Numbers 25 Ė 36

 

Numbers 25:1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel.

 

I have always considered the book of Judges the Yoyo book because the children of Israel would be faithful to God when a judge was around but as soon as the judged died they would go back to their idols and turn the back on God. But I canít help but see the same type of Yoyo effect here in the book of numbers because we have seen over and over again how the children of Israel will be faithful one day and then turn around and be sinful the next. In chapter 25 we learn that a great number of the children of Israel enter into unlawful relationships with these women of Moab and to top it all of they go along with them and participate in a sacrifice to a false God and even bow down to this idle. As Christians today we need to make sure that we are not following in the foot steps of these Jews. Now I know that we all sin from time to time and I am very thankful for Gods grace but we never get to the point of our life where we donít fight everyday to resist the temptations of this life. In other words donít be a Yoyo Christian. You also notice from our text the God is angry with these sinners.

 

4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the LORD, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel."5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor."

 

God demands justice to be served and Moses tells the judges of Israel to carry out this task. In a similar manner God anger burns hot against those who live and sin and even though he does not have people killed under the NT justice will be served in the end.

 

Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people."31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

6 And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

 

Let me tell what I think is going on in this passage. I think that this man thought that if brought this women before Moses and seen how pretty or innocent she was that just maybe he would be able to change their minds about the judgment God had made. But notice what happens next.

 

7 Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand;8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel.9 And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.

 

Phinehas was a very faithful man one who was dedicated to God and his commands. He understood that God wanted these sinners put to death and he didnít waste anytime taking care of the this man and this woman. God had already started a plague amongst the children of Israel and because of Phineehas zeal God ended the plague.

 

10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal.12 "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;13 'and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.' "

 

What do we learn from Phinehas? Do learn that we as Christians should pack a javelin and go around kill all the sinners? No. What we do learn from Phinehas is not to hesitate when it comes to obeying Godís Word. Even if everyone else is standing around and being idle we should not. All Christians should have the same Zeal as Phinehas and be ready and willing to obey Gods Word in every situation.

 

16 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:17 "Harass the Midianites, and attack them;18 "for they harassed you with their schemes by which they seduced you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister, who was killed in the day of the plague because of Peor."

 

You see the Midianites used a very deceptive way to bring the children of Israel down. Notice they didnít use weapons or physical strength instead they seduced them into harlotry and into worshiping their Gods which in turn would cause their downfall because their sinful actions would make God almighty destroy his own people. So now God wants the children of Israel to bring distress on the Midiantes for what they did to children of Israel.

 

Numbers 26:1 And it came to pass, after the plague, that the LORD spoke to Moses and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying:2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel from twenty years old and above, by their fathers' houses, all who are able to go to war in Israel."3 So Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying:4 "Take a census of the people from twenty years old and above, just as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt."

 

Once again a census is taking of the children of Israel and in verses 5 Ė 51 you can read the breakdown of this census.

 

Numbers 26: 52 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:53 "To these the land shall be divided as an inheritance, according to the number of names.54 "To a large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance. Each shall be given its inheritance according to those who were numbered of them.55 "But the land shall be divided by lot; they shall inherit according to the names of the tribes of their fathers.56 "According to the lot their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller."

 

Basically the biggerthe tribe the more land they received the smaller the tribe the less land they received and of course the Levites were not numbered because they did receive any land.

 

Numbers 26: 63 These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.64 But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they numbered the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai.65 For the LORD had said of them, "They shall surely die in the wilderness." So there was not left a man of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

 

Here we see yet another promise fulfilled by God. Only those that were 20 years and younger are alive now with the exception of these 2 men.

 

In Chapter 27:1 Ė 11 has to do with Inheritance.Basically a daughter wants to have some possessions that her father had because her father did not have any sons. Moses ask God about this and God agrees that the daughter should inherit some ofher father possessions through her fathers brother. The text give more details on different situations on how possessions should be passed down.

 

Numbers 27: 12 Now the LORD said to Moses: "Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel.13 "And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered.14 "For in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to hallow Me at the waters before their eyes." (These are the waters of Meribah, at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.)

 

Once again God reminds Moses of why he will not enter the promise land.

 

15 Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying:16 "Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,17 "who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be like sheep which have no shepherd."18 And the LORD said to Moses: "Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;19 "set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight.20 "And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.21 "He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him -- all the congregation."22 So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation.23 And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

 

At Moses request a new leader is chosen for the children of Israel. Joshua is to be the new leader. Moses understood that these people needed good leadership to help encourage them to remain faithful and the same is true today. The church needs good leadership. Each congregation when it is set up like God has intended is to consist of Elders, deacons and the saints. The strength of a church is usually a reflection of its leadership. That is why it important for every congregation to be sure and encourage their elders that they do their best in the leadership and service to God.

 

In Chapter 28 and 29 we are given more details about the various offerings that the children of Israel are to do. For the sake of time I will leave it up to you to read all of the details laid out in these 2 chapters.

 

Now chapter 30 is all about vows and keeping your word.

 

Numbers 30:1 Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded:2 "If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.3 " Or if a woman makes a vow to the LORD, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father's house in her youth,4 "and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand.

 

As this chapter continues it also deals with vows made between husband and wife and even vows made by widows or those who were divorced. The whole point of this chapter shows the seriousness God places on his people to keep their words. This a great lesson that our generation needs to learn. Today a person word means very little. It used to be that if two people shook hands on deal and gave the word their no doubt that each party would keep their word. But, that no longer is the case today. About the only way a person can be sure today that a person will keep his word is if both you sign a written agreement with at least 2 witnesses watching you sign. While this is true when it comes to the world as Christians we need to be the type of people that keep our word. If we tell someone we will do something then we need to do it. If we make some sort of promise to God we need to our best to keep it. God thought it was important back then and he still thinks its important today.

 

Numbers 30:6 " If indeed she takes a husband, while bound by her vows or by a rash utterance from her lips by which she bound herself,7 "and her husband hears it, and makes no response to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her agreements by which she bound herself shall stand.

 

Notice that God even wants this women who made a rash utterance to keep her word. What do we learn from this? We learn that we need to make sure and think about what we say we will do. Sometimes we find ourselves in a difficult situation and we might say we will do something without thinking about it. Well the best thing we can do is to say let me think about that and get back to you. Again, even if we make a rash utterance we should do our best to keep our word as long as what we have agreed to does not cause us to sin against God.

 

In Chapter 31 its time for God to take his vengeance out on the Midianites. He commands Moses to send some of the children of Israel to go to war against these people and so he does. With the help of God the Children of Israel easily defeat the Midanites and they kill ever man and king. During this war according to verse 49 not one single man from the children of Israel lost his life. But notice what they did after they defeated these men.

 

Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took the women of Midian captive, with their little ones, and took as spoil all their cattle, all their flocks, and all their goods.10 They also burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt, and all their forts.11 And they took all the spoil and all the booty -- of man and beast.

 

Now there wasnít a problem with these men taking these various items form this land but they messed up when they brought all these women back with them with their children. We must remember that it was these women that had seduced the children of Israel to sin earlier and yet they decided on their own to let them live. This makes Moses angry as we read in,

 

Numbers 31:15 And Moses said to them: "Have you kept all the women alive?16 "Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.17 "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately.18 "But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.

 

So now they were going to have to finish the job that they should had already done with the exception of them getting to keep these younger women. After all this was taken care of then we find out that the divide these spoils of war between the children of Israel. Lets take a look at how much stuff they acquired from the Midinites in,

 

Numbers 31: 32 The booty remaining from the plunder, which the men of war had taken, was six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep,33 seventy-two thousand cattle,34 sixty-one thousand donkeys,35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, of women who had not known a man intimately.

The rest of the chapter just give the details on how this plunder was divided between the children of Israel.

 

In chapter 32 we learn that tribes decide that they want to make their home just short of the promise land. The tribe of Ruben and Gad decide they want to remain behind in the land that the children of Israel had already conquered because it was full of great pastures for feeding their flocks. I find this to be really sad here these men have came all thisway and they are almost into the land that was promised by God and yet they want to stop short of this and be satisfied with almost getting there. As sad this is was the same thing is happening today many people believe in God and they will even do Godly thing but they will let worldly things come between them and God and they become satisfied in almost reaching the goal of heaven. The same thing is true for those who really love God but yet instead of obeying Godís word they worship him in their own way and become satisfied in missing heaven. As God fearing people we should never become satisfied with almost making it to heaven.

 

Notice what Moses says to these men in

 

Numbers 32:6 And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: "Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?7 "Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them?

 

After Moses questions them about this they explain what they will do. They say they will go fight with the children of Israel and after their enemies are defeated that they will return back to this land. This is seems to be acceptable to Moses but I love what he says to them in

 

Numbers 32:23 "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.24 "Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what has proceeded out of your mouth."

 

This same saying is true today. If you sin against the Lord you can rest assure that your sin will find your out. Letís us never think that we can get away with sin. Yes we may fool our friends and loved ones but we cannot hide our sin from God. In verse 24 once again we see the importance for a person to keep their word.

 

In Chapter 33 gives a summary of all the places that the children of Israel have journeyed since they left Egypt to where they are now. In verse 50-56 God gives the children instructions on what they are to do when they enter into the promise land. Basically they are suppose to wipe everyone out and if they do not do this the ones they leave behind will become a thorn in their side.

 

In chapter 34:1-15 God basically gives the details onhow he wants the borders setup on the promise land and verses 16-29 he appoints certain men to divide up the promise land between the tribes.

Chapter 35:1-8 basically states that each tribes is to give cities to the Levites that they may live in and they are also to appoint 6 cities of refuge. The purpose of the cities of refuge are explained in verse 9 -34. In general these cities of refuge were a safe haven for anyone he accidentally killed someone. They could flee to one of these cities and no one could kill them as long as they remained in that city. But, if they were found outside the city they would not be safe. Now when the high priest died of that city the man could safely go back to his hometown and those who wanted to take his life can no longer do so. Now if someone killed someone on purpose they to would be killed.

 

Finally we come to our last chapter in Numbers chapter 36. This chapter is about protecting the inheritance of each tribe. You see if a women who had inherited possession from her father married a man from another tribe then that tribe gain part of that tribes possessions. In order to prevent this a women under this circumstancewas only allowed to marry someone from their own tribe. In this way there would never be a problem with one tribe gaining part of another tribes possessions.