A few weeks ago, on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebraic biblical calendar, we celebrated Passover, Israel’s first annual Feast that the Lord commanded our people to observe. All over the world, and especially here in Israel, every Jewish household and family kept the Feast, held the Passover meal, and told the story of our great exodus out of Egypt. We gave thanks to the God of our Fathers for rescuing and redeeming us from slavery and affliction and recalled how He shaped us into a free nation as He led us for 40 years through the wilderness, gave us the Law, and brought us into the Promised Land.
While Israel was in the wilderness during the time of the Passover, we read in the book of Numbers chapter 9 that the people ran into a predicament. As it is written, “Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day. And those men said to him, “We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?”
“And Moses said to them, “Stand still, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.” Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD’s Passover. “On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs… According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.” Numbers 9:6-12.
Death in the Bible is unclean and contact with death makes a person ceremonially unclean and unfit to come before God, worship at the Feast, or present their offerings. They had a legitimate problem, they brought it to Moses, and He brought it to the Lord for His guidance. The divine answer tells us a lot about our Heavenly Father.
While requiring obedience through faith, God understands our frailty and inability to perfectly fulfill His commands, so He made provisions for our weaknesses and gave the people “a second chance.” He instructed Moses to allow those who were (1) ceremonially unclean or (2) away from home on a journey to celebrate the Passover a month later, on the 14th day of the SECOND month, instead of the FIRST month.
What do we find in this obscure portion of Scripture? We see a Heavenly Father who understands our human frailties and appreciates the difficulty of circumstances that often are beyond our control and can overwhelm us. He is a God who desires the hearts of His children rather than their perfect performances. Where He finds a humble heart that desires to do God’s will in spite of the weaknesses and frailty of our humanity, He gives grace, mercy and “another chance.”
As the time of the Second Passover is upon us, we invite you to give thanks with us to our Heavenly Father who is merciful, gracious, long suffering and so very kind. We also invite you to come and visit Israel to discover more of God’s divine attributes and His faithfulness as they are revealed through the people and the Land of Israel. God bless you.
Written by Sar-El Staff