King Og and Balak (Numbers 21:33 – 22:21)

Og, King of Bashan, also went out against Israel at Edrei.  The Lord told Moses not to be afraid, for He had already delivered them into their hands.  He would give them the same level of victory as they had over Sihon.  He did what He promised and there were no survivors, and Israel took the land.

After this military victory, the Israelites moved to and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.  Balak, the king of the Moabites, saw what Israel had done to the Amorites.  The Moabites and Midianites strategized as to how they might combat the nation of Israel.  Balak sent messengers to Balaam, asking him to come and curse the people of Israel.  The curse may give Balak the victory over Israel he desires.

Balaam sought the Lord that night, and God told him not to go with the messengers of Balak to curse Israel, because they are blessed.  He told the messengers of Balak to go back and tell him that he could not curse Israel.  Balak sent back more noble men and a numerous group to try and convince him to take the job.  He sought God again, and God told him to go with the envoys, but to only speak what the Lord gave him to say.  So he sent with the messengers.

God’s protection is astounding!  The Israelites did not even know to pray to God, yet God was intervening on their behalf without their knowledge.  What a comfort!  God intercedes and moves on our behalf even before we pray.  Trust Him without fear, and God will work on your behalf!

King Sihon Defeated (Numbers 21:21 – 32)

Sihon, the king of the Amorites, refused Israel’s passage through the land of the Amorites.  He mustered an army against Israel at Jahaz.  Israel defeated Sihon by the sword, and took possession of the land from the Arnon to the Jabbok.  Israel took the cities and dwelled in them, especially the city of Heshbon and its villages.  Then Moses sent a spy to Jazer, and they took its cities and drove out the Amorites there as well.

This was another example of God’s favor toward Israel and His protection of them in military action.  God had a plan for Israel and was going to take them through to the completion of their journey of faith and purpose.  God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives as well.  Seek Him for the revelation of that plan, even if that revelation is gradual.  Once God begins to reveal His plan, walk in it in faith and God will bring it to pass!

The Bronze Serpent (Numbers 21:4 – 20)

When Israel left Mt. Hor they went around the land of Edom.  The people became very discouraged, and spoke against God and Moses.  The complained of no water or food.  In response, God sent serpents among the people, and many died from the poisonous bites.  The people then came to Moses, repentant for their complaining and sin.  They asked him to pray to God for their deliverance.  So Moses prayed.  When he prayed, the Lord gave him instructions to make a serpent from bronze and place it on a pole.  When those bitten looked upon the serpent, they would be healed.  Moses did as God commanded, and the people who looked on it were healed.

After this event, the people moved on and camped in Oboth.  They then journeyed on the Ije Abarim, east of Moab, toward the sunrise (the East).  Then they moved on to the Valley of Zered and then to the other side of the Arnon, on the border between the Moabites and the Amorites.  From there they went the beer, then Mattanah, then Nahaliel, then Bamoth, to the top of Pisgah.

The story of the Bronze Serpent is one of the most recognizable stories of the Old Testament.  It is one of the few times that a physical object (other than the articles of the tabernacle) was used for a spiritual purpose (healing).  There is no further reference to the bronze serpent until 2 Kings 18, when Hezekiah broke it in pieces, along with other items that had led to idolatrous worship.  The most common symbolism associated with the bronze serpent, however, is the idea that it is a type or shadow of Christ on the cross.  The people were dying, as sinners are dying today without salvation.  However, when the serpent was raised (a representation of the very serpents that were killing the people), it was a symbol of how one day a man (Jesus, man among men) would be raised up on a pole.  When the people looked upon the serpent, they lived, just as, when people today look upon Christ in faith, they live.

Look upon Jesus today and live!

The Death of Aaron (Numbers 20:22 – 21:3)

Moses and Aaron were called up to Mount Hor for an orderly succession of power from Aaron to his son Eleazar as high priest.  Once Aaron was stripped of his priestly garments, they were placed on Eleazar and the transfer was complete.  After that, Aaron died and was buried on the mountain.  He was not allowed to enter into the promised land because he had disobeyed God at Meribah.

After this event, Israel was attacked by the Canaanites on the road to Atharim.  They took some of the Israelites prisoner.  Israel vowed to God that they would utterly destroy the cities of the king of Arad (Canaanite) if God would help them.  The Lord delivered the Canaanites to Israel, and the place was called Hormah.

Orderly succession in leadership, especially in the church, is a needed and powerful statement of God’s will and plan for the church.  There should not be disorder and chaos when leadership changes in the church.  Rather, there should be a smooth transfer of power that is healthy for the church and its people.

Also, when God’s people face opposition, God is not absent or uncaring.  Rather, God is aware and concerned about all that happens in the body of Christ.  Just as with Israel, God will give the church victory over its enemies when opposition arises.  Believe and trust in Him!

Edom Refuses Passage to Israel (Numbers 20:14 – 21)

The Edomites were descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob (Israel).  When Moses sent envoys to Edom asking for passage through their land, the request was met with rejection.  Even though Israel said they would need no water or food from the land, they still denied them under threat of the sword.  When the envoys pressed the issue further, Edom came out with a large number of men and strong military presence.  Israel turned away when Edom refused with this show of force.

While this is a story of sibling rivalry and family division on its surface, it is also a lesson in following God’s path.  When an individual feels that God’s plan goes in a particular direction, God always knows best.  If one avenue closes, then perhaps God has a better path for you to follow.  An old saying goes, “When God closes a door, He will open a window.”  Maybe there is some truth to that.  However, I do know that God always knows what is best for His people.  Trust Him implicitly.  Trust Him completely.  He is the only one worthy of such trust!

How Do I Love We?: Through the Spirit

From the Series

“How Do I Love We?”

Through Love and The Spirit
Galatians 5:13 – 26

Galatians 5:13–26 (NKJV)
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Liberty to Serve and Do Well
Not Hypergrace

Serve One Another
Love turns you into a servant

Love Others As Yourself
Neighbors need love. Where else should they find it if the child of God is not sharing it?

Sinful Liberty Can Lead Us to Devour and Consume
We will destroy our own spiritual life and the life of the Church if we bite each other.

Special Application: The Family

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Walk in the Spirit

The Flesh cannot operate in the express presence of the Holy Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, the flesh cannot act freely

Flesh v. Spirit

The Wrestling Match of the inner man is constant. It is imperative that one maintain a close connection with the Holy Spirit in order to conquer the fleshly yearnings of the flesh.

Abolish the Law
The law reveals sin. Sin leads to death. Be led by the Spirit and you will not be guilty of the law!

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Works of the Flesh

Sexual Sins (adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness)
Worship Sins (idolatry, sorcery)
Relational Sins (hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, envy)
Religious Sins (heresies)
Public Sins (murders, drunkenness, revelries)

The Eternal Effect of Sin
Eternal Death in Hell

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Fruit of the Spirit

Love (the root of all the other fruit)

The Eternal Blessing of the Spirit
The flesh is crucified!

Live in the Spirit, Walk in the Spirit

Things to Avoid: Conceit, Provocation, Envy
If you glory, glory in the goodness of God.
If you provoke, provoke to good works
If you envy or desire, desire the presence of God in your life.

Who is Winning the Battle In Your World?

Cleansing from Death: the Red Heifer, and Water From the Rock: Disobedience (Numbers 19:1 – 20:13)

The Lord gave Moses and Aaron the means whereby those who touch anything dead might be cleansed.  The Children of Israel would provide a red heifer “without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.”  The priest, in this case Eleazar, would take the animal outside the camp to be slaughtered and sprinkle some of its blood in front of the tabernacle of meeting.  Then it would be burned outside the camp completely, with cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet mixed in the fire.  Once it was burned, the priest and the one who burned the heifer would be unclean until evening.  Then another would gather the ashes of the heifer and store them in a clean place outside the camp.  Anyone who would touch a dead body after that would be unclean for seven days, and must be sprinkled with water in which some of the ashes have been placed.  This must happen on the third and seventh days.  If this pattern is not followed, then the person remains unclean and are cut off from the camp.

This is an elaborate scheme for cleansing someone from the touch of death.  However, it has a parallel for us today.  When we come in contact with the world, sin, and death, it is important that we come in contact with the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to be cleansed from the residue of the world.  One does not need to be saved every time they sin or even come in contact with sinfulness, but it is extremely important to wash off the death of this world, so that fellowship with Christ is not hindered.  At a later time, we will discuss footwashing as a New Testament example of this principle.  However, for now, let it suffice to say that we cannot let death linger on us, or we may be cut off from the people of God.

The second part of this passage in chapter 20 relates to Moses’ disobedience at Kadesh.  The people complained of a lack of water, and God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come out to supply the people.  However, in his anger, Moses struck the rock with His rod.  Water came forth, confirming that God would supply.  However, striking the rock was a sign of disobedience on the part of Moses that robbed God of His glory.  Had the water sprung forth at the word of Moses, it would have been a miraculous work of God.  Striking the rock made it appear that Moses, somehow, brought forth the water.

When God instructs, follow His directions.  He will supply in His time and in His way.  Do not overstep the Lord’s instruction.