Numbers

 

Tonight we began our journey into the book of Numbers. There are many interesting things that can be found in this book so we have will have several lesson from the book Numbers.

 

First lets take a look at the names of this book. There are actually two. First lets start with the one we already know, Numbers. This comes from the Greek and is fitting title of the book because a census is taken in Chapter one and following at Mount Sinai and then another Census is taken whenthe reach Moab in Chapter 26. In the Hebrew Bible the book in named IN THE WILDERNESS. Again, this another good name for this book because a great portion of this book deals with the wandering of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness.

 

Author

Once again the author is Moses. Just as in the book of Exodus and Leviticus we see God speaking through Moses and we find Moses writing down what God commands him.

 

Numbers 33:2 ††2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD.

 

Key Words

Wanderings or sojourning

 

Key Pharse

All that are able to go to war this occurs 14 times in the first alone

 

Key verses come from the Key chapter of the book

 

Numbers 14:22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.

 

You know this isreally sad here in chapter 14. The Children of Israel had seen first hand the power of God and how he dealt with the Egyptian army. God was ready to give the children Israel the land flowing with milk and honey less the an month afterthey departed from Mt Sinai. They sent out 12 spies but 10 came back and said there is no way we can defeat them and because of their unbelief all those 20 years and older would not be allowed to enter the promise land except for Caleb and Joshua the only 2 spies who came back and basically said, lets go take the land of Milk and Honey God is on our side. Its interesting how God comes up with the amount of years they will have to wonder in the wilderness.

 

Numbers 14:34 'According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

 

I think the main lesson that the book of Numbers teaches is that unbelief and disobedience will keep you from having an abundant life and heavenly hope. Not ice what the writer of Hebrews says about this.

 

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.'11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.' "12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

Unbelief is a very dangerous thing and so we can learn a valuable lesson from the book Numbers and Beware of unbelief and beware of disobeying Gods will. Because of the children of Israelís unbelief their 11 day journey to Canaan turned into a 40 year journey in which only their children and grand children would get to finish. Again, I want to point out the importance for us as Christians to study to the OT. There are a lot references in the NT to the OT. For example look would Paul writes in:

 

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,3 all ate the same spiritual food,4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed less he falls.

 

As Christianswe must always be careful that we donít stop paying attention how we are living our lives for God. Some may becomeover confident and thinkthere is no way they can sin against God. People who get to this point are not really much different than the children of Israel. If you recall they made a promise to God that they would obey his commands and not sin against him yet they did. We see Gods mercy and grace with the childrenof Israel in fact that he allowed them to mess up 10 times before they were bared forCanaan. Today we live under a system of Grace but we must be careful not to abuse it because we can get to the point were we fall from Grace.

 

Now letís do a quick overview of the leading topics of Numbers.

1-10 Organization at Mt. Sinai

Moses is commanded to number the people and get the men ready are 20 years or older to prepare for war. The Levites are given different duties in regards to the tabernacle.

11 70 Elder appointedand Quails sent.

70 Elders are appointed to help Moses out and then people complain about not having food so God sends them Quails for month so that they are running out their nose.

12 The Jealously of Miriam and Aaron

They are jealous of Moses new Ethiopian wife

13 -14 The disobedience at Kadesh

This is where the children of Israel make a huge mistake by not trusting in God and because of the disobedience they get to wander the wilderness for 40 years

15-19 The events of their 40 years

Just as the titles says we learn what happens to the children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering.

20 The sin of Moses and death of his siblings

In this chapter both Miriam and Aaron die. Moses also sins by striking the rock out anger when God asked him to speak to the rock and so Moses is not allowed to go into the promise land either.

21 The Brazen serpent

Once again the Children of Israel rebel against God and he sends fiery serpents to bite them and when they do they die. Moses intervenes and God tells Moses to make a serpent out of Bronze and raise it upon a pole and whoever looks upon it after being bitten by one the poisonous serpents will be healed.

22-25 Balaam and his talking donkey

Balak the King of Moab hires Balaam to curse the children of Israel and Balaam finds out that God will not allow him to this.

26 The second census

The children of Israel are number once again at Moab.

27-34 Additional laws and preparation for entering Canaan

35 Cities of refuge

If a man killed someone by accident he could flee to one of these cities and be safe from an avenger until he stands trial before the congregation.

There are 3 more high points I want look at from the book of Numbers.

 

1. In Chapter 6 we learn about the Nazarite vow. Both Samson and John the Baptist were Nazarites . One of the sins that led the Israel to their destruction was the leading astray of the Nazarites.

 

Amos 2:11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?" Says the LORD.12 "But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, 'Do not prophesy!'

 

2. Grasshopper complex Ė

 

Numbers 13:33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."You see this what the 10 spies told the children of Israel and they believed it. They felt insecure and didnít see any possible way they could defeat such huge people. What you will notice is that the spies felt like they were grasshoppers but what they didnít know was the Canaanites were afraid of the Children of Israel. We learn thisfrom Joshua.

 

Joshua 2: 8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof,9 and said to the men: "I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.11 "And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.††

 

Part of winning any battle requires that youhave confidences thatyou can win. As Christianswe are fighting a spiritual warfare against the devil and all things that are evil. But if we began to doubt our ability wage this type of war if we began to doubt that God is there to help us then we to can become grasshoppers in our own eyes. If we allow ourselves to become like this than we lose the battle.

 

The Hebrew writer says:

 

Hebrews 10:35 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

 

Friends, with God on our side weshould be the most confident people that are. There is nothing that this life can dish out that we cant approach in confidence when we are in Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Anotherpassage that really encourages me about God and what Jesus doesfor us is found in:

 

Hebrews 4:14- Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Jesus can relate to us and knows all about our troubles and we can truly draw strength from that. So letís do our best not become grasshoppers in our eyes.

 

3. The third thing I want to show is one of the most beautiful passagesthat you will find in the book Numbers. Take a look a what God says before the Israel disobeys inNumbers14.

 

Numbers 6:24 "The LORD bless you and keep you;25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." '27 "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them."

 

There are several type and antitypes in the book of numbers. I just want to mention a few. First Moses is a type of Christ in the fact that he leading the people to promise land. The promise land is a type of heaven and the wandering in the wilderness is typical of the difficultiesthat we face in this world. You also notice that only those who were faithful and obedient to Gods will were able to enter into the promise land. The same is true today only those who are faithful and obedient to Gods will be able to enter heaven.

 

 

In conclusion there is two fold message from the book of Numbers.

1 Gods people are saved to serve

2 Gods people must beware of unbelief.