.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • In Numbers 15 it is a reiteration

  • This is the people of Israel as they begin their journey into the wilderness

  • Moses continues to remind them about the offerings

  • We covered these offerings in Leviticus

  • This is roughly the same time when those laws were being offered

  • Remember how important these laws were

  • Remember the heart of these laws is that God has said “You are my people.”

  • God has set his love upon them

  • This is so important

  • The consequences of sin, rebelling against the Lord, are so great that they SHOCK US

  • Capital Punishment as a violation of the Sabbath

  • Dude was picking up sticks on the Sabbath and what happens?

  • What happens to him?

  • He is taken outside the camp and is stoned to death

  • We read this and think it is unexpected

  • It isn’t necessarily something we would expect from God’s Law

  • It isn’t necessarily something we would expect from God who is MERCY AND LOVE

  • How do we understand this???

  • We need to first understand that God made provision for people committing sins UNWITTINGLY and those who commit sins FLAGRANTLY

  • Someone who unwittingly commits a sin and may not realize it, God says “Come back to me and there is forgiveness”

  • But this phrase that is used, “But if the person who sins WITH A HIGH HAND”

  • This references someone who is OPENLY REBELLING

  • Someone who is essentially saying, “I am CHOOSING to be set apart from God. I am CHOOSING to make myself not part of God’s people.”

  • Well then the consequence is being treated like someone who is NOT PART OF GOD’S PEOPLE

  • The punishment for that was death, Capital Punishment

  • It seems so extreme for us when it comes to understanding this

  • Just remember there were provisions when someone was not sinning WITH A HIGH HAND, something that WAS NOT DONE IN GREAT REBELLION

  • The second thing the mission of the people of Israel is that THROUGH THEM God is going to bless THE ENTIRE WORLD


  • That is why when we get to DEUTERONOMY and we have these commands like tithing

  • Tithing is not simply because GOD WANTS WORSHIP (Though it IS important)


  • Why?

  • Because they don’t inherit land

  • So Tithing was for the priests, a FORM OF COMPASSION and TAKING CARE OF THEM

  • The Third Year Tithe was for the fatherless, the widowed, the strangers among them who don’t have employment

  • The same God who commanded that the high handed sinner who picked up sticks on the Sabbath be put to death IS THE SAME GOD who says, “But those fatherless, those who are orphans, those who are widowed, those who are among you who are strangers, CARE FOR THEM. Make sure that you make an extra effort to show them MY MERCY and show them MY LOVE.”

  • That seems like a paradox that we cannot reconcile

  • The reconciliation is this:



  • One of the ways you are SEPARATE that is so clear is HOW YOU WORSHIP and HOW YOU LIVE

  • How you eat

  • How you mourn

  • In that area when people mourned, they would shave their heads in a particular way as an offering of this person to another “god”

  • If God is going to use the people of Israel to bless the world, they cannot be like the rest of the world

  • Specifically in HOW THEY WORSHIP




  • These laws are vitally important

  • This is the same God who can both say, “Yes, the consequence of violating the Sabbath is the death penalty.” as well as, “Make sure that those who are most vulnerable among you are taken care of.”


  • There is a BIG PICTURE going on in these small moments (think of it this way, when you look at a beautiful painting or a photograph, if you put your face right up to it, what do you see? Some colors maybe, or some pixels. You are looking at it from a very narrow field of vision. Now take 10 steps back. What do you see now? You see more definition, maybe some objects setting the scene. Maybe you see that it's outside and the sun is shining. Take ten more steps back? And now, you see that OH MY GOODNESS, IT’S GODZILLA AND KING KONG FIGHTING IN THE STREETS!!! HEAD FOR THE HILLS!!!! My point is, when we take every miniscule detail and question what it means, it makes it more difficult to see the WHOLE BIG PICTURE. I’ve done this many many times before and after coming back to my Catholic faith. What is the BIG PICTURE Fr Mike is trying to show us?)

  • Numbers 15: cord of blue on the tassel

  • What's up with the blue cord?

  • The garments had woven blue in it

  • There were a number of times God said various colors that were used in the Temple

  • This was an important reminder of GOD’S HOLINESS

  • We see the blue in the Tabernacle

  • We see the blue in the Tent of Meeting

  • We see the blue in the Temple

  • Remember Mezuzah

  • Remember the Tefillin

  • Remember the Titzit

  • Just in case any of you get on Jeopardy and have to answer in the form of a question. (RIP ALEX TREBEK 😭)

  • Keep praying for Fr Mike and each other

  • We continue to lift up our eyes to the Lord and call upon His name for each other, for ourselves because we need Grace

Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven thank you for your Word and we thank you for your Scripture today. We thank you, also, for the great wisdom that you give to us in helping us understand your Word. Lord God, for all the times that we are perplexed and troubled, and not just perplexed but deeply troubled and deeply troubled in our heart by your teaching, what you reveal about yourself, we ask that you not only take away a spirit of skepticism or spirit of cynicism, but you give us a spirit of openness, a spirit of truth and a spirit of honesty a spirit of trust, that when we don’t understand, we ask. And when we still don’t understand we continue to ask. Lord God, give us a spirit of trust. Give us a spirit that is open to whatever it is you will for us this day and every day. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”