Monday, December 31, 2007
v19 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."
Here is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus. It is not the first one but perhaps the plainest. Abraham received a prophecy of Jesus coming. We call it the promise of Abraham.
We can find these promises repeated in Acts.
Peter was preaching:
Acts 3:22 "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever be shall say unto you. v24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after as many as have spoken have like wise foretold of these days. v25...And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed (to Abraham)."
So, the prophecy of Jesus coming is not isolated or hard to understand. It is all through the scripture. Psalm 22 gives a vivid description of his sufferings.
We can see in Jesus prayer to the Father the reflection of this passage.
John 17:8 "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."
From our chapter v19 "...my words which he shall speak in my name, ..."
Jesus was like Moses in that the children of Israel did not want to hear the Lord speak directly because they were afraid of the burning fire of the mount. They asked Moses to hear the Lord then tell them what he said. Jesus came and told Israel the words of God not as a burning fire but as one of them.
Psalms 52:1 "Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually."
Deuteronomy 18:1 "The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance."
All the other tribes were given land and what is left of their labor after the sacrifices and offerings. The tribe of Levi is to minister in the tabernacle and receive their portion through that which comes into the tabernacle.
It may seem unfair but in reality it is not. First of all, everything belongs to the Lord. So the Levites are not poor. They are living by their faith and not by the works of their hands.
v3 Of every sacrifice the priest get the shoulder, two cheeks and the maw. Maw is the stomach of an animal that chews the cud.
v8 "They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony."
Patrimony refers to personal property that has been in the family.
I heard a story once which seems to fit well here.
An Old evangelist was hitchhiking to a revival meeting when a man in a nice Cadillac stopped to give him a ride. They exchanged greetings and then settled down to ride for a while. Finally the driver of the nice car looked at the preacher and began to talk. "Preacher, I admire what you are doing but I have a question." "Ask it." The preacher told him." "Well, you are serving the Lord as best you can. You seem to be very dedicated. Isn't it irritating that you have to hitchhike to revivals while I, a man of means has so much and you have so little. Look, I've got this nice car, money in my pocket and a big bank account. I go in comfort where ever I go." The preacher thought for a moment then replied. "That's one way to look at it." He said. "I look at it another way. We are both riding in the same car and will both get to where we are going. You have car payments and I have none. You buy gasoline and I buy none. You have to drive and I can sit here riding while I read my Bible. I think I am more blessed."
Well, that's my story. The Levites are not poor, they have but to serve the Lord to received all their needs.
Psalms 119:173 "Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts."
Friday, December 28, 2007
v15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee which is not thy brother.
This passage looks ahead to I Samuel 8 where the prophet Samuel is instructed to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. You will find if you go over there that the Lord allowed the king to be anointed king over Israel reluctantly. Here the Lord knows that Israel will want a king and so sets down standards for them to follow. It will exciting when we get fully into that study.
One stipulation for the king was that he was to have a copy of the law with him and was to read it diligently so he could rule properly and in accordance with God's will. v18
He was not suppose to multiply wives unto himself. v17
He was not to lift himself up above his brethren by increasing his wealth. v17, v16
Then the warning that if he was to prolong his days as ruler he was to obey God.
The first part of the chapter starts in v1 with the condition of sacrifices i.e. they were to be without blemish. V2-7 is a stern warning against idolaters. After, their idolatry was confirmed by witnesses they were to be stoned but the witnesses were to cast the first stones. Discussed further in the next chapter.
v8-13 discusses the daily issues that are brought before the priest and judges. If a matter was brought before these men because it could not be decided locally and a decision was given, there was no recourse but to follow the decision of the priest or judge. To disobey meant death. It was a matter of respect for authority.
v13 "And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously."
We are half way through Deuteronomy. Moses' instructions are firm with the people. They are not to wobble on the axle as the old folks use to say. If the rules seem tough, remember that Moses called Israel a stiff necked people and rebellious since the day he knew them. Remember also the complaining and the idol of gold. Moses knows these people as does the Lord and a firm hand was the only way to deal with them.
Psalms 72 "Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness." v1-3
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The passover meal was to be prepared and eaten in the evening (going down of the sun v6) and then in the morning they were to go to their tents. This is a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt and the sacrifice of the lamb in place of the firstborn of Israel. It also points to the sacrifice of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
I like to look for words or phrases in the Bible that we use in our day. In verse 7 the term 'turn in' is used. I have heard the term used often when someone is about to go to bed, they will say 'I think I will turn in.' You hear it a lot on western movies. Interesting how the Bible has influenced our lives.
Chapter 16 reviews:
The passover meal (sacrifice)
The feast of Weeks
The feast of Tabernacles
The gifts of the males
Judges in the gates
v9 "Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn."
A freewill-offering is to be given at this time. It is a celebration that there is food to harvest and of how the Lord has blessed.
Then after harvest another feast.
v13 "Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine, v14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast..."
We find here that it is okay to be happy and rejoice after the work is done. It is okay to be happy when the Lord showers his blessings on us. Our Christian church going should be a time of remembering how we were brought out of our own personal Egypt (sin) and how the Lord has blessed us. It is okay to rejoice and be glad in church even if we have come through trouble and there are hard times ahead.
v16 tells of the times, three times a year, when the males are to appear before the Lord. It is to be in the place of the Lord's choosing (Jerusalem) and on these three times: feast of unleavened bread, feast of tabernacles, feast of weeks.
v18 "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment."
These judges will be highlighted in the book of Judges. We will meet such people as Samson there. The time of the judges is most mentioned during the time between Joshua and King Saul. It was a time of change for Israel.
The gates of the city will have great significance in coming studies. It is a meeting place where important decisions are made. David's son hung out there to win favor with the people. I believe it was at the gate where Boaz redeemed Ruth. So remember the gates are very important in Bible study.
Finally, the chapter has a warning.
v21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee."
It was common for people of this time to have groves of trees where they worshipped pagan gods. Some of these were the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the Greeks Aphrodite, the Roman Venus. So again, the people are reminded to not mix with the worship of the current inhabitants of the land.
Question: What did the passover represent? You may leave a comment with your answer. I hope to have a question each lesson.
Psalms 4:7 "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
It may seem harsh that a Hebrew would purchase another Hebrew and make him serve him. Let's look at it in a different way. A man works his crops and his crops fail for some reason. A drought may come. He may have been sick and could not plant on time. Any number of things could cause a man to fail.
Then, along comes another Hebrew and purchases him. He gets a place to live and is fed for six years. It may be that he learns much during those six years and now understands how to be successful and so is released after the six years. He is able to remain in his own nation and start over after only six years. We know that in our country it can take much more than six years to start over.
v13 "And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: v14 Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.
v15 "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord thy God redeemed thee; therefore I command thee this thing to day."
So the man has had a chance to regroup. He did not have to pay expenses all those six years while he worked and was sheltered and fed. Then when he leaves he receives enough to start over. Had he not been a servant, he would have be reduced to begging for his daily bread, instead he kept his self esteem.
Now the willing servant.
v16 "And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house because he is well with thee. v17 Then thou shalt take an ail, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise."
You see, the servants were treated well. So well, in fact, that some wanted to stay with their master forever. There is a great message here for the Christian who willing becomes the servant of Christ because of what He has done for us. We find it much better in his service than wondering around in the world.
The balance of the chapter deals with the offering of the firstling males and their unblemished condition.
Psalms 70:20 "Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none."
keywords: servant, Bible study, Milton Southerland
v2 "And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it: he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother: because it is called the Lord's release."
Our bankruptcy law seems to be patterned after this command in some ways. One difference is that in this command in Deuteronomy the release is made before someone has come to the end of their rope. In our law, a person (supposedly) has no other recourse but to declare bankruptcy to get creditors off their back.
In this chapter, we see a different way to give someone a fresh start. The person is released of all debts and there is no black list to put him on. He is free an clear to start live anew.
The only time Israel did not have to observe this 'clearing of the books' was when there was no poor among them. v4
You might think this would cause financial hardship for everyone but I think it was a help to the nation. It put those burdened with debt back into the productive group of the nation.
Not only were they to clear the books every seven years but they were to lend to their brothers without regret.
v8 "But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth."
v10 Thou shalt surely give him and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him, because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto."
It is not to hard a thing to command Israel because of the promise made by the Lord that he would bless everything they put their hand to. It would all come back to them. The Lord is well able to bless beyond what we give our neighbour.
Psalms 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
v9 "These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:"
v11 "Of all clean birds ye shall eat."
Before the lesson goes into what is good to eat, there is a mention that they are not to cut themselves or shave between their eyes. v1-2. This is a terrible practice that is still carried on among some young people today. I don't understand it but apparently it is part of depression. In this chapter, I suspect it is a reference to a practice carried out in some of the nations to be conquered and a warning is given in advance.
The chapter gives a detail list of the unclean beasts and fowl. Fish are rather simple they should have fins and scales. You might notice in the list that the unclean mentioned are scavengers that primarily feed on dead carcases. We have read how they are not to even touch a dead carcase and if they do, they must go through a cleansing process. Leviticus 22:4 So, it is not surprising that these are considered unclean. I might add that this was under the law and there are New Testament passages that deal with this under the church age.
For beast, they must part the hoof, cleaveth the cleft into two claws and chew the cud. Some may meet one standard but not another and so are unclean.
Unclean: swine, camel, hare, coney, eagle, ossifrage, ospray, glede, kite, vulture, raven, owl, night hawk, cuckow, hawk, little owl, great owl,swan, pelican, gier eagle, cormorant, stork, heron, lapwing, bat. Check to see if I missed any. I am glad chicken was not on that list.:)
It would be interesting to look up all these and see what some of those unfamiliar are.
Next the chapter deals again with making the trip to a place yet to be declared to pay tithes and make sacrifices. Here it gives the option to turn the items into money, if the trip is too far to bring the raw material. Then a reminder to not forget the Levite, stranger, fatherless and widow and to share their blessings with them.
All this in preparation for the journey into Canaan. These things are setup for after they arrive but I expect the diet is already in force.
v29 "And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest."
Romans 14:1-3 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations, v2 For one believeth that he may eat all things, another, who is weak, eateth herbs. v3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him."
Romans 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
We will get into law and grace later but it is important to know that while both are given of God, there is a difference between being under the law and under grace.
Psalms 63:1 "O God thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry, and thirsty land, where no water is;"
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Here we are schooled on the false prophet. The passage does not deny that someone may show signs and wonders, it provides a test to see if they are a true prophet.
v2 "And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee saying Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known and let us serve them: v3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet..."
The test is that no matter what he does, if he tries to draw us away from worshipping the Lord, he is a false prophet. We should know from the devils attempts with Jesus and the guys in Pharoah's court that he is able to do things that are attention getter's. That does not mean that what he says is true.
Neither is there room for split loyalty as v3 says "...for the Lord your god proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
There is a danger to have these false prophets among the people because they often prey on the weak, so the Lord gives a serious solution in v5 "And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death..." No mercy is to be shown, no matter who it is.
Then the indications of worship of false gods is to be destroyed. v12-17 .
I had left my TV on yesterday and there was a kids show on. It was a class on yoga. They showed the hands together thing and explained that it was paying respect to the sun. Spelled s.u.n. It goes back to Ra when people worshipped the sun and still do. It is a subtle way to attack children and although they do not call it so, to worship the sun. It may seem a small thing but children learn their values for life at a very young age. Satan attacks the weak.
v1 Enticers to idolatry
v6 how near sover unto thee
v9 are to be stoned to death
v12 Idolatrous cities are not to be spared
All these instructions were for when Israel had crossed over Jordan and were established there.
Psalms 11:6 "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of their cup."
keywords; milton southerland, Bible study, old testament, false prophets, Deuteronomy
Monday, December 17, 2007
v26 "Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; v27 A blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
v1 Exhortation to obedience
v2 by their own experience of God's great works
v8 by promise of God's great blessings
v10 and by threatenings
v18 A careful study is required in God's words
v26 The blessing and curse is set before them
There is a pleading in this chapter for Israel to do right so that they will not loose the land they are about to go in to possess. Just obey God and do not follow after other gods and the land will be bountiful for you. But if you act like the people who are there now, the same judgment will come upon you. Remember the Lord's words and tell your children.
v31 "For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land..."
We know now that the children of Israel did turn away and it is so sad. Now, there is a great struggle for them to return and there is no peace. According to scripture (which I hope to get into in the months to come) there will be peace in Israel but not before there is more trouble.
Probably, one of the saddest passages I have ever read is about the Lord leaving the temple. He appears to leave reluctantly but cannot stay because of sin.
Ezekiel 11:23 "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."
The glory of the Lord departed and judgment followed.
But we are not there yet in our studies. We have yet to cover the judges, the kings and the coming of the Prince of Peace then the birth of the church.
Psalm 60:1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again."
Friday, December 14, 2007
Moses continues his discourse. Here is the end of the story about the second set of tablets which he put in the ark of covenant. A recap of their journeys is included. Next, he tells of the Lord and expresses his position as the Lord of lords.
v12 And now, Israel what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways and to love him and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes which I command thee this day for thy good?"v13
V14 Tells us that the heavens and the earth belong to the Lord, yet he choose Israel to be special and to be his people out of all that he possessed. It should have been a great honor for Israel and I believe they felt that way at this time.
The stranger is not forgotten v19 because Israel was once a stranger in Egypt. So they are instructed to take note of the stranger and take care of them.
Moses seems to be saying, look what a great God we serve, look what he has done for us, now all we got to do is love him, obey him and serve him. And that for our own good.
Psalms 69:1 "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul."
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Moses recounts the giving of the ten commandments. He was on the mount 40 days and 40 nights without food or water. v9 "...I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water."
He came down and found the people had made themselves a golden calf. The Lord was angry and was about to destroy them but Moses prayed for them. v18 Again he did not eat or drink.
v18 And I fell down before the Lord as at the first forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger."
Moses begged the Lord not to destroy all the people. v19 In verse 12 when the Lord told Moses the people were sinning he called them thy people meaning they were Moses' people. For a moment there, it seems the Lord had disowned them. But in verse 29 Moses in begging for the people to be spared... Moses reminds the Lord that they are his people.
v29 "Yet they are thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm."
The Lord hearkened unto Moses' pleading and spared the people. In the next chapter we will see that Moses had to take two more tablets to the mount where the Lord again wrote the commandments but this time Moses was to put them in a box which became the ark of the covenant. We have to jump over to chapter 10 verse 10 to see where Moses stayed 40 more days and nights without food or water. So the Lord sustained him for 120 days.
Moses' point in this chapter (9) is that the Lord and Moses have had extreme patience with the children of Israel in bringing them to this point. They have multiplied and have become a mighty force. But it is not their doing, for they are rebellious and stiffnecked and Moses wants them to give the Lord the praise for that and not take glory on themselves.
v6 "Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness: for thou art a stiffnecked people.
v24 "Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you."
This is a good lesson for the Christian life. We come to the Lord, lost in sin and helpless to save ourselves, just as Israel was in Egypt's bondage and needed a redeemer. It is Christ who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We owe it all to Him that we have the desire to do right. Any accomplishments, from church attendance to the highest leadership position, is not because we are bright or above any other Christian in ability. It is by God's grace. But for this grace we would be lost in our sins and doing no telling what.
Psalm 40:1-2 "I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Moses again uses the phrase 'observe to do' and expresses the necessity to follow the Lord's commands. He reminds the children of Israel of the miracles done in the wilderness: the raiment that did not wear out, their feet not swelling, the rock they drank from and how they were protected.
He also gave an explanation of why they had to endure the wilderness. We know that they were turned to the wilderness after they rebelled and would not go in to possess the land immediately after they left Egypt. Since they were in the wilderness they were taught some things.
The Bible says it best: v2 "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no.
There is a verse here that Jesus referred to when the devil was trying to tempt him. v3 "...that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."
Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Also Matthew 4:4
Moses recaps the wilderness and how the Lord was with them and cared for them. Then he looks forward to the blessings of Canaan and the danger of loosing those blessings if the people turned from God.
What about the land:
-v7 it is a good land
a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills
(sounds good to people who had been in the wilderness for 40 years)
v8 a land of wheat barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates
a land of oil olive and honey
(remember the children had lived on manna from heaven but they grew tired of it)
v9 a land of plenty of food,
a land of plenty of minerals
Then the danger he is building up to:
v11 "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments and his judgments and his statutes, which I command thee this day "
When you are full and have enjoyed the land and settled in, don't forget who brought you to this land.
v17 "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth."
The nations being removed, so Israel can posses the land, are under God's judgment. Moses here tells Israel that it can happen to them in the same manner if they forget God.
v20 "As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish: because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God."
Israel received ample fair warning to remember the Lord and how he was the one who watched over them. Israel later was scattered but they knew why. There is also a promise that they will return but that is a lesson for later.
Just across the river is the promised land and Bethlehem. Just across the river a maiden will give birth to the Savior of the world and whosoever will may come to Him for salvation. Just across the river.
Psalm 122 "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem."
keywords: Milton Southerland, Bible study, Old Testament, Israel
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We could stay in chapter 7 for a long time. Here we get insight into the thoughts behind many of the actions covered in Numbers. As a matter-of-fact, I think this is the first time I've see God's love for Israel discussed since we started. (I may have missed it.) True, we have seen it demonstrated but here the Lord, through Moses, speaks of his love for Israel.
There is mention of love between people but as far as I can find here is where the Lord communicates his love verbally for the first time, using the actual word.
v6 "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."
The world that Israel is entering is filled with people who worship Baal and it seems any other image they can imagine. Israel, however, worships the Lord whom they have not seen and therefore cannot make an image of Him. They worship him through faith alone as the only true God. They know he is real because of his demonstrations of his love and power.
Moses makes this point to them plainly. They are special because the Lord choose them and loved them NOT because of their merit.
Jump ahead to chapter 9 verse 6 for a moment.
c9v6 "Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
In fact he says: v24 "Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you."
Moses is trying to teach the people that they are indeed special and the Lord considers them so, but that it is not because of anything they have done to deserve it. It is because of the love of God.
So it is with us in salvation. It is God's unmerited favor that allows us to become a Christian. We will never be good enough. Christ's perfect sacrifice makes it possible and it is on his righteousness that we depend for our favor with the Father.
I Corinthians 1:30 "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. v31
Back to our chapter: v22 "And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little; thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee."
The Lord is giving them the land but if all the enemy were cast out at once the land would turn into a wilderness filled with wild animals. So it is a little at a time that he gives it to them so that the wild beast do not increase to the point of devouring them. A magnificent plan.
v11 "Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which I command thee this day, to do them."
In return the Lord makes a promise:
v13 he will love thee...bless thee, multiply thee v14 take away all sickness
All the images the enemy has are to be utterly destroyed v25
Psalm 53:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good."
Friday, December 07, 2007
The chapter speaks of fearing the Lord but also the hope that love would bring obedience.
It goes ahead to when the children ask their parents about their statutes and the 'why' of it. They are to tell the story of how they were in Egypt bondage and how the Lord brought them out through many wonders.
v22 "And the Lord shewed signs and wonders great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh and upon all his household before our eyes:"
The next verse can be related to our Christian life as all scripture can in some way. We have often had our lives changed and we are forced to readjust somehow. A new job, sickness or something else uproots us from our comfort zone. It could be that there are better things if we would only move. Like the mother eagle makes the nest uncomfortable when it is time for the young eagle to fly.
v23 "And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers."
So, in case the question has come up as to why God wants Israel to do all these commands, the next verse explains.
v24 "And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive as it is at this day.
Again he says 'observe to do'.
I want to jump back to chapter 5 and pick up the last verse:
v33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
It is for our good that the Lord wants us to do right.
Psalm 29:2 "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Moses reminds the children of Israel of the covenant the Lord made with them. He says not just our fathers but with "us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day."
Then he goes over the ten commandments that so frighten our Supreme Court.
-No other gods before me
-Don't take the Lord's name in vain
-Keep the sabbath
-Honour father and mother
-Thou shalt not kill
-Don't commit adultery
-Don't bear false witness
I have paraphrased them. It seems like a lot of don'ts but they are all guidelines for a descent life and even have promises i.e. live long if we honour fathers and mothers.
Then Moses reveals the heart of God starting in verse 29.
"O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments, always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!"
If the desire to do right was in the hearts of the people then there would be no need for the strong discipline to get them to do right. They would want to do right.
Then the Lord told them to go back into their tents and he spoke to Moses concerning the commands. "Observe to do" was the watchword. Why was the Lord so firm that Israel do as he told them v33 "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess."
Psalm 36:7 "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The key phrase here may be "Keep therefore and do" . It is a command to the new generation of the children of Israel. You are different from other nations for the Lord is among you and you have statutes the other nations have not been given. It is a matter of being a witness before the other nations. Notice the phrase "in the sight of the nations".
Then there is the awesome warning that Israel will fail and be scattered. verses 26 and on.
Notice verse 29 "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."
So the hope of reconciliation is there.
Moses preaches a sermon comparing the past with the future and tells how those who serve the Lord did not face the awful judgment others did. Then in verse 40 the last part he states "...that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for ever." That's a long long time.
The balance is about the cities of refugee and Moses appoints three cities on this side of Jordan to be cities of refuge.
Verse 37 is a great verse it starts "And because he loved thy fathers..." Remember Abraham, Issac and Jacob!
Psalm 19:9 "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
keyword: Bible study
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Cubit=1 ft 5.48 inches
The Kingdom of Og (Bashan) and part of Gilead was given to the half tribe of Manasseh who was descended from Joseph. They have not yet crossed Jordan.
These victories helped give Israel and their future leader Joshua courage that they could indeed defeat the enemy. Moses saw these things and was also encouraged and wanted to go over Jordan to possess the land but he could not because he had struck the rock instead of speaking to it as the Lord told him.
v24-25 "O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain and Lebanon."
Moses now tells the children of Israel (the new generation) of his prayer to the Lord. The Lord's answer was final.
v26 "But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me; and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee, speak no more unto me of this matter."
Moses had worried with the people in the wilderness with their complaining and rebellion. Even his sister and brother had complained to him about his wife. Now finally the camp was organized and ready to fight and was winning. Moses would not get to see them posses Israel. I'm sure he was disappointed. But the Lord showed it all to him from the mountain top and even took him there later on.
Matthew 17:1-3 "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And behold three appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." (Elias is Elijah: the spelling is a little different because the old and new testaments were translated from different languages.)
Psalm 107:29 "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still."
Monday, December 03, 2007
Here we deal with several subjects concerning the activities of Israel around Canaan.
Esau's land was to be respected and left to him as his inheritance from God. Moses did ask to pass through but was refused probably because they were so great in number. When Edom (Esau) refused Moses skirted their territory.
v4 "Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth: because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. v5 "Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat: and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink."
Lot's land was also to be left alone. This was the land of Moab. Also known as Ar.
v11 "Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims, but the Moabites call them Emims."
Finally, Sihon King of Heshbon is confronted about passing through his land and he refused. This time the Lord allows them to fight.
v32 "Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. v33 And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. v34 And we took all his cities at that time and utterly destroyed the men and the women, and the little ones of every city we left none to remain:" See Numbers 33:55
The battle has begun.
Psalm 71:1 "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion."
Friday, November 30, 2007
Deuteronomy 1: 6 "The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:"
And so, they began to move about. Along the way, commandments were given and the nation was organized. Every step of the way was under the Lord's guidance.
v33 "Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day."
They multiplied to the point where Moses needed help judging the people.
v10 "The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and behold ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude."
The children of Israel at first rebelled and refused to fight which angered the Lord and he turned them to the wilderness. In rebellion they decided to fight but did not have the Lord with them and were soundly defeated.
v34-35 "And the Lord heard the voice of your words and was wroth and sware saying. Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers."
This chapter reminds Israel of their fathers who would not go up into Canaan to posses it. It also makes it clear that it was the Lord who led them in all their journeys. They could do anything with the Lord but nothing without him.
Psalm 9:4 "For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right."
Scofield gives this outline(modified):
-Summary of wilderness journey
-Restatement of Law
-Counsels to Priests, Levites and Joshua
-Song of Moses
-Death of Moses
Key phrase: "Thou shalt"
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Chapter 36 revisits a question that was raised in chapter 27. The daughters of Zelophehad had no brothers and so were concerned about their inheritance. It was determined that their fathers part would go to them.
Now, the question is what happens to the inheritance if the girls marry outside the family in which case their husbands would be head of household and owner of the property. In this case, the girls were directed to pick their husbands from their fathers tribe and so keep the land in the family which they did.
We would expect a sort of summary at the end of Numbers but there is not one. The story continues into Deuteronomy and Joshua. In truth, the story continues right on through the Bible with the failure of Israel to follow the commands of God, the prophets that warned them and the prophecies of their restoration. Deuteronomy could be considered a summary of their times up to now. Moses deliverers a powerful sermon on past events and a warning of what would happen if the children of Israel rebelled.
So we leave Numbers for now and go on to the next book. Israel has progressed from the time of Abraham's wanderings. We saw Issac choose a bride and Jacob sleeping on a rock then wrestling with the Lord. From there, Israel is enslaved in Egypt and delivered with a mighty hand of God. They rebelled after the spies checked out Canaan and wondered for forty years. Now they have built the tabernacle and organized themselves into a mighty army. A few battles have honed their skills and given them confidence. They are at the door of Canaan and in the next book Moses will give his farewell sermon.
The redemption of the world, the promise of Abraham is in the people. Bethlehem is nearing.
Psalm 50:1-2 "The might God, even the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
(Scofield declares these cities to be a type of Christ and gives references: Psalm 46:1, 142:5,Isa4:6,Ex 21:13 Deut 19:2-9 Rom 8:1,33,34 Phil 3:9 Heb 6:18,19)
v1 Eight and forty cities for the Levites with their suburbs and measure thereof
v6 Six of them are to be cities of refuge
v9 The laws of murder
v31 No satisfaction for murder
As I've said before I don't consider myself a scholar, but this is what this means to me.
The cities of refuge were God showing mercy. Someone who killed another would have been at the mercy of a family member who was ready to take their life immediately. The cities of refuge provided a place for the killer to run to until the congregation could gather witnesses and decide if the killing was accidental or on purpose.
The avenger could not kill the person they were after if they made it to a city of refuge, but they must remain there or else they were fair game if they left the city. I expect that happened sometimes since anyone would have wanted to go home and see their family or check on their property.
These cities were an act of mercy for these men who took a life but perhaps without malice. Nevertheless they were guilty of killing someone.
In the sense that we are all sinners, we have no recourse in life, except to run to Christ. He is our city of refuge.
Psalm 40:11 "Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Then, the chapter gives the borders and boundaries of the kingdom of Israel. Nine and one half tribes will receive inheritance in Canaan after crossing Jordan. Two and one half tribes will received inheritance on this side of Jordan because they were cattle people and the land was good for that. But those two and half tribes would fight for Canaan and then return to this side of Jordan.
While this chapter may be boring reading, it's not in story form, it is very important when it comes to the promised land. It is laid out like a surveyor would describe it with directions and markings to go by. In the right hands, these instructions would leave no doubt where the nation Israel lies.
Here is a good time to open your study Bible to the maps section and look at the country. You will see familiar names, even in the maps of the old country before the Roman Empire. Such names as Lebanon and Syria. You will also see such lands as Italy and Spain and others, which seem so distant from our studies. Wider maps will show empires reaching to the horizon which dwarf Israel.
Yet it is Israel that the Lord holds dear. Look at these verses in Deuteronomy:
Chapter 32 v9-12 "For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of is inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the waste howling wilderness, he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did led him, and there was no strange god with him." Read on if you like. (Jacob is Israel).
Psalm 30:1 "I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me."
Monday, November 26, 2007
I know of no other peoples who have their family trees documented so well. In ancient history, I know of no nation that knows their history so well. The records are so precise it leaves no room for doubt and are often repeated.
The first part of this chapter tells of the journey and where Israel stopped and where they went next. The last part of the chapter concerns the future crossing into Canaan and leaves a warning. Israel is to utterly possess the land, not share it.
v55 "But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes an thorns in your sides and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell."
We will see how well they did with their instructions in later studies.
Psalm 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
These families were cattle people and wanted to settle on this side of Jordan instead of going into Canaan. They did tell Moses that they would go with them to possess the land first then return to the cattle country if only Moses would agree to their request.
v1 The Reubenites and Gadites sue for their inheritence on that side Jordon
v6 Moses reproveth them
v16 They offer him conditions to his content
v33 Moses assigneth them the land
v39 They conquer it
V23 "But if ye will not do so behold ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out."
Psalm 121:1 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help."
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
v1 The Midianites are spoiled and Balaam slain
v13 Moses is wroth with the officers for saving the women alive
v19 How the soldiers with their captives and spoil are to be purified
v25 The proportion whereby the prey is to be divided
v48 The voluntary oblation unto the treasury of the Lord
Two things happen in the chapter. The Midian's are wiped out for the present and Balaam is killed.
It seems to have been a plan (scholars agree) that since Balaam could not curse Israel that he devised a plan for the people (women) of Midian to corrupt Israel. It almost worked. God's judgment came upon Israel and Phinehas atoned for the people by killing a Midianite woman and the Israelite who brought her into camp.
So in this chapter 12,000 men of war are sent out to destroy the Midianites. They did not do a complete job of it and saved the women and children. It was the women of Midian who had been used to corrupt the men of Israel. Moses told them in v15
"And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold these caused the children of Israel though the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord."
There were great spoils of war and these were divided according to Moses' and Eleazar's instructions. But the men of war realized their increase and made a freewill offering to the Lord.
It amazes me how they can get into so much trouble and yet be so thoughtful in sharing.
Still we are not in Canaan but because of the judgment on the Midian's there is now a door way into the promised land. Up to now, no one would let Israel pass through their land.
Psalm 36:1 "The transgression of the wicked saith, within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. v2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be fund to be hateful."
Friday, November 16, 2007
v1 Vows are not to be broken
v3 The exception of a maid's vow
v6 of a wife's
v9 of a widow's or her that is divorced
Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee."
Ephesians chapter 5 also discusses the role of husband and wife as do other passages.
Here in this chapter the order of authority and responsibility are very clear. The husband is not only the head of the house but is held responsible for the happenings there, right down to the vows made by his wife and daughters.
He, himself, has no recourse once he makes a vow but to carry it through and keep his word. The wife, however, does have one way out of a vow and that is if the husband hears her and voids the oath in the same day. The same is true for his unwed daughter. So long as he recants the vow on the same day. There is no mention of a son so I assume his words are treated as those of a man.
I know this idea of a man telling his wife what to do is not popular in our society. It is not a license to be mean to her. On the contrary, he is called on to bear the burden of her mistakes. v15 "But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity."
Christ assumed this role as husband to and head of the church.
Ephesians 5:21-25 "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God, wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it;"
So, if one thinks to make a vow to the Lord, it should be with much thought and a determination to honor it, for the Lord will certainly remember.
Psalm 103:1 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name."
key words: Bible study, fundmental, KJV, Milton J Southerland
Thursday, November 15, 2007
v1 The offering of the feast of trumpets
v7 of the day of afflicting their souls
v13 and on the eight days of the feast of tabernacles
Proverbs 16:19 "Better it is to be of n humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."
v1 Offerings are to be observed
v2 The continual burnt offering
v9 The offering on the sabbath
v11 on the new moons
v16 at the passover
v26 in the day of firstfruits
A review of the offerings that were to be made by the people. This is a new generation and they must be taught as well. I think often we hear a sermon and think, oh I've heard this before, but we must always keep in mind that our children are being taught and it may be their first time to hear the old old story.
Proverbs 15:32 "He that refuseth instruction despiseth is own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Here a law is established for a situation not previously addressed. Zelophehad's daughters were in a family where there were no sons and their inheritance would be lost upon her father's death as would other families in the same situation. The Lord said they were right and made the proper adjustments.
v7 "The daughters of Zelophehad speak right..."
It continues with arrangements for most any situation where inheritance would be involved.
Moses prepare to die.
"v12 "And the Lord said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. v13 And when thou hast seen it thou shalt be gathered unto thy people as Aaron thy brother was gathered."
Between this verse and when Moses dies there is considerable space in the Bible. We have yet to cover Deuteronomy.
When Moses heard this statement his first thought was not for himself. He must have been very tired by now and ready to go, but he was concerned for the people. It is then he asked the Lord for someone to lead the people in his place.
v16 "Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, v17 which may go out before them and which may lead them out and which may bring them in that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
So Joshua is appointed to lead the people and we will hear a lot about him later in the book named for him.
v20 "And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient."
v1 The daughters of Zelophehad sue for an inheritance
v6 the law of inheritances
v12 Moses being told of his death, sueth for a successor
v18 Joshua is appointed to succeed him.
Ecclesiastes 4:6 "Better is an handful with quietness than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit."
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
In this chapter Israel is again numbered. Only two of the original remain. Caleb and Joshua. Of course Moses is still there but will not enter Canaan. When Israel failed to enter the land several chapters ago, because of unbelief, God told them they would die in the wilderness and the little ones that Israel said would be prey (Chapter 14: v28-33)for the enemy, would inherit. It has now come true.
Here is how the numbers stack up if my reading is correct:
Before the wilderness journey: 603,550 men of war age plus women and under 20(Numbers 1:46)
and 22,000 Levites (Numbers 3:39)
After the wilderness journey and several battles: 601,720 men of war age plus women and under 20 (v51)
and 23,000 Levites
So, that would be a little over a thousand less of war age men and a thousand more of the Levites.
V64 "But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, The shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun."
Jacob and twelve brothers when down to Egypt with their families. Now at the door of Canaan is a great multitude. The original multitude who well remembered the slave years of Egypt would not fight but these wilderness hardened men will fight.
Psalm 36:7 "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."
Friday, November 09, 2007
Make no mistake about it, at this point in the Bible Israel is a war machine. Their formation is set up to attack in minimal time an protect the ark and the camp. There are some things you just cannot have in a army. Lack of discipline is one of these. We settled that in previous chapters when Moses' leadership was questioned. The army must keep their focus. In this chapter, Israel has lost focus. They have received the commandments of God on how to live and with all the attractive women in Moab, the warriors are now showing a total disregard for the commandments and started forbidden actions.
One bold fellow even brought a foreign woman into camp in the sight of all the people. They have also bowed down to strange gods v2.
There was a man in Israel called Phinehas who was the son of Eleazar who arose and did something. The plague had already started killing the people and they were weeping before the door of the tabernacle.
v8 "And he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel."
Again, let me emphasis that these were different times. Israel is on a mission to take Canaan. If the people were going to act like all the others around them, they are become useless and why should such a people inherit the promised land. I can understand why the Lord may have become disgusted with the whole bunch. But as before, one man stayed the Lord's hand.
God told Moses: v17 "Vex the Midianites and smite them: v18 For they vex you with their wiles..."
This is a no nonesense chapter. Israel is knocking on the door of Canaan. They must not forget who they are and who is leading them. They are a special people and are expected to act like it.
Phinehas was given the covenant of peace. v12. Called an everlasting priesthood: because he was zealous for his God and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
Don't let anyone tell you that one person cannot make a difference.
Psalm 33:13 "The Lord looketh from heaven: he beholdeth all the sons of men."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
There's that shout of a king again!
Balaam tells Balak about the future of Israel and a very important prophecy about the Lord. Balaam would see him but not now and he would then see him but not nigh. He also tells how Israel would be as a lion and having the strength of a unicorn in taking the land and defeating the enemy. It is a mixture of a short range prophecy for Israel and a long range prophecy for the coming of Christ.
There are also predictions about the defeat of nations which we should run across later in our study. It is possible that some of the predictions are about end time, I'm not sure. The early prophets were allowed to see things but they did not understand the whole picture. They did not have the New Testament nor the book of Revelation.
Zechariah 12:8 "In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
v9 "And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
v10 "And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
For those who want to see into the future and give God the glory, the Bible is wonderful.
Psalm 72:18 "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel who only doeth wondrous things."
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Balaam is still on the mountain with Balak looking down on the children of Israel. Balak is trying to get a curse on them but all he hears is God bragging on them.
We must remember the conditions. Not long ago Jacob was using a rock for a pillar and running from Esau. God met him there and made a great promise. As Balaam stands on the mountain looking down, he sees the fulfillment of that promise. Israel has grown to a multitude.
God chose Israel to make something of them. The world seems hopeless. In Egypt, they are worshipping all kinds of gods. Here in Moab, Baal seems to have everyone's attention. Yet, in the midst of this, a people are on the move who worship only one God, The God Jehovah. There are not statutes to him because he is there in person.
Our verse says that the Lord says the shout of a king is among them. I see two meanings in this statement. One is the surety that they will be a nation for how can there be a king without a kingdom. They have not yet declared 'give us a king' but the notion must be in their heart as Moses nears the end of his life. The other meaning I get is that they carry the promise of the King of Kings in their ranks. My analogy that Israel is a pregnant lady carrying the Lord Jesus Christ to Bethlehem to be born goes along with this statement. Even here he is among the people. They long for a king!
Much like the church, Israel must be corrected from time to time. It is as if a cancer creeps into camp and it must be eradicated. So, there is punishment in plagues and serpents. But on the mountain there is no talk from God of Israel's rebellion, there is only the telling of what a fine people they are. It is as if the Lord is saying, this is my child, I will correct it but there will be no outside interference. The verse says neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel. I think of our sinful ways and the blood of the Lamb that covers our sin so that God only sees the good in us. Grace is truly amazing.
Lamentations 3:22 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not."
Look at Ezekiel chapter 16.
A shout of a King!
Psalm 3:3 "But thou, O Lord, art a shied for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
Bible Study, gospel, Jesus, old old story: key words
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Balaam has decided to meet with Balak and is on his way riding a donkey and takes along two servants. Balaam is apparently blind to spiritual things even though he is here the mouthpiece of God.
An angel stands in his way but Balaam does not see him and tries to go forward. The donkey he was riding did see the angel and stopped. Balaam tries to turn this way and that but still the donkey would not go on. Finally, the donkey speaks to Balaam and asked why he is striking him.
The amazing thing is Balaam carries on a conversation with the donkey and appears to think nothing of it until the angel allows him to see him. He then receives permission to proceed but is reminded to speak only what he is told by God to speak.
v1 "And it came to pass on the morrow that Balak took Balaam and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people."
Balak plays a little trick on Balaam by not showing him all the people. Just the "...utmost part.." which sounds like the end of the camp to me. Balaam did not yet know the multitude he was looking at. So Balak builds altars and Balaam goes to see what God would have him say to Balak. It is not what Balak wants though.
A back and forth goes on in the next chapters which makes Balak upset at Balaam because he wanted a curse on Israel but did not get it. Balaam at least stood firm on that part. Who wouldn't after talking to a donkey and then an angel. He should have been rather revived at this point but I'm afraid he was still thinking about a place of honor that Balak promised. He should have known that he already had a place of honor as a prophet.
Proverbs 11:18 "The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that sowest righteousness shall be a sure reward."
Monday, November 05, 2007
Israel gets a glimpse of their gateway into Canaan. Jericho will become a place of remembrance and the stuff of children's songs. Twice they went to Kadesh but did not enter Canaan, the first time was because of unbelief, the second time Edom would not let them pass. So now we see another way in.
First though we have to deal with Balaam for a few chapters. Balaam was a prophet but not in the sense that you think of Elijah or Isaiah. He served as the messenger of God but still was not very spiritual.
Balak is another character we must address. He was king of the Moabites. v4.
Balak looked down from the mountain on the congregation of Israel and knew he would need some help defeating them. He must not have known that Israel was protected by the Lord for he called Balaam to put a curse on them. v5.
Balaam took the messengers into his home. v8 "...Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me; and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam."
I think it would have been better if Balaam had sent them away but he didn't.
v9 "And God came unto Balaam and said, What men are these with thee?"
So Balaam starts explaining to God why they are there. He gives title to Balak but the children of Israel are only 'a people' . He tells God what Balak said:
v11 "Behold there is a people come out of Egypt which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them: peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out."
Obviously, Balaam is in the dark about the big plan. He also still has the 'position of honor' in his mind that Balak promised. But the Lord told him not to go and not to curse the people. He then told Balaam they were blessed. v12.
There is some back and forth. Balak sends more messengers and instead of Balaam telling them to go away he tells them to wait and see what God says. God told him to go ahead but only to speak the words told him by God. Balaam should have taken the first command for he is shown to be dummer than a donkey in the next verses. Some divide God's will in perfect and permissive. Perfect being what he wants someone to do but because of freewill, permissive is what he allows even though it may anger him if the person goes ahead after being told not to the first time.
v21 "And Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab."
Psalm 107:6 "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses."
Friday, November 02, 2007
Then they moved to another area. Since Edom would not let them pass through, they must circumvent Edom and it requires a long and tiring march. The people are upset and start complaining again. It is then that the serpents come into came and kills many people. They confess to Moses and he prays.
The solution is to erect a brazen serpent so that if someone is bitten, all they need to do is look at the brazen serpent and they will not die.
v9 "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
Spiritually the serpent is a symbol of sin judged. The brazen serpent is a type of Christ in that he was made sin for us although he knew no sin himself he bore our judgement.
Israel journeyed from there and made several stops before coming to the top of mount Pisgah.
Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites v21 asking to pass through the land but he refused and came out to fight against Israel.
v24 "And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land fro Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong."
Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites for a time then went to Bashan where the king went out against them and lost.
Israel is on the outskirts of Canaan looking for a way in. They have shown their military might and put the area in fear of them. In the next chapter we will get a hint of why Israel was allowed to defeat these people. They were worshippers of Baal and no doubt were being judged for their sin.
Psalm 121:1 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help."
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Aaron's journey ends just short of the promised land. He has been with Moses, in the task of delivering and leading the children, for about 40 years now. He was the mouth piece of Moses on much of the journey. He has also borne the burden and joy of being the high priest of the sanctuary. No doubt, he has spent many hours pouring over the details of the daily sacrifices. Perhaps no one in the congregation has seen as much blood as Aaron.
On this day his garments are removed by Moses and put on Eleazar. There he died in mount Hor. The people mourned for Aaron thirty days "...even all the house of Israel." v29.
The death of Aaron can be considered the turning point for Israel. They no longer wander. From here on they are a driving force toward the land of Canaan.
Psalm 63:1 "O God, thou are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; v2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Over 400 years have passed. Jacob has died and Esau has died. Yet, the old wounds are still there in their descendants. Esau was the eldest of the two twins but Jacob through deception received the blessing from Issac. The wound apparently never healed although Jacob was welcomed home by Esau. How did it all start?
Esau has come in from the field and was very hungry. Jacob was preparing food....
Genesis 25:30 "And Esau said to Jacob Feed me I pray thee...v31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. v33 ...and he sware unto him and he sold his birthright unto Jacob."
Genesis 33 tells of the homecoming and their friendly greetings.
Esau was Edom as the Bible tells us in Genesis 36:1 "Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom." Edom is also called Seir. Edom lies south of the ancient land of Judah. It extends from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akaba. See Armadedon also.
It was the promise of God that mattered here more than the blessing of Issac. Look over in Genesis 28 verse 13. Jacob is talking to the Lord in a dream and the Lord responds: "...the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;" And again in Genesis 32 verse 28 after Jacob had wrestled with the Lord "...Thy name shall be called no more Jacob but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men and hast prevailed."
So in our passage Israel is asking for passage through Edom and is refused by the king of Edom and is threatened if Israel tries to pass through the land even though they promised to stay on the high road v19. Israel turns aside and comes to mount Hor. Again they do not enter the promised land at Kadesh. The first time it was because of unbelief. Now it is because of Edom.
Psalm 139:14 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well."