Tuesday, February 3, 2015

BSF Numbers 1-10 The Life of Moses

(My BSF Notes)

Last time we finished up the book of Leviticus.  We learned about the Sabbath Year where Israel is to work the land for 6 years and let the land rest every 7th year so it would be restored and rejuvenated.  We also learned about the Year of Jubilee.  Its purpose was redemption of the land and of the slaves.  We also learned that God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience.

Numbers 1-4 – The Census

The Lord told Moses a census was to be taken of all the people by clans and families and that every name was to be listed.  Moses and Aaron were to number by their divisions of all men who where 20 years old or more who were able to serve in the army.  One man from each family who was the head of his family should assist them.  When all were counted, there were 603,550 total. (Num. 1:1-43)  I am sure with all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and the Levites there were over 2-3 million people counted in all.

The purpose of the census was to set up an army to protect the Israelites.  It also showed that God was faithful and had kept His promise to make them numerous and a great nation.  They started out with 70 and now there were over 2 million.

The families of the tribe of Levi were not counted, but were appointed to be in charge of the tabernacle and all its furnishings and accessories.  When the tabernacle moved, they were to put up and take it down.  They did just as the Lord commanded.  (Num. 1:47-54) 

The Lord told Moses and Aaron to arrange the camps around the Tent of Meeting and the Levites would set the Tent of Meeting in the middle of the camps.  They did just as the Lord commanded. (Num. 2)  This put God who dwelled in the Tent of Meeting at the center of the camps making Him the center of their lives.  God wants us to put Him in the center of our lives, too.  It also protected the Tent of Meeting from enemies.  

What is central in your life?  Is it work, family, self?

Num. 3-4 is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses who served as priests.  As we learned earlier Aaron and his sons were appointed priests.  His 2 sons Nadab and Abihu were killed by God because they disobeyed God by offering an unauthorized offering.  Now there are only 2 sons left, Eleazar and Ithamar.  The Lord told Moses to bring the tribe of Levi to Aaron to assist him.  Remember when the people were worshiping the golden calf and the tribe of Levi rallied around Moses and obeyed by killing those who were disobedient?  At that time they were set-apart, because they obeyed.
The Lord told Moses and Aaron to take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites.  They were to count all the men from 30 to 50 years of age to come to serve in the work of the Tent of Meeting.  They were to care of the most holy things in the Tent. (Num. 4:1-20).  Then they were to count the tribe of the Gershonites and count all men from 30-50 years of age.  These men were to carry the curtains of the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, its covering and the outer covering, the curtains at the entrance, the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain for the entrance, the ropes and all the equipment used in service. (Num. 4:21-28).  The Merarites were also to be counted.  They counted all men 30-50 years of age to carry the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts and bases, the posts surrounding the courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, ropes, and all the equipment. (Num 4:29-33).

All these tribes were counted just as the Lord commanded.  I am sure that these men were very honored to be serving the Lord and so should we.  They were willing and I am sure it was a privilege to serve.  Everyone likes to be needed.  It makes us not only feel needed by God, but closer to Him.  It is a privilege to serve God.  It is a type of worship.

How are you serving God?
Do you feel honored to serve Him?

Principle:  God calls us to put Him in the center of our lives.

Numbers 5-6 – The Purifying

The Lord told Moses to purify the camp in 3 ways:
Send away anyone who had infectious skin diseases or discharge of any kind, or who was ceremonially unclean because of a dead body.  (Num. 5:1-4).
When someone wrongs another, he must confess the sin and make full restitution and add 1/5 to it and give to the person he has wronged.  (Num. 5:5-10).
If a man’s wife is unfaithful or if he suspects she is unfaithful or he is jealous, he is to take her to the priest who will perform a ceremony over her.  If she is guilty, she will be cursed and will not be able to have children.  If she is not guilty, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.  (Num. 5:11-31).

It is important for these things to be done.  It protected the family and community.  It was important to have a pure heart to be in a right relationship with God and with others. 

How has God purified your heart?
Is there something in your heart that needs to be changed?

Num. 6 is about someone who wants to make a vow of separation to the Lord.  He is called a Nazirite.  He must not drink alcohol, not shave or cut his hair, and not go near dead bodies.  He must dedicate himself to the Lord for a period and must bring a guilt offering.  When this period of separation is over, he is brought to the Tent of Meeting with a sin offering and must shave off his hair.  Then he is free to drink wine.

When the Nazirite took their vow separation to the Lord, they looked different.  We as Christians should look different to the world.  We need to be a testimony to God by the way we live, the way we speak and the way we act.

Have you dedicated yourself to the Lord?
In what ways have you set yourself apart?

God told Moses to tell Aaron to bless the people in Num. 6:24-26.  I love this blessing.  I think we all are familiar with it.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Principle:  God calls us to have a pure heart and to be set apart for Him.

Numbers 7-8 – The Offerings

The leaders of the Israelite families made offerings and brought their gifts to the Lord as a dedication of the tabernacle.  Each day a tribe brought offering.  There were 12 tribes so this was done for 12 days. (Num. 7).  They gave their best and did not give impulsive.  When we give to the Lord, we need to give our best.

The Lord instructed Moses and Aaron how to set up the lampstands in the tabernacle. (Num. 8:1-4).  Then they were to set apart the Levites and make them ceremonially clean.  They did just as the Lord commanded.  They were to take part in the work of the Tent of Meeting, but at the age of 50, they must retire.  They could then assist, but not do the work themselves. (Num. 8:5-26).

How do you support your church and its ministries?
How consistently do you give tithes and offerings to your church?
Do you serve in your church or do you leave it up to others?

Principle:  God is pleased when we bring our gifts and offerings to Him.

Numbers 9-10 – The Celebration

God told Moses to have the Israelites celebrate the Passover before leaving Sinai.  This was 1 year since the last Passover.  The 1st was when they left Egypt.  It was to be celebrated on the 1st month of the 2nd year after they came out of Egypt.  They were to celebrate at twilight on the 14th day in accordance with all its rules and regulations.  Some could not celebrate on that day if they had come in contact with a dead body.  They were considered ceremonially unclean.  The Lord said they could still celebrate the Passover, but in the 2nd month, on the 14th day at twilight.  And alien living among them could also celebrate, but must obey the same regulations.  (Num. 9:1-14). 

How eager are you to worship fully at your church?

The cloud of the Lord continued to lead the Israelites by covering the tabernacle.  At night it looked like fire.  When the cloud lifted, the Israelites would set out and when the cloud settled, they would camp.  They obeyed the Lord and only moved when the cloud moved.  (Num. 9:15-23).

Trumpets sounded as communication for the Israelites.  With 1 sound of the trumpet, the leaders assembled before Moses.  When 2 sounded, the whole community assembles before the entrance of the Tent.  It was also used as a signal for setting out again on their journey to the Promise Land.

God guides us today.  We don’t see a cloud, but He goes before us protecting and guiding us through the Holy Spirit.  We need to be led by God’s Spirit and not go out on our own.  We don’t actually hear a trumpet, but we do hear God speak to us through sermons and through His Word as well as the Holy Spirit.

Principle:  God is always there to guide, protect, and provide for His people.

Do you trust God to move when He says move?
How do you celebrate what God has done for you?

There are many lessons to be learned in this study.  More than you would think.  Here are only a few:   God has a plan.  He is a God of order.  He is a God of relationships.  He knows all of us by name.  We have the assurance of His presence.  He is holy.  We are His offspring.  He is gracious and led the Israelites with a cloud.  He leads and guides us by His Spirit.  Everyone individual is important, because He created you.  When we give to Him, we need to give our best.

How does time you spend with Him show He is the center of your life?
How motivated are you to love and share Him with others?

Glorifying God is living set apart for Him.  What do you need to set aside to enjoy a greater fellowship with Him?
How in tune are you with the Holy Spirit?

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