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摩西和約書亞的交接

〈民數記〉27:18-20  耶和華對摩西說:「嫩的兒子約書亞是心中有聖靈的;你將他領來,按手在他頭上,使他站在祭司以利亞撒和全會眾面前,囑咐他,又將你的尊榮給他幾分,使以色列全會眾都聽從他。」

在美國大選塵埃剛落定的此際,看到摩西和約書亞的交接,心裡特別有感觸。雖然說民主有民主的好處,但是因為人的罪,使再好的制度都充滿了邪惡與紛爭。看到神帶領摩西把權柄交給約書亞,完成了一個非常平和而順利的交接,對以色列人而言,那真是很有福氣的一個過程。

人的生命何等有限,偉大如摩西,也有一天要歸回他列祖之地。而神對摩西的定論是,他在米利巴時,沒有按著神的吩咐叫磐石出水,而是因為被百姓激動,極為憤怒的情況下,擊打磐石出水。因此神說,摩西和亞倫不信祂的話,沒有在百姓之前尊神為大,因此他和亞倫都不能進迦南地。相比之下,我們的一生中有多少次渺視神的命令呢?摩西只有一次違背神的命令,就進不了迦南地;那麼我們是否也因為違背神的命令,而失去許多神曾經預備要給我們的福氣?

摩西沒有任何怨言,他接受神的處治。雖然他曾經為了這個進迦南的使命而付出四十年的光陰,但是他沒有呼天搶地:「這是為什麼啊?太殘酷了!我走了四十年的曠野,受了那麼多苦,竟然只因為一次錯誤,就不能進迦南!」我們有時會因為自己的付出得不到想像中的回報而心懷不平,但是比起摩西的付出和犧牲,我們的付出又算得了什麼?難怪神說,摩西是在祂全家盡忠的,換句話說,摩西做一切都是為了神,不是為了自己。我們會想到自己的面子,自己的自尊心,自己的損失,自己的報酬,因此我們從來沒有辦法像摩西那樣,在人或神面前俯伏於地。

Planted by the Water

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:10-23.  Let’s go!

Joshua 19:10-16 (NIV) 
10  The third lot came up for Zebulun, clan by clan: The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid.
11  Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam.
12  It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia.
13  Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah.
14  There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El.
15  Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages.
16  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, clan by clan.

On verses 10-16:  These verses describe the land allotment given to the tribe of Zebulun.

Nearing his death, Jacob spoke these prophetic words over his son Zebulun in Genesis 49:13: “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.”  We see the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic words here, as the land given to Zebulun extends to the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Sea of Galilee on the east.  Though not a large land, this region would later on be graced by the presence of the Lord Jesus, who would spend significant time around the Sea of Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1).

西羅非哈之女求產業

〈民數記〉27:5 於是摩西將她們的案件呈到耶和華面前。

全世界大概都有這個問題,從女權低落到女權高張,至今爭取女權的運動方興未艾。在以色列人中也有這個問題。

在〈民數記〉第廿六章裡講到以色列人第二次的核數,很奇妙的,在第46節出現了這樣的一句:「亞設的女兒名叫西拉」。當時被數的都是廿歲以上的男人,怎麼會把亞設的女兒放進去呢?莫非她是以色列的花木蘭?根據猶太人的百科,西拉是一位很長壽的女子,她長得非常美麗,並且十分有智慧,為以色列人解決了許多問題,深受拉比們的愛戴。她和雅各一起下埃及,又與摩西一起出埃及。因為她是亞設的養女,所以在雅各下埃及時,沒有把她算在家人之內;但是在出埃及入迦南時,他們特地把她的名字放進去,表示她也是以色列人的一份子。她的故事很有趣,但只記錄在猶太教對律法和倫理進行通俗闡述的宗教文獻《米示拿》Midrash裡,即猶太人的《聖經註釋》,以後有機會再跟大家分享。因為這是一個很特殊的例子,所以稍微解釋一下。今天要談到女權的問題,在只有數點廿歲以上的男子時,這西拉的出現正突顯了她的位置。

在猶太人的歷史中,有不少奇女子,而她們的故事也都被傳了下來,讓世人知道在神眼中,女人也是祂所看重的。這段經文的背景是,經過四十年在曠野的飄泊,以色列人終於準備進迦南,開始做分地的工作。此時瑪拿西支派裡有一個人名叫西羅非哈,他生了五個女兒,沒有兒子。和其他男人一樣,他死在曠野裡。這時他的女兒們發現了一個很嚴重的問題,她們竟然分不到一寸土地。那進了迦南之後,她們怎麼生存?她們必須見摩西,因為她們的族長無法為她們解決這樣的問題。

那時的婦女要見摩西是件大事,就好像要見當時的國王或總統,因為摩西是以色列人當時的領袖。我們若看以前的記錄,去見他的多是族長和領袖;在初期時他也為百姓解決紛爭,但是後來就有長老們分擔他的工作。因此這五個女兒走到會幕前,當著摩西和以利亞撒大祭司,及眾領袖和會眾前,把她們的問題交上去。

When You Are Badly Hurt

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 19:1-9 (NIV) 
1  The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon, clan by clan. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah.
2  It included: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah,
3  Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem,
4  Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah,
5  Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah,
6  Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen–thirteen towns and their villages;
7  Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan–four towns and their villages–
8  and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev). This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Simeonites, clan by clan.
9  The inheritance of the Simeonites was taken from the share of Judah, because Judah’s portion was more than they needed. So the Simeonites received their inheritance within the territory of Judah.

On verses 1-9:  These verses describe the land allotment given to the tribe of Simeon.  Notice that Simeon’s land allotment was taken from Judah’s portion (v9, also v1b).  Why is that?  Verse 9 gives one reason: “because Judah’s portion was more than they needed”.  What can we learn from this?  Whenever you have excess (more than you need), be wise and generous with that excess.  Don’t hoard it all for yourself but use it to serve others’ needs.

第二次核民數

〈民數記〉26:64      被數的人中,沒有一個是摩西和祭司亞倫從前在西奈的曠野所數的以色列人。

摩西特別指出,流便的後裔法路族的和可拉黨向摩西和亞倫挑釁,向耶和華爭鬧時,雖然有火燒滅了250個首領,但可拉的眾子並沒有死亡。可見神的審判不涉及無辜。在〈詩篇〉裡我們還可以看到有可拉或其後人的創作,他們的後人在聖殿的敬拜中也佔了相當的地位。

數算人數的目的之一是為了全迦南地分配迦南地的產業。雖然還沒有進到迦南,但神都凡事先做好準備:「人多的,要把產業多分給他們;人少的,要把產業少分給他們。要照被數的人數,把產業分給各人。」雖然如此,有時人數不相上下,怎麼辦?神要他們使用拈鬮分地。

俞建霈牧師在〈拈鬮分地的意義〉裡指出:「鬮」這字在希伯來文是goral。根據學者研究,這字的意思是「小石頭」,或「小圓石」。因為原初希伯來人用「小石頭」,或「小圓石」來作「鬮」或「籤」,goral這字就轉而用來指「鬮」或「籤」,進一步就是「得的分」, 「命定」,「運氣」,或「命運」。與這字相關的動詞有描述「投」 「擲」 「拋」 「丟」等動作的四個希伯來文動詞;還有「臨到」,「落到」, 「使..落下」的三個動詞,並一次是「賜下」。

按人來說,拈鬮是在於運氣,但神就是我們的運氣,在禱告之後,拈鬮的結果乃是照著祂的命定。神創造地時,關於美地的情形,祂有清楚的看見。譬如,祂很清楚,耶路撒冷和周圍地區是為著猶大,基督要從其中而出。這是豫先命定的,但仍必須藉著拈鬮而得以實現。神命定的手在拈鬮上指引其結果。這就是說,分地不在於約書亞、大祭司、或神以外的任何人。結果,各支派沒有理由埋怨所給他們那地的分。拈鬮分地的方法是公平的,這使每個人服氣。正如所羅門王在箴言裡說的:「掣籤能止息爭競,也能解散強盛的人。(箴18:18)」

When You Feel Small

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:21-28.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:21-28 (NIV) 
21  The tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, had the following cities: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 
22  Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 
23  Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 
24  Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba–twelve towns and their villages. 
25  Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 
26  Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 
27  Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 
28  Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath–fourteen towns and their villages. This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.

On verses 21-28:  Here we get a list of the cities that were included in the land that the tribe of Benjamin received.  Benjamin was one of the smaller tribes of Israel and the amount of land it was given reflected its smaller size.  Yet notice that this small tribe was given “the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem)” (v28), which centuries later would become the capital and most important city in Israel.  Also, later on God would select Saul, the first king of Israel, from this land and this tribe of Benjamin, “the smallest tribe of Israel” (1 Samuel 9:21).   It’s a reminder to me that size is not necessarily an indicator of importance, and that God is able to use, honour and exalt you regardless of your size or background.

更豐盛的生命(之一)

基督超越文化各界

「盜賊來,無非要偷竊,殺害,毀壞;我來了,是要叫羊(或作:人)得生命,並且得的更豐盛」(約10:10),這是耶穌道成肉身到世上來的第三個宣告,這樣的話是沒有一個宗教創辦人講過的,這樣一句話是基督教信仰一個很重要的核心,無論宗教、哲學、政治、軍事、財經等等文化最重要的內容,都不是為了生命的問題,這是很突出顯明基督到世上他的任務是很不一樣的,基督所做的與其他文化的事業有著本質上的差異。我們如果沒有得著耶穌這方面到世上的目的,我們根本不認識基督教。

科學帶給我們知與不知的分別,宗教界帶給我們的是善與惡的分別,哲學所提出來的是智愚的分別,政治界讓我們看見統治的問題,經濟學所要告訴我們的是如何賺而不虧,軍事所著重的是怎樣佔領別人的土地,唯有耶穌基督完全不提這些事情,耶穌所提的,就是生與死的問題。《聖經》說:「上帝愛世人,甚是將祂的兒子賜給他們,叫他們不致滅亡,反得永生。(約3:16)」你完全得著其他的範圍,你還是要死,但「上帝在耶穌基督裡所給我們的恩賜,乃是永生」(參:羅6:23),這也是上帝給人類所有應許裡最大的一個,所以〈約翰一書〉第二章告訴我們:「神的應許,就是永生」(參:約一2:25)。

基督的生命賜給我們的,是哪一種生命呢?不是原先從亞當傳下來肉身被造的生命,如果是這個生命,我們大家早就有了,為什麼耶穌還要說祂來了為要使你得生命呢?上帝在耶穌基督裡應許我們的、基督所宣布的,是超過自然界的受造生命,這個生命就是超自然的生命,就是上帝自己的生命,是永遠的生命。

Your Buffer Zone

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:11-20.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:11-20 (NIV) 
11  The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph:
12  On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan, passed the northern slope of Jericho and headed west into the hill country, coming out at the desert of Beth Aven.
13  From there it crossed to the south slope of Luz (that is, Bethel) and went down to Ataroth Addar on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon…….

On verses 11-20:  According to scholars, the tribes of Judah and Joseph were rivals, even though they were all part of the nation of Israel.  Interestingly, the lot is cast and Benjamin ends up getting the land right “between the tribes of Judah and Joseph” (v11).  In this way the tribe of Benjamin acted as a buffer between the two rivaling tribes, Judah and Joseph.

It reminds me of the role that Jesus plays in our lives.  When we were enemies of God because of our sin, Jesus stepped in the middle and acted as the buffer between us and God. 

以色列人在什亭犯罪

〈民數記〉25: 12 因此,你要說:我將我平安的約賜給他。

以色列人在當時並不知道摩押王請了術士巴蘭去咒詛他們。因為這事是摩押王偷偷去做的,為了削減以色列人的力量,以便將來和他們打仗時,可以一舉把他們趕出摩押平原。

此時以色列人安營在約旦河東大約廿多里外之地,那裡有一片數里寬的平原,也是一個低窪的山谷,因為是熱帶氣候,那裡的皂莢樹很多,又長得十分茂盛,因此那地又稱為什亭谷。什亭是皂莢樹原文的發音。什亭亦稱亞伯什亭,與耶利哥城隔著約旦河遙遙相對。先知約珥曾說:「到那日,大山要滴甜酒,小山要流奶子,猶大溪河,都有水流,必有泉源從耶和華的殿中流出來,滋潤什亭谷。(珥3:18)」表明神至終要祝福以色列人,連他們停留的地方也要祝福和供應。

在猶太人的記錄裡,巴蘭咒詛以色列人失敗,回家後耶和華神的靈也離開他了。他越想越不甘心,不僅名利雙失,並且失去了摩押王的恩竉。他的貪念一起,便回去向摩押王獻計,因為他已經從神的祝福中得知,只要以色列人犯罪,便會失去耶和華神的祝福和護佑。摩押王依照巴蘭的計謀,為他們的神明舉辦了一個盛大的慶祝,並私下由巴蘭去引誘以色列人去參加這個慶典。

以色列人以為巴蘭是上帝的先知。假如巴蘭把上述的經歷告訴以色列人,以色列人當然覺得,耶和華神都把祝福以色列人的話給了巴蘭,讓巴蘭祝福以色列人,那他肯定是從耶和華神來的先知了。巴蘭只要隱瞞他自己要害以色列人的心意就行了。所以百姓中有人隨著巴蘭去參加摩押神明的慶典。

Take Initiative and Fight for God’s Best

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:1-10.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:1-10 (NIV) 
1  The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control,
2  but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.
3  So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?……

On verses 1-10:  The Tent of Meeting was a portable tent that was set up as a place where God could meet with the people of Israel.  The Tent of Meeting is set up at Shiloh (v1) and there Joshua speaks to the entire assembly of Israelites, saying “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (v3)  At this point 7 tribes of Israel had still not received their allotments and had been waiting to take over some land in the promised land.  So Joshua sends 21 surveyors, 3 from each of the remaining 7 tribes that did not have land, to survey the remaining land (v4-9).  Joshua then cast lots to see which tribes would get what land (v10).