Go Up and Possess…

Read: Deuteronomy 1-2
Marked: Deuteronomy 1:21-22, ‘Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up [and] possess [it,] as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ “And every one of you came near to me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come.’”

It wasn’t Moses’ idea to send in the twelve spies, it was the peoples, even though God had said, “Go up and possess it.” (V21)

What they should have done they sent others to do. And as a result ten of the spies gave a bad report and discouraged them from doing what God had commanded.

In Matthew 29:19 the church is commanded to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” And in verse 20b Jesus says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

But have we obeyed, or have we done what the people did and have asked others to go in our place? Do we give the work of the gospel, which we should do, to others, to “professional” missionaries and organizations?

Like the people before Moses, do we fear and rebel because we think the work too difficult and the people too fearsome? Are we afraid of the gigantic task God has given us to do?

Verse 26, “Nevertheless, you would not go up, but rebelled against the commands of the Lord your God.”


Our City of Refuge…

Read: Numbers 35-36
Marked: Numbers 35:9-11, Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there.”

Cities of refuge were one of the first things God set up for His people. These were cities to which a slayer of man could flee without fear of reprisal by the avenger of blood (V19).

They were cities where justice could be applied. If the man slayer had committed premeditated murder he would receive capital punishment. If it was manslaughter then the slayer was to remain in the city until the death of the high priest.

Jesus is our refuge. He is near to us. We can flee to Him. In Christ we find protection from the enemy of our souls, but we must remain in Jesus.

Drive Out, Destroy, and Demolish…

Read: Numbers 33-34
Marked: Numbers 33:51-52, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places.”

God gave very clear and explicit directions of what they were to do when they crossed over the Jordan into Canaan.

They were to: 1. Drive out the inhabitants. 2. Destroy all their engraved stones. 3. Destroy all their molded images. 4. Demolish their high places.

The land was to be theirs (V53). This was the land God was giving them. There was to be nothing which would lead them away from Him. But God also told them what would happen if they didn’t do what He asked (V55).

If they let anyone remain they would be “irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they would be harassed”. If we don’t obey God in removing false idols and any remnant of sin from our lives, we will be irritated, in pain, and feel harassed.

Best we do what God says. It is better to suffer affliction than enjoy the passing pleasure of sin (Hebrews 11:25).

Curse or Blessing?…

Read: Numbers 31-32
Marked: Numbers 31:8b, Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.

Balaam was asked to curse God’s people but God wouldn’t let him (Numbers 23). However, Balaam suggested to Balak how Israel might be enticed to stumble and as a result 24,000 men of Israel died (2 Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:14).

In Numbers 23:10, Balaam, knowing God’s blessing on Israel, prayed, “who can count the dust of Jacob, or number one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his.” Balaam wanted the blessing of God but didn’t want to walk righteously with God.

So it is with many today. Believing they’ll receive the blessing of God and enter heaven after their life is spent, but not wanting to walk according to God’s Word.

If we live the life of a sinner we can’t expect to be blessed with the blessing of the righteous. All we can expect from God is payment for our sins.

An Appointed Time with God…

Read: Numbers 28-30
Marked: Numbers 28:2, “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.’”

There was a daily offering which was given in the morning and again at night (V3-4). We are to spend time with God every day partaking of the food He offers us through His word.

Like the sacrifices which were to be consumed by fire, we are to consume His Word and be filled with His Holy Spirit every day. Our day should begin and end with the Lord.

The Destructive Fire of Pride…

Read: Numbers 26-27
Marked: Numbers 26:9-10, The sons of Eliab [were] Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These [are] the Dathan and Abiram, representatives of the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the LORD; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men; and they became a sign.

Mention is made again of Dathan and Abiram who were co-conspirators along with Korah in the rebellion against Moses and Aaron.

Verse 9 says they were “representatives” of the congregation. The word, representatives, means called or chosen; they were select, or famous (well-known) among the people. They may have been good at what they did or good at other skills or talents. But their fame went to their heads, and perhaps, they felt they should have been the leaders instead of Moses and Aaron.

Be careful how we think about ourselves. Don’t let it become the fire of pride. Dathan and Abiram died when the earth opened up and swallowed them up together with Korah and the others that joined in their rebellion. They were consumed by the fire that came out from the Lord and they became a sign (infamous).

Pride is a fire that burns from inside out. Pride, the Bible teaches, goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

The Sacrifice of Obedience…

Read: Numbers 23-25
Marked: Numbers 23:1, Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.”

Three times Balak sought to have Balaam curse Israel and three times God turned the curse into a blessing. Balak did religious things (building altars and sacrificing animals). He was doing right things for wrong reasons.

God won’t bless our outward religious acts if our hearts are not aligned with His. It’s not our religious acts that please God, but we please Him by obedience to His Word.

In 1 Samuel 15:22 we read, “So Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the day of rams’”

God in the Good and the Bad…

Read: Numbers 21-22
Marked: Numbers 21:4, Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.

To go around Edom they had to turn back towards the wilderness. Sometimes we have to go back to go forward. This must have been discouraging. And in their disappointment they spoke against the Lord and His provision of manna.

We might have to go back at times but God is still with us. He is with us in the good times as well as the bad times but it is easy to forget that.

When we forget the Lord is always with us, don’t speak out against Him, but press in and tell Him about how you feel, speaking to Him about your discouragement, but not letting discouragement drive you to sin like they did.

Misrepresenting God…

Read: Numbers 18-20
Marked: Numbers 20:7-8, Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”

Once again the people contended with Moses and longed to return to Egypt (V3). God instructs Moses to gather the people and speak to the rock before their eyes.

God intended to give water to His people (V8), but Moses calls the people rebels and represents himself and Aaron as the ones doing the miracle (V10). And, rather than speak to the rock as God instructed, strikes the rock twice with his staff (V11).

Moses and Aaron misrepresent God and presumed to speak in place of God before the people. We can misrepresent God too when we say, “God this”, or, “God that”, or, “My God would never do this or that”.

God wants us to represent Him as He Himself has spoken and as He has revealed Himself. Not how we think He should be made known.

What Moses and Aaron did was a rebellious act (V24), and they would suffer the consequences.

Avoid Division and Contention…

Read: Numbers 16-17
Marked: Numbers 16:26, And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.”

Again and again we are warned in Scripture to depart from wickedness and wicked people. Sin is contagious and we are susceptible to sin’s contagion.

This chapter shows how Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On, invited others to rise up against Moses and Aaron (V1-2). Moses warns them that they aren’t rising up against him and Aaron, but against the Lord (V11).

It is best to stay away from divisive and contentious people so that we don’t fall under their influence and be close to them when God chooses to deal with them and consume them as He did with the two hundred and fifty co-conspirators (V35).

We need discernment in this because it’s not always easy to tell who is right or wrong because divisive contentious people think their cause is just.