Numbers 2, Psalm 36, Ecclesiastes 12, Philemon

DateVersionReading Plan
@April 25, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 2

Numbers 2:1–2 (ESV) 2 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.

The LORD gave Moses and Aaron direction of how each tribe of Israel was to be arranged around the tabernacle on each side along with the tribe leader, count of company and the order they were to set out as they migrated. Reading through this chapter, one can get a sense the precision of the division of tribes and admire how it reflects God’s orderliness. As for the movements of the tribes, the CSB Notes provide a summary:

Judah’s military divisions were given a positional priority, leading the camps of Issachar and Zebulun on the east side of the camp. The eastern tribes would lead Israel when they marched. Reuben would lead the tribes camping south of the tabernacle who would follow the tribes on the east when they marched. Next would come the Levites and the tabernacle itself, followed by the tribes camped on the west, led by Ephraim. Last would be Dan and the tribes on the north.

Psalm 36

Psalm 36:5–6 (ESV) 5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.

David extols the grandeur of God and that His steadfast love extends to the heavens. The word used here is “chesed” which refers to God’s faithful, covenantal love, highlighting His intimate involvement with His rational creatures. God’s righteousness is compared His mountains, massive natural structures that symbolize His stability and power. David pairs this with His judgments which are like the great deep. The extreme heights and depths visually depict the splendor and majesty of our God. Nothing is beyond His reach and, as an outpouring of His grace, He saves man and beast.

Ecclesiastes 12

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (ESV) 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The end of the Book of Ecclesiastes an amazing capstone and admonition for the faithful to live in full submission to God. Through the work of the Spirit, our hearts are stirred by the desire to honor Him and strive to uphold His commandments. This is not merely part of our duty but the whole of it. Ours should be a healthy fear that every deed will be brought into judgment on the last day. May we be convicted of this reality and walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called.


Philemon 10–12 (ESV) 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.

Onesimus (a name that means “profitable”) was a runaway slave who, while on the run, met Paul and became a believer. Paul considered him to be his child, his “very heart”, and was sending him back to Philemon as “more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother” (Phil. 16). We see in this short letter the transformative power of the gospel and the humility of Paul to both return Onesimus and repay any wrong done by his absence.

Carson on Psalm 36

When one is blind to the true God, including his glorious holiness that must rightly instill fear in image-bearers as rebellious as we, there is no stopping place in our descent into the abyss of folly.

Carson reflects on the endlessness of foolishness apart from God. We see this abyssal decent playing out in our culture today as we collectively continue to depart from the objective truths of Christendom. While this is sobering to consider, it should bolster our resolve to live upright lives, holding firm to the gospel of Christ as we sojourn in this foreign land.