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Numbers--the Fire by Night

Updated on October 23, 2014

In my own words...

I would like to take a moment, with just a few sentences, that what I write is what I have studied. Many people before me have studies these same things, and their perceptions of what they studied may, or may not, differ from my own perceptions. I implore each of you to study your Bibles in accordance with the convictions given to you by the leading of Holy Spirit. I will even take it a step further; if you do not have a Bible and need one, please comment, or even visit my Facebook page (Shirley Johnson), and I will see to it that you get one. Even if I have to go and buy it from my own monies. I love you, each and every one of you reading these article blogs; more importantly, God loves you.

Psalms 37:3a

"Trust in the Lord and do good;"
"Trust in the Lord and do good;"

Holy, Faithful, Trusting

In its entirety, the book of Numbers demonstrates the importance of holiness, faithfulness and trust in serving the Lord.

Just as in these times for the Hebrew children, today we are to lead lives of holy living. We, believers, are the light that the world will see. Our joyful, holy living will draw people to what we have and compel them to the throne of God.

Matthew 5:14-17--" 'You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.' "

If I am going to say I have faith, then I better live like I have faith. That includes trusting in the Lord that everything I have need of (not necessarily everything I want) will be taken care of.

Philippians 4:19--"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

Revelation 5:5

"Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep!  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
"Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Chapters 1-4

The first four chapters are a numbering of, or a census taken of, the Israelites; more specifically the numbering of those men aged 20 years old or older who were able to serve in the Israelite army. To do this, Moses appointed one man from each tribe. You should note at this point that the Levites were not counted in this regular census as they were to be in charge of the tabernacle and all the furnishings of the tabernacle. It was the Levites who had to take the tabernacle apart, carry it and then set it up at their next encampment.

Of the remaining tribes that were counted, there were a total of 603,550 men aged 20 years old or older who were able to serve in the army. The tribe of Joseph was split further into two separate tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.

You should note that the tribe of Judah had the largest count (74,600). Judah, as you should well remember, was blessed by Jacob (Israel) in Genesis 49:9-12. Hear what verse 10 says, "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." It is no mistake that Judah should be blessed in such a way. David is from the tribe of Judah, and thus his successors after him. Jesus, also, has an earthly lineage to the line of Judah. When Jacob blessed Judah with the "obedience of the nations", he was speaking of Jesus being King of kings and Lord of lords for all eternity. Philippians 2:10-11--"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Numbers 10:34

"The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set from the camp."
"The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set from the camp."

Chapters 5-10

These next few chapters are of various civil and ceremonial observances.

  • The Purity of the Camp
  • Restitution for Wrongs
  • The Test for an Unfaithful Wife: This speaks to the sanctity of marriage. Adultery committed by a husband or a wife tears apart a marriage, and in turn a family. Let me pose this question to you; Why do you suppose there was no test for an unfaithful husband? If we take the humanness out of marriage and make it a purely spiritual matter, here is how it would look. Jesus is the Bridegroom and His church is the bride. Though Jesus will never be unfaithful to the church, the church has proven infidelity time and time again. Let me repeat that; Jesus will NEVER be unfaithful to the church, His bride.
  • The Nazarite: This is a vow that a man or woman could make as a dedication of service to the Lord. If a man or woman made this vow, they had to fulfill the vow to its end.
  • The Priestly Blessing
  • Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle: Moses anointed and consecrated (made holy) the tabernacle and all its furnishings. After which, each leader of each tribe presented the tribal offerings.
  • Setting Up the Lamps
  • The Setting Apart of the Levites
  • The Passover
  • The Cloud Above the Tabernacle: God's presence stayed with the Israelites during their sojourn in the desert. He was there as a cloud during the day, above the tabernacle. At night, the cloud, or presence of God, looked like fire.
  • The Silver Trumpets
  • The Israelites Leave Sinai: It was at this time that the cloud (the presence of God) lifted from off of the tabernacle, which was the signal for the Israelites to move from their current place to a new place. Please take note, that once again the tribe of Judah has been set above the other tribes as it was the first tribe to break camp and set out on their journey; the tribe of Judah led the way.

Numbers 21:9

"So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole.  Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived."
"So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived."

Chapters 11-21

During this time in the book of the Numbers, there is a lot of grumbling and moaning and groaning that the Israelites participated in. These people witnessed the plagues cast upon the Egyptians, they were a part of the great exodus out of Egypt and they were the ones that crossed the mighty Red Sea and watched as this same sea swallowed the Egyptian army.

  • Fire from the Lord: Do we really believe that God does not pay attention to us when all we do is gripe and complain? The children of Israel did a bunch of griping about their hardships, instead of remembering what they were brought out of. God, this time, gave an instant consequence; those on the outskirts of the encampment were consumed with fire until Moses prayed to God for mercy for the people.
  • Quail from the Lord: When the Hebrew children first departed Egypt, they had griped about not having bread. God, at that time, gave them manna from heaven each day. Now, the Israelites were crying out for meat. Now the manna was not good enough. They started talking about how in Egypt they had fish and all kinds of other foods at their disposal. God sent quail.
  • Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses: The Bible says that Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3), and so when Miriam and Aaron started talking behind his back, God did not take kindly to it. Miriam became leprous and was sent out of the camp for seven days.
  • Exploring Canaan: Moses sent twelve men, one from each tribe, to explore the land of Canaan; Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb, of the tribe of Judah, were among the twelve. These men were to go into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and the people within this land. Moses wanted to know what the cities were like; along with the condition of the fields. These twelve men were in the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
  • Report on the Exploration: All the men reported that the land did indeed flow with milk and honey; they even had a branch of grapes to show as proof. Upon further reporting, however, each man, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, told Moses that it would be impossible to dwell in this new land because the people already living there were too great and too many.
  • The People Rebel: A rebellion because of the report of the ten men took place. The people started groaning and moaning to Moses and Aaron, exclaiming that they would have been better off if they had died in Egypt, or even in the dessert. Some of the people even wanted to go back to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb tried to calm the mobs by telling them that the Lord was their protection, and the Lord would do as He promised. God wanted to destroy the people and start fresh with a new people; but, Moses pleaded with God. Moses reminded God that God brought them out of Egypt and was sending them to a promised land. If God did not do as God had promised the Israelites, then all people everywhere would consider God a liar. Moses reminded God that God is a God of love and of forgiveness. But God, being God, could not let this situation pass with out some form of consequence. His decision was that all the men of military age counted in the census (the beginning chapters of Numbers) that was a part of this awful mob would not live to see the promised land, with the exception of Joshua (who would later become Moses's successor) and Caleb. Until that time, the Hebrew children would have to wonder in the desert with no permanent home for 40 years. (Numbers 14:34).
  • Supplementary Offerings
  • Offerings for Unintentional Sins
  • The Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death
  • Tassels on the Garments
  • Korah, Dathan and Abiram: These three men led another rebellion against Moses and Aaron. They had with them 250 well-known men, leaders, of the community. Though Moses did not know what was in the hearts of these men, God did. There is no secret sin in the eyes of God. God caused the earth to open up and swallow Korah, Dathan and Abiram, along with all their households and possessions. After which, fire from the Lord consumed the other 250 men who aligned themselves with Korah, Dathan and Abiram. When this happened the Israelites, as a whole, were angry with Moses and Aaron; in their eyes the three men were men of God and the Lord's chosen. God told Moses and Aaron to step away from the assembly because He was going to destroy the whole lot of them. Then a plague came upon the people; but, Aaron had already started to make an atonement for the people, and stood between those people who had already died because of the plague and those that were still alive until God removed the plague from the people. In the end, not counting those who had died with Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the number of Israelites that died counted 14,700.
  • The Budding of Aaron's Staff
  • Duties of the Priests and Levites
  • The Water of Cleansing
  • Water from the Rock: Once again, the Israelites are faced with the hardship of having no water. Once again, the Israelites are crying out to Moses about how they should have died elsewhere, either with their brothers who died from the plague or having been left in Egypt. God told Moses and Aaron to speak to the rock and water would gush out. Moses and Aaron disobeyed, they struck the rock. Because they did not trust the Lord's words, and obey what God had told them to do, their consequence was that they would not be allowed to enter into the promised land.
  • Edom Denies Israel Passage
  • The Death of Aaron: Moses, Aaron and Eleazar went up Mount Hor, and there Moses took Aaron's priestly garments and put them on Eleazar, who now is the high priest. Then Aaron died, and the congregation of Israel mourned his passing for 30 days (Numbers 20:29).
  • Arad Destroyed
  • The Bronze Snake: Growing in their impatience, the people again started grumbling and groaning and moaning against Moses and against God. So God sent snakes into their midst; many, many people died. The people begged Moses to pray for them, and God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake and set it on a pole. When a person got bit by a snake, that person was to look at the bronze snake and would live.
  • The Journey to Moab
  • Defeat of Sihon and Og

Numbers 22:30

"The donkey said to Balaam, 'Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day?  Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?' "
"The donkey said to Balaam, 'Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?' "

Chapters 22-36

The Israelites have been nomads in the desert now for nearly 40 years. They have com to the plains of Moab and are camped along the Jordan River with Jericho sitting across from them.

  • Balak Summons Balaam
  • Balaam's Donkey: Have you ever heard a donkey talk? Well, this one did! The donkey saw what Balaam did not, an angel of the Lord. Balaam started to beat his donkey and God made the donkey to talk. Balaam finally saw the angel of the Lord, at which time Balaam was given instructions on what to say to Balak.
  • Balaam's First Oracle: When Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites, Balaam blessed them instead.
  • Balaam's Second Oracle: Again, instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam has uttered blessings.
  • Balaam's Third Oracle: A third time the Israelites were blessed.
  • Balaam's Fourth Oracle: This is a vision of destruction for the Moabites.
  • Balaam's Final Oracles: Other peoples are cursed.
  • Moab Seduces Israel: The men of Israel started lusting for the women of Moab, and in turn, turned from God to the gods of these Moabite women. God's anger burned deeply. 24,000 people died in yet another plague sent by God. It was Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron who turned God's anger from Israel when he killed a man who paraded a Midianite woman in front of the whole community.
  • The Second Census: God again commanded a census of those men aged 20 years old and older and who were able to fight in the army of Israel. The number this second time amounted to 601,730. Again, the Levites were exempt from the census because they were solely responsible for the tabernacle and all its furnishings. Again, Judah is the largest of the clans; in fact, their number grew from 74,600 (Numbers 1:27) to 76,500 (Numbers 26:22). Only Joshua and Caleb were left of the generation who had been delivered out of Egyptian slavery.
  • Zelophehad's Daughters
  • Joshua to Succeed Moses: Because of Moses' disobedience at Kadesh when he was to speak to the rock and struck the rock instead, he would not lead the people into the promised land. The leadership of the Israelite people would fall to Joshua.
  • Daily Offerings
  • Sabbath Offerings
  • Monthly Offerings
  • The Passover
  • Feast of Weeks
  • Feast of Trumpets
  • Day of Atonement
  • Feast of Tabernacles
  • Vows
  • Vengeance on the Midianites: God commanded that Moses lead an attack on the Midianites ; 12,000 men were sent out (1,000 from each tribe). This would be Moses' last time to lead the people in such a way.
  • Dividing the Spoils
  • The Transjordan Tribes: The tribes of Reuben and of Gad talked to Moses about letting them have the land on side of the Jordan River where they were currently encamped. Moses also gave this land to part of the tribe of Manasseh. In exchange for this inheritance allotment, these three tribes were to cross the Jordan with the rest of the assembly and fight for Israel alongside the other tribes.
  • Stages in Israel's Journey
  • Boundaries of Canaan
  • Towns for the Levites
  • Cities of Refuge
  • Inheritance of Zelophehad's Daughters

Stay tuned...

In Deuteronomy, He's Moses' voice.

Deuteronomy means "second law". At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses finds it is his time to die. He is 120 years old; yet, his eye sight never diminished with age (Deuteronomy 34:7).


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