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The One and the Many

Numbers 9:14
“And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”

Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Here, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one,” which serves as the conceptual bedrock upon which the practicable truth of Numbers 9:14 rests. The statement that God is ‘one’ describes the perfection of unity within the Godhead. It’s a declaration that there is no conflict or disharmony in the divine Being. Yet, it’s also a universal statement of ownership, because if there’s only one omnipresent Power that holds every molecule together from the cavernous rocky crags of Mars to the grassy hills of Bethlehem, then every human being is subject to His Word, whether we’ve heard it or not, whether we like it or not, and whether we believe it or not.

To foreigners who yearn to partake of divine favor but hope to replace their own traditions for Mosaic ceremonies, God effectively says “No—My rules are the same for you! I am One.” And, likewise, to the Jewish pilgrims who wish to exclude their foreign proselytes from this sacred sacrament, God effectively says, “No—they’re welcome too! I am One.” Jews don’t get to worship God exclusively and Gentiles don’t get to worship God on their own terms. There is one statue for all because there is one God over all.

But don’t miss the marvel of Numbers 9:14, friend. Even here, long before the Spirit sends tongues of fire on Gentile hearers in Acts, long before Paul and Thomas and other apostles bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, the Voice that calls out at the end of time in Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come,” has proclaimed that word from the very beginning.

Hear again our Lord’s prayer to the Father in 17:11: “Holy Father, keep them in your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” That’s our Savior’s desire for us today, friend. Let’s make it our resolution.