In the consciousness of our weakness and failure, we feel the need of a fresh sense of the glory, love, riches and power of the Lord to be before us; and, with this, we desire to go on, counting upon Him to help us in the dark days.
NUMBERS 1, Verses 1-16
Today we start our fourth book of the Old Testament, (and another step as believers). Genesis and Romans the beginnings; Ex and Acts coming out (redemption). Leviticus and Hebrews, worship. Now Numbers. On our side... trials, tests, difficulties. Israel was in a wilderness, we are in a world that is against God, and we can find nothing here that satisfied our now life. On God's side... His never ending patience with complaining Israel .. and with us believers who often complain about our circumstances. Right? Had they believed and trusted God, eleven days would have been enough to take them to the land - Deut. 1:2. 1 Cor 10:1-12 shows a few of the serious events which happened to Israel during this journey.
Num 1:1 The Lord speaks to Moses "in the wilderness". They, in type, were redeemed by the blood of the lambs; we, in reality, by the blood of Christ.
Num 1:5-16 Each tribe is named separately and the head man of each tribe is given.
By nature the believer is dead IN sin, by grace he is dead TO it.
NUMBERS 1, Verses 17-end
Num 1:17-46 But now every man in every tribe is carefully questioned as to his family ancestry. We hope you are able to say "I belong to the family of God". We are brought into a new family, and are happy to read that we are now "of the household of God". Eph. 2:19 (Our own "wilderness" journey begins when we are born again.) Twelve tribes have been examined. In this list Joseph's two sons are included.
Num 1:47-54 One tribe was numbered separately. The Levites were in charge of the tabernacle. They took it down, they put it up, and they guarded it by putting their tents all around it. What care and detail! So we may say that these people were warriors... worshippers... workers. So are we.
If Christ's first purpose for coming to earth, was to glorify God, and it was,(John 17:4), then my first purpose in life must be to glorify God too.
The word "standard" (or flag) is mentioned often. Every man in Israel must not only know his family but also recognize where that special standard was set up. What confusion there would have been had every man decided for himself where he would set up his own tent.
Num 2:17 The tabernacle of the Lord was in the very center of the whole great camp. The Levites were around it. What a happy thing it would be, if we who are believers would remember this. All around us we see those who have set up their own standard. They use a name. They go to "the church of their choice". But what does God's Word promise? "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". Matt. 18:20. Let us be gathered around the standard that God has provided, the person of God's own Son and His worthy name. It was so at the beginning of Christianity - Acts 2:42.
I welcome the truth that the SPIRIT gives LIFE, but I'm slow in learning that in the SPIRIT is POWER. Eph. 3:20.
NUMBERS 3, Verses 1-26
The camp of Israel is in order, and God is about to appoint certain families for certain work. But a sad story is told first. (Not without a reason).
Num 3:4 The priest was to take fire from the altar and add incense to present it to the Lord - Lev 16:12-13. Nadab and Abihu came to the right place, and they were sons of Aaron the priest, but they took fire from some other place than from off the altar, and God killed them by fire (Lev 10:1-2). This would remind us that God is not pleased with any pretence to worship Him unless it begins at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blood which He shed there.
Num 3:12-13 When God killed the firstborn of Egypt, He wanted all the firstborn (males - Ex 13:12) all the tribes of Israel as His own. Here He says He will take the tribe of Levi instead of those firstborn. All the Levites belonged specially to the Lord, and were privileged and responsible to serve Him.
Num 3:17 The specially-honored tribe of Levi is now divided into three families, Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Each of these families has its own service, specially chosen by the Lord. We have in these early chapters of Numbers "warriors (soldiers), worshippers, and workers". We have seen (1) a nation of warriors, gathered around their standards; put on the whole armour of God and stand for the truth; (2) a tribe of workers - the tribe of Levi; and now (3) A family of worshippers - the family of Aaron. We should surely delight to worship Him exactly as He has told us and should gladly serve the Lord however He may direct us.
Ours is not a salvation of works but a salvation that works if unhindered by self-will.
NUMBERS 3, Verses 27-51
Num 3:25, 31, 36, 37 See how the Lord chose something special for each family to do. We might think it is a much greater honor to carry the ark, rather than the pins - but whatever the Lord appointed for each to do, that was his special privilege. According to 1 Pet, chapter 2, all believers are priests and it is our privilege to worship and serve, but all must be according to how the Lord Himself directs. The priests were all equal, and did the same work, but not so the Levites, everyone had an individual work to do - 4:19.
Let's sort out our thinking of these arrangements while the camp was stopped. The tabernacle was in the center. Three tribes of the people were each on the four sides. But then there was a big blank space between the Tabernacle and the people. On the West, South and North sides, in this blank space were the Levites, for service, setting up the Tabernacle, guarding it, and taking it down. On the East side were the priests. All four of these were of the family of Levi.
Num 3:23-26 The Levite family of Gershon, carried the lighter things of the Tabernacle through the wilderness for 38 years.
Num 3:27-32 The Kohath family of the Levites had the greatest privilege - they carried the holy articles of the Tabernacle.
Num 3:33-37 The Merari family carried all the heavy things.
Num 3:38-39 The priests and Moses lived on the East side. They didn't carry anything. Their work was only when the camp stopped. The priests were for the worship of God.
Num 3:40-51 Interesting. Instead of each first-born boy of the whole camp being dedicated to God (Ex. 13:13), the Levites as a group were dedicated to God as representing the first-born.
(In the new creation, Christ is spoken of as being the "first-born of all creation". Col. 1:15. He is also the "First-fruits" of God's great harvest (1 Cor. 15:20-23). So that implies there is more fruit to come. The believers are that fruit. So being in Christ, believers are children of the First-born - Col. 1:15). Turn to chapter 7:6-9 to see what God provided for the Levites according to the heaviness of their burdens. Remember this when you feel you have a heavy burden!)
God's law is the rule of the conscience.
We see how carefully the Lord guarded the holy things of the tabernacle. Before the Kohathites went forward to carry their parts, Aaron and his sons must enter and cover the holy furniture. These articles were covered over as they journeyed through the wilderness.
Num 4:15-20 The privilege and service of the Kohathites. Verses 24-29 - the service of the Gershonites. Verses 31-33 - the service of the Merarites. The very best years of their life were given to the service of the Lord and His tabernacle. From 30 years of age to 50! How often those very years are used by us to try to find success and possessions here in this world.
Num 4:49 "Every one according to his service and according to his burden". Not one thing was left to their own choice - all was ordered of God. And each one of us can ask the Lord to show us also the service and burden He may have for us to accept on our way to our heavenly home.
He is above for me... am I down here for Him?
Num 5:2-3 There were certain things which would make the camp unclean, and they must be "put out" - because the Lord Himself was there. (This is an important thing for us to remember if we desire to honor the name of our Lord Jesus. We are responsible to see that those things which defile, whether it be moral or doctrinal, are "put out" - because the Lord is there, Gal. 5:9 and 1 Cor. 5:6).
Num 5:6 The Lord now reminds His people that each one was to be individually on guard, that his own conscience was clean. (If any one has acted or spoken wrongly against another, it is not enough just to tell the Lord that we have sinned - we are to go to the one we have wronged and make it right with them also).
Num 5:12-31 We often find in the Bible, the picture of husband and wife, to remind us of the Love and relationship of the Lord to His people Israel, or to us His heavenly Bride (the church). What a sad and terrible thing if the people of the Lord should turn away from Him and make friends with those who are really enemies of our Lord. In this test, the water is used to remind us of the Word of God, and the "dust" is used to remind us of death, or of self-judgement. Let the Word of God search us all through. Notice that God made the decision.
God never deprives me of anything that I wouldn't gladly give up if I believed Him.
It was the privilege of any man or woman in Israel to separate himself very specially to the Lord. When he did this, he was called a "Nazarite". (Not a Nazarene, this was a person who lived at Nazareth). A man who wished to enjoy this position was (1) to drink no wine, (2) to let his hair grown, and (3) not to touch a dead body. (They are a lesson for us). Wine in the Old Testament is a picture of earthly joy. During the time a person was a Nazarite, he was to drink no wine. The believer is a person who is separated from worldly excitement to Christ at all times. A thing might not be called "sinful", but would keep us from really enjoying the Lord. To let his hair grow, would mean to give up any right to his own dignity or reputation. For the Bible tells us it is a shame for a man to have long hair - 1 Cor. 11:14. It was a shame for a man to be a Nazarite. To touch a dead body, would be to be made unclean. Are we not surrounded by those who are dead in trespasses and sins? The Lord Jesus Himself was the true and perfect Nazarite. He made Himself of no reputation and He kept Himself unspotted from the world.
Num 6:13-20 At the end of the time of a man's Nazarite vow, he is to bring burnt offerings, sin offerings, peace offerings, meat offerings and drink offerings! He is to shave his hair, and then "after that, the Nazarite may drink wine"! The time is coming when our Lord Jesus Christ the One who fulfilled all those offerings, will receive that worthy place of honor, dignity and joy on this earth. We shall reign with Him over this earth - Rev 5:10.
I show my love to Christ by how much I obey His Word. John 14:23.
The gifts given to the Lord by the princes in Israel.
Num 7:1-9 Oxen and wagons were given to the Gershonites and the Merarites, for they had heavy burdens to bear; chapter 3, but none was given to the Kohathites, for they carried the holy furniture on their shoulders. This which specially pictured the Person of the Lord Jesus must be carried in a most exalted and personal manner.
Num 7:10-89 Notice that although each prince offered exactly the same, yet each one offered on a special day, and each prince and his offering is specially listed in complete detail. This reminds us that God never tires of hearing our praise.
Why would God take 80 verses to tell us this? Would it not be because praise belongs to God and the Lord Jesus Christ?
No communion with saints if no communion with God.
Num 8:1-4 The candlestick gave the only light in the tabernacle. It was in the first room - "the holy place". God is light (1 Jn 1:5), Jesus was the light of the world (Jn 9:5) and the Holy Spirit is the oil (the power) which enables that light to shine. Seven lamps tell us that it was perfect. Let us see to it that the light of our life, what we say and do, is for the glory of the Lord alone. Read Mt 5:14-16. What a responsibility we have!
Num 8:6-22 The Levites are to be prepared for the service of the Lord. Only water, not blood is used. See Jn 13:6-10. The water is like the Word of God. Believers need the Word to keep clean. Eph. 5:25. Remember the priests were for the worship of God, but the Levites (this chapter) were for service. Verse 19 shows that the Levites were secondary to the priests. We believers are both, but worship must take first place. Read these verses slowly.
Num 8:23-26 The mature and productive years of their life were to be devoted to the Lord's service. After 50 years of age, they could go into the tabernacle, but not to do any work of service.
The new man, born of God, is, in his nature the intelligent reflection of the nature of God.
Num 9:3 The importance of the date to keep the Passover (see Ex 12:2-3).
Num 9:6-8 There were some who were not clean. They confessed it plainly and asked Moses what they should do. Moses asks the Lord. And it is what we ought to do. Turn to the Word of God for our answers.
Num 9:11-12 How wonderful is the grace of God. He allows time for the defiled one to be cleansed, and so the man kept the Passover on the 2nd month. The details as to how it must be kept.
Num 9:13 An Israelite who was careless and just didn't bother to keep the Passover, was to be cut off. The Lord has requested of us that we answer to His love by remembering Him in His death. It doesn't mean that a believer would lose his salvation if he is careless, but he will lose his discernment and peace.
Num 9:15-16 The cloud was visible to all, by day and night.
Num 9:18-23 The children of Israel rested or traveled only at the commandment of the Lord. What a lesson for us! Today, the presence of the Lord is seen by faith only, but He is present in each believer. He is able to guide and direct us as we journey day by day toward our Home. In order to know when to stay and when to move, an Israelite had to keep his eye on the cloud. It is equally important for us to look to the Lord.
We have greatly benefited from those who have built walls around the truth...like NEHEMIAH did.
The two trumpets were to be made of one piece of silver, reminding us of the Old and New Testaments - both of which are really one - the Word of God. Redemption is pictured to us in the silver.
Num 10:2 For the calling of the assembly.
Num 10:4-10 An alarm for time of war, and even in the days of gladness and in their solemn days. The Word of God is for every purpose... it can and should be part of that joy, as well as for protection and comfort.
Num 10:11-12 The perfect order of the camp as it begins to move onward.
Num 10:29 Moses made a mistake here, and turns to a relative, who was familiar with the wilderness, and asks him to guide them and to be to them instead of eyes (verse 3l). Sometimes we are guided by relatives instead of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
Num 10:33-34 The Lord is jealous, for He knows that guidance from elsewhere will lead us into wrong paths. So He instructs that they take the ark out of the center of the camp and put it at the front to guide. Notice what He was seeking for them. Are you finding rest for your soul?
I never get the key to any spiritual difficulty without Christ.
Num 11:1-3 After all this they begin to complain. The Lord heard and He sent fire among them, but again in His mercy, the fire was put out when the people cried to Moses.
Num 11:4-9 God provided them with daily food from heaven, called manna... enough for everyone. But they grew tired of God's food and wept again for the food they had once eaten in Egypt! All of these six foods came from down close to the earth or in the sea. And is it not true that if we have been eating onions or garlic, others around can tell what we have been eating? And so it is if we feed on that which this poor guilty world has to offer, its T.V. its rock music, the taste will linger with us, and others will soon know where we have been feeding.
Num 11:11-15 Moses complains to the Lord and uses the words "I" and "me" over and over. The Lord took him at his word, and took some of the spirit that was with Moses, and divided it among seventy chosen men.
Num 11:24-30 The men upon whom this spirit was given, stood outside the camp, but two of them remained inside, and they prophesied there. They ought to have come out, as Moses and the others did, and a young man noticed this and asked Moses if they should be told to keep quiet. Moses left them where they were. Is it not true today that there are many who are preaching the Gospel but refusing the place of God's choice, gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus "outside the camp"?
We are not to rejoice so much in the deliverances when they come, as with the One Who delivers us.
A picture of the Lord Jesus, taking to Himself a bride from among the Gentiles. We see this anger plainly in the book of Acts, where the Jews become very angry every time the gospel was preached to the Gentiles.
Num 12:3 Moses was a meek man, and even though he was criticized, he did not defend himself, but left it all with the Lord, and the Lord took care of the problem.
Num 12:4-10 The Lord quickly responds and acts.
Num 12:11-15 Moses asks forgiveness for Miriam. The Lord hears, but there is a penalty.
There is no one who will be conscious of indwelling sin as the person who walks in the light.
Num 13:1-2 In Deut 1, verses 21 & 22 we see that this wish to search the land was started by the children of Israel. God had brought them out of Egypt and promised to bring them into the good land, and told them what it was like. Why then would they need spies? Unbelief!
Num 13:23-27 They soon found that the land was just as God had told them. It was a land that flowed with milk and honey, and they brought back with them some of the fruits of the land. The people both heard the report and saw the fruit, the evidence, yet they did not believe.
Num 13:31 They tell the people "we are not able". Their eyes were turned away from the Lord, and they felt like grasshoppers in front of giants.
Num 13:30 But a man named Caleb says "we are well able". Caleb had his eye on the Lord. There are many enemies that would try to hinder us today from enjoying, right now, our wonderful privileges and blessings as heavenly people. We are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus". Eph. 1:3. We don't get our blessings by obedience to God's Word, but we enjoy them by obedience.
The Lord's hold on me secures my eternal safety... my hold on Him is essential to a life of communion.
Num 14:1-5 It is hard to understand such unbelief and rebellion, (unless we look at ourselves!) Here they are, at the very borders of the land which God had promised to give them, and they talk of choosing a captain and going back to Egypt!
Num 14:6-10 These two men speak up and trust in God, and because of this, they are threatened with death! (We also are living in a day when there are many believers who refuse the truth that Christ is all, and prefer to go on with worldly ways. Let's not be like that.)
Num 14:11-20 God tells Moses that He will punish those who did not believe that God was able to take them into the land of promise.
Num 14:34 Although the Lord forgave them at that time, He told them that they would wander for 40 years in that same wilderness, till every one over 20 years of age was dead. Only their children and Caleb and Josh, would be able to enter into the land.
Num 14:37 God does not overlook anything.
Num 14:40-45 When the Lord told them to enter in - they refused. Now that He tells then they must wander for 40 years they say, "No, we will enter the land". They are defeated in their first fight with the enemy, for the Lord was not with them; without God is self-will. We shall see this more clearly in the next chapter.
I can always find sufficient for any trials God may send me, if only I look to Christ.
Num 15:1-2 After all the unbelief of the last chapter, the Lord says, "When ye come into the land of your habitations which I give unto you". Isn't that wonderful? His grace and His faithfulness will be the cause of Israel's being settled in the land. Disobedience on their part, grace on God's part! Never forget this.
Num 15:3-13 God joyfully looks forward to the time when His beloved people will be in the land; they shall gladly bring their offerings and sacrifices to Him.
Num 15:14-16 The Lord thinks upon those who are not part of His earthly people Israel, and He wants to bless them too. We Gentiles were strangers and far off, but have been brought into most wonderful blessing through the work of Christ for us. The church of God is made up of Jews and Gentiles - Eph 2:13-18. And shall share the glories with Christ in heaven forever.
Num 15:22-31 Provision made for sins of ignorance and, the awful sentence of death for the one who sinned deliberately. To be ignorant of the truth is one thing. But to deliberately disobey it, is another.
Num 15:37-41 Blue is the color that reminds of us heaven. Our daily "walk" would show to others that we belong to heaven and that we want to please the Lord.
The same Word which tells us we have no sin on us, tells us clearly that we have sin in us.
This awful story is spoken of in Jude, verse 11 as "the gainsaying of Core". No doubt there was jealousy in the heart of this man. He finds fault with Moses and Aaron who had a more prominent service. What a terrible thing jealousy is in God's sight! God had chosen each man for his work; Korah was really rebelling against God.
Num 16:4 A good thing to do. The Lord Himself is our Great High Priest; we do not have the right to choose. Let us submit to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Num 16:12 Two others who took part in this rebellion.
Num 16:16-35 Dathan and Abiram and all who are with them, are literally "swallowed up" by the earth, and Korah and the 250 who were with him are burnt. God will not be mocked or challenged, and though He is longsuffering and merciful today, He will bring terrible punishment on those who rebel against the Lord Jesus. Let us remember verse 21, and be separate from those (even believers sometimes) who refuse to accept the Lord's authority.
Num 16:41-45 This spirit of rebellion was in "all the congregation".
Num 16:48 Aaron the priest stands between the living and the dead, and the plague is stopped. If it were not for our High Priest, of whom Aaron is a picture, we would never reach heaven. But He is faithful and He who has made atonement, now lives for us.
In the last days the test of true love to Christ is the maintenance of His truth.
The Lord is going to act publicly.
Num 17:1-9 Twelve rods (sticks) were to be taken and put before the ark, the very dwelling place of God. The name of each tribe was written upon each individual rod.
Num 17:8 What a miracle! The rod of Aaron the High Priest, had brought forth buds, blossoms and almonds, all in one night! This is a picture of life and resurrection out of death! And the One who is our High Priest, the One who is up there in the presence of God for us, is now alive from among the dead, able and willing to lead us and keep us on our way home. Let us not forget the present work of our Lord in heaven (Rom 5:10); without it we could not survive.
Num 17:12-13 What pitiful unbelief, even after this wonderful miracle. The chapter ends with a question. In tomorrow's chapter the answer.
Whatever weakens attachment to Christ destroys power.
Num 18:1-5 What a wonderful answer! The Lord cannot lower the standard of His holiness, but here He makes full provision so that "there be no wrath upon the children of Israel". The tribe of Levi was to be "joined" to Aaron. They were privileged to serve, but they must be obedient to Aaron the High Priest. How sad and confusing it is when a believer chooses his own kind of service. Worship must precede service.
Num 18:8-10 It is good to serve the Lord, but it is more important still to worship Him. They were to "eat" the sin offering in the "holy place". This really means that we should feel deeply and with sorrow, the sin of any believer. We forget this, and perhaps scold and correct someone who fails, without feeling the burden of that sin and our own failure.
Num 18:14-19 Both people and unclean beasts had to be redeemed.
Num 18:20 Aaron's possession was the Lord Himself.
Num 18:31 The tithes and gifts that were brought to the Lord were given to the Levites and they and their households were to eat and enjoy them. What a happy thing to find households where those things which are the Lord's are enjoyed together in the home and family.
To speak of communion with God while I am going on with sinful thoughts or acts will bring reproach to Christ's name.
Although you may find this chapter hard to understand at first, it is very important for us all to try. For it is a picture of your life as a believer today. God here is telling us how awful SIN is to Him. Not the sins we did before we were saved, but those we do after. You will never be punished for one sin you ever do, for the Lord Jesus has been punished for them. Jn 13:10. But God our Father knows that the sins we do after we're saved spoil our communion with Him, and also make us unhappy. You and I need to learn what God is saying to us by this illustration. God has provided a way for us. Let's learn what it is.
Num 19:2 The red calf (heifer) without a spot, or course is a picture of Christ.
Num 19:3-8 The calf is taken outside the camp, killed, blood brought back, and sprinkled 7 times in front of the tabernacle (Lev 14:7); Death or blood are not mentioned again in this chapter. All a picture of Christ, His death outside the city of Jerusalem, and His blood shed. Through His one sacrifice our sins are gone forever. 7 is the perfect number.
Num 19:9-10 But now the ASHES are kept... a constant reminder of the death of the heifer. We don't need to be saved again if we believers sin, but we need to remind ourselves of what it cost the Lord Jesus to put away our sins. Sometimes we are careless about the things we believers do, but God isn't. Read verse 9 and see how similar it is to what Joseph did in Matt. 27:59.
Num 19:11-16 They surely had to be careful not to touch a dead body. We also should remember that socializing with the world spoils our communion with the Lord.
Num 19:17-22 The ashes and water are sprinkled on the unclean person. Notice that it took four days for the person to be restored to full communion. We don't get back into communion as quickly as we get out of it. May we have the same horror of sin as God has.
The higher our position is, the less will it bear the slightest defection. A failure which would be unnoticed in a lower position would be intolerable in a higher.
NUMBERS 20, Verses 1-13
To refresh your memory of what is happening to Israel. They had refused to believe that God was able to give them the promised land, so God had sent them out into the wilderness until every man over 20 years (at that time) has died.
Num 20:1 You remember that when they had been brought through the Red Sea, Miriam (Moses' and Aaron's sister) had sung a joyful song (Ex 15:20-21). Now she dies... the remembrance of Israel's first joy passes into sorrow. Isn't that just like us? The early joy of salvation, soon passes away, when we are disobedient to God. See chapter 13:17 on, but particularly verse 26 for what had happened 38 years before. Now they are back to Kadesh!
Num 20:2-5 Israel not only forgot their earlier joy, but forgot the power of a loving God which was able to care for their every need. Read this bitter attack on Moses and Aaron.
Num 20:6 Once again Moses and Aaron control themselves, go quietly from the complaining people to a compassionate LORD! The right Person and the right place.
Num 20:7-9 'The rod" is Aaron's (Aaron's rod is a picture of grace, the rod of Moses is a picture of power). Moses is told to speak to the rock. The rock had been struck once (Ex 17). This is a picture of the cross of Christ, (read Heb 10:12 "one offering") Also Ps 78:15. Speaking to it, introduces to us the power of the Holy Spirit Who sustains us over and over again, during "our wilderness journey" here on earth today. Just speaking, not smiting.
Num 20:10-11 Moses makes serious mistakes. (1) Uses his own rod, and (2) smites the rock twice. The Lord is gracious! The water flows out, BUT...
Num 20:12 Moses is told the consequences of his acts... he will not lead God's people into the land! Although believers often are disobedient to the Word of God, the Lord graciously has mercy, but He cannot, and will not reward disobedience. We today don't look for approval for our acts by results we can see, but we get the assurance of our approval from the Word of God.
Brightly burns the flame of testimony when fed with the oil of grace. Pr. 13:9
NUMBERS 20, V. 14-29
Num 20:14-21 The people of Edom were descendants of Esau (Jacob's brother). You remember that long before this, Jacob had deceived his father Isaac and stolen the birthright blessing belonging to Esau (Edom) - Gn 27. Now the descendants of these two men face each other! Israel must suffer for the deed of long before. We reap what we sow (Eccles. 3:15). But, to encourage you, don't forget, He remembers also the good (Mk 9:4l).
Num 20:22-end The chapter begins and ends with death. Now Aaron. Though Aaron didn't act, he associated himself with Moses, and so shared the Lord's displeasure. God is telling us that we are held responsible for our associations. Aaron's son becomes high priest.
There's no greater evidence of a true hearted saint than his holy fear of God.
Num 21:1-3 Israel makes an agreement with the Lord.
Num 21:4-9 All works well. But are the people of Israel happy? (1) They spoke against God and Moses; (2) they ask why they were ever delivered out of Egypt; (3) Told an untruth - they had bread - the manna, they had water - 20:11 and (4) they loathed (despised) the manna. The Lord sends fiery serpents; when the people were bitten, they died. The people confess, "we have sinned". How seldom we believers say this to the Lord, finding other things to blame, seldom ourselves. The whole story is a remarkable picture of sin and salvation through the Lord Jesus being lifted up on the cross (read Jn 3:14-15). One look to Christ is life; (one look at the serpent was healing). Jesus was made sin for us who believe - 2 Cor. 5:21.
Num 21:16 How gracious of the Lord. He loves to gather people together!
Num 21:17 The result... they sing. The Lord Jesus is our well - Jn 4:14-15.
Num 21:21-end The different races of people feared, resented, hated and were jealous of the Israelites. Each enemy had one of these characteristics. We believers find ourselves surrounded by spiritual enemies today. 2 Cor. 10:3-6 and Eph. 6:10-17 make it very plain. Even other believers criticize us when we speak or write the truth - Gal. 4:16. But let us not fear. Notice what the Lord did in these verses for Israel.
Truth makes us humble, our opinions make us proud.
Another enemy opposes the approach of Israel toward the land the Lord had chosen for them. Moab is a picture of religious corruption. They were very close to Israel, just across the Jordan. Look at Zeph 2:8-11, Ezek 25:8-11.
Num 22:1-7 The Moabites are afraid of the Israelites... they had heard of what had happened to some of their neighbors. They decide to hire a man named Balaam to come and curse these Israelites. We will see how gracious God was to Israel. They had miserably failed to obey Him, but the Lord turns this attempt to curse Israel, into the pronouncing of blessing!
Num 22:8-14 We might think that what Balaam did was right because he asked God what to do. But we'll see he was wrong. He knew very well that he ought to have said "NO". Before you read any further, turn to 2 Pet 2:15 (We evaluate right from wrong only by the Word of God, and not by our opinion).
Num 22:15-17 King Balak, more determined than ever to curse Israel, now sends men of higher rank and influence, to try to get Balaam to come to him. They promise Balaam unlimited rewards.
Num 22:18-19 Lofty words about wanting to know what the Lord's mind was (remember what 2 Pet 2:15 says) while he really wanted to go.
Num 22:20-21 God allows him to go because God sees his determination. The next verse proves this.
Num 22:22-35 Amazing story. Apart from the serpent in Eden, the only case in Scripture of an animal speaking. It saves his life. Balaam persists in his own will, yet using such holy talk.
Num 22:36-end King Balak welcomes Balaam with idolatrous offerings. A most instructive chapter. It reveals our own treacherous heart. We can profess to be wanting to know the Lord's will for us, yet persisting in our own ways.
Oh, that the children of God would wake up to a sense of their TRULY WONDERFUL ORIGIN (Eph.1:3) PRESENT DIGNITY (1 John 4:4, 3;2) and FUTURE DESTINY!
Num 23:1-4 Three visions or messages that Balaam gets from the Lord. These four verses are the first. But in contrast with this, we read of these two wicked men's plots. All appearing to be so holy.
Num 23:5-7 The Lord puts words in Balaam's mouth.
Num 23:8-10 Instead of a curse, Balaam announces the first of three blessings. Here we see God's chosen people set apart to God - separated, or to use New Testament language, "sanctified" (verse9).
Num 23:11-17 Back to King Balak's plot to curse Israel. Notice that another place is tried. Satan uses different ways.
Num 23:18-24 The second announcement from the Lord... we can use another New Testament word... "justified". God's view of His people. Not one sin seen by God. This is your position if you are a child of God.
Num 23:25-end King Balak tries another place.
Christian responsibility is to be a Christian; that is, of walking because we are in Christ, as He walked, through Christ dwelling in us.
Num 24:1 This helps us to see the source of Balaam's work... enchantment, which is like witch-craft. It is Satanic.
Num 24:2-9 The third vision from God... God's view of Israel... their acceptance before God and the blessings to follow. In verse 2, Balaam saw Israel's camp in unity and order, according to their tribes. In verse 5 he sees how beautiful the camp looked, in verse 6 he senses the sweet fragrances as from gardens beside nourishing waters, in verse 7 the abundance of everything needed to make them comfortable and happy, in verse 8 the power of God for them and with them, and in verse 9 God's acceptance of them and the blessings which flow from that acceptance.
Num 24:10-14 King Balak and Balaam fall out. Balaam is told to go, but before he goes he tells Balak Israel's glorious future and what they would do to King Balak's nation!
Num 24:15-19 This final vision is like a burst of light... the promise of a Star (it appeared to the wise men - Mt 2:1-2) and a Sceptre (a rod symbolising kingly authority) the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as King to crush all evil and establish a kingdom of power and glory.
Num 24:20-end Balaam ends his visions by telling of the destruction of the different nations which surround Israel.
Prayer is the constant attitude of dependence on God.
Num 25:1-3 Israel is preserved from the curse of King Balak, only to fall into another evil - committing fornication with the women of Moab. But this led to worse association... even to idol worship. Read 1 Cor. 10:20.
Num 25:4-5 The Lord orders a dreadful punishment on the guilty men.
Num 25:6-end One faithful man Phinehas is jealous for God's glory and carries out swift punishment on the wickedness. For this (verses 11-13) the Lord gave a special blessing to him. This man's faithfulness saved Israel from far worse punishment. Notice how many died from the plague God sent (verse 9), and the two specially - mentioned very prominent people. God is no respecter of persons, whether high or low. Nor does God allow us to forget that He hates sin, for in 1 Cor 10:8 He reminds us of this awful affair.
In all our petitions, failures, confessions, and need as individuals we go to GOD as our FATHER... but in everything relating to church conduct, we go to Him Who is the Head of the church.
God is taking care to tell us that He knows and has a record of every man who journeyed through the wilderness. There may be times when we believers wonder if the Lord really takes much notice of us when there are so many others who are living and dying in this world. But He does know you personally by name, and watches over you every day. All He asks us to do is to obey Him! He will make us happy and He will be happy too. How foolish we often are, not to obey Him!
Num 26:63-65 At the beginning of the journey through the wilderness, there were 600,000 men, besides women and children. When they are numbered now at the end of the journey, there are just 2 men left of the original group. All the other men have died in the wilderness and their children have now grown up. God loved them, and brought them out of Egypt, but because of their unbelief and their murmurings, they lost the joy of entering the land of "milk and honey". It doesn't mean they all went to hell. Perhaps there were many who really had no faith at all, and just followed the crowd. Such were truly lost, but there were many others who had faith, and trusted in the Lord. However through their unbelief and murmurings, they missed the blessing of entering the land of Canaan. Josh and Caleb believed God's promise. They were kept through those 40 years, to enter into the land.
Prayers on earth are incense in heaven. Rev. 5:8.
Num 27:1-11 A few had real faith. There were many around who didn't seem to care very much about their inheritance, but here were 5 sisters without any brothers, who cared very much. (But today, God has given us, men, women, boys and girls, such wonderful spiritual blessings - and an "inheritance". Do we value it?)
Num 27:7 The Lord promises that they will not lose their inheritance.
Num 27:12-13 What sad news for Moses. He can take a good look at the promised land, but he is told that he must die, and will not be able to lead the people into the land.
Num 27:15-17 What an unselfish man! Instead of thinking only about himself, and the sorrow of being forbidden to enter the land, he thinks of the people of God, and he asks the Lord to take care of them, and to choose someone else to lead them so that they will not be as sheep without a shepherd.
The power of our prayers depends upon our spiritual condition.
Num 28:2 Notice the words "my" and "me". God Himself delights in that which would point to the coming of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, it was that our sins might be put away. But it is important for us to remember that there was a first purpose in His death, and that was that He died for God's glory. This sacrifice was a perfect delight to the heart of God Himself. Let us remember this, for it is very important. If we were to read this chapter, and the next one, we would find that the sin offering is mentioned 13 times, but the sweet savour offerings are mentioned 58 times. What is the difference? The sin offering would remind us of the Lord Jesus putting away our sins by bearing the punishment from God and shedding His blood for us. But the sweet savour offerings would remind us of how precious and sweet that offering up of the Lord Jesus was to God Himself. The more you understand this, the richer will be your praise to God.
Num 28:4 Morning and evening there was to be that offering of the lamb. For us today it is a reminder of the precious Person of the Lord Jesus, offering Himself up to God.
Num 28:6-31 We ought always to be rejoicing in the Lord, and offering up to God, that which would tell Him of our delight in His beloved Son, our Savior. Do you wish to offer up a sacrifice? Then just look up and thank God for the gift of His beloved Son. Heb 13:15.
By asking in the Name of Christ, we come before God with all the value and authority of that Name.
Num 29:1-6 The burnt offering is a picture of the perfect One Who was such a delight to the heart of God... the Lord Jesus who "offered Himself without spot to God" (Heb 9:14), and in Whom God found such perfect delight. It is truly wonderful to know a little bit of what the Lord Jesus has done for me, and of how His mighty sacrifice has put away my sins. But let us not forget that He means more to God His Father than He does to any one of us. (Read carefully and slowly Jn 17:4).
Num 29:12-40 On the 15th day, they were to bring an offering of 13 young bullocks. That would be a very great and costly offering to present to the Lord. Through the days that follow to the 8th day, the number of Bullocks becomes less and less until on the eighth day it is just one. Even though we may not know as much about the Lord as some others, God delights in all that we are able to enjoy of the beauty and the loveliness of Christ. Don't hesitate to praise Him and to thank Him. He looks at your heart and He values very much your thoughts about His beloved Son. Try to remember what the Lord Jesus has done for God's glory first. Then what He has done for you.
I pray in regards to my needs... we worship in the sense of what we have in God.
Num 30:3 A vow is a promise that is made, and here refers to promises made to the Lord. A woman makes a promise or vow to the Lord. Sometimes we make promises that we are not able to carry out. Or perhaps we wish we had never made that promise. When a woman made a vow, she had to keep her word. No matter how difficult it might be, she could not go back on her word.
Num 30:8 The remarkable provision. If her husband or her father (verse 5) heard her make a vow and he knew that it would be very difficult for her to keep that vow, then he could "disallow" that vow - see verses 13, 14 and 15. Her husband had the right to let her bear the full responsibility of her vow, or if she didn't he must himself. Then she is free from the responsibility.
Num 30:15 "...then he shall bear her iniquity". What a lesson there is in all this! At the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, the leaders of Israel cried out to Pilate, "His blood be on us and on our children". What a terrible vow! They said - we know what we are doing, we want this Man to be put to death and we will take the full guilt of it to ourselves and to our children. If that vow stood, then there could be no blessing for that nation for ever. They would always be held guilty of the murder of the Lord Jesus, and God Himself could not bless them. But the Lord Jesus heard that terrible vow... He really was like the husband of Israel. Though He was the rejected and hated One, He did not want that terrible vow to stand. So He said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). He disallowed (cancelled) that vow! What wonderful love! He wanted them to be blessed and forgiven and took the guilt upon Himself instead. And now God is free to bless His people Israel, and He will do it after we believers are taken to be with the Lord.
When we go to God to worship, it is as occupied with the One Who is perfectly acceptable to God.
We have read in chapters 22 to 25 how that the Midianites tried to separate God from Israel by using Balaam; and couldn't succeed. Then they tried to separate Israel from God by leading the men of Israel into immorality with the women of Midian, and partly succeeded. Balaam seemed to escape any punishment. But today, in verses 1-3 we see interesting statements. In verses 1-2 the Lord said to Moses, "avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites", but in verse 3, we read that Moses said to the people "avenge the Lord of Midian". So both were accomplished!
Then in verse 2 we learn that God wasn't going to let Moses die without his seeing this disgrace completely blotted out.
Num 31:3-12 Because God was working behind the scenes, it did not require a huge army, even if Midian was very powerful. Notice that Phinehas, the priest, accompanied the army! He was better than some great captain.
Num 31:13-24 The women were the cause of the sin, so Moses was angry because the officers were not destroying them. Nothing could be used by Israel which did not go through the fire, the judgement of God.
Num 31:25-54 When the Israelites had left the land of Egypt years before, they took with them much of the treasures of the land. Here they keep for themselves, and give part to the Lord, of the spoils of the enemies of the Lord. When they turned to Him in obedience, the Lord in His grace, brings in blessing.
Under all circumstances, in all places, at all times, we're to pray. Prayer is the constant attitude of dependence on God.
Num 32:1-5 Some of the people from three of the tribes didn't want to go across the Jordan River. They looked at the good pasture land on the wilderness side of the river. It seemed a good place to stay. So they told Moses that they didn't want to go across the Jordan river. What is this like in our Christian life? This River Jordan is a picture of our death with Christ on the cross. Rom 6:3-11 and Gal. 2:20 tell us this. We are citizens of heaven, not of earth. Read Col. 3:1-3. To enjoy our heavenly blessings (Eph. 1:3) now, we need to realize we have died with Christ to sin and the world, and are alive with Him now in our heavenly life. If we look around and say "well this isn't too bad a place, I'll just enjoy it," we would be like these people in our chapter. Now, take a minute to read Joshua 14:1-2 to see what they lost.
Num 32:6-15 Moses was very displeased about this. His eyes were set on the land God had promised to give the people.
Num 32:16-19 Those who had said they didn't want to go across the river, promise that they will go and help the rest of their brethren take the land, and afterwards return.
Num 32:20-42 Moses accepts this. When we are determined to have our own way, God sometimes allows it. Later we find out the troubles that come with it. If we were to follow the history of these two and a half tribes, we would find that they were the first ones to be carried away into captivity when the enemy came against them - 1 Chr 5:25, 26. May we not be worldly-minded believers.
In all our petitions, failures, confessions, and need as individuals we go to GOD as our FATHER... but in everything relating to church conduct, we go to Him Who is the Head of the church.
Num 33:1-49 The faithfulness and care of the Lord has kept a record of the wanderings of His people for over forty years. Every place they stopped along the way is written down. The Lord also keeps a record of our lives, and some day He will review it step by step. And then we will praise Him for His faithfulness in spite of our failures. The Lord Himself went with them in all those wanderings.
Num 33:50-56 After this long account, they are told that when they enter into the land, they are to drive out those who had lived there, so that they would not be influenced by their evil ways. They were warned that if they left them there, and tried to live among them, that it would be a continual trial and problem to them. This is a lesson for us. We are journeying heavenward, where we shall never have any of these trials and battles. But we know what trials there are now. We know that we have to work with those who do not love the Lord Jesus, and who mock us if we speak well of Him. Let us see to it that we do not make friends with them, but remain separate from them. We are to witness to them about the Lord. Separation is not the same as isolation.
Prayers on earth are incense in heaven. Rev. 5:8.
Num 34:1 The Lord says "when ye come into the land", He does not say "if", for He had promised, and He was going to keep that promise. And the very same Hand that had brought them out of Egypt, and had kept them through those 40 years in the wilderness, would also divide to them the land that flowed with "milk and honey". So here we read of the borders of that land.
Num 34:16. These two men, Eleazar the priest and Josh, are to divide the promised land among the twelve tribes.
Num 34:19-29 A prince was to be put in charge of each tribe. Remember that He has also promised to us a "land" above... our blessings cannot be measured by boundaries nor miles. Even now, we are so richly blessed, and the Lord wants us to enjoy all. The height and depth, and breadth and length cannot be measured, Eph. 3:17, 18 and 19. It is all ours, for we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
The power of our prayers depends upon our spiritual condition.
Num 35:11 The cities of refuge were for someone who had killed anyone "at unawares" - that is, by accident. We can see from the end of verse 16, that if it was actual murder, then the man who did it, must be put to death. Always remember that murder comes from Satan - Jn 8:44.
Num 35:25 The one who fled to the city of refuge was to remain there until the death of the High Priest, and then he could come back to the place where the death had taken place, and he would be free. But from verses 26 and 27 we see that if he came out of that city before the death of the high priest, then he could be put to death. Now let us apply this story. The Lord Jesus loved His guilty people Israel so much, that He said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". If the Lord had not said this, they would have been guilty of murder, and there could be no blessing for them forever. But now, we might say, they are guilty of "manslaughter", and God has permitted them to take refuge among the nations where they are scattered. They are going back to their land right now while the great High Priest (the Lord Jesus) is still in glory, and they will be punished there in the land for their disobedience. After the Lord has come to take us believers to Himself in heaven, He will bring the believing Israelites to their land and He will appear there. (Though this chapter is about God's people, Israel, it is an illustration of the refuge (safe place) we have found in our Lord Jesus. Let us thank God for it.)
By asking in the Name of Christ, is more than having a title through His Name; it is, indeed, to appear before God with all the value and authority of that Name.
In chapter 27 we had the beginning of the story of the
daughters of this man Zelophehad. Now we get the conclusion. In Israel,
if a girl had no brothers, she received the inheritance of her father.
She was to marry a man from her own tribe, otherwise her inheritance
would go to her husband's tribe. God wanted each tribe to remain
distinct. (Let us remember the lesson for ourselves. There is an
"inheritance" that ought to be valued and never, never given up. There
are many young believers who live the Lord Jesus and who value the
"inheritance" that they have in Him. How sad to hear of believers who
have made friends, and have even married someone who is kind and
pleasant but who does not love the Lord and cares nothing for the
heavenly inheritance. There are sorrows in this condition, and the Lord
has warned us against them - 2 Cor. 6:14. To the unbeliever this is just
a book of "numbers", but to us who know the Lord Jesus as Savior, it is
a great encouragement as we pass through this world to glory. The more
we are enjoying the Lord, the more we will realize that this world is a
This is just another way to tell you that Jesus came to this world to save you. Because He loves you. Just click here to know how much. Now, what will YOU do about this? Want an idea? Click here.
Before you ask, this is a personal site. It is not related to, nor owned by, any religious group, church, denomination or organization. I am not a pastor, priest or anything like that. I am a person just like you. Because I was a lost sinner and the Lord Jesus found me and saved me, this is the way I found to tell everybody else about Him. Do you want to know how I was saved? Click here.
Oh, yes, you would like to know if I attend to any kind of church or Christian meetings, right? Ok, click here to learn how I believe Christians should gather together. This is the way I and others are gathered, in the name of Jesus alone.
Do you have any question or comments? Click here to send me an email. If you want to know more about the story of this site, click here. If you want to learn more about the Bible, visit Chapter-a-Day and read a daily message. To send this page's address to a friend, use the form below. I am happy you are here.
Dúvidas sobre a Bíblia? Leia o blog "O que respondi".
|<< Volta para o Índice||<< Volta para o Índice|