1. Divine Provision
We have several illustration in Numbers of the ways in which God provides for his people. For example, 20:1—11; 21:1—9; 27:1—11 (see 36:1—12); 27:12—23 ; 35:1—5; 35:6—28. Think of ways in which God provides for his people today.
2. Divine Displeasure
One of the sadder aspects of Numbers is the fact that God was frequently angry with his people. See 11:1—3; 11:33; 12:1—16; 14:20—23; 14:36—38; 16:31—35; 25:1—3. How do God’s people grieve him right now?
3. Divine Orderliness
God is a God of order and discipline. See chapters, 1, 2, 3, 4, 26, 32 for his numbering of the people, the arrangement of the camp and the settlement of the tribes. See also 7:1—19:14; chapters 15, 18, 19, 28, 29 for the ordering of worship.
4. Divine Guidance
It is noteworthy that, in spite of their persistent backsliding, God still led his people all through their wanderings, with the cloud and fire (9:15—23). God still guides his people: in what ways does he do so?
— Taken from The Bible in Outline, published by Scripture Union
“Numbers” gets its name from the two accounts of numberings of the people given in Chapter 1 (done in the second year after the Israelites left Egypt) and Chapter 26 (done in the fortieth year of their wilderness wandering). However, the book deals with the incidents that happened during their wilderness wandering.
“Throughout the thirty-eight years of wandering in the desert, one thing became clear to Israel—God’s constant care for them. He miraculously supplied the Israelites with manna, water and quail for their forty years in the desert. God loved and forgave his people continually even though they rebelled against him and their leaders.”– From Introduction to Numbers, NIV.
Chapter 1 The First Census and The Levites in Charge of the Tabernacle
The command to take a census was given by God Himself. Those twenty years old or more able to serve in the army were to be counted. God Himself gave them the names of one man from each tribe who were to assist Aaron and Moses in the counting. The families of the tribe of Levi were not counted. Instead they were to be appointed to be in charge of God’s tabernacle; to carry it, take care of it, and encamp around it. Anyone else going near the tabernacle were to be put to death (v. 51b).
Note: One of the truths that keep repeating in this book is, “The Israelites did all this just as the Lord commanded Moses” (1:54). This obedience of Moses punctuates the Book of Numbers throughout. Can we examine our lives and say that we did everything in obedience to God’s command? Try to count the number of times the thought of obedience to God’s command has been recorded in this book. After all it is a book of numberings; isn’t it?
Chapter 2 The Arrangement of the Tribal Camps
The highlight of this arrangement was that, “The Tent of Meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps. They will set out in the same order as they encamp, each in his own place under his standard” (v. 17).
Chapters 3, 8:5—26 The Levites
The key thought is given like this: “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in the place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord” (Numbers 3:12—14 NIV) Read also Num. 8:15— 19.
The three sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath and Merari whose clans were given responsibilities related to the care of the tabernacle. The tribe of Levi was presented to Aaron to assist him in the work of the tabernacle. When countings were taken, there were 273 firstborn Israelites who exceeded the total number of the Israelites. 5 shekels of silver was collected from each of the 273 as redemption money (3:39—51).
Chapter 4 The Kohathites, The Gershonites and the Merarites
These three clans were assigned specific roles related to the work of the tabernacle. Only people in between 30 and 50 years of age were permitted to do the work. Even though the Kohathites were asked to do the carrying of the tabernacle (whenever it was transported from one place to another) they were forbidden to touch the holy things or to go inside the tabernacle to look at the holy things. Any violation meant death (vv. 15, 20).
Only after Aaron and his sons had covered the articles of the Sanctuary with coverings specified by God were the Kohathites allowed to come and do the carrying. Aaron and his sons were commanded to assign to each man his work (v. 19b, 27b, 49). The work alloted to the Gershonites and the Merarites are also mentioned in this section.
Chapter 5 Purity, Restitution, Test for an Unfaithful Wife
The camp was to be kept pure. Anybody with infectious skin diseases or discharges or were ceremonially unclean were to be sent outside the camp. Onefifth was to be paid extra along with full restitution if someone wronged another. A test for an unfaithful wife when a husband’s jealousy was aroused is described.
Chapter 6 The Nazirite, and The Priestly Blessing
The Laws concerning a Nazirite and his vows are described here. If he became defiled during his separation unto God, the previous days did not count (v. 12). Samson (in the book of Judges) was a Nazirite separated unto God even from his mother’s womb. Aaron and his sons were instructed to bless the Israelites thus in God’s name:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Chapter 7 Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle
When the setting up of the tabernacle was finished, Moses anointed it and consecrated it with all its furnishings. Then the leaders brought gifts (six covered carts and twelve oxen) which the Lord asked Moses to accept from them (v. 4) and distribute to the Levites to do their work as each man’s work required. When the altar was anointed the leaders brought similar kind of offerings for its dedication which are described in detail in this chapter. For it was God Himself who commanded: “Each day one leader is to bring his offering for the dedication of the altar” (v. 11.).
Chapter 8 Setting Up the Lamps, Setting Apart of the Levites
The instructions to make the lampstand were given earlier (see Exodus 25:31—40). Now it was time for it to be lighted for the first time. Verse 2 reads like this in the King James Version, “When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.” Based on this version here is blessed thought for your meditation:
“The Bible does not say that when the priest lit the tabernacle lampstand light that it was to show up what was in that sacred place. It did show up what it contained but that was not its primary purpose. It was to primarily `Give light over against the lampstand.’ Isn’t that fascinating? The light of the lampstand was actually to cast light back upon the beauty of the lampstand itself. The light was in fact to show up the vehicle of light.
It is true that the Holy Spirit speaks to the world (John 16:8—11). It is true that the Holy Spirit speaks to the believer (John 16:13). Yet when all this is done the Holy Spirit’s prime witness is to turn the believer’s eye on Christ. As the light of the tabernacle gave light to show up the fabulous gold of the lampstand so the Holy Spirit draws our eye to Christ the great vehicle of light.
Please read John 16:15 carefully before you face the day. As your day unfolds may you see the fabulous gold that is in your possession. The possession is not just gilt-edged: it is gold all the way through. Thank God for Jesus!” — Reading of February 8, Waiting for God by Derick Bingham.
Chapter 9 Passover Celebrated, The Cloud Above the Tabernacle
The Passover was celebrated at the appointed time on the fourteenth day of the first month. Exemption was given by God’s command to those who were ceremonially unclean and those who were away on a journey; but they had to observe the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month.
The cloud above the Tabernacle, which looked like fire at night, indicated God’s Presence with them. The Israelites set out and encamped whenever the cloud lifted and whenever the cloud settled. The Israelites were thus led by the cloud and they only set out under the Lord’s command indicated by the lifting of the cloud. They did not set out, no matter how many days or months or a year, when the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. It tells us of the importance of waiting for God and His direction in our life.
Chapter 10 The Silver Trumpets, The Israelites Leave Sinai, Invitation to Hobab
God asked Moses to, “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out” (10:2). Directions were given how to use them. The Israelites then set out from their camp in the Desert of Sinai for the first time at the Lord’s command. The Tribe of Judah led from the front.
“Hobab, son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, is given an invitation by Moses to go along with them. Initially he refused but later he seems to have consented (10:29—32). Moses’ invitation to Hobab shows to us how we should also invite people to come along and join our journey heavenwards, so that others may also share the good things God has promised us in Christ Jesus.”
Chapter 11 Fire From the Lord and Quail From the Lord
Within three days (see 10:33), they camped. And then started their complaining about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord and God’s anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned some of the outskirts of the camp. The people cried out to Moses who in turn prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. That place was called Taberah which means burning. This incident is a good lesson for us who are in the habit of complaining about our hardships rather than counting our blessings. Remember, God hears our complaining!
Then the rabble (a noisy group of people or ordinary people of low social position) with them began to crave other food. Then the Israelites started wailing saying, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (11:4b, 5 NIV). These people did not remember the miracles of the Lord by which they were preserved and delivered out of Egypt and slavery; but they only remembered the food.
The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled (v. 10). Here we find Moses very much a human being and he talks to God as any one of us would do when we are troubled. Moses saw the responsibility of leading these people as a burden (of course it was no easy task to lead such a multitude of people who knew only to complain).
Moses asks the question of improbability: “Where can I get meat for all these people? (v. 13). Moses again says that this burden is too heavy for him. He demands of God that God put him to death right away if this is the way he was going to be treated [What mercy of God that He does not answer all our requests and prayers immediately!].
God asked Moses to bring him seventy of the leaders. And God promised to take of the Spirit that was on Moses and put the Spirit on them so that, “They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone” (11:17b). God also asked Moses to tell the people that He was going to supply them with meat for not a few days but for a whole month until they loathed it.
But Moses tried to reason with God saying that he was among six hundred thousand men on foot and they would never have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them and even if all the fish in the sea were caught for them? God makes this classic reply:
“Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you” (Numbers 11:23 NIV).
God took of the Spirit that was on Moses and put the Spirit on the seventy elders, and when the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But two men who were listed with the seventy had remained in the camp and the Spirit also rested on them and they prophesied in the camp.
A young man reported this to Moses, and Joshua on hearing this told Moses to stop them. Moses comes out with a great reply, saying: “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (11:29).
God’s promise to Moses to give him assistants was kept. Now He performed His next promise of giving them meat by making a wind drive quail in from the sea. The people gathered them and spread them out in the camp and started feasting.
But even while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against them and He struck them with a severe plague. There they buried the people who had craved other food.
In memory of this incident that place was called Kibroth-Hattavah, which means “Graves of Craving.” Let us remember not to crave for what God has not planned for us or else our appetites (not necessarily for food; but for material things as well) might become our own undoing.
Chapter 12 Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
We find Miriam and Aaron talking against Moses. Two complaints were raised, one because Moses had married a Cushite and the other a more serious question: “Has the Lord only spoke through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” “And the Lord heard this.”
But Moses was a very humble man (12:3). He did not reply. But God settled the matter once for all by talking to the three of them together. God told Aaron and Miriam that Moses “is faithful in all my house” and “With him I speak face to face.” So God asked them, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” “The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.”
When the cloud lifted from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron pleaded with Moses, and Moses in turn prayed to the Lord to heal her. We are not told whether she was healed instantly but we are told that she had to bear the judgement of being confined outside the camp for one week.
Chapters 13 and 14 Exploring Canaan, Unbelief, A Bad Report and Lost Opportunity
Twelve spies, each representing one tribe of Israel, were sent to explore the land of Canaan. Moses asked them to collect maximum information about the land and the people. In response to Moses’ request they come back with some fruits of the land. When they came back to Kadesh where the people had camped, they reported their findings after showing the fruit of the land. They said that the land did flow with milk and honey (an idiomatic way of saying that the land was fertile).
Then they said, “BUT.” This was the turning point. They said that though the land was good, the people who lived there were “powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” They also reported seeing descendants of Anak who were of great size.
While they were saying this, Caleb, one of the spies, silenced the people and said to Moses, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” BUT the other spies (except Joshua) said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”
“And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.” Talking of the giants in the land, they said, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:33b NIV).
That night the people cried aloud and grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They said that it would have been better if they had died in Egypt or in the desert. They did not want to face the difficulties of Canaan. Instead they wanted to choose a leader and go back to Egypt.
Moses and Aaron fell facedown on hearing their plans. But Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, tore their clothes and spoke a message of encouragement. They told the people not to rebel against God and not to be afraid of the people of the land. They also reminded the people that their God was with them (see Numbers 14:6—9). But the people talked about stoning them.
Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites and the Lord spoke to Moses. God asked Moses how long the people would treat Him with contempt? And how long they would refuse to believe in Him in spite of all the miraculous signs God performed among them? God said that he would strike them down but make Moses into a great nation.
But Moses showed concern for God’s honour and told God not to do so. He reminded God that if God destroyed all His people then all the other nations would say that it was God’s inability to bring them into the Promised Land. Moses pleaded with God to forgive His people by reminding God that “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion” (Numbers 14:18).
God forgave as Moses asked. But God also said that none of those men who saw God’s glory and all the miraculous signs He performed and disobeyed Him ten times would ever see the land of Canaan. Only Caleb and Joshua who followed God wholeheartedly would enter Canaan from among them. God also told them, “For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you” (Numbers 14:34). God promised that they all would meet their end in the desert itself.
The ten spies who spread a bad report and made the whole community grumble against the Lord were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. But the Israelites tried to proceed to the Promised Land. Moses clearly told them not to attempt so because the Lord was not with them. But they in their presumption (this word means acting in one’s own wisdom without God’s command to do so) went up toward the high hill country “though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.” And they were defeated by their enemies as Moses had told them.
Life Lessons: These two chapters teach us much. Let us look at four life lessons:
● God usually sends us to explore areas where God would later bring us. Therefore we need to be alert to possibilities that life holds for us. And they are to be conquered in faith.
● Opposition will always be there in a walk of faith. The Promised Land (whatever God wants you to conquer and possess in your life) will always have giants in it. But we should never be subject to what is popularly called a “grasshopper vision (a low view of ourselves).” Instead we should have our eyes focussed on God and His greatness and mighty power and the reality that He is always with us; like Caleb and Joshua.
● Like Moses, we should have a heart for God’s honour. We should seek the glory of God in all that we do.
● We should not act in presumption. The best example is from the life of Jesus Himself. The devil took Jesus and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. He asked Jesus to throw Himself down if He really were the Son of God. Satan also quoted Psalm 91:11, 12 promising Jesus God’s protection. Jesus answered him from the Scripture itself and defeated him (Matthew 4:5—7).
But the point is that had Jesus jumped down He would have surely been injured or dead because that would have been presumption (and not an act of faith; for faith is not blind belief but acting on specific command from God).
● Rebellion against God and unbelief is sin. Read Hebrews 3:16—19 for better understanding.
Chapter 15 Supplementary Offerings, the Sabbath-Breaker and Tassels on Garments
As far as offerings were concerned, the community were to have the same rules for the them and for the aliens living among them (Numbers 15:15). A man who was found gathering wood on a Sabbath day was put to death at the Lord’s command (Numbers 15:32—36). Think about all our violations of God’s law. And think about how much punishment is due us compared to gathering sticks on a Sabbath day.
Think about the grace and mercy of God shown us through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross! God asked the Israelites to make tassels on the corners of their garments with a blue cord on each tassel. This was to help them remember the commands of God. The colour blue might tell them of the divine origin of their laws coming out of heaven above the blue skies.
Chapter 16 The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram—The Ground Splits Open
These people and many other leaders questioned Moses and Aaron. They said that everyone is holy not just Moses and Aaron. God wanted to put to death the entire assembly because of the rebellion of these people. But Moses and Aaron interceded with the Lord for the people. Then God asked everyone to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
Then Moses told the people that if these people did not die a natural death, but instead if God would do a new thing and the earth would open its mouth to swallow them alive; then they should know that Moses did everything at the Lord’s command and also that these people had treated the Lord with contempt. As soon as Moses finished saying this the ground split open and swallowed all the rebels. And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering incense.
God however commanded that the censers that were used by the men be collected and hammered into sheets to overlay the altar. This was so because the censers were presented before the Lord and thus had become holy. God wanted them to be a sign to the Israelites.
The next day also the Israelites rebelled. And this time a plague from the Lord began to kill the people. But “Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped” (Numbers 16:47b, 48).
Chapter 17 The Budding of Aaron’s Staff
After the incidents of rebellion mentioned in the previous chapter, God spoke to Moses to ask all the leaders from the twelve tribes to bring one staff each for the twelve tribes with the names of each tribe written on the staffs. They were to be placed in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony. God said that the staff of the man He chose would sprout. God said that by this, “I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.” The next day it was found that Aaron’s staff not only had sprouted, but also blossomed and produced almonds. And Aaron’s staff was kept in front of the Testimony as a sign to the rebellious.
Chapter 18 Duties of Priests and Levites
Chapter 19 The Water of Cleansing
Chapter 20 Water from the Rock
This chapter talks about Miriam’s death and also the death of Aaron. It also talks about that incident which became a blot on Moses’ leadership. The people, as usual, quarreled with Moses and Aaron as there was no water to drink. When they took the matter to God, God told Moses and Aaron to take the staff and go and speak to a specific rock there. God promised that the rock would pour out its water.
Moses and Aaron took the staff and went from the Lord’s presence. They gathered the assembly in front of the rock and instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke rash words to the people and struck the rock twice and water came out. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Numbers 20:12. See also Deuteronomy 3:23—28 and Psalm 106:32, 33).
● “There seems to be a gap of 38 years between the 19th and 20th chapters, covering the interval between the first arrival at Kadesh, 13:26, and the final departure from Kadesh for Canaan.
● Moses’ Sin, which cost him the Promised Land, seems to have been his failure to Give God Credit for the Miracle of Water, 10. 12.
● Miriam, Aaron, and Moses, Died, all three, in the same year. Miraiam, at Kadesh, 1. Aaron at Mt Hor. 28. Moses, in Mt Nebo, Deut 32:50; 34:1, 5. Miriam about 130. Aaron, 123. Moses, 120.
● `Gathered to his people,’ 24, is a beautiful Old Testament expression for Death, hinting Reunion with Loved ones beyond the grave.’ ” Halley’s Bible Handbook.
Numbers 21 The Bronze Snake (vv. 4—9)
In this incident we find the gospel. The people grew impatient on the way and spoke against God and against Moses. Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them which bit the people and many died. Then the people came to Moses and asked him to pray for them. God instructed to make a snake and put it up on a pole so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and live. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. “Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”
Jesus referred to this incident. He said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14, 15). Further Jesus said, “ `But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die” (John 12:32, 33 NIV). The gospel therefore can be summed up in these words: “Look to Jesus.” The writer to the Hebrews asks us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Chapters 22 to 24 Balak and Balaam
Balak was king of Moab. Now Moab was terrified when they saw the camp of the Israelites near them. So the king summoned Balaam to come and put a curse on the Israelites. Balaam waited for God’s guidance. God told him not to go and added, “You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed” (Numbers 22:12). But later God gave him permission to go but on this condition, “But do only what I tell you” (Numbers 22:20).
The next morning Balaam saddled his donkey and went. But God was very angry when he went. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing with a drawn sword and she turned off into a field and Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
The next time the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. This time the donkey pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
The third time the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, the donkey lay down under Balaam. Then Balaam beat her with his staff. At this point the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she spoke to Balaam asking him why he had beat her those three times. The donkey reasoned with Balaam that she had not done so to him ever before.
At this point God opened the eyes of Balaam to see the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
The angel of the Lord told Balaam that had not the donkey turned away from Him three times, He would have killed Balaam. Further Balaam was instructed only to speak what God told him to.
Note: It might surprise us why God was angry with Balaam after having given him permission to go. One clue is given in 2 Peter 2:15, 16: “They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness” (NIV).
Jude also says something similar, “they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error” (Jude 11). We also understand from Numbers 31:16 that it was Balaam who gave advice to the Midianite women to turn the Israelites away from the Lord by making the Israelites engage in sexual immorality with them. (see Numbers 25). See also Revelation 2:14.
True is what is written concerning money: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV). [emphasis added].
Now Balaam tries to put a curse on the Israelites but all he could speak was blessing after blessing on the Israelites. He said, “How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced? . . . I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it. . . . No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them. . . . There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. . . . May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed! . . . I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob [surely a prophetic word about Jesus Christ and also this might be what led the Wise Men to Jesus as they saw a star in the east at his birth]; a scepter will rise out of Israel . . . A ruler will come out of Jacob.”
Note: Curses and Blessing. Christians should not be afraid of curses for they are under the protection of the blood of Jesus and the Name of Jesus. Moses looking back at the incident mentioned above said, “However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you” (Deuteronomy 23:5; see also Nehemiah 13:2). Proverbs 26:2 says, “an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” Read also Galatians 3:13.
Chapter 25 Sexual Immorality
Moabite women seduced the Israelites to indulge in sexual immorality. And they joined in worshipping the Baal of Peor. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. He asked Moses to kill all the Israelite leaders and expose them in broad daylight. So Moses commanded the judges to do so. At that point an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses as the whole assembly of Israel were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
Then Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, when he saw this, took a spear in his hand and followed that Israelite into the tent and drove down the spear through both of them. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped. God commended Phinehas for having concern for God’s honour and God made a covenant with him so that he and his desendants would have a lasting priesthood. Read also Psalm 106:28—31. Paul wrote that these things have been written so that we will take warning from these examples (Read 1 Corinthians 10:6—13).
Chapter 26 The Second Numbering
We will just look at one verse in this chapter which talks of God’s grace even in judgement. Let us look at verse 11: “The line of Korah, however, did not die out.” This line was spared. Why? God enabled some of the Sons of Korah to compose Psalms 42 to 49 and 84, 85, 87.
Chapter 27:1—11 and Chapter 36 Zelophehad’s Daughters Get Their Inheritance
“Women would not normally inherit in other ancient Near Eastern countries, but in Israel the ruling is given that brotherless daughters may inherit. However, to safeguard the tribal inheritance, they must marry within their own tribe.” — Lion Concise Bible Handbook
Chapter 27:12—22 Joshua Is Commissioned to Lead the Israelites After Moses’ Death
This shows us that God’s work will continue. God raises up leaders to reach out to their own generation. In the meantime they are to train others to succeed them. Thus God’s work will continue. Paul, in the New Testament, used the same method. For example, Timothy was faithfully trained by Paul to continue the work he had begun to do.
Chapters 28 and 29 Various Offerings and Feasts are described.
Chapter 30 A Description of Vows
Chapter 31 Vengeance on the Midianites.
God gave Moses one last assignment before his death. That was to take vengeance on the Midianites. But the soldiers spared the women and children. But Moses asked, “Have you allowed all the women to live? They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.” (ref. vv. 15 and 16).
Sometimes we also take a soft stand on things that cause us to sin. We should cut off things that cause us to sin. If we show a soft corner to those things (e.g.; wrong relationships, going to wrong places, falling in love with wrong books or substances etc.), then that will destroy us in the end.
Chapter 32 The Gadites, Reubenites and the Half-tribe of Manasseh
These tribes decided to settle on the east side of the Jordan instead of crossing over to the Promised Land. When they first suggested this to Moses, he asked them a question: “Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here? Why do you discourage the Israelites from going over into the land the Lord has given them? (vv. 6 and 7).”
Moses reminded them of forty years of wilderness wandering which was a result of the ten spies discouraging the people from entering the Promised Land. Moses feared that another judgement like that would fall on the Israelites if these tribes were going to discourage the people once again. But these tribes promised to go to war with the other tribes while their women and children found safety in the cities they would build.
Life Lesson: Do not discourage others by your disobedience.
Moses agreed to their terms but warned them: “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised” (Numbers 32:23, 24 NIV).
Numbers 33 Stages in Israel’s Journey
“Numbers 33 is the pitiful logbook of this journey: `They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez. They left Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah’ etc., to the end of this dismal chapter! Going, going, pitching and departing, but never arriving anywhere. An endless circle of aimless wandering with no success. When we doubt God we find this to be our experience, too. We feel defeated and discouraged. We wander around but never accomplish anything. It is like a swinging door—lots of motion but getting no place.”– What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.
Chapters 34 and 35 Boundaries of Canaan Described, Towns for the Levites and Cities of Refuge.
“I will go anywhere, provided it is forward.”
— David Livingstone
Numbers 2:2 The Israelites Are to Camp Round
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord Bless You
Numbers 7:9 Kohathites, Responsible
Numbers 8:2 They Are to Light the Area in Front of the Lampstand
Numbers 9:21b, 22 But When It Lifted, They Would Set Out
Numbers 13:2 Send Some Men to Explore the Land
Numbers 13:33b Seemed like Grasshoppers in Our Own Eyes
Numbers 14:44 Nevertheless, in Their Presumption
Numbers 20:12 Did Not Trust in Me Enough
Numbers 21:8, 9 Anyone Who Is Bitten Can Look at It and Live
Numbers 23:23 See What God Has Done!
Numbers 25:11 Phinehas, Zealous for God’s Honor
Numbers 31:6z The Trumpets for Signalling
Numbers 31:16 The Means of Turning the Israelites Away from the Lord
Numbers 32:7 Why Do You Discourage?
Numbers 32:11a Because They Have Not Followed Me Wholeheartedly
Numbers 32:23 Your Sin Will Find You Out
Numbers 33:2 Recorded the Stages in Their Journey
Numbers 33:55 Those You Allow to Remain Will Become