"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

BOOKMARK AND SHARE

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 21

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Numbers by pastor Chuck Smith

NUMBERS 21: “FROM DEATH INTO LIFE” – by Albert Lopez
For the full message, watch it on the Facebook video!

INTRODUCTION: When it rains it pours! Have you heard this saying? Most of the time people say this because something bad is happening in their lives! It’s not just that something bad has happened that triggers them to say this. A lot of the time it’s because someone has gone from one bad thing to another bad thing to yet again another bad situation.
You might also hear from this person "I can’t catch a break!"
This is when the person can only see death in their situation so to speak and cannot see life anywhere nearby. Sometimes it’s our own decisions or bad choices that get us in these bad situations but regardless it’s human nature to see the glass half empty.

Speaking of bad things happening, in Chapter 20 we find that Moses has just lost his sister and his brother in that order. First, his sister Miriam died and then after Moses strips Aaron of his priestly garments, he witnesses his big brother die.

He also in the midst of and as a result of this, messes up big time! He misrepresented God and the consequences are huge! Moses who leads God’s people out of Egypt would not be allowed by God to lead them into the Promise Land of Canaan!

Even his attempt to get the people closer to the promise land is put to a stop by the King of Edom by the hand of God.
Talk about how it poured down on poor Moses. One thing after another! However, as we are going to find out here in Chapter 21, there are still battles to be fought and enemies to conquered and land to take.

I pray that as we see these examples, we don’t just read them and say, “Oh, so this Moses and the people went through some good times and then some bad times and then some more bad times.”

No, I pray that we see that this is a picture of our own Christian walk. That we see when the people murmured and were not honoring the Lord, there were consequences and sometimes those consequences were deadly.
However, I also pray that we see that the Lord was with His people, when they humbled themselves and asked the Lord to fight for them; He did and the Lord never lost a battle and never will!

Obedience led to God blessing his people with all their needs, but disobedience led to discipline and judgment that lead to some making an early exit from this life!

NUMBERS 21:1-3
1 The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. 2 So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities." 3 And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah
.

Remembered we said that there were still more battles for the children of Israel? Even though there was mourning because of the loss that Moses had just gone through; we now 
have a battle against an enemy who was expecting them.

When the king heard that Israel was coming
Verse 1: This is showing us that there was always an enemy waiting for Israel to take them down and destroy them. There were 30 days that the people had to mourn and heal. Now it’s time to fight again!

This reminds us, as we’ve heard it said, The enemy does not sleep. Like we read in the Word:
1 PETER 5:8
 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
So this is a warning that the enemy doesn’t play fair and will take any opportunity to devour. The great thing about God’s Word is that with this warning, this same verse comes with instruction. It says to "Be of sober spirit", be on the alert.

This is exactly what God’s people were called to do in the book of Numbers and throughout the Old Testament; it’s also what God’s people are called to do today in the Church!

During this battle there were some POW victims!

Verse 1: Then He (King and his army) fought and took some of them captive:

Some of God’s people were taken captive by the enemy. If we are not sober minded and alert, we too can be taken captive by the enemy. The enemy might be allowed to afflict us in some way just like the enemy was able to afflict Job. 
We need to come to a realization that we live in a Spiritual Battle Ground and not a playground, Church!
If you remember what we read there in verse 2 you know there is a "but" coming:

Verse 2: Israel made a vow… If You (God) will indeed deliver

The Children of Israel had seen how God delivered His people when they were helpless and hopeless facing the Red Sea on one side and Pharaoh and his army on the other. They remembered and they called on the Lord to deliver them yet again.

We need to see this and use it as a blue print; meaning that when you are fighting your battles or are captive to some sin, we do what the Israelites did: call on the Almighty! The children of Israel realized that what they were not capable of accomplishing on their own, God would be more than capable and give them the victory!

Do we call on the Lord realizing that He can do the same for us? We should! We must and we will. There is no greater power than the answer that comes from the Lord when His people call upon Him and He answers!

Another thing to note here is that as it says in verse 2

So, Israel made a vow to the Lord
This is a promise but not just any promise and not just to anyone! Israel said, If you God do this then I will do this
I’m not trying to tell you that you do works to be in a good standing with God!
Our works are good when the will of God rules them, and the glory of God the end of them; when they are done in His strength and for His sake; to Him and not to men. 

They (Israel) were going to obey God in not leaving anything standing that will lead the people to commit idolatry or turn them away from the one true God. 
Are we doing the same?
Remember just as Israel didn’t obtain victory on their own neither do we. No, it’s through the power of the Holy Spirit as it says in James:
 Submit therefore to God.

By doing this that we do two things:
First, the Holy Spirit takes control and second, we resist the devil. By doing this we are on our way to having the Lord give us victory over our enemies: The Flesh, The World and The Devil.

In Verse 3 we see both God and Israel follow through with this vow:

The Lord heard and delivered up the Canaanites: Then they destroyed them and their cities. It says that the Lord heard and delivered up the Canaanites which I’m sure made the children of Israel think back to what happened in:

NUMBERS 14:42-45
Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the Lord. And the Lord will not be with you.” 44 But they went up heedlessly to the [x]ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah
.

God gave his people the taste of defeat, but he remained faithful as that is His nature, and he gave them victory when they called upon Him to deliver them!
It was at the same location that they had been defeated by the same enemy that God now was giving them the victory by His power!

Be encouraged that if you have been defeated and lost a battle, God is faithful to give you the victory by His Power! We all fall. Just make sure that when you fall, fall towards the Cross.
He who prays to God can never be a prey of Satan!
At this point it seemed liked the people had gotten it together; like their days of complaining were behind them but old habits die hard and ungrateful hearts doo to.

NUMBERS 21:4-5
4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread
."

Verse 4: The people became impatient because of the journey: Impatient: restless, anxious.

This is where instead of the people being at peace and just relaxing and thinking about how God has their back they became anxious, restless, impatient. God’s people have seen how time and time again God has provided and delivered them. This would make anyone grateful right? No! they instead react as they are accustomed to previously:

Verse 5: The people spoke against God and Moses:

This in itself is nothing new as we've been reading. The people were getting tired of walking the wilderness walk. This is also the Christian Journey.
So, they reacted like any impatient, ungrateful sinner would react. We reject God and His purpose when we grow impatient, waiting on God's will - and want to go back to what is familiar and comfortable.

Verse 5: Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die?

That familiar place is Egypt; also known as that House of Bondage.
How dare you God, How dare you Moses take us out of the world where we were in bondage to sin and the devil and give us freedom in Christ! We had the bread of deceit, and it was an all you can eat menu. We washed it down with the water of the Nile River. We didn’t have to wait for food to come down to eat! We didn’t have to wait for water to come out of a rock. How dare you!

We need to be careful that we don’t develop and cultivate this type of heart toward God and his appointed leaders in the Church and also his precious flock.
Yes, there will be a time of testing and a time of enduring and we need to through it all persevere Church! The Apostle Paul can tell us all about enduring and persevering through many tests and trials tells us this:
ROMANS 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us
.
Be encouraged that it’s not by strength or might but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies. The children of Israel failed to see this reality that Paul was convinced of and wrote about; and instead of enduring and persevering, they became impatient and ungrateful. Let us not make that same mistake Church!

Speaking of being ungrateful; the people didn’t stop at pointing out that there was no food and water; No! they proceeded to tell God that they hated his provision of manna; The bread of life!

Verse 5: We loathe this miserable (wretched, worthless) food:

In the previous chapter we read about how Moses messed up big time because he misrepresented God in front of the people. More than that now the people are making the biggest mistake in history. They are rejecting the manna from Heaven - the Heavenly Bread. Little did they know that they were rejecting God’s provision that was sustaining their every breath. Our Lord Jesus is the bread that descended from heaven. He is the Bread of Life (JOHN 6:32,51)!

This is exactly what the unbelieving world has done and is doing today. They are rejecting God’s provision for the salvation of every dying soul of mankind.
We've been dying ever since the fall, when the rebellion took place against a Holy and Just God! But God made a provision just as He did with the children of Israel; yet an unbelieving world raises their fist at God and says: How dare you!
May the Lord have mercy on us.

NUMBERS 21:6-9
6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived
.

Verse 6: The Lord sent…. fiery serpents:
The people’s sin had consequence. Notice God did not send gentle doves, he sent what is believed to possibly be some sort of venomous vipers. They were also called fiery serpents because it’s believed that these snake bites inflicted a fiery inflammation. It could be, but we know it was serpents (or a snakes) with intent to bite. And they did a whole lot of biting!

Verse 6: They bit the people, so that many died:

Just as many people here in Numbers were bitten by these fiery or poisonous snakes, so too has mankind been bitten by sin. Adam and Eve bit the forbidden fruit; every person following Adam has been not only been bitten by sin but will surely die because of sin!
Notice also that when they bit the people many but not all died.

Verse 7: So the people came to Moses and said we have sinned:

Some people reacted or responded in the correct way. These recognized their sin, and they knew that whether or not they'd been bitten, either way they needed help from this ever-present danger! They also recognized that the LORD had sent the snakes as a form of judgment for their sins.

The question is, if you don’t know the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord, have you realized that you are in rebellion against the God of the Bible? If you come to this conclusion through His Spirit, that’s convicted you, have you counted the cost?

Trust me, as we read throughout the Bible it will cost you everything to follow the Lord but in return you will gain it all! 

MATTHEW 10:38-39
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it
.

You can also see that the price to pay is very high if you chose not to follow the Lord. The wages - your payment due is death (ROM 6:23a). This is the second death the Bible speaks about (REV 20:14), suffering in hell for eternity. The good news is that the gift - (God’s grace; ROM 6:23b) is eternal life in the manna of life, our Lord Jesus.

Verse 7: Intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.

The people realized that He (God and God alone) could remove the snakes from among them.

If you recognize your sin as the children of Israel did, you will understand that you need to have an intercessor on your behalf to remove your sin. The good news is that Jesus is both intercessor (ROM 8:34) and Savior (2 PET 3:18
):

As we have been reading in the Old Testament the pattern continues; Moses intercedes for the people, and God has a provision for their trouble.

Verse 8. Make a fiery serpent… set it on a (pole)

Moses was probably thinking, You want me to make what is killing the people and set it on a pole so not only are they seeing the snake on the ground but now they will also see the snake high and lifted up? The Lord was like Yes now hurry. The lives of people are depending on it.

Why were they depending on this bronze serpent that was lifted up? It’s not the serpent that was God’s provision; but this was a foreshadowing of what God’s provision would be for a fallen human race. 
The bronze that this serpent was made of represents God’s righteous judgment for a faithless people who failed to see God’s goodness and faithfulness.
The God-Man Jesus was crucified, lifted up on a cross so that anyone who believes shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Jesus himself while having a conversation with Nicodemus reminds this teacher, I am that bronze serpent in the desert, Look to me Nicodemus and lay down your life to take hold of eternal life!
JOHN 3:14-17
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him
.
Verse 9: When he [the person who was bitten, the sinner] looked at the bronze serpent (Jesus by faith), he lived.

You have a debt to pay, and that debt is individual. We need to realize that you cannot pay your own sin debt. Just like the people of God in the desert could not save themselves. Neither could you or I. 
Your currency (good works) is not enough to pay a heavenly debt to a Holy God. Only Christ has enough and was enough to pay our debt in full! Tetelastai – “paid in full”. 
It is said that this is what was found on receipts for taxes when it was paid in full.
 Do you have your receipt for your sin debt?

If the answer is "No, I don’t have a receipt", ask the Lord just as the children of Israel did, Allow me to look at your provision (Your son Jesus the Christ) so that I may live!

NUMBERS 21:10
10 Now the children of Israel moved on and camped in Oboth. 11 And they journeyed from Oboth and camped at Ije Abarim, in the wilderness which is east of Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they moved and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD: "Waheb in Suphah, The brooks of the Arnon, 15 And the slope of the brooks That reaches to the dwelling of Ar, And lies on the border of Moab." 16 From there they went to Beer, which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, "Gather the people together, and I will give them water." 17 Then Israel sang this song: "Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it- 18 The well the leaders sank, Dug by the nation's nobles, By the lawgiver, with their staves." And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth, in the valley that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah which looks down on the wasteland
.

Verse 16: Then the Lord took them to: Beer, that is, “Well” …. God knew what his people were in need of. Also, God knew when and how he was going to provide for his people.

Be encouraged Church God knows exactly what your needs are and mine. God will provide all your needs according to his riches in glory in our Lord Jesus. He knows how he will do it and when he will do it.

In these verses the children of Israel are on the move. You can see. They are a moving tabernacle camping out for a period of time and then moving out at the command of the Lord.

Let us learn from this as we are the temple of God.
We need to have the heart that says,
I’m ready to go wherever and whenever and however you want me to go Lord. I may have dreams and goals and those are good but they don’t compare with your mind-blowing purpose. Lead me as I learn to obey. Also let us remember that this is not our home we are just pilgrims passing by. So let us act in such a way that we don’t develop deep roots in this temporary home we call earth. There will be a new heaven and new earth as the bible speaks about this, but the time has not come.

NUMBERS 21:21-35
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 "Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory." 23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified. 25 So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and had taken all his land from his hand as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who speak in proverbs say: "Come to Heshbon, let it be built; Let the city of Sihon be repaired. 28 "For fire went out from Heshbon, A flame from the city of Sihon; It consumed Ar of Moab, The lords of the heights of the Arnon. 29 Woe to you, Moab! You have perished, O people of Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, And his daughters into captivity, To Sihon king of the Amorites. 30 "But we have shot at them; Heshbon has perished as far as Dibon. Then we laid waste as far as Nophah, Which reaches to Medeba." 31 Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 32 Then Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they took its villages and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 And they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. So Og king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon." 35 So they defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him; and they took possession of his land
.

The key to Israel’s success in the battles we just read about and in the conquest of the promise land was her dependence on the Lord and not on its military might. The Lord reminds us as we read earlier.

Verse 34: Do not fear him, for I have given him (Og king of Bashan) into your hand

I’m sure some - for sure Caleb and Joshua, remembered the pep talk they had with the people to encourage them to take the land of Canaan.

NUMBERS 14:8-9
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. 9 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
.

Be encouraged that it’s not by strength or might but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Armies. If God is for us; and He is for us, Who can be against us? What a mighty God we serve! (ZECH 4:6; ROM 8:31; PS 100:1-2).

No comments:

ReferenceTagging.tag();