An Uprising

“And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And He hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” Numbers 16:8-11 (KJV)

Korah, Dathan and Abiram were family in the tribe of Levi, and the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness, out of Egypt.  The family of Aaron was appointed as the family of the priesthood, and these Levites were caretakers of the “Holy articles” of the tabernacle.  Yet, at least these three raised a ruckus against Moses and Aaron and GOD.

This is one sad, but too often repeated in the Biblical history, as well as throughout world history.  People who are not content with their God given place in service and life.  That is where wars and strife come from (James 4:1-2).

Look at the leadership of Moses.  He states the case for what it is.  It is a rebellion against the LORD (v. 11 in the text above).  These were God’s people, going God’s way, doing God’s will; and yet there was discontent, jealousy, and bitterness.  All those things are against God.

As Korah gathered the congregation together against God, Moses and Aaron “…The glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation” (V. 19).  The LORD had appointed Moses and Aaron to their positions of leadership, and the other Levites to their positions.  It is a dangerous thing to challenge God, and His appointments, and/or His authority to do so; then to question the authority of those He  has placed in authority.

Moses plead with Korah, Dathan and Abiram (vv. 8-9), to change their heart and mind; but to no avail.  Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before the LORD (v. 22), and plead with God for the congregation, and God’s mercy upon them.

All who would separate themselves from the uprising, and the three men would be spared the event that was about to happen.

Because they refused to repent the judgment of God was about to fall.  Hear the words of Moses to the men and the congregation….

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. vv. 28-34

We all need to consider these words which are from God.  This by no means even hints at toleration of evil and godless leadership; especially within a Congregation of Christian people.  Neither does it allow for false teachers who preach contrary to the content of Scripture, or of Christ Jesus.

Let us be content with our calling and place in life.  Let us do our part, and not even desire the office of another.  If we could we might want to ask Korah, Dathan and Abiram about the reality of God’s wrath and judgment.  I think they would agree with…

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of  the living God”  (Hebrews 10:31).

You do not need to perish.  Realize you have sinned, that God sent His Son Jesus to die for you; that He was buried, and that He rose again from the grave, and that He eternally lives giving life to all who believe Him.

 

 

Jesus Through the Bible – Even the Vision of Balaam

“And he took up his parable, and said, ‘Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: ‘He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.’” Numbers 24:15-19

Often the words of a false prophet are not worth posting; however in this case they are documented in Scripture and the prophecies of true prophets to be considered worthy.

Balaam prophesied of Jesus. Jesus is the “Star out of Jacob”. He is also the “Sceptre” that “shall rise out of Israel”. Jesus is the Conqueror of the enemies of Israel, and forever shall be.

If a false prophet has some vision of who Jesus is why do you not have the heart and vision to see, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, God the Living Son; crucified, buried, raised bodily from the grave; and coming again. Jesus is the conqueror of all sin, and the Victor over all enemies of God and His people (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Romans 8:35-39).

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the LORD God of all creation to comfort, encourage, and give strength to the families of the Egypt Air flight 804 into the Mediterranean Sea; and that they will find peace through the Son Jesus Christ, and eternal life in Him.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:24-25 (KJV)

“Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:23

Day Three Hundred Forty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my family, friends and neighbors to be blessed, in peace, comfort and wealth; most of all to be blessed with the peace and presence of the Lord in their lives.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

Dealing With Our Sin; the Enemy Within

“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, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” Numbers 33:55-56 (KJV)

There is a certain ideology of the world today that likens Christianity to extremism of the religious nature. For some reason; fear, shame, or for whatever reason Christians are silent about the things concerning holiness in the life of the Christian; and the major extreme we as individuals must go to to root out, rid ourselves of all that is vile, evil and unholy.

We need to be extremist when it comes to dealing with unholiness. The first place is to begin within ourselves. Put it off. Christ Jesus has given us power and authority to deal with evil in ourselves.

The above verses are verses for Israel to deal with the evil of the land of Canaan they were about to conquer in the name of the LORD. The Canaanites had polluted the land with innocent blood; sacrificing children, and the elderly alike; worshipping unholy deities. God had given them more than 400 years to change their ways; but they did not. Now He was going to purify the land.

For the Christian we are to put off sin, and put on Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10ff); and that warfare deals with fighting sin within, and around us. That warfare does not involve the shedding of innocent blood. That blood has already been shed; the blood of Jesus Christ for our sins.

The warning of verse 56 above is that if we do not drive evil out, and we allow any of it to remain, then that evil will be a torment; just as thorns in our sides, and pricks in our eyes; the evil we let remain will be a vexing of our souls. May God help us.

That Thing Which No One wants to Deal With; Must Be Dealt With

“And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.”

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through 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.” Numbers 31:8, 16 (KJV)

Are we grieved by our sin? Are we brokenhearted by our sin and the sin of others? Will we obey God concerning how we deal with sin? To the minds of humanity in our current days, some of these, or even all of these judgments are harsh, even cruel, and inhumane.

Sin in the eyes of holy God are trespasses against Him. He must deal with sin. In all truth He always has; since the garden of Eden, and through our own day; He still deals with our sin. Humanity today are the ones who are not addressing the matter of personal sin.

GOD has paid our sin debt through the violent, bloody death of His own Son Jesus Christ. He has shown how He hates sin even to the death of His Son.

The above event in the Bible takes place shortly before Moses’ own death, because of His sin of disobedience. The event takes place due to Balaam’s counsel to pervert the children of Israel, through the pagan, ungodly practices of Moab (Numbers 25).

Remember Jesus’ words,

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

God has already dealt with the sins of those who believe Him. He will ultimately deal with all sin. Trust Jesus, and be saved.

Condemning Law; Saving Grace

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” Numbers 27:18-23 (KJV)

The verses preceding these tell us of Moses being commanded by God to go onto Mount Abarim from which he would look over into the Promised Land, and see the destination of the children of Israel. Moses would die there, because he had rebelled against the LORD and struck the rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-11).

We can see in the reading of the books of the Law that the Law is unable to deliver. It teaches, it convicts, it provides not salvation, except in perfection of keeping it; which no one is able to do. So the Law condemns, and leaves with no hope. The apostle Paul says of the Law,

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galations 3:24-25

Moses represents the Law, because he is the Lawgiver. Joshua represents the salvation of the LORD which is by grace. Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus which means “Jehovah is salvation”.

Jesus Christ is our Victor, not the Law.

Deal Quickly with Sin

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 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. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” Numbers 25:6-9 (KJV)

The world and those caught up in unholiness do not understand holiness, and this zeal which Phinehas had for the holiness of God. Many of those who profess to be Christians are okay with the world and its unholiness; thus, portraying to the world, an unholy god.

Verse 3 of chapter25 tells us that the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, because they had joined themselves with the very people who had been trying to have them cursed by Balaam. Balaam showed that he hated God, His holiness, and His people by leading the people of Moab to join with Israel in flagrant rebellion against God (Revelation 2:14).

I am not going to try and explain Phinehas’s actions, except God did approve of them, because of His zeal; and due to his zeal for the holiness of God the plague which had came on the people was stopped. God also blessed Phinehas, and his family (Numbers 25:12-13). The actions of Phinehas most likely saved the lives of thousands more of the people of Israel.

Sin was dealt with by God through the death of His Son. God Himself struck Him (Isaiah 53:4-9). That is how God views His holiness. How quickly will I deal with sin in my own life? How about you? Let us deal first with our own sin, then we can with mercy deal with the sins of others.

The Vessel God Uses

“And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: he hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” Numbers 24:15-19 (KJV)

To me Balaam is a puzzle. He is a man of enchantments for foretelling the future, and evidently for pronouncing curses on whomever he will (Numbers 24:1). Yet in the above verses, and in others in the saga of Balaam, we see him as a man who appears concerned with saying what the LORD says.

If God could use a donkey to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:22-41) I do not know why God could not use a lying  prophet to speak His truth.

In the prophecy written above we see a prophecy of the coming Messiah of Israel. Balaam speaking of Jesus Christ coming. The prophecy is pointing mostly to the second coming of Christ, but Jesus was the fulfillment of “There shall come a Star out of Jacob”, and the rest of the prophecies as well.

He will come again and all who have opposed Him will be destroyed.

For more study on Balaam you may follow this link.

The Living Look

“And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 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.” Numbers 21:6-9 (KJV)

The people were complaining, murmuring about the bread that came from heaven, which they had called “Manna” which means “what is it?”. It seems to me that people of today, even professing Christians have grown tired of the Bread from heaven. He is Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Due to the murmuring of the people of Israel God sent fiery serpents into the camp; and these serpents bit them, and many of these murmurers died. Their deaths were due to their conspiracy with sin to overthrow God’s very means of their sustenance. Murmuring, ungratefulness, says to others and to God, “I know what is best for my life, and this is not it”.

When I first began studying the Bible I came to this verse, and I knew that it was a type, a picture of the sinner looking to Jesus on the cross, and being delivered from sin. My question was, “How does a serpent represent my Saviour?” The study continued until I discovered 2 Corinthians 5:21, then I had the answer. God made Jesus to be sin for us… that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, became on the cross the very thing that His Father hated and despised; and took the holy judgment and wrath that only myself, and the whole human race was responsible for. If I would have died for my own sin; if you were to die for your own sin, then there would not be eternal life; but eternal death, and dying torment.

By looking to Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection we can look unto Him and live eternally in the presence of God, and in His glory.

Hear the words of Jesus Himself,

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15

Blossomed Authority

“And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.” Numbers 17:6-9 (KJV)

Following God’s judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram in chapter 16 because of their rebel hearts; and questioning of Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership, and authority God tells Moses to collect the “rods” of the “Prince” of each tribe, with Aaron’s among them. Their names were placed on each rod.

This was done to stop the murmurings of the people (v. 5). The LORD also said, “The rod I choose shall blossom” and it did far more.

These rods were not separated one from another, but put before the ark of the covenant. The Testimony was the Ten Commandments of stone within the Ark.

We can see from the above text that Aaron’s rod is the one that blossomed,and bear fruit of almonds. Now cut, dead, rods just do not bear fruit, little lone, blossom. It was the authority of God showing the people of Israel who was His chosen High Priest. That was what God said. That is what would stand.

The rod, budding, and blossoming, then bearing fruit is also a picture of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Risen from death to life, blossoming, and bearing the fruit of the glory of God.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26). Believing, trusting Him you will never die. Do you believe this? Will you believe this?

Despising the Word of the LORD

“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” Numbers 15:30-31 (KJV)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I know that is a sin, but I am going to go ahead and do it.” They might even include in their statement something like this; “I know God is a forgiving God. He will forgive me anyway.” That is presumptuous sin. According to the above verse “…his iniquity shall be upon him”

The individual who would live this way, is in great peril; and is not taking what God says seriously. This individual is a blasphemer. Verses 32 – 36 show a man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day; a clear violation of the fourth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”. He “thumbed his nose” at God, and said, “I will do it anyway”. He was stoned to death.

This type of disobedient sin would not come from the heart of a man or woman of God; who has been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

There is forgiveness of sin. There is only death to blaspheme God by “despising the word of the LORD”.

The apostle John has written,

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Presumptuous willful sin is still a serious matter with God. Let us always flee to the cross of Jesus.

Let Us Go Up At Once

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:30-33 (KJV)

Before these verses we find Moses sending twelve men to check out the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb have returned with the other ten, excited about what they have seen. To them the possibilities are wonderful. Look a the cluster of grapes they have returned with; so large it is carried between two men on a pole.

God had promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants that had become a great number of people. At the time of this venture, they had been in the wilderness about two years. Had they came back believing as Caleb and Joshua; rather than in unbelief they would have crossed into the land much earlier than they did.

God gave them a promise. The ten did not believe it. Two saw the promise and the possibility. Ten saw the problems, and the power of the enemy.

I have been often quick to judge these people, but now I have discovered that I tend to be like the ten who were unbelieving. The giants are too big. The mountains are too tall. I am too small. I tend to forget that my God makes all things possible. Jesus even said,

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

Because of the majorities unbelief they would not enter the Promised Land. None of the adults 20 years and above would be allowed to enter the Land; and they were condemned to 38 more years in the wilderness. The Hebrew Letter says,

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Let us walk in the promise of the Christ who loved us unto death, even the death of the cross that we might do all things through His name, and glorify Him. For as the angel Gabriel said unto Mary,

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

The Cloud of the LORD

“And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.” Numbers 10:34-36 (KJV)

I have heard the phrase, “She’s walking in a cloud” or something similar; but this cloud would take on a whole new meaning. This is not the first time it has been mentioned and it is relevant due to the children leaving Mount Sinai at this point.

They have received all their instructions, and the Law, and the building of the Tabernacle has been completed.

This cloud became a Pillar of Fire at night. This Cloud and Pillar of Fire are connected with the Ark of the covenant. They are one in representing the presence of the LORD with Israel in the wilderness.

“The cloud of the LORD” was a covering for them from the hot sun during the day. The Psalmist speaks of this in Psalm 105:39. When the Cloud moved the people went with the Cloud.

Prayer is offered by Moses as the Cloud leads the way, “Rise up, LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.” It is for certain that no enemy can stand against GOD.

The Christian has the very presence of the LORD within. We too are directed by God; led by God, filled by God; and made holy by Him. He is our refreshment, our protection, and our strength. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Blessed Shoulders

“But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.” Numbers 7:9 (KJV)

The Tabernacle has been completed and set up. Offerings of carts, wagons, has been brought for the carrying of some of the weightier thing so the Tabernacle for moving. No wagon is given to the sons of Kohath. They must bear the holy thing upon their shoulders.

The altar of burnt offering, though not mentioned as being carried the bronze laver, the table of showbread, the lampstand (Menorah), the golden altar of incense, the Ark of the covenant with the mercy seat; all to be carried with any utensils by the sons of Kohath; upon their shoulders (Numbers 4:1-20). They were not to touch the holy things, “Lest they die”.

How did they carry them without touching them? A description of the process is given in verse 12 of Numbers 4. Each article was to be covered with a “cloth of blue” then “with a covering of badgers’ skins”.

These holy articles had already been built with rings in the sides for poles to be inserted, or as in the case of the Ark the poles were to remain (Exodus 25:14-15).

What does all this have to do with Christians of today; or even the world today? I pray I can answer that. The whole of the Tabernacle is a picture or pattern given to Moses of the Presence of God in heaven. It is a picture for us of God’s indwelling presence. God desires to be in the midst of His people. It ultimately points to Christ Jesus.

The name “Immanuel” means God with us. Jesus Christ is Immanuel. God came in the person of His Son to die for our sins; to reconcile fallen, sinful man unto Himself, that we might be one with Him (John 17:21).

Of this verse Matthew Henry wrote,

“Observe, No sooner is the tabernacle fully set up than this provision is made for the removal of it. Note, Even when we are but just settled in the world, and think we are beginning to take root, we must be preparing for changes and removes, especially for the great change. While we are here in this world, every thing must be accommodated to a militant and movable state. When the tabernacle was framing, the princes were very generous in their offerings, for then they brought precious stones, and stones to be set (Exo_35:27), yet now they bring more presents. Note, Those that have done good should study to abound therein yet more and more, and not be weary of well-doing.”
from Matthew Henry Commentary

These were blessed shoulders. Sons of Kohath – allied with God to bear His holiness on their shoulders.

The LORD Bless You

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

This blessing was given to the Priests of Israel to bless the people. It was not an earned blessing, but a blessing from the hand of God’s mercy and grace. Of this blessing it has been said,

Here is a benediction that can go all the world over, and can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it: it is the speech of God: every letter may conclude with it; every day may begin with it; every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing—keeping—shining—the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems. D. L. Moody, Notes from My Bible, pg. 41
from BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Lord Jesus Himself is our greatest blessing and the greatest fulfillment of this blessing. It is however a blessing in which we can be a blessing to others.

From this preacher,

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Keeping the Way

“But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.” Numbers 3:38-39 (KJV)

In previous chapters the order was given for the twelve tribes encampment around the Tabernacle; with the place of God’s presence in the midst of them.

Then between the twelve tribes, and the Tabernacle was the Levites placed as GOD ordered around the Tabernacle. Notice in the above verses the ones near the gate or entrance of the Tabernacle was Moses and Aaron, and his sons; that would include their families, and the purpose of their being there was “Keeping the charge of the sanctuary…”. The word “charge” has to do with “Guard”. They were the one’s to keep out the “stranger”, so that he/she might not die.

I can see in this that the purpose of the minister of God the Biblical preacher is to tell others that there is only one way to God, and that Jesus is the “Door” (John 10:1-9). To try and enter another way is to perish.

Every Christian is to be a guardian of the way to God. We are to show men, women, boys, and girls the way to God. The way to God is through the “Door”, and Jesus says “I am the Door” (John 10:7, 9)

It is a great harm to lead others to believe that there are alternative ways to God, other than through the cross of Jesus Christ.

They Pitched by Their Standards

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.” Numbers 1:54 (KJV)

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.” Numbers 2:34

The book of Numbers is rightly titled. It is the numbering or counting of the people, and organizing them in their encampment in the wilderness as they journey. That is clearly noted as we read the first few chapters of this book of the Law.

When we read in the noted verses above we need to realize that when it says to us “the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” that it is dealing with the matter at hand; that is the counting of the people, and in chapter two their placement in their camp in proportion to the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

The number of men 20 years of age and above; and not counting the Levites; was 603,550 men. We see a great mass of humanity in the wilderness. With women and children this number could easily reach 2 to 3 million people total. And these “did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.”

In reading these two chapters and the setting up of their encampment you should also note the position of the Tabernacle with the position of the tribes. The Levites; the caretakers, spiritual leaders; were in the midst of the camp with the Tabernacle in the midst of them. That is just where GOD wants to be; in midst of the lives of His people.

GOD has made it possible to be right in the hearts of His people through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus. All of these journeys, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the covenant, etc. are pictures of the Christ, the Son of God. He desires to be the center, very being of your life.

Possessing the Promise

Possessing the Promise

Numbers 33:50-56

What Israel had to do to Possess the Promise:

1. Drive out the Inhabitants of the Land.
2. Rid the Land of all their Images of worship.
3. Destroy all their places of Worship.

What the Christian must do to Possess the Promise:

I. RID THE HEART OF ALL EVIL
II. DRIVE OUT ALL PAST SINS; PUT ON THE LORD JESUS.
III. THE HEART MUST BE CLEARED OF ALL PAST IMAGES OF WORSHIP.
IV. THE HEART GIVEN FULLY TO JESUS.
A. Possessing the Promise – We are to Put on the Lord Jesus Christ…
Rom. 13:12, 14; 1 Cor.15:53, 54; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; 6:11; Col. 3:10, 12, 14; 1 Thes.5:8; 2 Tim. 1:6

Where Our Possession Is

Where Your Possession Is

Numbers 32:20-33

1. The Land of Canaan; the Land of Promise was on the West Side of Jordan.
2. Two Tribes were Content to Be Given Land on the East Side of Jordan.
3. Agreement Was Reached; then the Half Tribe of Manasseh Wants in Too.
4. What Happens When God’s People do not Receive the Promise by Their Own Choice?

I. THE PROMISE FOR THE CHRISTIAN IS CHRIST AND HIS INHERITANCE.
II. THE CHRISTIAN CANNOT BE CONTENT OUTSIDE OF THAT PROMISE.
III. THERE WILL BE CONTINUING DISCONTENT ON THE EAST SIDE OF GOD’S PROMISE.
IV. WHERE DOES YOUR POSSESSION LIE?

 

Able to Overcome

Able to Overcome

Numbers 13:30

1. Look at the background story (vv. 1-3; Deut. 1:19-23).
2. They searched the Promised Land to find it just as God had said; “A land flowing with milk and honey” (vv. 26-29).
3. They looked at the problem, rather than the Promise (vv. 31-33).

I. GOD HAD GIVEN THE PROMISE OF THE LAND; WHY DOUBT IT.

II. THOUGH IT MAY SEEM PRACTICAL TO SEARCH OUT THE LAND; WE WILL ONLY FIND IT AS GOD HAS SAID.

III. LET OUR FAITH BE LIKE THAT OF CALEB; “LET US GO UP AT ONCE” – WITHOUT DELAY.

Jesus Through the Bible – Even the Vision of Balaam

“And he took up his parable, and said, ‘Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: ‘He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.'”  Numbers24:15-19

Often the words of a false prophet are not worth posting; however in this case they are documented in Scripture and the prophecies of true prophets to be considered worthy.

Balaam prophesied of Jesus.  Jesus is the “Star out of Jacob”.  He is also the “Sceptre” that “shall rise out of Israel”.  Jesus is the Conqueror of the enemies of Israel, and forever shall be.

If a false prophet has some vision of who Jesus is why do you not have the heart and vision to see, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, crucified, buried, raised bodily from the grave; and coming again.  Jesus is the conqueror of all sin, and the Victor over all enemies of God and His people (1 Corinthians 15:51-58;  Romans 8:35-39).

Through the Bible in a Year – 022413

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Things That Really Count
Numbers 11 – 30

In our world today everything is digital. What does that mean. Some how the “experts”, at least those in the know about such things have figured out how we can have cell phones digitally; with their towers digitally; televisions are digital now; the computers are digital.

A “digit” is defined in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICITONARY as “any of the figures 1 to 9 inclusive and usually the symbol 0.”

Some how the numbers 1 and 0 are the link to it all. When you have the right equipment you can place those numbers in “cyber space”, pull them out with a CD player, DVD player, or HDTV picture, and you have music, movies in your home and over the air, sattelite TV.

We look in the Bible and we see Digital is nothing new with God. Numbers or Digits do count with God.

1. The People Count;

2. The Sacrifices Count;

3. Disobedience Counts toward Judgment (Chapters 11-16);

  • We see complaining of hunger in the numbers (11);
  • We see unbelief in the numbers (12-14);
  • We see envy of leadership (16);

4. There is a Prophet who Counted for Profit (23-25);

5. The Rock in the Wilderness Counts (20:7-11; Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4);

6. The Inheritance Counts for All (26-30; Romans 8:16-17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error of Balaam

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16; Jude 11

I. NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

* + “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).
* + “And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)
* + The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.

II. TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).

* + Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?
* + The voice Balaam heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness
* + There is no need to seek God’s advice again.

1. He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).
2. God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).

III. WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).

* + “If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)
* + Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?

1. “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.
2. It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.

* + Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

IV. THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).

* + Can a prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?
* + It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.

1. So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

* + Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.

Even John the apostle writing the words of Jesus to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

V. WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).

* + It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.

1. It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.

* + Jesus said; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

+ There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.

VI. THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24).

* + Balaam’s eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.
* + In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).
* + Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.
* + The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

(Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22)

VII. AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).

* + When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.
* + Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.

1. The sin of Balaam, and Israel was the ecumenical move of bringing the unholy into the holy.
2. Moab and Midian were of the same bloodline as Abraham

* + John Baptist and Jesus said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

* + “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

1. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

VIII. THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).

+ Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.

* + These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.
* + If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.

1. If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.
2. You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?” Oh! You’re not? You have taken away something that belonged to another. You are in the “Error of Balaam”.

* + Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 11 – The Doom of Balaam

The prophet of God was to be faithful to God, God’s Word, and to God’s people.  The prophet of God was to speak the truth, speak what God said, and on the immediate surface of things it almost seems that Balaam was faithful in those things.  However,  What was he doing going with the enemy of God, and God’s people anyway?  There is a clue itself.  If we listen to the arguments of our day; it might go something like this; “Well! We need to join with them, identify with them, know their desires, likes and dislikes if we are going to win them to Christ.”

What it ultimately comes down to is are we going to serve God and be faithful to Him; or are we going to serve mammon [material gain, popularity] and people’s approval?  Balaam does not want to “rock the boat”.

My reading today consisted of Numbers 24 – 36.  We are told in Numbers 24;

“And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.”  Numbers 24:25 (KJV)

We are not told precisely what Balaam has done but we see the  results when in chapter 25 we have the evidence of his fine demonic labors.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.”(v. 1ff).

There was a man in Israel’s camp who saw the tragedy unfolding and became bold, courageous and filled with righteous indignation;

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 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.”  25:6-8

The Moabites had joined with the Midianites to destroy Israel.  Balaam had failed to curse Israel as Balak had wished; but he did leave them a means to curse Israel.  It seems that Balaam may have seen a weakness in some of Israel’s people, so he suggested to king Balak of infiltration with their debauchery in idol worship; and profaning the people of God and violating the laws of God.  He is no prophet of God at all who shows the enemy of God the weaknesses of God’s people to cause their downfall.

In the end Balaam and five kings of Midian are killed by an army of 12,000 Israelite men (31:8).  In verse 16 we are told that it was Balaam who caused the “trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor”;

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through 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.” Numbers 31:16

The New Testament gives three verses dealing with the “prophet” Balaam,

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” 2 Peter 2:15
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 11
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Revelation 2:14

Woe be to the pastor, preacher, evangelists, and any believer who follows the way of Balaam, who runs greedily after the error of Balaam; or holds the doctrine of Balaam, casting a stumbling block before the children of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 10 – Hearts of Rebellion

There are times we all have our complaints.  We complain about the weather.  It is either too hot; or too cold.  It is raining when we wanted to work outdoors, or picnic, or play in some fashion.  We complain because our job does not pay enough.  We  may complain because of sickness; either our own or a friend or family member.

The reading this morning is, and was for me; Numbers 10 – 23.  There is much complaining; and from what I can see the complaining is toward Moses and Aaron, and especially toward God.  Complaining against God is a pitiful thing.  It shows that you know better than God does; or at least that you think you do.  And that is the heart of the complaints among the children of Israel in the wilderness.

In chapter 11 they complain about the Manna;

“And the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” (11:8)

That is not, however, the testimony of Scripture in Exodus 16:31;

“…and it was like coriander see, and white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Manna was the sustenance which God had provided for Israel as they wandered in the wilderness.  It was sweet; at least until they began messing with it.  They wanted meat, so God gives them meat; so much it makes many of them sick unto death.  Hear what the word of the LORD says;

“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”  Numbers 11:23 (KJV).

Even Moses questions God about where all this meat is going to come from, thus God’s message for Moses, and the people.

In chapters 10 – 23 we see much rebellion of the children; some of it beginning with what the KJV calls “the mixed multitude”.  This “mixed multitude” are people who came out of Egypt who were not of Israel.  Some were probably Egyptians who saw the power of God, yet did not believe in Him to the point of really trusting Him.  That is a matter Christians of today need to be alert and aware of also.

When Moses sent a search committee into the Promised Land to search out its richness and possible problems (chapters 13-14) of the twelve who were sent only two returned with faith, believing the LORD was able to deliver the land into their hands.  Rebellion and unbelief are bulwarks of hindrance to the power and work of God in individual lives and a nation.  When the people realized they had sinned against the LORD, they attempted yet to rebel against God and proceeded with a contingent of people to go and take the land (14:40-45).

Three Levite leaders rebel against the leadership of Aaron and Moses; they and their followers are destroyed as the earth opens up and swallows Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, their families and their followers (chapter 16).  It is indeed “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Even Moses shows some defiance when instead of speaking to the rock he strikes it.  Yet God in His grace provides water from the rock for the people.

Last, but not least, was a prophet; who was a prophet for profit; or for hire is called on to curse the children of Israel. Chapters 22 – 23 begin the plot of Balak king of the Moabites to curse Israel through the use of Balaam the erring prophet.  God used a donkey to speak to this prophet.  Not to belittle the story or to deny its truth; I wonder how many times God has used an animal to speak to people and they refused to hear them?

Speak LORD, for Thy servant hears.

Rebellion is  the heart of unbelief.  When complainers challenge God, His authority, His leaders, and His people they will die.  When they challenge His promises they will die (14:36-38).  Believe the LORD, trust Him through His Son Jesus who died for your sins, was buried and rose again.  He is our only hope.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 9 – The Way to Go

In our readings of Leviticus, and now into Numbers we find much law; and there; probably by some people’s accounting; is little grace.  However, I find that assessment of “little grace” hard to accept.  It is, afterall, by God’s grace that He gave us Law.

I have a couple of sets of verses we will look at today.  The first is when Moses enters into the Tabernacle;

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and He spake unto him.”  Numbers 7:89 (KJV)

With the building of the Tabernacle finished and set up after the direction of the LORD; Moses enters into the finished work, to hear from the Creator/Architect.  To hear the voice of the one who is Lord of all is the desire of every child of God.  Most of the time it has been the LORD who is speaking; and that is as it should be.

Far too often we want to speak, even to God; and He approved of us speaking to Him; however, it is first necessary that we listen to and hear Him.  It is His heart we need when we come to Him.  It is He who gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4); we find those desires by knowing Him, His heart, and hearing His Word.

How do we know when it is time to do something?  Say, to move from where we live, to move out of what has become called our “Comfort zone”, and into a place less comfortable, or more threatening?  We often leave it to circumstances, our feelings, or outside or inside pressure (Outside  pressure being from the people around us).  When did the children of Israel know when to pack up and leave where they were?

“And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.   Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.”  Numbers 9:21-23

By the cloud, and pillar of fire by night.  For the Christian that cloud is the Spirit of God within.  All of those things mentioned – circumstances, pressure, threatenings all play a part if we are hearing the voice of God.  Many times it might not have to be those threatenings or fearful things; if we would but hear God and go the way the Spirit of God leads.

Far too many times we try and jump ahead of God; when what He is wanting is for us to stay, grow, and prosper in Him.

When God moves we should move.  When He stops we should stop.  If we are not seeing God work, then that is God’s invitation to stop and take an assessment of our lives.  We do not force God to move, nor should we move without God’s move.  So many do, and end up discouraged, in doubt and darkness.

The way to go is the way of God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God in you is Christ in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Manna

When looking at the series of “The Scarlet Thread” my intention in doing this is to show Jesus Christ.  As we look at the manna – “What is it?” – is the actual meaning of the word.  We must remember Jesus’s words, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:32-35).

Manna was a special bread provide miraculously by GOD for the children of Israel to gather each morning for each day.  It could only be gathered for six days, and enough could be gathered on the six day for the seventh day.  It was given in Exodus 16:14-15.  There is more scripture dealing with it in verses 16 -36.  For the verses we will look at in the book of Numbers I want us to remember Exodus 16:31,

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Remembering the taste of it was as “Honey”, or “wafers made with honey”, so it had the taste of sweetness in it.

We read in Numbers 11:8,

“And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.”

Then, they go around murmuring that “There is nothing at all, beside this manna”.  Well!  Is it any wonder?  They have taken a perfect substance, made by the hand of God, miraculously provided, a daily provision; and they try to “Improve” it.

According to Jesus in John 6 He Himself is the Bread of Life.  It is not an overstatement for me to say that there is much people today trying to “Improve” on Jesus.  When people are bored with worship of Jesus preachers try to improve it by adding to the Word of God, adding entertainment to draw a crowd, adding worldly music with spiritual words, and that don’t always include the cross of Christ.  All just so they can have a crowd.  They lose their love for Jesus.

When we look at Jesus and think of Him, worship Him, adore Him; what more could we need?  What more could we want?  We are to desire to be like Him.  How can we be like Him.  He desired to do the Father’s will (Luke 2: 49; John 8:29).  We are to live for Him, just as the Scriptures proclaim; nothing of the flesh.

We are not called to draw a crowd.  We are called to be a witness.  We are called to bear the image of Christ.

The manna is the Bread of Heaven who is Christ.  Follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 022011

Reading today from Numbers 34 – 36.

These chapters deal with the borders of the land for the nine tribes and the half tribe on the West side of the Jordan River when they pass over;  the cities of refuge where one who accidentally kills may flee, and stay until the death of the high priest; with intentional murder; and the final chapter of Numbers deals with a land issue for the daughters of Zelophehad.

I want to look at the issue of murder according to chapter 35 and verses 30-34,

“Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.  Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.  And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.  So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”  Numbers 35:30-34 (KJV)

The murder of an individual shall be dealt with by the putting to death of the killer.  One is not to be put to death for the crime only by the witness of one.  There is to be no ransom paid for the murderer.  He is to be sentenced to death.  The blood that he has shed defiles the land; and God dwells in the land; “…For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”.

In the society of today there are many who argue against what we call capital punishment, or the death penalty.  Supposedly it is because of the value of every man’s or woman’s life.  After all the question is, “What good does it do the one who was murdered? or his/her family?”  Certainly the family grieves over the loss of the loved one.  To plead for the life of the murderer and in the end give him his life is to place greater value on the murderer’s life than the murdered individual.  It leaves pollution upon the land; and God cannot dwell there.

The only redemption for the murderer is his own blood.

What should the Christian’s response be for murder?  To obey God’s will and His law.  We rejoice not in the death of the murderer, but we should rejoice in God’s dwelling among us in the person of His Son and His shed blood for us.

Remember to read Numbers 34 – 36 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021911

Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.

The observations today will come from chapter 33 verses 50-56.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.  And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.   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, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.  Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.'”  Numbers 33:50-56 (KJV)

At this point the children of Israel are nearing the time of their entrance into the Promised Land.  GOD is preparing them for their entry.  As you read the above chapters you will see that there are two tribes plus a half tribe who have requested to stay on the East side of the Jordan River and inherit that land rather than the land on the West of Jordan.  Those tribes are Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.  They were to send their fighting men across Jordan to fight for the land; or lose their inheritance on the East side.  Their preparations were made, the agreement was reached; and then the preparations for the West side were to be made.

In reading the above Scripture text we don’t find the word “If you pass over the Jordan into the land…”  It is “When”.  So with the LORD this was a sure thing that Israel was to do.  When they entered the land they were to drive out the inhabitants; destroy their pictures, images, high  places [places of their demon worship], and take the land for their own.  Once they possessed the land they were to make it their home.

Once they had driven out the inhabitants they were to divide the land between the tribes and each tribes people.  The more people there was in a tribe the more land they would receive.  The less people there was in a tribe the less land they were to receive.  It was a fair way of dividing the land.

It was by the command of the LORD to drive out the inhabitants, even destroy them, putting an end to the evil of their immorality, and demon worship.  Now, some reading this are going to think and say, “This shows how mean and cruel this god of yours is.”  Rather, it shows how holy, just and gracious He is.  Our LORD has given these people over 400 years to repent and change their ways (Genesis 15:12-16).  Now God is cleansing the land and His people in the process.

We must realize that sin is a grievous thing in the eyes of GOD.  It is a dreadful thing, and until we see sin as GOD does there is no hope for us.

How do these passages relate to the Christian?  Paul the apostle spoke of these things being “ensamples” for the Christian,

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)

These also apply to the Christian as an example of how the Christian life is a battle against sin, and the devil who desires to destroy anything which belongs to Christ; he desires to destroy our walk with Christ, therefore we must put on the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:10 ff.  We must drive out the evil desires of the flesh.  We must hate what is evil as GOD does and love what is good and holy.  Anyone who would tell us, “The Christian life is a breeze; it’s easy” is a bald faces liar; or just doesn’t know what they are talking about.  It is a battle.  The inheritance is in Christ Jesus.  We are “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).

Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021811

Reading for today Numbers 28-30

Much of the reading today is a repeat from Exodus on the sacrifices, however, we will take a short look at chapter 28 verses 1-8.

These verses deal with a daily offering,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto Me, shall ye observe to offer unto Me in their due season.’   And thou shalt say unto them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.  The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; and a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.  It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.  And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.  And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.'”  Numbers 28:1-8

This offering was an offering of two lambs; two spotless, without blemish lambs.  This, of course represents sinlessness; of which our Savior Jesus Christ Son of the Living GOD was and is sinless.  Yet, He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), receiving in our behalf the judgment for sin which we deserved.  The just for the unjust.  Most important of all is that sacrifice was offered once, and fulfilled the law.

Of these verses the ESV Study Bible note says,

Num. 28:1–8 The Daily Offering. A lamb was offered in the morning and another in the evening at twilight (v. 4). This pattern of prayer in the morning and in the evening has carried on in Jewish and Christian practice throughout the centuries. Pleasing (or “soothing”) aroma is a phrase that regularly describes the effect of sacrifice on God: it soothes his anger at sin (see Gen. 8:21). (p. 311)

There is also a picture for the Christian to offer daily our prayers, daily reading of Scripture, and ourselves to the Lord’s work and ministry.

Writing of the daily offerings the apostle wrote,

“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”  Hebrews 7:25-28

Of course the apostle is speaking of Jesus Christ.

Then again in Hebrews it is written,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

We are assured that the work of sacrifice for the forgiveness and cleansing of sin is completed in Christ Jesus.

Read Numbers 28 – 30.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021711

Today’s reading from Numbers 25 – 27.

Chapter 25 deals with Israel’s sin at Peor or Baalpeor; chapter 26 tells us the numbers of the men age twenty and over; and chapter 27 tells us of Moses view into the Promised Land, because he was not going to be allowed to enter the land due to his rebellion in the striking of the rock; rather than speaking to it, as GOD has said.

Since we looked at Balaam in yesterday’s study let’s finish up with Balaam today.

In chapter 25 we have the people of Israel sinning grievously against GOD.  They were joining themselves with the people of Moab.  Moab hated Israel and wanted them cursed well now they brought a curse upon them.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.   And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” 25:1-3

Where does Balaam fit into this picture?  We need to look ahead in the book of Numbers.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through 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.” 31:16

It has every appearance of telling us that Balaam saw he could not curse Israel, but he sees a weakness in them, and counsels Balak to send and invitation to, at least some of the people, to allow them into Israel’s camp.  Bringing their demon worship with them, they lead many into adulterous worship against the Creator of the universe.

We see also in chapter 31 and verse 8 that Balaam was slain by the sword.  He was a wicked prophet for hire.

The great thing about chapter 25 that we need to see is the zeal for GOD shown by Phineas (vv. 7-8).  Because of this sin 24,000 people died as a result of a plague.  Because of the zeal for GOD and His righteousness; the work of Phineas, the grandson of Aaron, the plague was stopped.  Far more people could have died were it not for Phineas.

In a time when there are businesses for the promotion of adultery, online  and otherwise, there needs to be many more with the zeal of Phineas; rushing in where angels fear to tread; not taking lives, but with the message of God’s Word, warning of the destruction that is coming into lives due to so much immoral behavior.

In this time as Christians we have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ; yet loving enough to confront; especially any brethren who call themselves Christian who are dabbling in immoral behavior; participating in things that destroy families, marriages, and lives of children; and calling them to turn back to GOD.

Please read Numbers 25 – 27.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021611

Reading from Numbers 22-24.

The reading today deals with the prophetic work of one of the prophets of the Old Testament.  This is a prophet who was in the “ministry” for a profit.  He was in it to make all he could.

The Moabite people were fearful of this massive group of people who were traveling across their part of the wilderness.  The king of Moab, Balak, calls for Balaam the prophet of whom we speak.  The comment of Scripture says,

“And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.” 22:3

Let’s first examine who the people called the Moabites are; just to keep it in mind.  Moab was one of the sons of Lot by the eldest daughter (Genesis 19:37).  So by this we can see a kinship between these two people – Moab and Israel.  Of course, many years have passed, more than four hundred at least.

Balak calls for the prophet Balaam, and seeks him so that he may curse Israel.  Israel is a nation blessed by GOD.  Called out of Egypt by GOD.  Led by GOD.  A questions should enter our minds upon reading this, “How can a prophet of GOD even consider taking Moab up on this thought.  They have promised him great reward.

The prophet is blind to the ways of God.  God tells Balaam, after he has already turned down Balak’s first request to come, and he sends a second group of messengers,

“And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, ‘If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.'” 22:20

Here is Balaam’s fault.  If you will note what God says; Balaam is to not go with the men unless they come to call him; yet Balaam arises and goes to them.  He is eager to go and curse Israel, yet says, “All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do.” 23:26.

In the process of all this we find that his eyes are not open as he says in 24:3, but that they are set on deception, and the receiving of blessing for himself and funds for his pocket.  His ride has more spiritual perception than Balaam does (22:22-35).

By the end of chapter 24 we see Balaam speaking prophetic words of blessing upon Israel.  Yet, be warned Balaam is still a prophet of the worst sort.  We are warned of his work and “ministry” in the New Testament:

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”  2 Peter 2:15-16″Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”  Jude v. 11

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Revelation 2:14

Later on in the daily readings we will see that the prophet finally succeeded in gaining what he wanted, yet failed GOD and His people greatly.

Remember to read Numbers 22 – 24 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Numbers – 021511

Today reading from Numbers 19 – 21.

There are several great points for us to consider from these three chapters.  The hearts of the surrounding people to Israel as they journey, and most of it due to fear and disrespect.  Moses told, by GOD, to speak to the rock, and then, he strikes it instead.  Finally the placement of the “serpent on a pole” for their healing from snake bite, because of their sinning in complaints.

We will take a moment and focus these observations on the Rock.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.’  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:7-11 (KJV)

In Exodus 17 we find the first time the people are thirsty in the wilderness and their experience with the rock.  In that chapter of the Exodus Moses is commanded to strike the rock, and Moses obeys; then, comes forth cool refreshing water for the multitude of people.

In this case above the people are complaining about not having water; and remember this is after seeing God provide water previous to this.  Verse four says, “Why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”  My how short their memories are.  My, how short our memories are as well.  We can be surrounded by God’s grace, mercy, sustenance, and every need being met and still complain.

The apostle Paul tells us that this rock was following them in the wilderness…

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them…”  Can it be anymore clear than that?  Paul continues, “…that Rock was Christ”.  Who was with Israel in the wilderness?  Jesus the Christ of God.

It does not seem that we should even try and understand why Moses struck the rock; but we must remember the consequences of his disobedience.  Because he did this rebellious deed, now Moses will not enter the Promised Land.

It may have been anger that caused him to strike it.  He was disobedient.  It could have been he didn’t fully hear God’s statement.  He was disobedient.  It could have even been because he was “only human”.  He was disobedient.  Moses could not go into the Promised Land, and he did not.

That Rock was Christ.

Remember to read Numbers 19 – 21.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021311

Reading today from Numbers chapters 13 – 15.

The observations today will focus on verses 35 – 39 of chapter 14.

“I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’  And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.  But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.  And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.”  Numbers 14:35-39 (KJV)

It does not immediately say it in this text or context, but the reason for the sending of the twelve “spies” into the land of Canaan was that the people wanted it.  You can read it in Deuteronomy chapter 1; particularly verses 19-33.  Some will look at this and say that contradicts the other statement by God in Numbers 13:1-2; however, what we have is a clearer understanding.  Interpreting the Bible is not simply the understanding of taking a single verse and coming up with a theology, or an understanding.  Scripture must be interpreted in light of other Scripture.

On to the verses above.  The people had refused to go into Canaan without first sending some “spies” into the land.  I can understand their apprehension and fear, but that doesn’t make it right.  They needed to simply believe God, and take Him at His Word.  When twelve men were chosen to go and scout out the land; to see its beauty, its bounty, and its enemies God was allowing them to do so; telling Moses to go ahead and send them.  They were about to find out that they still weren’t trusting the LORD.

When these men came back from their expedition ten of them were very negative about what they saw with hearts of unbelief.  There only words were filled with “but” or as the KJV says “Nevertheless” (13:26-30).  They saw the land and its beauty and bounty, but they saw the people were large and powerful.

Joshua [Oshea] and Caleb saw the land and its beauty and determined that God had promised the land; so let’s go take it as God has said.  Evidently democracy won out, and God determined to make them wander in the wilderness for forty years.  It is often the case when men rebel against God, and try to rule, that God overrules.  The spies died on the spot due to their unbelief, except for Joshua and Caleb.

Something I thought of as I read this morning was that Joshua and Caleb were given an assurance they would enter the Promised Land.  They would not see death.  Who do you know that has a forty year guarantee of living?  Living to see the Promised Land kept them on the direction of seeing God’s plan carried out.

I know a people today who not only have a promise of life, but eternal life.  Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  John 11:25, 26

Let’s believe and follow the promises of God through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins; was buried, carrying away the condemnation of sin; and rose bodily from the grave justifying us forever in the sight of God the Father.

Remember to read Numbers 13 – 15.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

We will look today at Numbers 10:1-10; dealing with the silver trumpets.

Here Moses is leading, possibly 2 million people or more, through the wilderness.  Leading them to a “land of milk and honey”; a prosperous, bountiful land.  There would be total chaos without some form of getting the people to gather at the right place and time.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.  And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.  When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.  When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.  But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.  And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.   And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. ‘”  Numbers 10:1-10 (KJV)

Two million people would cover a lot of ground; especially with their tents/booths, possessions, the tabernacle and other things.  They were to camp in an orderly fashion as has been described in chapter two.  The tabernacle was to be in the midst of the camp.  A picture in itself of God/YHWH dwelling in the midst of His people – “God with us”  Immanuel.

Of verses 1 – 10 in our observations for today the ESV Study Bible notes say…

“Num. 10:1–10 The Silver Trumpets. How was Israel to move in step with the cloud of God’s presence? A large group of people needed to be marshaled, or else any movement was bound to be chaotic. So the primary purpose of the trumpets was to signal when the different tribes were to set out (see vv. 5–7). But they are also to be used to summon the congregation (v. 3) or the chiefs (v. 4). Their use in war and on the festival days is also prescribed (vv. 9–10). But blowing the trumpets was more than just a way of summoning the people to come to the tabernacle or to follow the cloud; it was a kind of prayer, a plea to God to remember his people and their needs, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God (v. 9; cf. v. 10). Two silver trumpets (v. 2), according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.291), were just over a foot in length and flared. They are pictured on Titus’s arch among the plunder he brought to Rome from Jerusalem. Two ways of blowing the trumpets are mentioned here: simply blowing (Num. 10:3–4, 7), and sounding an alarm (vv. 6–7). The difference is that blowing involves long notes, whereas sounding an alarm is done with staccato blasts. On the day of your gladness (v. 10) would include such occasions as festivals or victory celebrations after battle.”

We can see in the Scripture text that there are certain reasons for blowing the trumpets.  1) To call an assembly; 2) For the journeys, each tribe being called out by the sound of the trumpets in their order; 3) calling the princes of each tribe to meet; 4) For an alarm; 5) for when they offer their sacrifices and offerings; 6) For their solemn days; 7) For the beginning of each month; and 8 ) For a memorial unto the LORD.  He tells us, “I am the LORD your God”

There is a reference to these trumpets in the New Testament…

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”  1 Corinthians 14:8

There are at least six other references to trumpet in the New Testament – Matthew 6:2; 24:31;  1 Corinthians 15:52;  Hebrews 12:19;  Revelation 1:10; 4:1 – for differing and similar occasions.

The silver trumpet was a reminder of the wondrous grace of the Living God and His promise of the Messiah who was to come and die for the sins of the world.  What better reasons are there for assembling, worshipping and being diligent in our battle for truth.

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021011

Reading today from Numbers 4 – 6.

My comments today will deal only with the following verses –

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.   And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.'” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

We can see reading from Scripture that it is God’s desire to bless His people.  He desired to bless His people Israel and to give them peace.  The verses of blessing are familiar to both Jews and Christians, and are often spoken; probably not as often as they could or should be among some Christians.

This blessing was given to Moses to give unto Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel.  Moses followed the LORD’s command and delivered it just as God had said.  It follows the law given concerning the Nazarite vow for consecrating one’s self to the LORD.  There was blessing to one who consecrated himself to the LORD and would basically for a life time or for only a month follow the life of a priestly pattern.  We have this blessing given to show us that God wants to bless all His people who will obey His commandments through loving Him.

It is a wonderful thing when God’s face is toward us, looking upon us.  It is a dreadful thing when we think of His back being toward us.  In the Blessed Son we are assured that His face is toward us; and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must remember that the greatest blessing is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Son of God.  In Him we have the “Peace of God that passes understanding”.  All these others are given for types, figures of the true.

Remember to read Numbes 4 – 6 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020911

Reading Numbers 1 – 3 today.

Today I want to consider verses 11 – 13 of chapter 3,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because all the firstborn are Mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD.'”  Numbers 3:11-13 (KJV)

In beginning the book of Numbers we find that it is named correctly for they are numbering or counting the people.  In particular they are counting the males of each of the twelve tribes from the age of twenty up.  The total number comes up to 603 thousand plus.  That is only males 20 years of age and above.  By looking at these numbers we get an idea of the multitude of people who were being led through the wilderness following their deliverance from Egypt.  If we were to just think of each male having a wife that would equal 1.2 million people.  If we add only one child, then, we are nearing 2 million people.  Moses and Aaron had a large task and work to do.

Now, let’s get to the above verses.

Back in Egypt on the day of deliverance the Passover had begun with the shedding of the blood of many lambs; their blood put on the door posts and lintels of each Jewish home as commanded by the LORD.  The Word of the LORD was that every firstborn in the land of Egypt would die.  Israel would not be untouched by this, unless, they obeyed God and applied the blood in God’s prescribed manner.  In doing so the firstborn of Israel were saved from this angel of death.

God redeemed the firstborn of Israel.  They are His.  In order not to take every firstborn for Himself; He took the Levites as the tribe which would serve Him as priests and servants to the people in the tabernacle.  This was an honor and a burden for the Levites.  They were consecrated to the LORD for the task.  They were assigned their duties in raising the tabernacle, and in taking it down; and transporting it when they moved by God’s leadership through the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

One thing that stands out clearly in the above text is that God states, “The Levites shall be Mine”.  Of the firstborn the LORD says, “All the firstborn are Mine”.  As we read the Scriptures; especially the Old Testament; we will find and emphasis placed on the firstborn son.

Jesus Christ is not just the firstborn Son of God, but His only born Son.  It is through this only born Son that we have a High Priest, eternal in Heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding for His own.

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”  Hebrews 8:1-2

Remember to read Numbers 1 – 3 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Bite And A Look

“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”  Numbers 21:9  (KJV).

Many people do not realize the dangers of complaining.  Anyone who has ever read this chapter in Numbers realizes that God does not delight in complaints from His people.  He despises complaining, or murmuring.  In chapter eleven and verse four of Numbers there is the mention of “a mixed multitude”, and these were probably a source of the complaints, though God’s people often need no help in complaining.

The result of their complaining was that “fiery serpents” came into the camp and bit people and they began dying from the poisonous bites.  Do we realize just how poisonous or deadly complaining really is?  I don’t think so.  The individual who complains is spreading a deadly toxin throughout their body.  It may take many years for it to show up, but can lead to death earlier.  It is probably toxic to the people who hang around the complainer as well.  If we are not careful about hanging around complainers we will find ourselves complaining.  This is a complaint that robs us of faith, and puts more trust in self, or selfish desire than in God.  Complaining may come because of fear.

The people, or our text, grew quite fearful, and came to Moses for help, even confessing “We have sinned” (v. 7).  Moses prayed for the people and God gave Moses answer.  The answer was to build the brazen serpent on the pole.

The promise is, “Any man [anyone], when they beheld the serpent of brass, she/he lived”.  This serpent on the pole is a picture of a New Testament truth, with a present reality to the text.  There was deliverance that day for all who believed and looked.

Today, our hope is in Jesus Christ.  Sin was placed on Christ as he hung on the cross, becoming our sin, receiving God’s judgment [brass], and when we realize our sin and its death, we can look to Him and live.  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”  John 3:14-15 (KJV).  Look to Jesus and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16

There are some in the work of the ministry for the ministry of keeping, or getting into others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  Maybe it should be called the taking of others wallets, billfolds, and purses.  This is not a new thing.  The man who is called by God to proclaim the message of God’s word can find himself in many temptations.  One of the strongest is that of obtaining all the wealth of this world he can.

That tends to be the problem with Balaam.

The Bible says;

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 (KJV)

There are two other men named in this verse; Cain of Genesis 4, and Korah [Core] from Numbers 16.  Cain killed his brother; Korah verbally attacked and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  What is the “error of Balaam”?  Greed for reward.  And that is not only gold, silver, precious stones; but it can be power, prestige, position, performance, and/or profit.

Let’s look at Balaam, and his life, his acts – both good and bad, and his demise.

I.  KNOWN TO BE A PROPHET; HE IS REQUESTED TO CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

II.  SEEN TO BE AN ANXIOUS PROPHET TO CURSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (vv. 15-21).

III.  GOES TO BALAK, BECAUSE HE CANNOT SEE (vv. 22-35).

IV.  BALAAM EVIDENTLY HAS THE RIGHT WORDS; BUT NOT THE RIGHT HEART (23:7-12, 18-24).

V.  BALAAM’S EYES ARE OPENED TO THE TRUTH OF ISRAEL (24:2-9, 15).

VI.  BALAAM PROPHESIES OF ISRAEL AND THEIR FUTURE BLESSING (vv. 15-24).

VII.  BALAK BRINGS A CURSE UPON THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (chapter 25).

VIII.  WHAT BALAAM DID TO AID IN THE CURSE UPON THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL (Numbers 31:16)

NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).  God has previously told, and promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).  What Balak was requesting was a curse on himself, but then, they were already cursed by their own fear, hatred, and rejection of God’s people.

Balaam seems to be a sorcerer that was well known among the people of the land of Moab.  His sorcery is spoken of,

“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)

He dealt with “enchantments”, “ritual”, or “performance”, and this is probably the very first time God has intervened in his greedy pursuits; and because it was going to relate to His people.  It can only be but by the mercy and grace of God that He intervened.  This could have been nothing more than God showing them, ie., Balaam, Balak, and the Moabites the power of the One True God of Israel.

The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.  He at least desires that he may find a cause for God to judge them.  In other words he is not interested in doing the will of YHWH; he is interested in lining his pockets from the wealth of Moab, and their king.

TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).  Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?  Esau had gone to hunt or something; may have been gone for a day and without any game on returning.  He is hungry, tired, and the scent of Jacob’s stew makes his mouth water.  At what price will Esau feed his stomach?  At what price will Balaam feed his greed?  At what price will a pastor sell out his calling, ministry, family, or church?  At what price will the Christian man sell his faith and home for that woman at work who pays him more attention than his wife at home?  At what price will that Christian woman sell her faith, her children, her husband, for that more lavish lifestyle?

Is our faith something we can sell?  Some seem to think they can.  When Balaam set out on the journey which was fanned by the flames of greed and fear; the voice he heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness.

He did the right thing in turning down Balak the first time.  He heard the word of the LORD there.  Then, the servants of Balak returned with a better offer, and if he would have been the man of God he should have been; his answer would have been an immediate, NO!

When God has given a clear answer in the negative; especially in this type of situation; there is no need to seek God’s advice again.  He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).  God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).  Balaam is one of those who merely use God for his own means.  He is a sorcerer (he uses enchantments (24:1)), and he is also known for using all other kinds of sorcery, thus seeking the guidance of the devil as well.  He is a man, a prophet, with a divided heart, and no loyalty to God, holiness, righteousness, or justice.

What price did Esau pay?  He paid the sum of his birthright.  What price will Balaam pay?  That will become apparent by the end of the message.

WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).  Balaam, being anxious to sin against the will of God, and to get him his wealth arises early the next morning saddles his donkey, and gets himself ready to go.  Did Balaam not hear what God had said?  Hear God’s words to Balaam:

“If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)

The text tells us nothing of the men coming to him;  he just rises up and gets ready to go.  His mind, his heart is not on God but wealth.

Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?  “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.  “What have you done to shun God or His Word?” would be my first question.  Have you gone your own way?  It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.  And He might for me when I am in a similar situation.

Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

When it got right down to the truth it was his lowly donkey who saw the “angel of the LORD” standing in the way, which would have killed him had it not been for the donkey.  Balaam could not see the hand of the Lord ready to slay him; he only thought it to be his donkey.

THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).  Can a  prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?  Is it possible for the preacher or prophet to know the Gospel of  Jesus Christ without knowing the Jesus Christ of the Gospel?  It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.  So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

That can go for the Sunday School Teacher, the Deacon, the Elder, the church Treasurer, or the pastor to the man and woman in the pew.  There are many professors in our churches who are not possessors of the person of Jesus Christ, ie.,  His Spirit within.  They know the right words to say in a personal word testimony, but their life bears no fruit.

Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.  Even John the apostle writing to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

This plot between Moab, and the Midianites prove too that it doesn’t matter who is in your family line.  Moab is the eldest of the incestual sons of Lot [Nephew of Abraham] (Genesis 19:36-38).  The Midianites come from Abraham as well; through the wife named Keturah (Genesis 25:1-5); whom Abraham married following Sarah’s death.  Moab gets the Midianites to join them in trying to overthrow Israel.  It is not the bloodline that counts; it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses all our sin.

WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).  It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.  It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.  Yet, this man, who divines, who deceives, who has the revelation from the only true and wise God of the identity, work, and uniqueness of this nation, still hungers, craves, lusts for power, prestige, position, and profit.

Jesus said;

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

and the “things” He speaks of is not wealth, riches, power, prestige, position or profit.

There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.  All things are in His hands, and no one can take them away from Him.  We are, as Christians, “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).  The thing is the soul that is with Jesus does not have their hearts on the things of the earth.  Those who do fit into the same category with the “earth dwellers” of the Revelation.

Many of these know the truth of the Gospel, may profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but they bear no fruit for Christ, thus are eternally lost.  These fit into the same type relationship with Balaam.

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24). God has opened the eyes of Balaam.  Remember he couldn’t even see the “angel of the LORD” that would have killed him, but his donkey saved his life; thus the LORD was merciful to this false prophet.

His eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.  This term [“eyes open”] is used by the prophet himself in a parable he speaks; and uses it at least three times (vv. 4 third parable, 15, and 16 fourth parable).

In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).  Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.

The prophecies of Balaam are promises of Israel, and Balaam never fully realizes the truth of what he has spoken.  The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

There are two examples of these in the five books of Moses (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22).  Both of these examples speak of turning the hearts of God’s people to other gods (which are not gods at all), and the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).

The God of Israel is the Holy One; He is the only One;  He is the righteous One; beside Him there is no other.  He is known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; working in the flesh of His Son.  One day all of Israel will turn from their unbelief; and see their God through their Messiah.  The King of kings is coming to rule on His throne in Jerusalem.

AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).  When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.  Yet, as the loving, forgiving God and Father that He is He desires to bring them back to Himself.  I have said it many times, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.  His children, His people are those who believe Him and His Son Jesus Christ; and live their lives for Him and His glory.

Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.  There are those in 2009 who believe that just because they are descendants of Abraham they are God’s children; even John the Baptist and Jesus has something to say about that:

“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

Notice those words of Jesus; “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

The only righteousness of God available is that righteousness which comes through the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary’s cross.

Though the death of Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins we still sin; but as a child of God we have the power, and ability through Jesus Christ not to sin.  When we sin God is not pleased, but He does want us to know that we have and Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9 – 2:1).

The deception of Balaam brought evil into Israel, and a plague destroyed many of the people, and Phineas acted jealously for God, and stopped the plague.  Some of the people of Israel had fell to the lust of other gods which involved prostitution, and it is the worship of demons.  In this plague 24,000 people died.  God will not, and does not allow His children to sin successfully.  There may be times that it seems; at least in our eyes; that He is letting some things slip by.  If you profess to be a child of God and can sin without guilt, shame, or fear of God’s judgment; you are not His child.

We are not to live in fear, but in peace and love and contentment with God.  You cannot have that if there is sin in your life.  Deal with it.  Paul said, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Deal with sin quickly.  “Keep short accounts”.

THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).  Now, we come to the opening Scripture verse.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through 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.”

We see the trespass which Moses mentions in chapter 25, the wrath and judgment of God; the plague upon Israel taking the lives of 24,000 people; and some dying due to God’s commandment to slay all the guilty.

Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.  These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.

As the people of God we are to seek to bring good and blessing into people’s lives; not ruin, and harm.  We are to be springs of living water – cool and fresh; refreshing the weary soul.  We are to be hotsprings for healing, renewing and strength.  We are to be especially so to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.  If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.  You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?”  Oh!  You’re not?  You have taken away something that belonged to another.  You are in the “Error of Balaam”.  The heart of Balaam was to work ruin in the people of Israel.

Let’s always to seek to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, glorify His name; and we will not be tearing others down to build up ourselves.  Nor, will we be leading others into sin.  Balaam died at the hands of Israel, along with the kings of Midian (Numbers 31:8).  Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship