Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Numbers - "Desert Grumblings"|
Chapter: Numbers 20
Passage: Numbers 20 :1-13
A. Find Out:
1. Why did the people next grumble against Moses? v.2-5
2. What was Moses' & Aaron's response? v.6
3. What did the Lord tell Moses to do? v.7,8
4. What did Moses do instead? v.9-11
5. How did the Lord chide Moses & Aaron? v.12
1. How, do you think, the people should have acted with no water?
2. How did Moses' instructions and his actions differ?
3. Why was he chided by the Lord?
This is a tragic incident. It is about the eighth time in these chapters that there has been grumbling against Moses. For that reason we might have some sympathy with Moses, but if we did we would find ourselves on the opposite side of the fence from the Lord. He accepts no excuses. Sin is sin is sin.
The people have come to a place where there appears to be no water, so they grumble. Bad reaction! A good reaction would have been to ask Moses to ask the Lord for help, but they have never learnt that lesson! Do we?
Moses and Aaron initially respond well yet again they fall on their faces in prayer before the Lord and the Lord gives them simple instructions. We need to note them carefully. Moses is to take his staff and go and speak to the rock and presumably strike it once, as he had done previously (Ex 17:6). Tragically Moses' grace has run out and for the first and only time since Sinai he gets it wrong. In an attitude of petulance he snarls at the people , not the rock you rebels! More than that he elevates himself must we bring you water! Moses is God's representative, he knows that and in every way he is to conduct himself differently, he is holy, and this was not a holy act! Moreover he strikes the rock twice, an indication of his uncertainty. For this he loses the honour of actually leading the people into the land. How tragic.
1. Leaders represent God and have a high level of accountability.
2. Accountability means discipline when leaders get it wrong.
Chapter: Numbers 20
Passage: Numbers 20:14-29
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Moses ask to be allowed to do what? v.14-17,19
2. What replies did he get? v.18,20
3. What was the outcome? v.20,21
4. What did the Lord tell Moses & Aaron would happen? v.23,24
5. What instructions did He give? 25,26
6. What then happened? v.27-29
1. What does the incident with Edom show about Israel here?
2. Read Num 33:38. When was this happening?
3. What does this tell us about God's provision of leadership here?
For a number of chapters we have been seeing the grumblings of Israel . We now come to the point of the record where, in the fortieth year they are nearing the time when they are to start moving towards the land. To the north is inhospitable desert and so they seek to skirt round to the east, so that they will then go north to the east of the Jordan , the area we will refer to as the Trans-Jordan (see heading of Ch.32). Before them is Edom and so Moses graciously sends a request to their king to allow them to pass through. This request is rebuffed so Israel had to skirt round the south of Edom before they could go north. Israel are neither sufficiently strong nor confident enough to defeat Edom .
They come to Mount Hor and, because they are soon to enter the land the time is approaching for Moses and Aaron to depart, for they were told they would not enter. First of all it is Aaron's turn and the transfer to his son takes place in the sight of the people on the side of the mountain. Aaron goes to the peak where he dies out of sight of the people, and is presumably buried. Observe that the Lord was careful to ensure the people had good leadership with them throughout the period of wilderness wandering. That period has now come to an end, together with the need for the old leadership. The new generation will now go in under God's leading and God's new leadership.
1. God keeps His people, just as He promises.
2. God provides for His people, just as He promises.
Chapter: Numbers 21
Passage: Numbers 21:1-9
A. Find Out:
1. Who attacked Israel ? v.1
2. What was Israel 's response and eventual outcome? v.2,3
3. Why did Israel next grumble? v.4,5
4. What judgement did God send? v.6
5. What was the people's response? v.7
6. How were people saved? v.8,9
2. How did they show they had learnt with the snakes?
You would hope that the old grumbling generation would have gone by now, because they are almost at the end of their wilderness time and they are making for the Promised Land with hope. There is still some grumbling to go!
However, before we come to that we come to the encounter with the king of Arad who lived in the south of Canaan , who simply came and attacked them. Perhaps he had heard that Edom had warned them off and thought he could deal with them. However, they are beginning to learn they turn to the Lord and seek Him, coming to a place of commitment to God's calling. As a result they defeat this king.
But then comes the grumbling. They had had to turn southwards again to skirt round Edom , meaning more desert and they are fed up with it. They grumble and so the Lord sends a form of judgement that is going to train them. There are snakes here and people are getting bitten and dying. However, for a second time the people show they are beginning to learn and hasn't it taken a long time! They confess their sin to Moses and ask for help. The Lord's answer is for them to provide a bronze snake on a pole and if they were bitten they were to go to the pole as an act of faith. Thus God would then heal them. In Jn 3:14 Jesus used this as an analogy in respect of his own death on the Cross!
1. The first lesson is to seek God when you are in difficulty.
2. The second lesson is to seek God when you have sinned.
Chapter: Numbers 21
Passage: Numbers 21:10-35
A. Find Out:
1. What are we next told about? v.10-20
2. What did Moses ask of whom? v.21,22
3. What happened? v.23-26,31,32
4. Who next confronted them? v.33
5. What happened? v.34,35
1. What is happening in this passage? (You may need to use a map)
2. How did Israel deal with the two kings differently?
3. Why was that?
It's perhaps easy with a passage like this to write it off as of little importance but two things need to be noted that ARE significant. First Israel are now making positive steps in the direction of the Promised Land. No longer are they just wandering in the wilderness. Now they are going in a set direction. It may be rather roundabout skirting around to the east, but that will ensure they take land to the east of the Jordan that the Lord wants included in their land.
Second, they are learning to fight. There are distinct stages in their progress. First they had approached Edom very diplomatically and had been rebuffed ( 20:14 -21). Then with the Lord's help they repelled and destroyed some marauding Canaanites (21:1-3). Then, having skirted round Edom they come to the land of the Amorites where again Moses acts very diplomatically but is rebuffed. However, with Edom to the south and the desert to the east, Moses has nowhere to go and so when he Amorites attack them they defend themselves and win.
Ahead of them to the north is Bashan where they are confronted by the large army of the king of Bashan . Here the Lord encourages them and they defeat this people. Suddenly from a wandering purposeless mass of people, they have become a conquering army and the word goes out ahead of them, we'll see. They sought to avoid fighting but it was forced upon them and gradually their confidence in God grew and they triumphed.
1. We may dislike them but spiritual battles DO come to us today.
2. We need to learn to lean on the Lord in such battles.
RECAP - "To Trans-Jordan" - Numbers 20 & 21
In this fourth group of 4 studies we have seen :
- Israel arriving at the border (20:1)
- The people grumbling at the lack of water (20:2-5)
- Moses & Aaron seeking the Lord for it (20:6-8)
- Moses with a bad attitude & the results (20:9-13)
- Israel skirting around Edom ( 20:14 -21)
- The death of Aaron ( 20:22 -29)
- Israel destroy king Arad (21:1-3)
- Israel grumble, and the bronze snake (21:4-9)
- Israel travelling east of the Jordan ( 21:10 -20)
- Israel defeat the Amorites ( 21:21 -35)
This may not, at first sight, seem a very eventful time, but in fact we must remember that Israel were now at a point where they had been 38 years before in a time of unbelief and failure. They are tested again by lack of water and it is during that test that Moses makes his one bad response in all the time of his leadership. For this he's told it's time to soon come home! What with Aaron's death, it could have been an unsettling time, but the new' people proceed in a good way dealing well with the opposition they face. Thus they are brought to the end of their travels before entering the Promised Land.
1. Leaders have a high level of accountability to God.
2. God provides for His people even in their immaturity.
3. In difficulty, seek the Lord.
4. In sin, repent and seek the Lord.
Thank the Lord for His good provision in your life. Ensure you maintain a grateful heart. Be free of grumbling.
PART 5 : "Curses & Blessings " Num 22-25
In this next Part we're going to learn some things about blessings and curses by watching a seer and an ungodly heathen. An entertaining episode!