Thursday, February 26, 2015

Numbers 15-19 - the Life of Moses

Last week we saw 12 spies explore the land of Canaan and how they were divided in their report back to the people causing the people to not trust God.  Only Caleb and Joshua believed God’s promises.  God had prepared the Israelites to claim His promises and take Canaan, but they failed to believe and trust God so they suffered the consequences.

Numbers 15 - Sacrifices

This chapter reminded the Israelites that God had promised Canaan to their children so they had to be prepared to live there.  They had to know God’s rules so they could tell their children.  They had to know if they sinned, they were to offer sacrifices.  God would provide them food, but they needed to thank Him by offering some back.  There were a lot of rules to follow and they could sin by accident.  If they did, they were to offer a sacrifice for that unintentional sin. (Num. 15:1-29)

There were people who understood God’s rules, but refused to obey.  They did what they wanted.  God said these people were blaspheming the Lord and must be cut off from his people. (Num. 15:30-31)  An example of this kind of person is in Num.15:32-36.  A man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day and was taken to Moses and Aaron.  They asked the Lord what should be done with him and the Lord said he must die.  The Sabbath is one of the most important commands given by God.  It was to be a holy day and a day of rest.  The man knew this, but disobeyed and rebelled which a rebellion against God.  God wants to forgive us, but first we must repent and confess our sin.

(Num 15:37-41) -The people were to attach blue tassels to the corners of their clothes.  This was a sign they belonged to Him and it would remind them of all God’s commands.  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God.  I am the Lord your God.” Num. 15:41.

What reminds you of God and His commands?
How have you ignored them for your own desires?
When have you rebelled against God?
Have you asked Him for forgiveness?

Numbers 16 – Challenging the Priesthood

Korah, Danthan and Abirim rose up against Moses.  They persuaded 250 other leaders to rise up with them.  They told Moses that all the Israelites were holy and were as important as Moses.  Korah, who was from the same family as Moses and Aaron did not look at the tassels and think of God and His promises.  He thought only of his own desires.  He thought he had the right to make a claim to the priesthood.  Koran was jealous and wanted equal power.  Their rebellion was not actually against Moses and Aaron, but against God.

Moses didn’t argue with Korah, but fell face down before the Lord showing again that he was God’s humble servant.  Moses became very angry with these men.  Moses had always been a fair and responsible leader.  He wanted to prove who God had chosen as priests.  Since only priests were allowed to offer incense, Moses told them to offer incense in God’s Tent and they would see if God allowed them to do this.  Of course God did not allow this and He wanted to kill all the people.  But Moses and Aaron interceded for them and asked God not to punish everyone for the sins of a few.  (Num. 16:15-22)

God told Moses to have the people move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abriam.  Then God put His judgment on them.  The ground opened up and the wicked men went down alive into the hole in the ground.  Then God punished the 250 followers by sending fire to kill them.  (Num. 16:23-35)  God spared the people, but punished the rebels.

God then told Eleazar to collect the censers the men had used for the incense and to use the bronze from them to make a cover for the altar.  This would always remind the Israelites how God had punished Korah and his followers.  They would remember only priests could offer incense to God. (Num. 16:36-40)

You would think the people would have learned a lesson about rebelling against God, but they didn’t.  The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. (Num. 16:41-50)  Again God threatened to destroy them all, but again Moses and Aaron interceded.  Moses told Aaron to hurry and take his censer and make atonement for the people’s sin.  Aaron portrayed the work of Jesus as intercessor.  ”He stood between the living and the dead” - Num. 16:48.  This is exactly what Jesus did for us by His death on the cross.

Do you believed on Jesus as your Savior? 
Do you trust in His work on the cross on your behalf? 

The only way to God is through Jesus.  “There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”John 3:16-18.  This is why God protected and defended the priesthood in the Old Testament.  If you reject Jesus, you will perish.

Numbers 17 – Aaron’s Priesthood

In this chapter we see how God showed Aaron was appointed High Priest.  Each leader of the 12 tribes was to bring his staff, marked with their name and place it before the presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Place.  The man whose staff sprouted or came alive would be God’s choice priest.  The next morning Aaron’s staff had sprouted, even blossomed and produced almonds.  This staff was place in front of the Testimony to be a sign of the rebellious. 

The people said, “We will die!  We are lost!  Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die.  Are we all going to die?”Num 17:12-13.  God didn’t want the people to rebel and He didn’t want them to die, but they were afraid seeing so many people die. 

Numbers 18-19 – Purpose of the Priesthood

In this chapter God spoke directly to Aaron.  He reminded him of the priestly duties and responsibilities. (Num. 18-19)     

Aaron’s priesthood was necessary and an important one, but it was not perfect.  Jesus Christ is our one and only perfect Priest.  He offered Himself as the one true one and only way of salvation.  “When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Heb. 9:11 -14.

The Old Testament priests had to repeatedly offer sacrifices, but Jesus was sacrificed once and for all.  Thank you Jesus!

Is Jesus your High Priest?
Do you believe He is the only way to God?
What words could you use to thank Jesus for what He has done as your High Priest?  

Complaining against God’s appointed leaders is a rebellion against God.
Jesus Christ is our High Priest, God’s appointed mediator.

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