Stand Up and Be Counted

The Wilderness Wanderings of the Book of Numbers

To the Promised Land: A Fresh Start - Numbers 26-36

Numbers 26 begins a new and final section in the book of Numbers. The last 11 chapters of Numbers see a new generation taking over from the old and their preparation to enter the Promised Land.

When my children were younger and we had times of turbulence in the house, we’d stop and pray, ask God’s forgiveness and for a fresh start. It felt good to be able to go to God and press a reset button. When the nation of Israel had sinned severely against the Lord Jeremiah was inspired by the Lord to utter the following encouraging words:

·         Lamentations 3:22-24 - Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

God is a Master of fresh new starts. By His grace through faith in Christ we can become new

creations (2 Cor. 5:17). God offers of newness of life in Christ (Rom. 6:4). We can be renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). Our minds can be renewed (Eph. 4:23). We can be renewed in the knowledge of Jesus (Col. 3:10).

 

Here in the book of Numbers we have a fresh new start for the people of God. The remaining chapters in Numbers cover the preparations to enter the Promised Land of this fresh new generation of God’s people.

A Fresh New Generation – Numbers 26

Numbers 26

     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: 4Take 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.”

5 Reuben was the firstborn of Israel. The children of Reuben were: of Hanoch, the family of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the family of the Palluites; 6 of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. 7 These are the families of the Reubenites: those who were numbered of them were forty-three thousand seven hundred and thirty. 8 And the son of Pallu was Eliab. 9 The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, representatives of the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the Lord; 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men; and they became a sign. 11 Nevertheless the children of Korah did not die.

12 The sons of Simeon according to their families were: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites; 13 of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites; of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites. 14 These are the families of the Simeonites: twenty-two thousand two hundred.

15 The sons of Gad according to their families were: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the family of the Haggites; of Shuni, the family of the Shunites; 16 of Ozni, the family of the Oznites; of Eri, the family of the Erites; 17 of Arod, the family of the Arodites; of Areli, the family of the Arelites. 18 These are the families of the sons of Gad according to those who were numbered of them: forty thousand five hundred.

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan; and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 20 And the sons of Judah according to their families were: of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Perez, the family of the Parzites; of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites. 21 And the sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. 22 These are the families of Judah according to those who were numbered of them: seventy-six thousand five hundred.

23 The sons of Issachar according to their families were: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites; of Puah, the family of the Punites; 24 of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. 25 These are the families of Issachar according to those who were numbered of them: sixty-four thousand three hundred.

26 The sons of Zebulun according to their families were: of Sered, the family of the Sardites; of Elon, the family of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites. 27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those who were numbered of them: sixty thousand five hundred.

28 The sons of Joseph according to their families, by Manasseh and Ephraim, were: 29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites; and Machir begot Gilead; of Gilead, the family of the Gileadites. 30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites; of Helek, the family of the Helekites; 31 of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites; 32 of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 33 Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34 These are the families of Manasseh; and those who were numbered of them were fifty-two thousand seven hundred.

35 These are the sons of Ephraim according to their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthalhites; of Becher, the family of the Bachrites; of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites. 36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites. 37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those who were numbered of them: thirty-two thousand five hundred.

These are the sons of Joseph according to their families.

38 The sons of Benjamin according to their families were: of Bela, the family of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites; 39 of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. 40 And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites; of Naaman, the family of the Naamites. 41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were forty-five thousand six hundred.

42 These are the sons of Dan according to their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan according to their families. 43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those who were numbered of them, were sixty-four thousand four hundred.

44 The sons of Asher according to their families were: of Jimna, the family of the Jimnites; of Jesui, the family of the Jesuites; of Beriah, the family of the Beriites. 45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites. 46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. 47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those who were numbered of them: fifty-three thousand four hundred.

48 The sons of Naphtali according to their families were: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the family of the Gunites; 49 of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites. 50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were forty-five thousand four hundred.

51 These are those who were numbered of the children of Israel: six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and thirty.

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.”

57 And these are those who were numbered of the Levites according to their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites; of Merari, the family of the Merarites. 58 These are the families of the Levites: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, and the family of the Korathites. And Kohath begot Amram. 59 The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam. 60 To Aaron were born Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 61 And Nadab and Abihu died when they offered profane fire before the Lord.

62 Now those who were numbered of them were twenty-three thousand, every male from a month old and above; for they were not numbered among the other children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given to them among the children of Israel.

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.

The second census and transfer of leadership demonstrates two things. First, God is true to His word (Num. 14:20-35). God said those who refused to enter the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea would not be permitted to enter it. This generation died off proving the second thing which is people reap what they sow; there is a consequence to sinful behavior (Gal. 6:7-10). Moses notes:

·         Numbers 26:63-65 - 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.

God is true to His word. When we examine and compare the first census to the second one taken here we see worse than zero population growth for the nation as a whole.

Tribe                First Census                Second Census

Reuben            46,500                         43,730

Simeon            59,300                         22,200

Gad                 45,650                         40, 500

Judah               74,600                         76,500

Issachar           54,400                         64,300

Zebulon           57,400                         60, 500

Ephraim           40,500                         32,500

Manasseh        32,200                         52,700

Benjamin         35,400                         45,600

Dan                 62,700                         64,400

Asher               41,500                         53,400

Naphtali          53,400                         45,400

 

Total:               603,550 (Num. 2:32)  601,730 (Num. 26:51)

The forty years in the wilderness, as discipline to the rebellious, was a hard stifling time. The old generation was completed put off. And that speaks to us. We need to put off the old man completely. He needs to die in the wilderness (Eph. 2:1-10; 4:17-29).

Fresh New Laws and Leadership – Num. 27

Numbers 27

     Then came the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, from the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and these were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: 3 “Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the Lord, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”

5 So Moses brought their case before the Lord.

6 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 7 “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. 8 And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it.’ ” And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

God is just and He dealt justly with problems that arose in the wilderness to assure that the new generation was dealt with fairly.

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.)

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.

The old leadership of Moses was put off and the new leadership of Joshua was established. And this new leadership was Spirit-filled leadership (Num. 27:18).

Fresh New Worship – Numbers 28-29

Numbers 28

     Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.’

Just as these offerings belonged to God, Jesus was God’s offering (John 3:16). God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Even in the Promised Land we need atonement for sin (1 John 1:7). Even when we walk in the Spirit we need Christ’s atonement (Rom 8:1-4).

These offerings remember are acts of worship to God. They speak to us about our worship.

3 “And you shall say to them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering. 4 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, 5 and one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil. 6 It is a regular burnt offering which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. 7 And its drink offering shall be one-fourth of a hin for each lamb; in a holy place you shall pour out the drink to the Lord as an offering. 8 The other lamb you shall offer in the evening; as the morning grain offering and its drink offering, you shall offer it as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

We need to worship God day by day.

9 ‘And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, with its drink offering— 10 this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.

We need to worship God weekly.

11 ‘At the beginnings of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish; 12 three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, for each bull; two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; 13 and one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with oil, as a grain offering for each lamb, as a burnt offering of sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. 14 Their drink offering shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, one-third of a hin for a ram, and one-fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the burnt offering for each month throughout the months of the year. 15 Also one kid of the goats as a sin offering to the Lord shall be offered, besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

We need to worship God monthly.

16 ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord.

Passover brings to memory the Exodus (Ex. 12:21-51) and prophetically Jesus, the Bread of life, who liberates us from the sin of the world and slavery to Satan (John 6:48, 51; 8:36).

We need to worship God for His atoning work in Christ illustrated in the Passover (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. 18 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. 19 And you shall present an offering made by fire as a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish. 20 Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah you shall offer for a bull, and two-tenths for a ram; 21 you shall offer one-tenth of an ephah for each of the seven lambs; 22 also one goat as a sin offering, to make atonement for you. 23 You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. 24 In this manner you shall offer the food of the offering made by fire daily for seven days, as a sweet aroma to the Lord; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.

The feats of Unleavened Bread (cf. also Lev. 12:15), speaks to our need to worship God for the sinless Christ who takes away our sins. Yeast is a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:8). Like afikomen hidden at the Seder meal, Jesus was hidden, buried in the ground, to die for as a substitutionary atonement for our sins (John 12:24; Rom. 6:23).

26 ‘Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. 27 You shall present a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, 28 with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 29 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 also one kid of the goats, to make atonement for you. 31 Be sure they are without blemish. You shall present them with their drink offerings, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain offering.

Pentecost commemorates the giving of the Law (Ex. 19). This is the birth of the nation of Israel. We need to worship God yearly (cf. also 29:1-40). And we worship Him for the harvest He brings. Jesus is the firstfruits of those resurrected from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20). This also points us to Pentecost, the birth of the church, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on God’s people (Acts 2).

Interestingly, when the Law was given on Sinai 3,000 men died (Ex. 32:19, 28). On Pentecost, 3,000 came to true life! (Acts 2:40-41).

Number 29

     ‘And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets. 2 You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish. 3 Their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, 4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 5 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, to make atonement for you; 6 besides the burnt offering with its grain offering for the New Moon, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.

Trumpets were sounded to call the people to gather together (Num. 10). Here, the trumpets were sounded to proclaim a New Year (i.e. Rosh Hashanah) and remember God’s grace (e.g. God supplied a ram to sacrifice to Abraham instead of sacrificing Isaac – Gen. 22). Many believe this Feast speaks of the rapture of the church based on reference to the blowing of the trumpet and the rapture in the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).

7 ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work. 8 You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a sweet aroma: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish. 9 Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 10 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 11 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, besides the sin offering for atonement, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

This Day of Atonement (cf. also Lev. 16; 23:27) and self-affliction points to Jesus and the people’s eventual remorse over having rejected their Savior (Zech. 12:10).

Prophetically this speaks of the Seven year Tribulation described by Jesus (Mat. 24-25; Mark 13).

12 ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work, and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days. 13 You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year. They shall be without blemish. 14 Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams, 15 and one-tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

The Feast of Tabernacles was a week long holiday (Lev. 23:34; Deut. 16:13). It was a feast of joy! Today, on each day HALLEL or praise psalms are read (Psalm 113-118). This marked the end of the year and the beginning of another; hence the eighth day was a day of rest (Lev. 23:39), the first day of a new week; the number eight in scripture is the number of new beginnings.

In the New Testament, on the last day of this feast Jesus stood and said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-39). 

In heaven there will be a river of life (Rev. 22:1-2).

 

17 ‘On the second day present twelve young bulls, two rams, fourteen lambs in their first year without blemish, 18 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 19 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

20 ‘On the third day present eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen lambs in their first year without blemish, 21 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 22 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

23 ‘On the fourth day present ten bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year, without blemish, 24 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 25 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

26 ‘On the fifth day present nine bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year without blemish, 27 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 28 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

29 ‘On the sixth day present eight bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year without blemish, 30 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 31 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

32 ‘On the seventh day present seven bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year without blemish, 33 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 34 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

35 ‘On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work. 36 You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year without blemish, 37 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 38 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

39 ‘These you shall present to the Lord at your appointed feasts (besides your vowed offerings and your freewill offerings) as your burnt offerings and your grain offerings, as your drink offerings and your peace offerings.’ ”

40 So Moses told the children of Israel everything, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

Jon Courson sums up and applies this portion of scripture by stating:

As God is getting His people organized, developing them for their destiny, the sacrificial system is recorded. That is, a lamb was to be sacrificed every morning, every evening, every day. Weekly, an additional lamb was to be sacrificed. Monthly, a greater sacrifice was to be made at the beginning of each month. Annually, there were feasts with accompanying sacrifices that God’s people were to celebrate.

In this, I understand that there is a rhythm to spiritual life. Many people have a hard time with this because they view spiritual life as being random. But as we look at God’s calendar, it’s impossible to deny the rhythm therein. Therefore, wise is the man, woman, or family who understands God’s heart is for us to begin and end our days focused on the Lamb—unlocking the blessings for the day in the morning, closing up the blessings securely in the evening.

In addition, one day a week should be set aside to make twice the expenditure—to be focused on God singularly, offering to Him the day in praise, worship, and fellowship.

 

In addition, at the beginning of the month, we have opportunity to get away and say, “What’s on Your heart for me for the coming month, Lord?” as we carve out time for refreshment and review, for vision and correction.

 

In addition, the children of Israel observed seven feasts that drew their hearts and minds back to God’s goodness to them, His faithful provision for them. When the people of Israel followed this pattern, they did well. They deviated from it, they stumbled. God is not wasting pages in His Word to go over arcane, meaningless sacrifices. No, He’s teaching us, reminding us that this is the way our lives will count.

 

Is there a pattern, a rhythm to your spiritual life? Or are you one who is haphazard and inconsistent? As much as we may not like to hear it, God designed us to be disciplined. Therefore, if you want to be prosperous and productive in claiming the promises of the Spirit-filled life, listen to what God told His people on the eve of their setting forth into the Promised Land and follow the pattern, the rhythm of spiritual life as seen here in the book which tells us how to make our lives count, the Book of Numbers. [1]

 

A Fresh New Confession – Numbers 30

Numbers 30

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.

A vow is a confession; a word spoken freely from the heart. True confessions involve the heart and mouth (e.g. Rom. 10:9-10). God wanted His people to be people of integrity and this would be accomplished by their accountability before Him.

Having said this, God speaks through Moses to lay down some particulars, exceptions to vows made.

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. 5 But if her father overrules her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will release her, because her father overruled her.

A father could overrule the vow made by his daughter living in his home.

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. 8 But if her husband overrules her on the day that he hears it, he shall make void her vow which she took and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound herself, and the Lord will release her.

A husband could overrule the vow of his wife.

9 “Also any vow of a widow or a divorced woman, by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.

10 “If she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an agreement with an oath, 11 and her husband heard it, and made no response to her and did not overrule her, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband truly made them void on the day he heard them, then whatever proceeded from her lips concerning her vows or concerning the agreement binding her, it shall not stand; her husband has made them void, and the Lord will release her. 13 Every vow and every binding oath to afflict her soul, her husband may confirm it, or her husband may make it void. 14 Now if her husband makes no response whatever to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all the agreements that bind her; he confirms them, because he made no response to her on the day that he heard them. 15 But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.”

16 These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, and between a father and his daughter in her youth in her father’s house.

The husband held the trump card over vows made by his wife. If he remained silent, her vow would hold. Is that chauvinistic? No, it presents a beautiful illustration of Christ and the church. We are the Bride and Jesus our Husband. Jesus is our Advocate (1 John 2:1). He has the right to step in and protect us from ourselves. He was tempted in every way that we were, but without sin (Heb. 4:15).

When Jesus spoke of His impending death on the cross Peter stepped up and said he would follow Jesus even to the death. But Jesus turned to him and said Satan wanted to sift Peter, to rip him up but Jesus would prayed for Peter’s protection (Luke 22:31-34). Peter spoke out of turn; he made an unwise confession. Jesus interceded on his behalf and saved him from himself. He went on to be a pivotal person in the church (Acts 2). Jesus is our Intercessor and He is able to save us to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25).

A Fresh Freedom from the World – Numbers 31

Numbers 31

  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”

3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian. 4 A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.”

5 So there were recruited from the divisions of Israel one thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 Then Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from each tribe; he sent them to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand. 7 And they warred against the Midianites, just as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed all the males. 8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed— Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.

The one who said he wanted to die the death of the righteous died among the sinful Midianites (compare Numbers 23:10). This is the end of those who live like Balaam.

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.

12 Then they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. 13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went to meet them outside the camp. 14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.

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.

We think this is harsh. “Little ones” can mean, “human beings from the ages of 0 to 20, with stress on the younger ages” (cf. Num. 14:29–31).” [2] God had given the people of Canaan 400 years to repent and they did not. These were the people who were stumbling blocks to God’s people leading them in to all kinds of immoral and idolatrous conduct. By killing the boys the Midianites were being exterminated so that they could not rise up again to oppose God’s people.

One commentary explains:

All the women except the virgins were then sentenced to death along with all the boys. This insured the extermination of the Midianites and thus prevented them from ever again seducing Israel to sin. Reference to Midianites in later history (e.g., Jud. 6:1-6) no doubt implies either a different clan or family from those in Numbers or the possibility that some escaped God’s vengeance. The virgins were spared because they obviously had had no role in the Baal of Peor incident nor could they by themselves perpetuate the Midianite peoples. Nonetheless, strict application of the rules of holy war dictated that they too should have been killed (Deut. 20:16), so it was only a concession by Moses that allowed them to live. [3]

 

The cancer of idolatry must be cut out and eliminated. This is seen in the removal of Balaam (31:8, 16).

19 And as for you, remain outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 Purify every garment, everything made of leather, everything woven of goats’ hair, and everything made of wood.”

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to the battle, “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses: 22 “Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. 24 And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp.”

Everything must be purified.

25 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 26 “Count up the plunder that was taken—of man and beast—you and Eleazar the priest and the chief fathers of the congregation; 27 and divide the plunder into two parts, between those who took part in the war, who went out to battle, and all the congregation. 28 And levy a tribute for the Lord on the men of war who went out to battle: one of every five hundred of the persons, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep; 29 take it from their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest as a heave offering to the Lord. 30 And from the children of Israel’s half you shall take one of every fifty, drawn from the persons, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep, from all the livestock, and give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the Lord.” 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

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. 36 And the half, the portion for those who had gone out to war, was in number three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep; 37 and the Lord’s tribute of the sheep was six hundred and seventy-five. 38 The cattle were thirty-six thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was seventy-two. 39 The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred, of which the Lord’s tribute was sixty-one. 40 The persons were sixteen thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was thirty-two persons. 41 So Moses gave the tribute which was the Lord’s heave offering to Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses.

42 And from the children of Israel’s half, which Moses separated from the men who fought— 43 now the half belonging to the congregation was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand cattle, 45 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46 and sixteen thousand persons— 47 and from the children of Israel’s half Moses took one of every fifty, drawn from man and beast, and gave them to the Levites, who kept charge of the tabernacle of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

48 Then the officers who were over thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, came near to Moses; 49 and they said to Moses, “Your servants have taken a count of the men of war who are under our command, and not a man of us is missing.

God protects His people in battle. It states, “not a man of us is missing.” This is an incredible miraculous occurrence. Not one man missing! Not one casualty in this battle! God does not slumber or sleep but is always attentive to His people (Psalm 121). He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Josh. 1:5; Heb. 13:5). He upholds us with His righteous right hand (Is. 41:10). Our protection is from Him (Psalm 124). Similarly our salvation is secure in Christ (John 10:28-30; 15:1-11; 17:12). We are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5). We are delivered through trials (2 Cr. 12:9-10; 2 Tim. 4:17-18).

50 Therefore we have brought an offering for the Lord, what every man found of ornaments of gold: armlets and bracelets and signet rings and earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.” 51 So Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from them, all the fashioned ornaments. 52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered to the Lord, from the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels. 53 (The men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.) 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of meeting as a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord.

We should worship and bring our offering to God in appreciation for His protection.

A Fresh New Unity – Numbers 32

Numbers 32

Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that indeed the region was a place for livestock, 2 the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4 the country which the Lord defeated before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.” 5 Therefore they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.”

Some people choose to live outside the Promised Land. And God will let them.

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? 8 Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the Lord had given them. 10 So the Lord’s anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, 12 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ 13 So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone. 14 And look! You have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel. 15 For if you turn away from following Him, He will once again leave them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.”

Threats to unity are sinful. Moses rebuked the tribes of Reuben and Gad for acting in a way that could discourage the other tribes from entering the Promised Land.

16 Then they came near to him and said: “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, 17 but we ourselves will be armed, ready to go before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place; and our little ones will dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until every one of the children of Israel has received his inheritance. 19 For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this eastern side of the Jordan.”

Some people will participate only up to a certain point in the things of God. They will go only so far as comfortable. They shy away from the dirty work and shrink back from the things that require courage and commitment. Such is the case with carnal Christianity.

20 Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, 21 and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him, 22 and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. 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.”

Jon Courson comments the following on these verses:

Because God will never take us one step further in spiritual life than we want to go, Moses agreed to Reuben’s and Gad’s proposal—but warned them that if they didn’t live up to their agreement, their sin would find them out.

 

This is a pivotal, foundational principle. Notice Moses didn’t say it was God who would track them down, do them in, find them out. No, should Reuben and Gad fail to keep their end of the bargain, it was their sin which would find them out. And the same is true with us.

 

Due to the finished work of the Cross, God not only forgives our sin, but buries it in the sea of His forgetfulness (Hebrews 10:17). Yet I must understand that, as Galatians 6 declares, whatever I sow, I’ll reap. It isn’t God who says, “Aha! I’m going to expose that sin to embarrass you.” That’s not the nature of our Father. No, it is the sin itself that will come to fruition. I am firmly persuaded and deeply convinced that there is no exception to this. Every time I sin, that sin will sooner or later track me down, find me out, and humiliate me. But it’s not God doing so. Rather, it’s the work of the enemy to not only seduce us into sin, but to expose and humiliate us through it.[4]

 

25 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke to Moses, saying: “Your servants will do as my lord commands. 26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock will be there in the cities of Gilead; 27 but your servants will cross over, every man armed for war, before the Lord to battle, just as my lord says.”

28 So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel. 29 And Moses said to them: “If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben cross over the Jordan with you, every man armed for battle before the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead as a possession. 30 But if they do not cross over armed with you, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.”

31 Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying: “As the Lord has said to your servants, so we will do. 32 We will cross over armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan, but the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us on this side of the Jordan.”

The support of the body as a whole take s priority over individual interests. We are not to neglect the body of believers (Heb. 10:24-25).

33 So Moses gave to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with its cities within the borders, the cities of the surrounding country. 34 And the children of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer, 35 Atroth and Shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran, fortified cities, and folds for sheep. 37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kirjathaim, 38 Nebo and Baal Meon (their names being changed) and Shibmah; and they gave other names to the cities which they built.

39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he dwelt in it. 41 Also Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns, and called them Havoth Jair. 42 Then Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and he called it Nobah, after his own name.

When we choose to remain outside the Promised Land, when we choose to withhold full commitment to the Lord, it places our soul in danger. In the Gospels Jesus encountered a demoniac in Gadara (Mark 5:1-20). When He cast out the demons He permitted them to go into a heard of pigs. This was the area given to the tribe of Gad. For Gad to be keeping a herd of pigs speaks to their spiritual insensitivity and dullness (pork is prohibited in the Law). When you choose to remain outside the Promised Land, it leads to spiritual insensitivity (Phil. 2:12-13; John 6:27, 29).

A Fresh Commitment to God’s Word – Numbers 33

Numbers 33

These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points:

3 They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4 For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them. Also on their gods the Lord had executed judgments.

5 Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth. 6 They departed from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7 They moved from Etham and turned back to Pi Hahiroth, which is east of Baal Zephon; and they camped near Migdol. 8 They departed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah. 9 They moved from Marah and came to Elim. At Elim were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there.

10 They moved from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 They moved from the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin. 12 They journeyed from the Wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 They departed from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 They moved from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

15 They departed from Rephidim and camped in the Wilderness of Sinai. 16 They moved from the Wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah. 17 They departed from Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 They departed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19 They departed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez. 20 They departed from Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah. 21 They moved from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 They journeyed from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. 23 They went from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24 They moved from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25 They moved from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26 They moved from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 They departed from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28 They moved from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29 They went from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30 They departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31 They departed from Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan. 32 They moved from Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Hagidgad. 33 They went from Hor Hagidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34 They moved from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35 They departed from Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber. 36 They moved from Ezion Geber and camped in the Wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37 They moved from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom.

38 Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the Lord, and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 Now the king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.

41 So they departed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 They departed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 They departed from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44 They departed from Oboth and camped at Ije Abarim, at the border of Moab. 45 They departed from Ijim and camped at Dibon Gad. 46 They moved from Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim. 47 They moved from Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 They departed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. 49 They camped by the Jordan, from Beth Jesimoth as far as the Abel Acacia Grove in the plains of Moab.

God has faithfully brought them this far and He will be with them all the way to the end. We need to remember the faithfulness of God (Heb. 13:5).

50 Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; 53 you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’ ”

And we need to therefore act on the basis of God’s faithfulness. If we allow sin (e.g. inhabitants of the Promised Land) to coexist with us, it will prove to be irritating and hinder our walk with the Lord. You can’t compromise with sin. You have to clean house.

Fresh New Boundaries (Numbers 34-36)

Just as the Promised Land had boundaries, we need to stay within the parameters of God’s word to enjoy the blessings of the Spirit filled life.

Numbers 34

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries. 3 Your southern border shall be from the Wilderness of Zin along the border of Edom; then your southern border shall extend eastward to the end of the Salt Sea; 4 your border shall turn from the southern side of the Ascent of Akrabbim, continue to Zin, and be on the south of Kadesh Barnea; then it shall go on to Hazar Addar, and continue to Azmon; 5 the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and it shall end at the Sea.

6 ‘As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your western border.

7 ‘And this shall be your northern border: From the Great Sea you shall mark out your border line to Mount Hor; 8 from Mount Hor you shall mark out your border to the entrance of Hamath; then the direction of the border shall be toward Zedad; 9 the border shall proceed to Ziphron, and it shall end at Hazar Enan. This shall be your northern border.

10 ‘You shall mark out your eastern border from Hazar Enan to Shepham; 11 the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain; the border shall go down and reach to the eastern side of the Sea of Chinnereth; 12 the border shall go down along the Jordan, and it shall end at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land with its surrounding boundaries.’ ”

13 Then Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying: “This is the land which you shall inherit by lot, which the Lord has commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe. 14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and the half-tribe of Manasseh has received its inheritance. 15 The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance on this side of the Jordan, across from Jericho eastward, toward the sunrise.”

16 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “These are the names of the men who shall divide the land among you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 And you shall take one leader of every tribe to divide the land for the inheritance. 19 These are the names of the men: from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 20 from the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud; 21 from the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon; 22 a leader from the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli; 23 from the sons of Joseph: a leader from the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod, 24 and a leader from the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan; 25 a leader from the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach; 26 a leader from the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan; 27 a leader from the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi; 28 and a leader from the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.”

29 These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

The children of Israel never came close to taking possession of all that God desired for them. We need to guard against getting too comfortable in our walk with the Lord. We shouldn’t use the freedom God gives for your carnal desires (Gal. 5:1f.). We need to do what is edifying (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23). Don’t feed your flesh! (Gal. 5:13).

Numbers 35

     And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, saying: 2 “Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities. 3 They shall have the cities to dwell in; and their common-land shall be for their cattle, for their herds, and for all their animals. 4 The common-land of the cities which you will give the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around. 5 And you shall measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, on the south side two thousand cubits, on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits. The city shall be in the middle. This shall belong to them as common-land for the cities.

6 “Now among the cities which you will give to the Levites you shall appoint six cities of refuge, to which a manslayer may flee. And to these you shall add forty-two cities. 7 So all the cities you will give to the Levites shall be forty-eight; these you shall give with their common-land. 8 And the cities which you will give shall be from the possession of the children of Israel; from the larger tribe you shall give many, from the smaller you shall give few. Each shall give some of its cities to the Levites, in proportion to the inheritance that each receives.”

We need to accept and operate within our appointed places given to us by God.

9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. 12 They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment. 13 And of the cities which you give, you shall have six cities of refuge. 14 You shall appoint three cities on this side of the Jordan, and three cities you shall appoint in the land of Canaan, which will be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.

16 ‘But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 17 And if he strikes him with a stone in the hand, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 18 Or if he strikes him with a wooden hand weapon, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 20 If he pushes him out of hatred or, while lying in wait, hurls something at him so that he dies, 21 or in enmity he strikes him with his hand so that he dies, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

22 ‘However, if he pushes him suddenly without enmity, or throws anything at him without lying in wait, 23 or uses a stone, by which a man could die, throwing it at him without seeing him, so that he dies, while he was not his enemy or seeking his harm, 24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. 25 So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if the manslayer at any time goes outside the limits of the city of refuge where he fled, 27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the limits of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood, 28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.

29 ‘And these things shall be a statute of judgment to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 30 Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty. 31 Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32 And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the priest. 33 So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. 34 Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.’ ”

We need to operate within the boundaries of God’s mercy and be merciful (Psalm 103).

Numbers 36

     Now the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the leaders, the chief fathers of the children of Israel. 2 And they said: “The Lord commanded my lord Moses to give the land as an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and it will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so it will be taken from the lot of our inheritance. 4 And when the Jubilee of the children of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

5 Then Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying: “What the tribe of the sons of Joseph speaks is right. 6 This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, ‘Let them marry whom they think best, but they may marry only within the family of their father’s tribe.’ 7 So the inheritance of the children of Israel shall not change hands from tribe to tribe, for every one of the children of Israel shall keep the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. 8 And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel shall be the wife of one of the family of her father’s tribe, so that the children of Israel each may possess the inheritance of his fathers. 9 Thus no inheritance shall change hands from one tribe to another, but every tribe of the children of Israel shall keep its own inheritance.”

10 Just as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad; 11 for Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to the sons of their father’s brothers. 12 They were married into the families of the children of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father’s family.

13 These are the commandments and the judgments which the Lord commanded the children of Israel by the hand of Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.

We need to operate within God guided boundaries of flexibility. “Blessed are the flexible for they will not be broken.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1]Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary : Volume One : Genesis-Job. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2005, S. 521

[2]Harris, R. Laird ; Harris, Robert Laird ; Archer, Gleason Leonard ; Waltke, Bruce K.: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. electronic ed. Chicago : Moody Press, 1999, c1980, S. 352

[3]Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 1:251

[4]Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary : Volume One : Genesis-Job. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2005, S. 528