Daily Devotional Sunday 23rd August 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 15:22–41

Laws About Unintentional Sins

22 “But if you sin unintentionally,1 and do not observe all these commandments that the LORD has spoken to Moses, 23 all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD for their mistake. 26 And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.

27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. 30 But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”

A Sabbathbreaker Executed

32 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Tassels on Garments

37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow2 after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.”


[1] 15:22 Or by mistake; also verses 24, 27, 28, 29
[2] 15:39 Hebrew to spy out


The Lord gives teaching on unintentional sin done by the community (v22-26) or by an individual (v27-29) and how it is to be dealt with (v24-25, 27-28). It is possible for believers and even the whole fellowship to sin without realising it. We can fool ourselves into thinking we are pleasing God when we are not. A close walk with God in His Word helps us see reality as God sees it. Sin is sin, even if it is unintentional, and it needs the sacrifice of Christ.

The passage (v30-31), deals with intentional sin which is defiant and comes from a heart determined to go against God’s direction. There is no forgiveness for such sin as it is from a rebellious heart. Those guilty of it are to be cut off from God’s people partly due to their influence on others.

The person who broke gathered sticks on the Sabbath (v32-34) was disobeying Exodus 35 v3. God gives the command for this man to be put to death by the whole community (v35-36). God takes keeping the Sabbath very seriously. The Sabbath Day did not begin with the giving of the law but began at creation (Gen. 2 v2-3) and therefore exists for all time. You are complacent about Sabbath observance at your peril.

The chapter ends with directions about tassels on their clothes whose purpose were to be a remind the wearer to obey God’s commands (v37-41).

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.