Numbers 21-22

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 21-22.

XXI. The Bronze Serpent (Numbers 21).

• The Israelites complete their mourning for Aaron before continuing their
journey through the wilderness.
• When the King of Arad, a Canaanite, hears that the Israelites are nearby,
he dispatches his army to attack them and captures some Israelite POW’s.
• The Israelites tell God that if He’ll give them victory, they will devote
their cities to destruction (Completely wipe out the cities and give all
the spoils to God).
• Despite their victory, the Israelites are whining again.
• They complained that Moses took them out of Egypt just to have them
starve to death in this wilderness wasteland with miserable food and no
• God sends fiery or poisonous snakes into the Israelite camp to bite them.
Many die.
• The people acknowledge their sin and plead to Moses to intercede for them.
• God instructs Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. If
anyone gets bitten by a snake, they can look at the bronze serpent and live.
• The Israelites continue on their journey through the wilderness (Oboth to
Iye-abarim to the Valley of Zered to Arnon–along the border between Moab
and the Amorites).
• In Beer they find a well with an abundance of water.
• They finally come to the place where the Amorites dwell.
• Moses asks King Sihon for permission to pass through his territory,
promising not to take anything, but his request is rejected.
• Instead, the Amorites attack but the Israelites are victorious.
• The same thing happens when they come up against Og, the King of Bashan.
The Israelites defeat the king and his people until no one is left standing.

XXII. The Story of Balaam – Part 1 (Numbers 22).

• The Israelites arrive in Moab and the Moabites are afraid that the
Israelites are going to destroy their land like they did to the Amorites
(The Moabites are relatives of Israel, the descendants of Lot).
• Balak, the Moabite king, plans to forcefully drive them out of Moab but
he needs a little help.
• He sends a message to a man named Balaam, a non-Israelite, who has a
reputation for practicing divination and pronouncing curses.
• King Balak sends messengers to Balaam and offers him a nice fee if he’ll
place a curse on Israel.
• Balaam is intrigued but he needs to consult with God first.
• When Balaam inquires of God, He tells God Balaam that the Israelites are
a blessed people.
• Balaam sends the messengers back.
• King Balak decides to try again. This time he sends more people and
basically offers Balaam a blank check if he will come to Moab and curse
• Balaam consults with God again. He refers to God as “Yahweh my God.”
• This time God tells Balaam that if the men come to get him, he should go
with them. However, God has not given him permission to curse Israel.
• The next morning, Balaam saddles up his donkey and goes to meet the
Moabite men.
• It seems that God is angry with Balaam because he did not wait for the
Moabites to come to him.
• So God sends the Angel of the Lord as Balaam’s adversary to stand in the
roadway and block his path.
• Balaam can’t see the angel but his donkey can. The donkey sees the Angel
of the Lord standing there with a huge sword in his hand and pulls away.
• Balaam strikes the donkey to get him back on the road.
• When the donkey gets to a narrow strip of road with walls on either side,
the angel appears again. He’s still wielding a sword.
• The donkey just lays down in the road.
• In anger, Balaam strikes the donkey again, but this time the donkey
starts to talk.
• The donkey says, “Why have you struck me three times?”
• Balaam (who doesn’t seem to be amazed that he’s having a conversation
with a donkey) responds and says, “If I had my sword right now I’d kill
• The Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the angel in the road.
• The angel explains that he’s trying to stop Balaam from going to the
Moabite men. He should be grateful to the donkey, who actually saved his
life, because if Balaam had kept going, the angel would have struck him
• The angel instructs him to appear before King Balak.
• Balak is pleased when Balaam arrives but Balaam tells him that he can
only speak what God tells him.
• Balak sacrifices some oxen and sheep and takes Balaam to a place where he
can see the Israelites in their camp. (To be continued …).

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The Bronze serpent on the pole is a picture of Jesus. Just as looking at
the bronze serpent on the pole allowed the Israelites to live, Jesus said
that the Son of Man must be lifted up (i.e. on a cross) and all who look to
Him with faith will have eternal life (cf. John 3:13-15).
• The water in Beer is another picture of Jesus, who is the source of
living water (cf. John 7:37-39).

Numbers 18-19

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 18-19:

XVIII. The Duties and Support of Priests and Levites (Numbers 18).

• God restates to Aaron that he, his sons, are to oversee the Tabernacle
and the Levites are to assist them.
• The Levites are to help with the Tabernacle, but are not permitted to
touch or look at anything inside it. Only the priests can go inside the
tent. The violation of this rule is death.
• God explains that the priests and their families can eat the grain, sin,
or guilt offerings. They can also share in the wave offerings, and the
firstfruits of wine, oil and fruit.
• God also mentions that the Levites are entitled to five shekels for every
firstborn male among the Israelites, as well as every firstborn animal.
• Aaron and his family are not allowed to own any land. God will be their
portion and inheritance.
• God also mentions that the Levites are to get a tithe (lit. a tenth) from
the Israelites as payment for their service to the Tabernacle.
• The Levites will then offer Aaron and his sons a tenth of their wages.

XIX. Provision for Restoration after Defilement (Numbers 19)

• God directs Moses and Aaron to take an unblemished, unbroken red heifer
(a sin offering), have Eleazar slaughter it outside the camp, sprinkle its
blood towards the entrance to the Tabernacle seven times, and then burn it.
• The priest is also to burn with it cedarwood, hyssop and scarlet yarn.
• This ritual will make Eleazar, any assistant, and any future priest
unclean for a few hours.
• The ashes of the heifer are to be gathered and placed outside the camp
for a sin of offering, the ashes are mixed with water and used to wash away
any impurity.
• If an Israelite touches a dead body he or she is unclean for seven days.
• One can be purified by mixing the ashes from the heifer with some water
and having someone sprinkle you with them on the third and seventh day.
• Failure to do this makes one unclean and as a result removed from the
• This same rule applies if someone dies in your tent, or if one comes
across a dead body in a field. An Israelite is cleansed by using the water
and ash mixture on the third and seventh day.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The Priests and Levites found their needs met in the portion and
inheritance of the Lord. God promises to meet our needs according to His
riches in Christ Jesus (cf. Philippians 4:10-20).

• The mixture of ashes and water was used to wash away defilement. This
picture of washing points us to Jesus who washed away our sin by His shed


Come join us for worship this Sunday.

Pastor Paul will finish our* In My Father’s House* Series with the message
“Family Obligations.”

His passage will be 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24.

Service times are 9 and 11 am.

Numbers 16-17

OTin52 Our reading today is Numbers 16-17 – the heart of the book of

XVI. Korah’s Rebellion against the Authority of Moses and Aaron (Numbers

• The next two chapters are pretty important given the amount of attention
devoted to them.
• Korah (a Levite), Dathan and Abiram (from the tribe of Reuben), and 250
other well-known from among the Israelites challenge the leadership of
Moses and Aaron. In this chapter and the next, Aaron’s role as High Priest
is challenged three times.
• Moses tells Korah and his fellow antagonists that God will show all
Israel those whom He chooses.
• Korah and his company are to take incense and offer it to God. If God
thinks they’re worthy to approach the Tabernacle, then He’ll let everyone
know it. But Moses warns Korah that he has gone too far.
• Moses tells Korah and the Levites to be satisfied with the service they
already perform at the Tabernacle.
• Moses attempts to have a conversation with Dathan and Abiram but they
won’t even come see him–“You make yourself a prince over us.” This makes
Moses angry and He takes his anger to the Lord.
• All the malcontents take their incense and stand at the entrance to the
Tabernacle. The glory of the Lord suddenly appears to everyone.
• God tells Moses and Aaron to stand aside so that He may consume them.
• Moses and Aaron intercede on behalf of the community.
• God brings His wrath down on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
• The ground opens up so that the three men, their wives, children, and
their possessions sink down into Sheol.
• Fire from God also consumes the 250 men offering their incense.
• God tells Moses to send Eleazar (Aaron’s son) to take the bronze censers
belonging to the rebels and pound them into plates to cover the altar to
remind the Israelites that only Aaron and his descendants can approach the
• The next day the Israelites grumble against Moses and Aaron for their
• God sends a plague.
• Moses directs Aaron to hurry and make atonement for the sins of the
• The plague stops, but not before 14,700 people had died.

XVII. The Vindication of Aaron through his Budding Staff (Numbers 17).

• God acts to remove the grumbling of the Israelites.
• God directs Moses to have one man from each of the twelve tribes bring a
staff to the Tabernacle and write each man’s name on it.
• Also, write Aaron’s name for the staff from the tribe of Levi).
• Each staff is to be placed before the testimony.
• The man whose staff “sprouts” will be the one that God chooses as leader.
• The next day Aaron’s staff produced buds with blossoms and ripe almonds.
All the other staffs remained dry sticks.
• Moses brings the staffs out and shows them to the other men as a warning
to stop their grumbling.
• God commands Moses to place the staff inside the Tabernacle as a sign of
Aaron’s authority.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• God’s vindication of Aaron as High Priest and whose mediation allows
people to draw near to God is a picture of Jesus, of whom no one can draw
near to God apart from Him.
• Just as Aaron’s rod blossomed, depicting life from death, God has
vindicated Jesus as our sole mediator by His resurrection from death to

Numbers 14-15

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 14-15:

XIV. God’s Impatience, Moses’ Intercession and the Consequences of Israel’s
Rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea (Numbers 14).

• When the Israelites hear that they might not be able to take the land of
Canaan there is widespread panic.
• They complain that it would have been better to have stayed in Egypt or
die in the wilderness. But now they will fall by sword without entering the
• They are prepared to choose new leader and return to Egypt.
• Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb tear their clothes and ask the Israelites
not to test God. They said, “God will give us this land if we do not rebel
against Him.”
• The Israelites are ready to stone them.
• The glory of the Lord appears at the tent of meeting to speak with Moses
and God tells him that he’s ready to start over with Moses and make him a
mighty nation.
• In his intercession, Moses reminds God that the Egyptians will claim that
YHWH was unable to bring His people into the land. Moses also appeals to
God’s mercy and steadfast love to pardon them.
• God pardons His people but the consequence of their sin is that no one
who came out of Egypt, twenty years of age and older, will foot in the
Promised Land, except for Caleb and Joshua and their families.
• They will now wander around in the desert for forty years until every
person counted in the census is dead. Their children will enter the land
after they’ve died.
• The ten spies who delivered the bad report die by the plague.
• Moses announces to the Israelites God’s plan and they decide to try to
take the Promised Land without His help.
• Moses warns them that they will be defeated if they try.
• This presumptuous people cross into the hill country of Canaan and are
beaten by the Amalekites and Canaanites who are living there.

XV. Rules and Rituals for Offerings and Consequences for Sabbath-Breakers
(Numbers 15).

• God gives to those Israelites who will surely enter the Promised Land
forty year from now supplemental rules and rituals to follow.
• Grain and drink offerings are to be paired with animal offerings.
• All Israelites are required to do this along with any non-Israelites
living among them who wish to do so.
• God will also require the people when they make bread in the Promise Land
to offer the first of their dough to the Lord.
• If any of these laws are broken accidentally, they can present an
• But if any are broken intentionally, they will be cut off from the
• While the Israelites are wandering around in the wilderness, they observe
a man collecting sticks on the Sabbath.
• He is taken into custody. The sentence is death and God orders Moses to
have the people stone him to death outside the camp.
• God also directs Moses to have the Israelites put blue fringe tassels on
their garments as a reminder to follow the Lord and His commandments.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• In the wilderness, Jesus succeeded where Israel failed by obeying God’s
Word and overcoming the temptations of Satan (cf. Matthew 4:1-11).
• The Israelites were defeated when they tried to enter the land without
God. Jesus also said to us, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Numbers 11-13

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers, chapter 11-13. These chapters
consist of three intriguing and compelling narratives.

XI. The Israelites Grumble and God Shares His Spirit (Numbers 11).

• Once the journey toward the Promised Land began the people of Israel
started complaining.
• God hears their murmuring and ignites a fire along the borders of the
camp called Taberah.
• Moses prays and God extinguishes the fire.
• The complaining doesn’t end though as some of the people, called “the
rabble” murmur about being hungry in spite of the manna God provides
• They reminisce about how wonderful the free food was back in Egypt where
they were slaves, of course, but at least the fish, leeks, cucumbers,
onions, garlic and melons were amazing.
• Moses hears their complaints and God’s anger burns again.
• Moses asks God why He gave him such a stubborn people to lead? If God is
merciful, maybe He should just put Moses out of his misery now.
• God directs Moses to gather seventy elders of Israel with whom He can
share His Spirit so that they can bear the burden of leadership.
• God also tells Moses that He’s going to give the people all the meat they
crave until they end up loathing it. Be careful what you ask for!
• Meanwhile, God shares His Spirit with the seventy elders and they all
prophesy but not continuously.
• When Joshua (Moses’ assistant) sees two men prophesying around camp and
he tries to get Moses to stop them.
• Moses wished that all of God’s people were prophets upon whom His Spirit
• God sends a powerful wind which blows in quail that covers the camp, 18
inches high, providing meat galore.
• The people gather up lots of quail and while they are eating God strikes
His people with a plague.
• The place was called Kibrotyh-hattaavah: “graves of craving.”

XII. Miriam and Aaron Question Moses’ Leadership (Numbers 12).

• Miriam and Aaron (Moses’ sister and brother) get a little jealous that
God always seems to be talking with Moses.
• Evidently, they have been disturbed for years that Moses had married a
Cushite or Midianite.
• God calls Moses, Miriam and Aaron to stand at the entrance to the
• God comes down in the pillar of cloud, calls Miriam and Aaron to step
forward and explains to them that He communicates plainly with Moses face
to face.
• They should have feared speaking against God’s servant.
• When the cloud departs Miriam is struck with leprosy or some kind of skin
• Aaron pleads to Moses for God to spare her.
• Moses asks God to heal Miriam.
• God directs Moses to send Miriam outside the camp for seven days.

XIII. Spies are Sent Out to Survey the Land (Numbers 13).

• Moses sends twelve spies ahead of the Israelites, including Joshua and
Caleb, to check out the land of Canaan, the land that God has promised them.
• Their reconnaissance will help Moses determine what kind of force will be
needed to occupy it.
• When they arrived in the Valley of Eschol they picked a single cluster of
grapes that had to be carried by two men on a pole, along with pomegranates
and figs.
• After forty days, the spies return and report that the land is flowing
with milk and honey; clusters of grapes and all kinds of fruit.
• But the land is also occupied by people of great height, the Nephilim,
and the spies who brought the bad report felt inferior by comparison (like
• Caleb, however, believes they can succeed – “We are well able to overcome
it,” but the ten other spies, excluding Joshua, don’t agree.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• Moses’ desire that all God’s people would receive His Spirit is fulfilled
when Christ, who after His death, resurrection and ascension, sends His
Spirit upon His people.
• Moses’ was God’s chosen mediator under the Old Covenant. In the New
Covenant, there is only one mediator between God and man and His name is
Jesus. He is superior to Moses because He is the exact representation of
His nature (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:3).

Numbers 8

VIII. The Lamps of the Tabernacle and the Dedication of the Levites
(Numbers 8).

• God instructs Moses to direct Aaron to set up the seven lamps in the
• God was specific about the design of these lamps.
• God also tells Moses to perform a rite of purification on all the male
Levites so that they will be fit for service in the Tabernacle.
• The Israelites gather around the Levites and lay their hands on them
since they serve on behalf of all the people.
• God assigns the Levites to Aaron’s sons so that they can assist the
priests with all the Tabernacle duties, though age of their service is
restricted to men between the ages of twenty-five and fifty years old.

IX. The Passover (Numbers (9).

• Before they leave Sinai God commands His people to celebrate Passover.
• Some unclean Israelite males who had touched a dead body ask Moses if
they can still celebrate Passover.
• The answer God gave Moses was that they could still celebrate Passover
but they had to wait one month more than everyone else – but only if you’re
unclean or away on a journey.
• Sojourners or non-Israelites can celebrate Passover too.
• Whenever the Israelites travel, they would be led by God’s cloud by day
and fire by night.

X. The Silver Trumpets and Israel Breaks Camp in Sinai (Numbers 10).

• God directs Moses to make two silver trumpets.
• These trumpets are to be used to signal different things to the
Israelites. When both trumpets are blown everyone is summoned to the
Tabernacle. One trumpet call is for just the leaders, to sound the alarm
that it’s time to leave, go to war, or when there’s a celebration.
• Finally, after all the plans and preparations the Israelites are ready to
set out for the Promised Land.
• The Lord, symbolized by the Ark, goes before His people and scatters
their enemies.
• The cloud rises above the Tabernacle and leads the Israelites to the
Wilderness of Paran.
• The Israelites head out in a detailed and orderly fashion arranged by
God, beginning with the eastern tribes, then the southern tribes, until
everyone is on the road.
• Moses invites to Hobab, a Midianite and his wife’s uncle, to join the
Israelites on their journey to a land flowing with milk and honey.
• Hobab would prefer to return home but Moses persuades him to stay with
the Israelites and be their guide in the wilderness.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The ministry of the Levites directs our focus to Jesus as the worship
leader of the church (cf. Hebrews 8:1-2) who provides all that is necessary
for a life of godliness and service.
• Like God’s grace that brought the Israelites out of Egypt and went before
them in their journey to the Promised Land, our process in sanctification
(i.e. journey to holiness) is through the same grace of God in Christ that
rescued us from the bondage to sin.
• Just as God promised to vanquish Israel’s enemies, Jesus will subdue all
of our enemies (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:25).

Numbers 7

VII. The Consecration of the Tabernacle (Numbers 7).

• On the day that the Tabernacle was finished (cf. Exodus 40) the leaders
of the twelve tribes brought wagons and oxen to the Tabernacle.
• Moses divides up the wagons and oxen among the Levites but not the
Kohathites because all the holy pieces from within the Tabernacle were to
be carried by hand or fatal will be the consequences.
• (BTW: All this emphasis makes David’s mistake in 2 Samuel 6 all the more
• One by one each of the leaders of the twelve tribes present their own
offerings for the dedication of the tabernacle. Each tribe brings the same
offering on the day of dedication.
• Starting with Judah and ending with Naphtali each tribe brings a silver
plate, silver basin filled with flour, a golden dish of incense, a young
bull, a young ram, a male lamb, a male goat, two oxen, five rams, five male
goats, and five male lambs.
• The identical offerings reflect the unity of Israel, the necessity of a
blood sacrifice
• Moses then steps inside the Tabernacle and hears God’s voice speaking to
him from the mercy seat, above the Ark of the Covenant.

Jesus in the Old Testament

The blood sacrifice offered by every tribe was ultimately fulfilled in
Jesus’ death on the cross and the shedding of His blood.

Numbers 6

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 6.

VI. The Nazirites and the Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6).

• This chapter begins by setting down rules for Nazirites (“set apart,
dedicate”). The Nazarites were men and women who were set apart for service
to God (vv. 1-21). The words separate or separation are used around 16
times in this section.
• A Nazarite was to be wholly devoted to God by completely abstaining from
• Their vows weren’t necessarily permanent but for a specific purpose and
• (1) They were not permitted to drink wine, grape juice, vinegar or
fermented drink. They were not permitted to eat grapes, raisins, or the
skins and seeds of grapes.
• (2) They were not permitted to cut their hair.
• (3) They were not permitted to touch a dead body – even of a relative.
• Parenthesis: If a Nazirite accidentally touched a dead body after one
week of dedication the man or woman was to shave his or her head. On the
eighth day the former Nazirite (former because of defilement) was to bring
to the priest two pigeons and two turtledoves for a sin offering and burnt
offering and a lamb for a guilt offering. This was a new beginning.
• Continuation: When a Nazirite completed the period of separation he or
she was to bring a male lamb, a female lamb, a ram, a basket of unleavened
breads, cakes, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil and grain and drink
offerings to the Tabernacle for the priest to sacrifice.
• Finally, the Nazirite was to shave off all their hair and offer it on the
fire under the peace offering because the Nazirite vow was made to the Lord
and was now completed.
• The priest received his share of the offerings.
• The Nazirite was permitted to drink wine again.
• God directs Aaron and the priests to bless the people with a benediction
known as the Aaronic blessing (vv. 22-27).
• The Lord watches over us, smiles upon us, and gives His grace to us.
• The result is peace (shalom) – total spiritual well-being and provision.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The threefold use of the Lord in the Aaronic blessing could be a
depiction of the Trinity: The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy
Spirit is Lord.
• The ultimate expression of God’s willingness to bless us is through His
Son who is our peace.


Come join us for worship this Sunday.

Pastor Paul’s message will be “A Pillar of the Truth” as we continue in our *In
My Father’s House* series.

His passage will be 1 Timothy 3:14-16.

Service times are 9 and 11 am.