Numbers 21 Ė 24

 

In chapter 20

At Kadesh Miriam dies

Refused passage through Edom

On to Mount Hor Aaron dies on the mountain

In Chapter 21

King of Arad heard they were coming on the road to Atharim (unknown)and took some of the Jews prisoners but they pray to God and they completely destroy king Arad. Lets read this event.

 

Numbers 21:1 The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners.2 So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities."3 And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah. (means utterly destroyed)

 

Left Mount Hor and traveled the way of the Red Sea to go around Edom

From there they make there way to Moab but on the way encounter King Sihon.

 

Numbers 21:21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,22 "Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory."23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel.24 Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified.25 So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages.

 

After they defeat this king they go on to defeat the people of Jazer and the people of Bashen. This gives us a pretty good idea of the general path that the Children of Israel traveled at this time.

 

But now we must back track and look at the events that happened in

 

Numbers 21: 4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people.8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live."9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

 

Once again we the children of Israel complain about their situation and God punishes them by sending these poisonous vipers. And as usual the children of Israel beg Moses to intervene and he does and God tells him to make this bronze serpent and to put it on a pole and when they are bitten if they will look at it they will be cured. As I have told you in the past there are a lot types and anti-types in the Bible and what I want to show you is a chart that shows how the bronze serpent is type of Jesus on the cross.

 

The Bronze Serpent

Jesus on the cross

1. Death without it (Num. 21:6)

2. Lifted up on a pole (Num. 21:8)

3. Available to all (Num. 21:8)

4. The ONLY cure

5. A SURE cure (Num. 21:8-9)

6. Required faith

7. Look and live! (Num. 21:8)

8. Must not become an idol (2Kg. 18:4)

1. Death without him (1 John 4:10)

2. Lifted up on the cross (John 3:14;12:32-33)

3. Available to all (John 3:16)

4. The ONLY savior Acts 4:12

5. A SURE cure

6. Requires faith (Heb. 11:6)

7. Look and live! (Heb. 12:1-2;Isa. 45:22)

8. Must not become an idol (1 Jn. 5:21)

 

1. Those who were bitten by the poisonous vipers could not live until God provided this Bronze Serpent. In a similar manner no one could escape separation of God until he provided us his son.

 

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

Without Jesus we would all be lost.

 

2. The bronze serpent had to be lifted up for the people to live. In similar manner Jesus had to be lifted up on the cross so that we could live.

 

John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

 

Here Jesus clearly shows us that the bronze serpent is type of Jesus being raised up on the cross. Jesus also says this in,

 

John 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

 

So, you see Jesus had to be lifted up on the cross and suffer all things he went through to make it possible for us to live.

 

3. The bronze serpent was available for all those were bitten just a Jesus Christ was raised up for all people.

 

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

4. The bronze serpent was the only thing that would cure the bite of those vipers. In similar manner Jesus is the only savior that can save us from our sins. Peter talking about Jesus says this in,

 

Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

5. The bronze serpent was sure cure because God said it was and everything that God has ever said has always been true. The same is true about Jesus. He is the sure cure for our sins. Why? Because God said so and his words are always true.

 

6. The people had to have faith that God would cure them by following his plan of redemption. Without faith these people would have never even tried to look at the serpent. In similar manner if we are going to be free from our sin we must have faith in God.

 

Hebrews 11:6 ††But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

7. In order for the person to be healed from the viper bite they had to look at the bronze serpent. In the same way in a spiritual sense we have to look at Jesus.

 

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

If we want to live we must look at Jesus. Even Isaiah speaks of this in,

 

Isaiah 45:22 "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

 

8. The OT teaches us that the bronze serpent should not be used an idol.

 

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

(Neck-hoosh-tawn).

 

We learn from this passage that the children of Israel later on make this bronze serpent into a idol. This was ongoing problem with them they were continually making idols of something. Just as the bronze serpent is not to be an idol Jesus death on the cross is not be an idol either. However some religions have done that very thing. They put up crosses with Jesus on them and people will kneel before these statues and pray before them. In doing this they are making a statue into an idol. John tells us,

 

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

 

From these 8 different things we have looked at you can clearly see that connection between the bronze serpent and Jesus death on the cross.

 

In chapter 22 we get a really interesting story about how Balak sends Balaam to curse the children of Israel. You see Balak was the king of Moab and his people were scared to death of the children of Israel and they just knew that they were going to take over their land. So this king send men to Balaam who they think has the power to curse or bless someone. Lets pick up in the story starting in verse

 

Numbers 22:7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner's fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.8 And he said to them, "Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me." So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.9 Then God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with you?"

 

These men have brought money to pay for witchcraft that is what that word diviner means. No at first Balaam does the right thing he waits to hear from God and sure enough God speaks to him. Now you will notice that God ask the question Who are these men with you? Does this mean that God didnít know who they were. No, he knew who they were he was asking this question in the same manner that he asked Cain where his brother was. This question was used to get Balaam to start thinking about the situation he was putting himself in and since God knows every person heart he knew that Balaam was being tempted by situation.

 

Numbers 22: 10 So Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,11 'Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.' "12 And God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed."13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you."14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us."

God makes it clear, donít go with them and donot curse the children of Israel because they blessed. At thispoint Balaam doesgood and he sends the messengers on their way. But, Balak wasnít going to give up the easily.

 

Numbers 22:15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they.16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: 'Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;17 'for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.' "18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.

 

There really putting the pressure on Balaam but again he says the right thing. He basically says that he cannot be bought because he cannot be go beyond the word of the Lord to do less or more. This is the same attitude that every Christianshould have because losing our soul is not worth any of the riches of this earth. Just a Balaam said we do notneedto go beyond the word of the lord to do less or more. But right after Balaam makes this statement we begin to see his downfall.

 

Numbers 22: 19 "Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me."20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you -- that you shall do."21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.22 Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

 

The reason I say that Balaam started his downfall here was because he once again wants the Lord to give him answer in regards to weather he should go with these men or not? God had already this by telling him not to go and not to curse the children of Israel. From the way I understand this text God allows Balaam to go with these men in similar manner as he allowed the children of Israel to have king. God did not agree with it but sometimes heallows a person to go ahead their mistakes but you also notice that if he went that he was only suppose to do what God tells him. Again, God knows the heart of man and he get angry at Balaam because he was not obeying him. What happens next is very interesting.

 

Numbers 22: 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.24 Then the Angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; so he struck her again.26 Then the Angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.28 Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"29 And Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!"30 So the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?" And he said, "No."

 

As your read this text you really donít get an idea of thoughts that must have been running through Balaamís head. I mean just think if you riding a donkey and it began to speak to you. You can just imaging the shock and awe that Balaam was going through right now having conversation with his donkey.

 

Numbers 22:31Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.32 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.33 "The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live."34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the LORD, "I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back."

 

This was a very unique way to teach a man a lesson and Balaam gets the point and admits that he has sinned in going and is ready to turn back. But now God has another plan for him.

 

35 Then the Angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory.37 Then Balak said to Balaam, "Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?"38 And Balaam said to Balak, "Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak."

 

So, now he is to continue on his journey and God is going to use Balaam to teach Balak alesson now. Balaam is only going to speak or do what God tells him to.

 

39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth.40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.41 So it was the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.

 

Balak wasnít to concerned with what Balaam had said and Balak show Balaam the children of Israel and we will see that he tries to get him to curse the children of Israel in 23. The first attempt is a failure and instead turns into a blessing. We can see Balak frustration in

 

Numbers 23:11 Then Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!"12 So he answered and said, "Must I not take heed to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth?"

 

Balak tries to get Balaam to do it again and once again it doest happen this time Balaksays,

 

Numbers 23: 25 Then Balak said to Balaam, "Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!"26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, "Did I not tell you, saying, 'All that the LORD speaks, that I must do'?"

 

Now for a third time Balak tries to get Balaam to curse the children of Israel and once again the curse is turned into a blessing. Again notice the words of Balak

 

Numbers 24:10 Then Balak's anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!11 "Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor."12 So Balaam said to Balak, "Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying,13 'If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak'?

 

Finally Balak givesus and realizes that God is not going to allowthis curse to happen and Balaam would not go against the word of God at thistime. Finally Balaam make one more prophecy and tells Balak how the children of Israel will defeat them later on.

 

We lean a great lesson from the story of Balaam and Balak. We learn that no matter how much someone may push or tempt you with money as a child of God you must do your very best not to allow a person or anything of this world to cause you to compromise the perfect will God.