Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 30

Numbers 30

-The statutes for making vows, which the LORD commanded Moses for men, wives, and daughters, is tackled in this brief portion of Scripture. A person’s word was their bond in ancient Israel, and trustworthiness was of prime importance to the LORD. Hasty remarks and promises were not tolerated as we can see from this text. “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth (Numbers 30:2).” A daughter’s word was also important, but some protections were given if a father disagreed with his daughter’s vows. If the father said nothing, then all her vows were to stand, but if the father objected, she was released from immature and potentially foolish decisions. The emphasis was on preventing rash statements that were flippant and did not carry intended meaning. A husband likewise had authority over the vows of his wife to confirm or annual decisions of promise. The LORD would forgive daughters and wives who were protected by their husbands taking action, and the males were to bear the guilt in these instances. The widow or divorced woman did have to carry the weight of their decisions when they made a vow (Numbers 30:3-16).

-*Application* Our society is known for broken promises and unfaithfulness to all sorts of vows and contracts. We need to examine our lives and the decisions we make in regard to things we tell the LORD, or others, we are going to do. Be a person of your word. Make bonds that last. Be a person that others and God can count on. Lying is definitely a sin and can destroy our lives (Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 12:22, Revelation 21:27; 22:15). Also, notice the protection God can give within the family structure. Godly men who are guarding the home from foolish or rash decisions by their daughters or spouses are blessed of God. If Adam would have done this, we might still be living in a utopia (Genesis 3:6).

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 30:2

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 29

Numbers 29

-God continues to give instruction by way of reminder to His servant Moses in this chapter. The seventh month, or Tishrei, is detailed with three important convocations in the Hebrew calendar. The first is Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. It occurs on the first day of the month with the blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation, and no laborious work in the camp. Burnt offerings are to be offered as a soothing aroma unto the LORD of one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old and without defect. The grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil according to the ordinance per animal is given, and one male goat is to be offered for a sin atonement. This is in addition to the normal and continual burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering and drink offering by way of fire to the LORD as a soothing aroma (Numbers 29:1-6). This is the head of the year in the Hebrew civil calendar, and is sometimes called the “Day of Judgment.” It is the day when God is crowned as King in acknowledgement of His rule and power (Leviticus 23:24-25).

-The next holy convocation is a time for humbling again without any work. This is the time of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins on the tenth of the month. A burnt offering is again presented unto the LORD for a soothing aroma: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old and having no defect along with their grain offering per animal and one male goat for a sin offering. The other sacrifices that are continual also are commanded during this time (Leviticus 23:26-32, Numbers 29:7-11).

-The final holy convocation begins on fifteenth day of the month and is again accompanied by the command to “do no laborious work.” This is a time of feasting for seven days known as Sukkot in Hebrew, or the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:33-44, Deuteronomy 16:13-17). This is a time of abundant remembrance and celebration before the LORD with extensive sacrifices and daily rituals culminated with a solemn assembly on the eighth day with a final offering exactly like on Yom Kippur (Numbers 29:12-38). The LORD’s final admonition in this chapter is thus, “You shall present these to the LORD at your appointed times, besides your votive offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings and for your grain offerings and for your drink offerings and for your peace offerings.” Then Moses spoke to the people of Israel in accordance with all that the LORD had commanded him (Numbers 29:39-40).

-*Application* These holy convocations point us to the Messiah, whom we now know as Jesus Christ. He is the reason for these pointings, types, references, and foreshadowings. He is the real atonement for sin and the reason for our continual celebration. Let us offer our lives with genuine and meaningful service because He lives (Hebrews 7:25). There are some further principles for us to meditate on here as well. Gathering together to worship produces an extra benefit in the presence of God. Suspending normal routines to take “time off” is essential and commanded by the LORD. He lets us rest from our works, and this has everything to do with relying on faith for our salvation rather than deeds of goodness. This should give us time to repose and reflect on the righteousness of our Savior and King. Finally, give the LORD your very best gifts with an uncorrupted heart as an offering of servitude. He deserves it for all He’s done for us.

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 29:1, 7, 12

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 28

Numbers 28

-God reiterates His offerings that He expects from His people to Moses now again before Moses’ passing into eternity. The command is simple, yet profound, “You shall be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at their appointed time (Numbers 28:1-2).” He outlines all the rituals for sacrifices and convocations in minute detail for the amount, the time, and the place. The sacredness and perfection of these offerings were important to present unto a holy God as an act of worship for well-being and longevity in the land in which they were about to enter (Numbers 28:3-31).

-*Application* Our spiritual act of worship now to give our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice unto the LORD. We present this to Him by not conforming to this fallen world, and by being transformed by the renewing of our mind IN Christ Jesus. This will prove what the will of God is in our lives, and this is good, acceptable, and totally perfect for His expectations of us as His people (Romans 12:1-2). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is our natural course as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 3:19). Live in His power and be guided by His Voice today!

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 28:2

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 27

Numbers 27

-There were a couple of things that happened in this chapter that were of significant importance in the nation of Israel moving forward in the economy of Almighty God. The first had to do with the law of inheritance. Five daughters of Zelophehad, who was of the tribe of Manasseh of Joseph’s double portion, stood before Moses and Eleazar the priest with a petition. They acknowledged their father died in his own sin in the wilderness, and related the fact that he had no sons for whom to give the inheritance that was to come in the Promised Land. They wanted a possession for their family name among their father’s brothers. “So Moses brought their case before the LORD (Numbers 27:1-5).” God spoke to His servant and told him that they indeed were right in their statements. He commanded that they be given a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and transfer the inheritance of their father to them. He gave further instructions that if a man has no son, the inheritance will always transfer to the daughter. If there is no daughter (in other words no children at all), the inheritance will go to his brothers. If there is a case where there are no children or brothers, the father’s brothers will gain the inheritance. If the father has no brothers, at that point the inheritance would go to the nearest relative in his own family. This would be a statutory ordinance to the sons of Israel by command of the LORD (Numbers 27:6-11).

-Now in a turn of events, God said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. When you see it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water (These were the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, Numbers 20:8-12; 27:12-14).” Moses pleaded with “the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh,” not for his life, but to appoint a man over the congregation that would lead them out and in with power and authority as he had been chosen and able to do. He loved his people and wanted to make sure that they had a shepherd who would guide them under the mighty Hand of God into the Promised Land. The LORD appointed Joshua, the son of Nun, who had the Holy Spirit IN (emphasis mine) him. He laid his hands on him and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire congregation and then commissioned him in their sight. Moses put the LORD’s authority on him for the purpose of obedience by the people during this critical stage of their national and redemptive history. Moses did exactly what the LORD commanded in regards to this (Numbers 27:15-23).

-*Application* First, we see fairness in the LORD with regard to the laws of inheritance that He gives. We can understand from this that God is reasonable, and does all things equitably. Don’t be afraid to take your petitions to the Judge of all the earth. Secondly, while we see the sadness of Moses’ mistake and that it cost him the chance to lead his people into the Promised Land, he still had the right perspective. We should in the same way keep a mind for the future and those who will come behind us. Let us raise up God fearing leaders, whom the LORD can use for His glory. We must be intentional about this and diligent. There was a certain formality to the process that we see here and a public demonstration of the transfer of authority. When God calls you to pass the baton, be as willing as Moses was to follow the commands of the LORD. Love your people and make sure they are shepherded properly for the next generation. God does have a plan for this and we need to have the right kind of heart.

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 27:12-13, 18-20

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 26

Numbers 26

-After the plague caused by Israel’s wandering spirit of idolatry, the LORD speaks to Moses and Eleazar the priest and son of Aaron about taking a new census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel 20 years old and upward by their father’s households and able to go out to war (Numbers 26:1-2). This was important as the nation was now looking right into the Promised Land on the east side of the Jordan River in the plains of Moab at Jericho, which is just north of the Dead Sea area. The tribes are numbered with a total of 601,730. The breakdown is as follows for the individual tribes of the sons of Jacob: Rueben= 43,730, Simeon= 22,200, Gad= 40,500, Judah= 76,500, Issachar= 64,300, Zebulun= 60,500, Joseph (Manasseh= 52,700 & Ephraim= 32,500), Benjamin= 45,600, Dan= 64,400, Asher= 53,400, and Naphtali= 45,400 (Numbers 26:3-51). Of that group, the text points out some who were not there because of their rebellion. Dathan and Abiram, who were called by the congregation and contended with Moses and Aaron’s God-given authority, and Korah is again mentioned for the purpose of a strict and solemn warning for the future generations of Israel (Numbers 16:32, 35, 38; 26:9-10).

-The inheritance was to be determined by lot according to the number of names in each tribe by the LORD’s command. So, the inheritance was divided between larger and smaller groups. The Levites were also counted, but they did not receive land inheritance. There were 23,000 more of these sons of Israel as males from a month old and upward (Numbers 26:52-62).

-There is a three verse commentary at the end of this chapter that is significant in describing why the LORD called for this important census to take place right before the invasion of Israel’s Promised Land. There was NOT a man among those numbered by Moses and Aaron at the wilderness of Sinai except for Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, the son of Nun. God had promised this would happen because of their unbelief during the time of spying out the land. His words rang ominously true, “They shall surely die in the wilderness (Numbers 14:29-35; 26:63-65, Deuteronomy 2:14-16, Hebrews 3:12-19).”

-*Application* The difference between victory and defeat in the Christian walk is belief. Dear Christian, have you escaped the snare of slavery to sin like the children of Israel escaped slavery in Egypt? That’s great! That’s salvation, but there is much more that God wants you to experience. He wants you to have abundant, faithful, fruitful life IN Him. Walk the walk that He has ordained for you. Sure there will be a wilderness experience (even Jesus had that, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13), and it is tied to your humble, dependent, trusting obedience to Him. He will take you into promise and blessings much more quickly if you will be like Caleb and Joshua. Please, please, please don’t be like the unbelievers who perished along the way.

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 26:64-65

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 25

Numbers 25

-While Israel remained at Shittim, despite all of God’s blessings on them and their security in Him, the people began to “play the harlot (unfaithful, idolatry)” with the daughters of Moab. This is a sad commentary on the people of Israel isn’t it? They accepted invitations from the Moabites to make sacrifices to their gods, and the children of Israel ate with them and bowed down to worship their false gods. “So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel (Numbers 25:1-3).” Rightfully so, after all the One-True Living God had done for this people, the spurned LORD commanded Moses to take all the leaders and execute them in broad daylight before His Majesty for their contemptable display of disloyalty and intrigue. So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor (Numbers 25:4-5).”

-One of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman before Moses and all the people while they were mourning and weeping over this grievous sin at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Phinehas, (not Eli’s infamous-wayward son of later Scriptural text, 1 Samuel 1:3; 2:12-36; 4:4-11), who was the son of Eleazar and grandson of the deceased Aaron, took a zealous stand for the LORD when he saw these who had transgressed the covenant of God. He arose from the midst of the congregation, took a spear in his hand, and went after the man of Israel with his idolatrous woman in a tent. He pierced them both through, and the plague on the sons of Israel was checked after a whopping 24,000 died. This is the size of a pretty big town! Then the LORD spoke directly to Moses again saying, “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel (Numbers 25:6-13).’” The Simeonite of Israel who was killed was named Zimri. He was a leader of a father’s household. His Midianite woman who led him astray was named Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, who was the head of the people of a father’s household in Midian (Numbers 25:14-15). Moses married a Midianite, Zipporah, so that was not the real issue here (Exodus 18:1-6, Numbers 10:29). The deceptive faith of this woman, Cozbi, is what the LORD detested. She and the other Midianites that Israel got tangled up with led them from their true God into idolatry, and the LORD could not stand this (Exodus 20:2-6). His love for them was jealous with a wrathful display of justice. His covenant (promise) was at stake here, and He would do anything to protect it. Phinehas proved to be a faithful servant in keeping the covenant of peace and exclusivity with Yahweh, the great “I Am (Exodus 3:13-15).”

-Now God told Moses to “be hostile to the Midianites and strike them; for they have been hostile to you with tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor (Numbers 25:16-18).”

-*Application* Here is this passage we see the biblical principle of righteous indignation, which is a burning anger over something that violates God’s commands. We certainly have to be careful in this emotion, because it can get out of hand and lead to selfish ambition and a horrible testimony. But, it is ordained by God in certain times and situations. Even Jesus, Himself, overturned the tables in the Temple area when His anger burned for the House of God (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, John 2:15-17). Sometimes the only path to peace is the destruction of the enemy, and God knows the future heart of man as to whether or not it will turn when He okays a “just war.” The main factor is this: Does God get the glory in it and will it advance His Kingdom of love and peace? If so, my brothers and sisters fight the good fight as a faithful servant (1 Timothy 1:12-20, 2 Timothy 4:1-8).

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 25:12-13

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 24

Numbers 24

-Balaam sees that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, so “he did not go as at other times to seek omens, but he set his face toward the wilderness (Numbers 24:1).” As Balaam lifted up his eyes he saw Israel camping by tribe, and the Spirit of the LORD came upon him to prophecy. His oracle included phrases like “the man whose eye is opened,” “of him who hears the words of God,” “who sees the vision of the Almighty,” and “falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered (Numbers 24:3-4).” He blesses Israel from the top of Peor in eloquent language, and speaks the LORD’s blessing upon them. He claims by the end of this first segment, “Blessed is everyone who blesses you (Israel), and cursed is everyone who curses you (Numbers 24:5-9).” This made Balak’s anger burn against the man that he had brought in to curse his enemies. Three times now Balaam had blessed the chosen people of Israel. Balak warned the sorcerer to flee his presence, and he scolded him saying that he would not receive his honor. That was fine with Balaam. He reiterated his previous statements about speaking only the words God had given him, either good or bad (Numbers 24:10-13). Before he went back to his people, Balaam offered one more oracle for what would occur in future days. He repeated his phrases about this being a true vision and revelation from God. Then, he saw what appears to be the Messiah. Prophetically he proclaims, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come forth from Jacob, a Scepter shall rise from Israel… (Numbers 24:14-17a).” This One shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Seth (tumult). Edom will be His possession along with Seir. One from Jacob will have dominion and destroy the remnant from the city. Amalek is prophesied for destruction. Kain and the Kenite will be consumed. Anyone God desires to destroy, He will destroy by His ordination. Ships shall come from the coast of Kittim (west coast of modern day Cyprus) and afflict Asshur and Eber bringing them to destruction (Numbers 17b-24). “Then Balaam arose and departed and returned to his place, and Balak also went his way (Numbers 24:25).”

-*Application* The sovereignty of God should be our predominate meditation after studying a passage like this. He holds the kingdoms in His dominant Hands (Psalms 24:1). Our job is to fit into His plans and go His way. Balaam was not a perfect person, but he definitely got some things right here in this chapter of Scripture. He could not be bought, and he blessed God’s people, Israel. We too need to open our eyes and ears to see and hear the things of God in this present age. See the vision that God is giving you in His truth. Fall down and worship Him, and then see how He will uncover the knowledge of the Holy and make your paths straight.

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 24:9, 17

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 23

Numbers 23

-As Balaam is with Balak now he asks the king to build seven altars and prepare seven bull and seven rams for a sacrifice three distinct times, which the king obediently does (Numbers 23:1-2, 14, 29-30). He would go and see if perhaps the LORD would meet with him for a word concerning Israel’s fate. Balaam promised to speak only what the LORD spoke, and he made sure beforehand the king of Moab knew that this was the case for better or worse (Numbers 23:3,12, 26). Three times the LORD put words in Balaam’s mouth at the high places of Baal (Numbers 22:41), at the field of Zophim on top of Pisgah (Numbers 23:14), and at the top of Peor which overlooks the wasteland (Numbers 23:28). All the words were for blessing upon the children of Israel; there were no curses which Balaam could speak since he was prophesying directly from Yahweh, the living, truthful, delivering, and unchanging God (Numbers 23:7-10, 18-24; 24:3-9). The LORD made it very clear that He was with His people Israel.

-*Application* Our God is a God that we can count on. He makes a way even through the desert times in our lives when we don’t know exactly what He is doing. Is our testimony strong in times like these? People are always watching to see our reaction, just like the king of Moab and Balaam. As they observe us, God’s elect, the believing generation of Gentiles, His church, do they see a blessed-loving people or a complaining-bickering bunch? Let’s make them see Jesus in us and know that God is fighting for His faithful ones!

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 23:19

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 22

Numbers 22

-Now the sons of Israel journeyed to a point near entry into the Promised Land just east of the Jordan River. A new generation had risen up and they stood poised and ready to receive the inheritance of a faithful God to enter. Neighboring nations were feeling the dread of the LORD on them as this was going on. As Israel camped in the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, Balak, the king of Moab saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites and began an attempt to garner favor from on high, but it would prove futile. He sent messengers to Balaam, the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the Euphrates River. Balaam was an ancient sorcerer called to place curses on others. God used this individual for His glory in speaking to him prophetically even though Balaam’s heart was definitely mixed between trying to please man and God (2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14). The message was concerning the sons of Israel who had come from Egypt and were living opposite Moab. Balak wanted Balaam to come and curse this people so that Moab could gain victory over the children of Yahweh. After a night’s meditation, Balaam gave the initial messengers, who were elders of Moab, the word of God saying, “Do not go with them, you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed (Numbers 22:1-12).” So the LORD refused to let Balaam go back to the land of Moab with Balak’s men.

-Balak did not give up so easily in his quest to bring a curse on Israel. He resent leaders of his nation, more numerous and more distinguished than the former. They begged that nothing hinder the sorcerer, Balaam, from coming to them offering him riches and honor. Balaam stood his ground again and refused their bribes, but he did consent to allow the LORD another opportunity that night to speak further to him concerning the matter. God consented to let him go this time with the condition of speaking only what He spoke to him directly. So Balaam rode away on his trusted and faithful donkey with the leaders of Moab. On the journey however, God became angry with Balaam and took His stand as an adversary against him. An angel of the LORD appeared with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey turned off from its path and went into a field, but Balaam struck the donkey and turned it back into the pathway. Further along, the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path of the vineyards with walls on both sides. When the donkey perceived the angel of the LORD, it pressed herself up to the wall pressing Balaam’s foot against the wall, probably causing at least some discomfort. The sorcerer again struck the animal. The angel reappeared further down the road in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either right or left. This time, when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, it lay down under Balaam making the sorcerer angry, and he struck the donkey with his stick. At that point, the LORD miraculously opened the mouth of the donkey. She said to him, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Balaam replied that she had made a mockery of him by being disobedient to his commands for the journey. Balaam even told his animal he would have killed her had he had a sword in his hand. The donkey made a case for her faithfulness in past journeys, and Balaam did acknowledge the strangeness of this occurrence. Then the LORD opened his eyes, and he saw the angel. Balaam bowed down reverently to the spiritual being. The angel questioned his beating of the donkey since she saved his life. The angel had come out as an adversary, because Balaam’s way had been contrary to the angel. Balaam acknowledged his sin, and he pleaded innocence since he did not know that the angel of the LORD was standing against him. He offered to turn completely around, but the angel told him to go with the men with the condition again of speaking only the word which was given by the Almighty God. So Balaam continued along with the leaders of Balak (Numbers 22:13-35).

-When Balak heard that Balaam indeed was coming, “he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the Arnon border, at the extreme end of the border.” Balak greeted Balaam with persuasive speech almost sounding offended that Balaam had not come earlier because of his ability to honor the sorcerer with many good gifts. Balaam replied to Balak that he was there, but on the condition that he could only speak the word that God would put in his mouth. They went together to the place Kiriath-huzoth where Balak offered a sacrifice of oxen and sheep and gave some of the meat to Balaam. Then, in the morning Balak took Balaam to the high places of Baal, the Moabite god, and from there they could see a portion of the people of Israel (Numbers 22:36-41).

-*Application* How often do we seek a further word from the LORD on a matter He has clearly revealed the first time? God’s patience with us is astounding as we are reminded of in this passage. We would be better off going on the primary word of the LORD when it comes to decisions in our lives. Too often we turn our own way when we know deep down what God is speaking for us to do. Don’t be like Balaam, listen and obey the first time and refuse to be swayed by the enemy. Submit to God, repent, resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Acts 3:19, James 4:7)

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 22:12

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 21

Numbers 21

-The king of Arad, a Canaanite, who lived in the Negev (south country) heard that Israel was coming by way of Atharim. He fought against Israel and took some of the population captive. At this point Israel made a vow to the LORD to utterly destroy the Canaanites cities if they would be delivered from this situation. The LORD complied with their request and gave up the Canaanites into their hand with Israel utterly destroying them at the place called Hormah (destruction). From there they ventured southward, and around Edom, by the way of the Red Sea (Numbers 21:1-4). Once again the people of Israel became impatient in the process and complained against Moses and God. They said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food (Numbers 21:4b-5).” Notice the dichotomy of them saying they had no food, and then stating that they loathed the actual provision from the LORD. They had food; they just weren’t satisfied with the food God had given them. Ungrateful, despondent, and miserable the people were given what they deserved from the LORD when He sent fiery serpents among them with venomous biting. Many were dying, and they came back humbly to Moses when they realized that they had made a huge mistake with their dissatisfaction. They acknowledged their sin in speaking against the LORD and Moses and asked that he intercede for them so that the serpents might be removed. Moses did go before the LORD on their behalf, and God did give mercy in a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. He told Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard (a pole). When the people would look to the fixture, they would be saved and live. Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard between heaven and earth. When the stricken people looked to the serpent on the standard, they were healed (Numbers 21:6-9).

-*Application* We still use this symbol in the medical profession to indicate a hope for remedy. Jesus Christ of course is the ultimate cure for our sinful natures. When we look to Him who was suspended on the cross between heaven and earth for salvation, He freely gives life and hope to all who believe in Him. God gives redemption and makes a way back into His good graces!

-From that point, the sons of Israel moved on and camped in Oboth. From there they ventured to Iveabarim, which was in the wilderness opposite Moab and to the east. From there they set out and camped in Wadi Zered. This was dry ravine except during rainy periods occasionally. Then, they moved and camped further north on the other side of the Arnon, which was in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites. So it was an area between the Amorites and Moab. From there they continued to Beer, and the LORD provided them with abundant water in that place causing them to sing, “Spring up, O well! Sing to it! The well, which the leaders sank, which the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter and with their staffs.” And from that wilderness they continued to Mattanah, then Nahaliel, then Bamoth, then to the valley that is in the land of Moab, “at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland (Numbers 21:10-20).”

-There, Israel sent messengers to Sihon, who was the king of the Amorites, saying to him, “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the king’s highway until we have passed through your border (Numbers 21:21-22).” The king would not let them come through, just like what had happened earlier with Edom (Numbers 20:14-21). God was with His people though. As the people of the Amorites assembled against Israel in the wilderness in a place called Jahaz to fight, Israel struck them down with the edge of the sword and took possession of the land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and as far as the sons of Ammon in Jazer. Israel took control of all these cities and lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon (the city of King Sihon), and in all her villages. A proverb is written in the text with the mention of Chemosh, the national god of Moab who they worshipped as a god of war. This false god was of no help whatsoever when the true God came through in dominant fashion. Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites, and they began a campaign to spy out Jazer eventually capturing its villages and dispossessing the Amorites who were there. Then they turned and went up further by the way of Bashan, and Og, their king, went out with all his people to battle at Edrei. Here God prophetically assures His children victory telling them not to fear this Og, king of Bashan, for He had given him into their hand along with all the people of Bashan and their land. God promised that he would be as the king of the Amorites, Sihon, who lived at Heshbon. So they killed Og and his sons and all his people, until there was literally no remnant left, and they possessed his land (Numbers 21:23-35).

-*Application* When God goes out to conquer His foes, they are quickly dismantled. He is the One who can easily turn the tide of situations in your life when you call upon Him in humility and dependency. Let God fight your battles according to His will (1 Samuel 17:47, 1 John 5:14-15). Don’t fret the enemy or be discouraged. Victory is around the corner if you remain in Him and follow His lead. And remember, complaining and bad mouthing God does absolutely no good for you. Repent and be healed.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 21:8

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 20

Numbers 20

-In the first month, the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Zin and stayed at Kadesh. This was apparently a different location from the earlier Kadesh located in the wilderness of Paran from which the spies set out many years before in their first attempt at scoping out the Promised Land, but it was in the same vicinity (Numbers 13:21-26). There was no water there, and the congregation assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron contending with their leaders and God. They complained and said they wished they had perished in the previous uprising of Korah during that rebellion in previous years. Their lot was desperate out in the dessert, and they needed the sustenance of water, not realizing the power of God to provide. They felt like they and their animals were about to die, even though God had made them significant and lasting promises. They called the adventure “wretched” and vehemently protested the fact that they were not abounding in the luxuries of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates where water was plentiful. They had somehow forgotten that it was their own lack of faith that kept them out of the Promised Land where all of those things were. God had prepared it, but they listened to the negative voices rather than Joshua and Caleb, who knew the LORD would give them victory if they proceeded in belief even against formidable foes (Numbers 13-14; 20:1-5).

-Then Moses and his brother, Aaron, came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell prostrate on their faces before God. The glory of the LORD appeared to them there, and God spoke, “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and SPEAK (emphasis mine) to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink (Numbers 20:6-8).” Moses took the rod as commanded and gathered the people. He rebuked them as rebels and told them what was about to happen. “Then Moses lifted his hand and STRUCK (emphasis mine) the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank (Numbers 20:9-11).” As a result of this action, the LORD rebuked His leaders for not believing Him. He was offended because His commands were not treated “as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel.” Because of this disobedience, Moses and Aaron were not going to be allowed to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land themselves (Numbers 20:12). To understand this better we must look at the textual events and parse it out. God told Moses to speak to the rock. He disobeyed and hit the rock. I believe God even gave him a moment of grace to change his direction. The first strike was fruitless, it did not bring forth water. The second strike was when water poured forth. At this point the LORD was indignant with His servants because they did their own thing rather than follow His word. Moses had relied on past accomplishments and methods in this exercise of rebellion (Exodus 17:1-7). He used his own means and power and denied the Living God’s request. “Those were the waters of Meribah (i.e. contention), because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them (Numbers 20:13).”

-From Kadesh, Moses sent delegates out to Edom to petition their brother about moving through their territory on their way to the Promised Land. They only wanted to pass through. They promised not to take any of the produce of the land. They swore they would not even drink their water. They would stay on the King’s Highway and pay equitably for any of their needs along the way. They appealed to the fact that Edom fully well knew of their hiatus to Egypt from the land of their fathers and the hardship and suffering they had experienced in the process. They also made Edom aware that God was with them and always heard their cries for deliverance (Numbers 20:14-19). However, Edom would NOT let them pass through and came out against them with a heavy force and a strong hand. “Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him (Numbers 20:20-21).” This prophetically doomed Edom (Jeremiah 49:7-22, Ezekiel 25:12-14, Joel 3:19, Amos 1:11, Malachi 1:4). It was fulfillment of Genesis 12:3.

-They the sons of Israel came to Mount Hor, and this is where the LORD told Aaron it was time to pass from the earth. The great priest would be gathered to his people and die there on the mountain. He was buried there not being able to enter the Promised Land because of his rebellion at Meribah. Eleazar, his son, was given the holy garments upon Mount Hor. After Aaron passed away and was buried, they came back down from the mountain to inform the congregation. When they heard the news, they wept and mourned for their patriarchal priest 30 days (Numbers 20:22-29).

-*Application* God is serious about His commands. Sometimes, because we can’t really see Him, we excuse ourselves from doing what we know is right and disobey His authority. This can have catastrophic consequences as we see today in this passage. When we transgress His Law, we declare Him unholy by our sinful actions. While His grace is sufficient to cover all our sin and forgive us if we have trusted Him for salvation, our fellowship and blessing surely can be affected. When God tells you to do something, obey it fully and don’t take matters into your own hands.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 20:13

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 19

Numbers 19

-The ordinance for the sacrificial killing of the red heifer for the purification of sin is detailed in this chapter with reference, types, and foreshadowing to the Righteous Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and His atonement. This statute was given by God to Moses and Aaron for the sons of Israel and the alien who sojourned with them. An unblemished red heifer with no defects on which no yoke had ever been placed was the chosen instrument for this command. The priest would bring the bovine outside the camp (this is just the same prophecy for the Messiah and His sacrifice, Hebrews 13:11-13), and there be slaughtered on behalf of the people in the presence of the priest. The priest was then instructed to take some of the blood with his finger and sprinkle it toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times (the number of completion, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 2:2, Revelation 1:5). Then the heifer was to be burned in the priest’s sight completely. The priest was commanded to cast cedar wood (symbol of strength), hyssop (cleansing), and scarlet material (royalty) into the midst of the burning heifer. Afterwards the priest was instructed to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, then come back into the camp as an unclean person until evening (sundown). “Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin (Numbers 19:1-9).” This is a picture of those who receive by faith the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. He removes all impurity and justifies us in the sight of God from all sin when we trust in His atonement. Now the one who gathered the ashes also would need to become ceremonial clean again. He performed the same rituals essentially as the priest for purification and cleanness (Numbers 19:10).

-Next, sundry rules for dealing with corpses are dealt with for the cleaning up process in the camp of Israel (Numbers 19:11-22). Seven days is the period to restore cleanness after touching a dead person. This could be in their tent or out in the open field, natural or unnatural causes of death. The extension of defilement to open containers in the home of a deceased person is interesting (Numbers 19:15). This is good sanitary precaution as a rule by the LORD. The ashes from the burnt purification listed earlier in the chapter could be applied for cleansing with flowing water combining in a vessel. A person who was clean could apply the mixture with hyssop sprinkling it on the tent, the furnishings, and on the persons who were there. The third day and seventh day were the days required to accomplish this ritualistic process, which is conducive to our Lord’s resurrection (Luke 24:46, 1 Corinthians 15:4). “But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean (Numbers 19:13, 20).”

-*Application* Again in this Old Testament passage, we see the pointing towards the work of Jesus on the cross to cleanse the entire believing world from their sin. The important point for us to consider here is that there are those who reject the offering for God’s grace, mercy, and complete forgiveness. This biblical truth flies in the face of those known as “universalists,” who claim there is no separation from Christ for anybody regardless of faith and practice. There is a sweeping movement to eradicate the thought of hell and eternal punishment even in once orthodox Christian circles. This is complete heresy and a lie from the devil himself. If a person does not receive the gift of God through faith in His Son, that person will be left outside the camp, or Kingdom, of God. Make no mistake about it. You must come to Christ Jesus on His terms to receive His salvation (John 14:6).

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 19:9, 20

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 18

Numbers 18

-Chapter 18 covers the gifts of God to His servants in the priesthood and tabernacle/future Temple service. These are the ones that very clearly bear the guilt when the sanctuary does not function in the holiness and purity that God desires (Numbers 18:1). The brothers from the tribe of Levi are the chosen priesthood line to join with Aaron and serve unto the LORD as a gift from Him (Numbers 18:2,6). They will attend to their obligation by the command of the Sovereign, but they “shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you (Aaron) will die (Numbers 18:3). Also, the outsider may not come in near the holiest place (Numbers 18:4). This will ensure that God’s wrath be removed from among the sons of Israel (Numbers 18:5). Aaron and his sons are the only ones to attend the priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, and they were expected to perform their service accurately with no outside help (Numbers 18:7).

-Now, after taking care of the priestly business, God speaks to Aaron further to delineate the priest’s portion of the offerings that are presented before the holy place. Their sustenance would come as God’s gift to them through the sacrifices of His people as they brought forward their best gifts and contributions. “Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours (Numbers 18:14).” Even the first born was theirs from man and animal, but they were to redeem the firstborn of man by their valuation price of five shekels in silver (Numbers 3:40-51; 18:15-18). All the gifts were holy and they were to be a perpetual allotment as an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD (Numbers 18:19). Since the Levites had no inheritance in their land, the LORD would be their portion and inheritance. The Israelites would bring their tithe to support God’s servicemen so that they could do the holy work unhindered with common labors and concerns. Again, then the Scripture reiterates that they bore the responsibility for theirs service and the guilt for their iniquity (Numbers 18:20-24).

-The LORD then addressed Moses again to make sure that the Levitical line would share in the spirit of giving as they were required to give a tenth of the tithe they had been given from the people. They would also tithe on the produce from the grain of the threshing floor or the wine vat, which would eventually be centered there in Jerusalem of the Promised Land. All the best was to be sacrificially given directly to the LORD; the rest of it could be dispersed back to the Levites and their families to eat anywhere as their compensation in return for their service in the tent of meeting. God’s final declaration at the end of the chapter sums it all up, “You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die (Numbers 18:25-32).”

-*Application* God’s messengers, pastors, and service people still receive the gifts of the LORD given by His people. As a full-time minister, this chapter ups the ante for responsible service and staying pure in the call of God on my life. Giving is a key part of the Kingdom of God and everyone, including the clergy, is expected to sacrifice generously so that the work of the LORD may go forward. Sadly, most of today’s American Christians come nowhere near a tenth of their income in giving back to the work of the LORD in His church. If everyone simply fulfilled the biblical command to give their tithe, we could change the trajectory of this country. Giving multiplies the Kingdom.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 18:32

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 17

Numbers 17

-The LORD speaks to Moses for a sign to negate the complaining spirit of the masses in Israel during this time. Yahweh has His servant gather twelve rods from each tribe of Israel with Aaron’s rod with his name written on it representing the tribe of Levi. These rods were deposited in the tent of meeting by the command of the LORD to see whom God would choose to make spout. His purpose, again, was to “lesson” from upon Himself “the grumblings of the sons of Israel” who were complaining against their leaders, Moses and Aaron (Numbers 17:1-5). So, Moses carried out the command faithfully and deposited the rods before God in the tent of testimony. On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony and beheld the rod of Aaron’s sprouted, putting forth buds and producing blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. This was yet another incredible miracles of the LORD! Moses brought out the rods before the people from the presence of the LORD. They saw and took their own rods back. But the LORD told Moses to “Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put an end to their grumblings against Me, so that they will not die (Numbers 17:6-10).” Moses did exactly as the LORD commanded. The sons of Israel were despondent and cried out, “Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, must die. Are we to perish completely (Numbers 17:11-13)?”

-*Application* The people obviously misjudged the intentions of the LORD in this episode of their journey in the wilderness. When things are difficult in our lives, and when the signs of God are not in our favor, do we give up and pessimistically complain that the LORD is not for us and never will be for us? This is a tragic mistake! God takes us through times of testing and teaching to reveal to us His power, glory, and sustaining love. Can we ever get that??? He is holy and we do fall short of His glory in so many ways when we are lost or carnal (fleshly, saved but not acting like it). God desperately wants to give us His righteous direction, and we should follow it humbly, as we see Moses doing in this passage. God’s sign of the budding, blooming, and fruitful rod was for the purpose of putting an end to the grumbling and rebellion. In the same way, let’s resolve today not to gripe and disobey against what the clear and meaningful directives of Gods are in our lives. Follow His Word and His Spirit. He will not let you down and you will never perish. His will is for you to live and live abundantly (John 10:10).

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 17:10

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 16

Numbers 16

-The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram along with 250 leaders of the congregation of Israel is detailed in this informative and very productive chapter of Scripture. They took action by rising up before Moses with basically three complaints. They stated that Moses had gone far enough in that 1) They insisted the entire congregation was chosen and holy, 2) He was not better than anyone else, and 3) The people don’t need to obey him necessarily. The first two of these were true and Moses would have more than likely fully agreed with them. However, the third accusation called into question his call by Yahweh to lead the people through this time of escaping from Egypt, giving of the Law, and journeying through the wilderness under the command of God. Moses fell on his face when he heard these indictments and then spoke to Korah and all his company, saying “Tomorrow morning the LORD will show who is His, and who is holy, and will bring him near to Himself; even the one whom He will choose, He will bring near to Himself (Numbers 16:1-5).” The command was issued to Korah and his company to take the censors for themselves and put fire in them and lay incense upon them in the presence of the LORD. Moses told them that they had “gone far enough” in their rebellion against his God-given authority. The test would be conducted to see who the LORD would choose as holy in this matter. Moses further chastised them for being discontent. They had been separated with distinction in the congregation of Israel as leaders to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to minister to the people. Moses proclaimed that they were trying to usurp authority now by trying to rise up to priesthood status. He railed on them for gathering together “against the LORD” and for bringing innocent Aaron into the accusations. Moses sent a summons to Dathan and Abiram to come up to the tabernacle, but they denied him. They complained once again, “Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also lord it over us? Indeed, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up (Numbers 16:6-14)!”

-Moses anger burned at this point, and he said to the LORD, “Do not regard their offering! I have not taken a single donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them.” Moses commanded that Korah and all his company, along with Aaron, present themselves before the LORD on the next day. Korah did assemble all the congregation against them at the doorway of the tent of meeting. “And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.” God spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” But the men of God fell on their faces and cried out for the rebels’ mercy, “O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, will You be angry with the entire congregation?” The LORD relented to a degree and commanded that they, “Get back from around the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” Then Moses arose and went to Dathan and Abiram, who had refused to come to him, and the elders of Israel followed him. He issued a warning for those inside to depart from the tents of the wicked men and to touch nothing that belonged to them; else they would be swept away in all their sin (Numbers 16:15-26). Once the clearing was complete from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram these individuals with their families came out and stood at their tent doorways with their wives and children. Moses now gets to the pinnacle of this situation by saying, “By this you shall KNOW (emphasis mine) that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing. If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and the descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned (na'ats- spurn, contemn, reject with contempt and derision, scorn, abhor, blaspheme, despise, provoke) the LORD (Numbers 16:27-30).” The Bible says that as Moses was finishing these words the ground split open and swallowed them up along with their households and all those who belonged to Korah plus their possessions. They went alive to Sheol and the earth closed over them. They had perished from the assembly in a miraculous act of Almighty God demonstrating Moses authority and choosing by Him. All of Israel found around them fled at their outcry thinking that the earth may indeed swallow them up too. At the same time, fire came forth from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering their rebellious incense (Numbers 16:31-35). The LORD spoke to Moses telling Eleazar, Aaron’s son, to take up the bronze censers out of the midst of the blaze as holy instruments and scatter the burning coals abroad. The censers were to be made into hammered sheets for a plating of the altar, since they were holy. They would become a sign for the sons of Israel that no layman who is not of the descendants of Aaron should come near to burn incense before the LORD (Numbers 16:36-40).

-“But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You are the ones who have caused the death of the LORD’s people (Numbers 16:41).’” This is an unbelievable display of disunity and complaining after God had made the most profound of statements. As the congregation assembled against Moses and Aaron came near the tent of meeting, the cloud that contained the glory of the LORD appeared. God told His servants to get away from among the congregation because He was going to “consume them instantly.” After falling on their faces in awe, Moses told Aaron to “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun (Numbers 16:42-46)!” Aaron acted quickly as prescribed taking his stand between the living and the dead, and the plagued was indeed checked. However, 14,700 plus the ones killed on account of Korah perished in this episode. Now that the plague had been checked, Aaron returned to Moses at the doorway of the tent of meeting (Numbers 16:47-50).

-*Application* There is a definite pecking order to God’s command chain as we see here in the text of Scripture. Be content with where God has ordained and placed you in the service of His Kingdom. Don’t try to usurp or rebel against those who the LORD has put over you for protection, grace, and well-being. Don’t fire up your Maker by trying to rise above His call (2 Corinthians 12:10, Philippians 4:11, 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Hebrews 13:5). Disaster can happen when you do. Again we see the need to humble ourselves before God and not question His mysterious ways. His grace will be sufficient when we do that (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 16:30, 48

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 15

Numbers 15

-Some more sacrificial statutes are added in this chapter with the emphasis on uniformity in the camp with both the native and the alien sojourner. Offerings by fire such as burnt offerings, freewill offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings were given requirements as a command from God to Moses for the people. Grain offerings of fine flour and drink offerings of wine culminated in making “a soothing aroma to the LORD (Numbers 15:1-16). This soothing aroma simply means that the LORD would be well pleased with their sacrifice and accept it for reconciliation. Then, the LORD offers a command for the sons of Israel when they would eventually enter into the Promised Land. When they would be able to eat of the food of the land, they were ordered to offer the first of their dough lifted up as a cake offering, as the offering of the threshing floor (Exodus 34:26, Numbers 15:17-21). God expected their best, as always (Genesis 4:3-7, Exodus 23:16-19, Leviticus 23:10, Nehemiah 10:35, Revelation 14:4).

-The sins and failure of those who make unintentional mistakes was given some attention in the next portion of this passage. Some would lack knowledge and make inadvertent mistakes without realizing what they have done against Almighty God. For this, the LORD allows repentant sacrifices from the priest to make atonement for the whole congregation of Israel. Forgiveness is extended in His mercy both for the alien and the foreigner through humbling their hearts and following His directions (Numbers 15:22-29).

-“But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is a native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on Him (Numbers 15:30-31).” As fate would have it, some of the sons of Israel observed a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. This man was brought before Moses and Aaron to see what should be done. Until the LORD spoke, he was put in custody. Then the LORD spoke to Moses declaring that this man be put to death with stoning for his intentional despising of the word of God in performing laborious work on the holy day. The congregation brought this man outside the camp and followed the LORD’s orders in putting him to death (Numbers 15:32-36). The LORD further spoke with Moses saying to have the sons of Israel make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations (this will help us understand Orthodox Jews a little better). They were informed to put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. This tassel was instituted for them to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, “so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot (idolatry, unfaithfulness).” God further stated that this would help them to remain focused on holiness unto their Creator and Sustainer since He was the One who brought them out of slavery in Egypt and they had consecrated themselves as His chosen people (Numbers 15:37-41).

-*Application* We have a lot of debate and consternation about what to do with foreigners in our United States of America these days. In fact, this struggle is nothing new and the biblical principles laid out here should be considered by those in governmental authority. Notice that there was just one law, and that everyone was expected to abide by that law in uniformity with justice and equality for all. Where there is a distinction, it is between unintentional crimes against the law and a purposeful despising of the law of the land. More mercy is certainly and justly given to those who are ignorant of the law. While the truly-knowing guilty are punished severely for an example not to facsimile. Remember this biblical and secular fact: The law is meant to restrain evil, but it falls short in imputing righteousness. Righteousness comes from a heart surrendered to what God can do to cleanse, restore, revive, and redeem.

-*Application Too* There are reminders for us as well in the ways that we should go. We may not wear tassels as Gentiles, but God’s Word is certainly our plumb-line, and we dare not go off its course as faithful and abiding believers. God is our salvation, and He has brought us out of the pit of despair desiring for us to make Him the Lord of our lives, holy and pure before Him in the righteousness of Christ Jesus.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 15:25

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 14

Numbers 14

-The people received the bad report and neglected the good report of Caleb and Joshua as we see in this pivotal chapter in the wilderness wanderings of Israel, which has great significance for the Christian walk. Weeping, crying, and mourning lasted through the night after the spies’ report was given. The people grumbled against their God-given leaders, Moses and Aaron. They wished they would have died in the land of Egypt, or in the wilderness already, because their hope was basically lost on the fear of man. They dreaded falling by the sword to a superior earthly foe with their wives and children becoming plunder. It got to the point that they were deciding on appointing another leader to make a return to Egypt, if you can imagine that considering all that the LORD had demonstrated through Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:1-4). At this juncture, Moses and Aaron fell prostrate on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the sons of Israel. Joshua, one of the spies and protégé of Moses (Numbers 13:8; 11:28), spoke up and declared, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them (Numbers 14:5-9).”

-Instead of this being a great motivational speech that propelled them into a full out effort to take the Promised Land with the LORD’s backing, the disgruntled people wanted to rise up and stone them with stones. At that exact moment, the LORD’s glory appeared in the tent of meeting before all the sons of Israel. God’s words are precise and test the moxie of Moses, His ordained leader, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they (Numbers 14:10-12).” Moses argued with the LORD on behalf of this wayward people, which the LORD in His omniscience foresaw. Moses reasoned that the Egyptians would hear of this travesty and deny the power of the LORD to oversee the completion of His call and desires for His people in total. Moses prays that the power of the LORD be great, just as He had previously declared before all. He echoes the familiar and reoccurring theme of the Scriptures, “The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations (Psalm 103:8-13; 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, Nahum 1:3).” He humbly asked for a pardon on behalf of his people for God’s sake because of His greatness and lovingkindness. He also acknowledged all their sin and the forgiveness God had given them up to this point too (Numbers 14:13-19).

-Then, the LORD pardoned them according to Moses’ petition. He further stated that as sure as He is alive that “all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD (Numbers 14:20-21).” He rebuked the children of Israel who put Him to the test the ten times and did not listen whole heartedly to His Voice. He promised that they would not see the land which He swore to their fathers. The ones that spurned Him would have no part in the Promised Land themselves. However, His servant Caleb, who had a different spirit and followed Him fully, would be brought into the land, and his descendants were guaranteed to take possession of it. Then He told the people to be warned that the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valley, and that they would need to turn the next day and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea (Numbers 14:22-25).

-After these things, the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron asking how long should He bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Him. He fully hears and understands the complaints of the people against Him. He again reiterates that the numbered men’s corpses of those who grumbled against the LORD would fall in the wilderness to their complete number from twenty years old and upward. The only ones who would be allowed to enter the Promised Land would be Caleb and Joshua, because of their different faith and obedience. Further, the children who were feared to be the prey of the enemy would indeed be brought into the Promised Land by the mighty Hand of God. These would know the land that their fathers had rejected in doubt and fear. The fathers would labor as shepherds in the wilderness for 40 years, a year for each day of their spy mission. They would know God’s opposition for insubordination and lack of trust. The LORD had spoken, and He would uphold His prophetic word. As for the men who delivered the bad report, even those who brought out the very bad report, they died by a plague before the LORD. But Joshua and Caleb remained alive out of the men who went to spy out the land. I’m sure this did much to ensure the fear of God among the camp of Israel.

-Despite all that had happened, and after the people mourned greatly, the next morning they devised a plan on their own apart from Almighty Yahweh to go up and conquer the place which the LORD had promised. They acknowledged their sin, and proceeded without the authority of God on their side. Moses told them plainly that the plan would not succeed and that they were transgressing the commandment of the LORD in regards to this matter. Nevertheless, they ventured carelessly into battle with the Amalekites and the Canaanites. As Moses prophetic words predicted, they fell by the sword before their enemies on the ridge of the hill country. Neither the ark of the covenant nor Moses left the camp for this errant battle, and the Israelites were struck down and beaten all the way back to Hormah (Numbers 14:39-45). So, instead of heeding the LORD’s command to go back to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea for safety, they were dismantled in a rebellious array of self-pride and degradation (Numbers 14:25).

-*Application* Here in this example we see that sometimes the will of the LORD is dependent upon our faith response to His call upon our lives. Obedient follow-up to the things God is calling you to do will bring blessing. On the other hand, rebelling, groaning, complaining, doubt, and fear will more than often bring about another result. God can delay and even deny our blessing that He has chosen for us when we don’t trust Him to take care of situations in our lives, even when they may seem impossible. God is all-powerful, and He can easily fulfill His word to you. Believe Him to do all things well and walk with a different spirit than the world, like Caleb and Joshua.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 14:8

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 13

Numbers 13

-The time comes when God is ready to instruct Moses on sending 12 spies into the land of Canaan, which He was going to GIVE to the sons of Israel. One leader from each tribe was chosen for this mission to capture a vision of what lay ahead for God’s chosen people. From the wilderness of Paran, at the command of the LORD, they went to the Negev in the south country and as far north as Rehob, at Lebo-hamath, which was north of the Galilee and on the west coast. They went to see what the land was like. Whether the people in it were strong or weak, few or many, good or bad land quality, camps or fortified cities for the population, fruitful or barren in geography, and with a command from Moses to bring back its produce (Numbers 13:1-21).

-They came to Hebron, which was the ancient burial grounds of their patriarchs like Abraham and Isaac among others, after they had ventured through the Negev. This was the beginning of the hill country, and the spies found the descendants of Anak there. Then they came to the valley of Eshcol (cluster) and cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes since it was the time of year of the first ripe grapes. They carried the produce on a pole between two of the men along with some of the pomegranates and the figs of the land (Numbers 13:22-24).

-At the end of their 40 day, 500 some-odd mile, mission into the Promised Land, they returned to Paran in the wilderness at Kadesh, and proceeded to meet with Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the sons of Israel. It was report time, and the people were anxious to hear what had occurred in their journey. They began with the fact that indeed the land was traversed and that it did flow with milk (more than likely goat’s milk from the indigenous species) and honey (more than likely pomegranate or date honey, not the kind from bees as we typically think, Deuteronomy 8:8). They presented them with the fruit of the land, which they had brought back. Nonetheless, they spoke of the strength of the people who currently occupied the land as being “strong” with “fortified,” and “very large,” cities with the massive size of the descendants of Anak. They further spoke of Amalek, who was living in the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites who were living in the hill country. In addition, they described how the Canaanites were both by the sea and over by the side of the Jordan (Numbers 13:25-29). Then Caleb quieted the people from their negative noise before Moses and boldly stated, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it (Numbers 13:30).” But, the others, excluding Joshua, that went up with him denied the power of God’s people to go up and overcome. They reported that the people in the land were “too strong for us (Numbers 13:31).” Their bad testimony included the fear that the inhabitants of the land would devour them because of their great size because they had seen the Nephilim (sons of Anak). They concluded that they would become as small and insignificant as grasshoppers in the sight of these mighty men if they tried to conquer the Promised Land (Numbers 13:32-33).

-*Application* Fear and worry are the polar opposites of faith and courage. Caleb is our shining example of faith and trust that the LORD had the power and ability to GIVE them what He had promised. The rest in this text were persuaded by negativity and the physically seen obstacles that daunted their mission and vision. Instead of optimism for the future they chose to wallow in the hopeless of perceived barriers to their progress. Have a “can do” attitude today for everything that God has called you for and promised unto you. Let the reminders of Caleb ring in your ears. By all means go up and take possession, overcome the giants in your life through the promises of Almighty God! Tear down strongholds and shout out in victory with confidence! God is on our side! No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:13-17)! This is the heritage of the faithful.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 13:30

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 12

Numbers 12

-A very interesting and brief chapter explains for us the forgiving and humble heart of Moses. Miriam, his sister (Exodus 2:4, 7-8; 15:20), and Aaron, his brother (Exodus 4:14), were speaking against Moses in a display of racism. They must have apparently disliked the fact that Moses was married to a Cushite woman, or in other words, a foreigner. In pride they spoke as if they had equal rights for the LORD to speak through them in comparison to Moses. The LORD heard their boasts and dealt with it with a strong Hand (Numbers 12:1-2). “Now Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).” The LORD summoned the three family members who were in conflict together for a meeting at the tent. He came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent and called for Aaron and Miriam to come forward, which they did. Then, He offered these words, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses (Numbers 12:4-8)?” The anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed leaving Miriam leprous, as white as snow, with infection. Aaron started begging for forgiveness and repented vigorously, as one could imagine in that type of situation. He was groveling to the max. He realized how foolish he had been as he saw the LORD’s response. Moses, remarkably, had a forgiving spirit as we can see from his pleading words on behalf of his sister, “Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb! O God, heal her, I pray (Numbers 12:9-13)!” God did relent and had her be shut up for seven days outside the camp to heal and get rid of the leprosy. Then, she was received again back into the camp as the Hebrew people waited in Hazeroth. Afterwards, they moved out and found a suitable place to camp in the wilderness of Paran (Numbers 12:14-16).

-*Application* God uses humble, forgiving people for His Kingdom purposes far more readily than any other type of person. Moses was able to navigate these conflicts that arose with the right heart attitude. This is very hard to do sometimes isn’t it? We want to be like Aaron and Miriam too often and fight for rights, complaining and being disgruntled. This obviously does not incur the favor of Almighty God. Rather, we should learn from Moses how to act in order to receive the blessing and reconcile situations properly. Don’t forget, be ever meek and learn to pardon.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 12:3

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 11

Numbers 11

-The people look back at the nice things they were afforded in Egypt with nostalgia as the saga continues in the wilderness. They had somehow forgotten their slavery and mistreatment, which had lead them to cry out to God for deliverance in desperation (Exodus 2:23-24). They were stuck in the pit of complaint, and begged with weeping for something other than the blessed manna that the LORD had been providing day in and day out miraculously. The LORD demonstrated His anger with their immaturity initially by sending fire, which consumed some of the outside of the camp in the place thereafter called Taberah (burning). The Scriptures clearly say that this rabble of greedy folks with desire for luxury was the cause (Numbers 11:1-9).

-At that point God and Moses had a hash out session where we find that the LORD’s anger “was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.” Moses blamed God for being hard on His servant by not giving him favor and laying this heavy burden of leadership on him over the people. He further pointed out that it was not him that conceived all this people and brought them forth. Moses felt like a mother of a nursing infant that was helpless and lacked any ability to care for itself. He acknowledged that the LORD was fulfilling His promise, but he pined that he was not capable of providing for them in this situation. The conflict ended up with Moses beseeching the LORD to kill him if God was dealing with him in wretchedness (Numbers 11:10-15).

-Then, the LORD instructed Moses to gather seventy of the elders and officers of Israel to the tent of meeting in order for them to take their stand there with the prophet. God promised to come down and speak with Moses there and cast His Spirit (wind, breath) upon them all so that they could bear the burden of the people along with Moses so that he would no longer have to bear the burden alone. He was told to tell them to consecrate themselves, for tomorrow they would have meat to eat for they had wept in the ears of the LORD. God was providing, even in their complaint and immaturity, and He was attempting to teach them a lesson. He promised them a full month’s worth of meat to the point that they would be sick of it too. His reasoning in His omniscience? “Because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt (Numbers 11:16-20)?’” Moses had a hard time fathoming this supply due to the sheer numbers of people and what it would take to feed them this amount of meat, even though he had witnessed God’s provision of manna up until that point. He offered to slaughter the flocks and the herd for this even though he knew realistically that would never complete the need for what God promised. He also reasoned away an attempt to get fish gathered up for this, but this too was insufficient. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not (Numbers 11:21-23).” Moses told all the people the word of the LORD and gathered the seventy men stationing them around the tent. “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again (Numbers 11:24-25).” Two men had remained in the camp rather than being at the tent of meeting as they were supposed to be. Their names were Eldad and Medad. The Spirit rested on them nonetheless and they prophesied where they were at in the camp. Here we see the omnipresence of Almighty God too. Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:8), who was the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.” Moses replied back wisely, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” After this they returned to the camp (Numbers 11:26-30). An outpouring had occurred. God was giving prophesy to more than just the elite. He was spreading His power out to the leaders of the people. He was making a statement. This also pointed as a shadow to another dispensation when the Holy Spirit would be given to all believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2).

-“Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits (about 3 feet) deep on the surface of the ground.” The people scrambled to partake of the fresh meat, and they had plenty. The God-given birds were spread out all around the camp. But, while the meat was still between their teeth and chewed all the way up, the LORD’s anger was kindled against the people, and a very severe plague killed some of the Israelites. The place was thus named “Kibroth-hattaavah” meaning “the graves of greediness.” From that place they ventured out for Hazeroth and remained there (Numbers 11:31-35).

-*Application* God has provided all that we need and we should be ever thankful for His miraculous and supernatural gifts showered down upon us each and every day. We should never let ourselves get greedy or look back with nostalgia to a time or place that was not really as good as it may now seem. Go forward with God. Trust Him and seek His Spirit. He is readily available to all who seek Him (Matthew 7:7-8). Let us not grumble or complain, we know that God is never pleased with that.

Verse to Memorize: Numbers 11:23

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Numbers- Chapter 10

Numbers 10

-The LORD spoke to Moses further telling him to make two trumpets of silver for the use of summoning the congregation together and having the camps set out (Numbers 10:1-2). When both were blown at the same time, the congregation knew it was time for all to assemble before Moses, their leader and servant of God. They knew that they were to gather at the doorway of the tent of meeting (Numbers 10:3). If only one trumpet was blown, just the leaders of the tribes were to assemble before Moses. Alarm sound instructions were given by these trumpets. They were to be perpetually blown in time of emergency by the priestly sons of Aaron throughout the generations of the Hebrew people (Numbers 10:4-8). In time of war in their land against the adversary who attacks, they were told to sound the alarm with these trumpets, “that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies (Numbers 10:9).” Also, in their days of gladness, appointed feasts, and on the first days of the months, the trumpets were to be blown over their burnt offerings, sacrifices of their peace offerings, and as a reminder that the LORD was their God (Numbers 10:10).

-Verse eleven is a marker point in that it begins the Hebrew people’s first setting their sights on the Promised Land. “In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony (Numbers 10:11).” This is when the sons of Israel first set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud of the LORD settled down in the wilderness of Paran, which was further north (Numbers 10:12-13). They moved out in their standards, in perfect order, as commanded by the LORD (Numbers 10:14-28). There is a brief narrative here concerning Moses’ plea for his father-in-law, Hobab, to come and be blessed with them in the way. He was knowledgeable of this region’s terrain as far as safe places to camp and he would be their eyes. Moses promised him good fortune if he would come, since he initially wanted to return back to his own land and relatives. Apparently, he was convinced to stay with the chosen people of God, as verse 33 indicates that “they” set out together a three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD before them. Then they found a resting place (Numbers 10:29-33). The cloud was always over them as they set out from the camp. “Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, ‘Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You (from Your presence).’ When it came to rest, he said, ‘Return, O LORD, to the myriad thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:34-36).’”

-*Application* The sojourn of life is never easy. We too need the trumpets of the Holy Spirit to gather us, protect us, and guide us. His presence is what we really need in this life when we go to war against the adversary who attacks. The Bible says to “resist the devil and He will flee from you (James 4:7).” Our God can save us from every enemy, just as He did with the Hebrew people in the wilderness. Call out to him today like Moses did, “Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You!” The LORD is still our ultimate solace in this wicked age in which we live.

-*Application 2* We see the power of a compliment too in this passage. Let people know what they are worth often. Appreciate what they offer and give them props. When people know they are valued, they will want to stick with you and go where you are going.

Verses to Memorize: Numbers 10:9, 35