This section is one of my favorites from the whole Bible. God is teaching Moses and Aaron to represent Him with self-sacrificing compassion. He Himself is going to die for people who grumble against Him, and here He is doing a little bit of that kind of training on Moses and Aaron.
Numbers Part 2 – Plagues and Devotion
Here are some cool bits from early in Numbers. People are dedicated to the Lord and being formed into His people. At the same time, Moses and Aaron are being formed into High Priests – the men that will represent God to the people and vice versa.
Phinehas Son of Eleazar – Not a Chaplain
A couple of years ago, I tried to fill a little notebook with one Bible thought per day. I found it recently and there are some pages empty, so I’m backfilling them. Here is one today from Numbers 31:6 about Phinehas.
More than Numbers: Part 1
The book of Numbers has several of my favorite parts of the whole Bible. Andy Gries said that everyone thinks Numbers is just the same as what Deuteronomy is, but it’s not that at all! Here are the rough notes I preached from.
Download: Numbers Part 1 – 05072017 or subscribe to the Podcast.
Intro to the Book of Numbers (In the Wilderness)
Census was all men over 2
Army was men over 20
Levites that could work were men 25 or 30 up to age 50. After age 50 they keep guard, they help and attend to things, but they don’t do the priestly work that goes on inside.
There were 8,580 total Levites, 30–50 years old, that could work with the Tabernacle.
Aaron’s sons would cover everything up. Kohath’s sons would come in and carry it all, but even they weren’t allowed to look under the blue covers over the equipment.
Numbers 5 – Unclean and Restitution
Numbers 5:1–4 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous1 or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. 3 You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” 4 And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the Lord said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.
This begins the explanations of order in the camp. What is good and what is bad and what to do about it.
They start off with laws about a jealous husband and the very sad and difficult process of proving a woman’s guilt.
Next they talk about a Nazirite vow, which is a set-apart time dedicated to the Lord.
These are short-term versions of what Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist did for their entire lives.
Men or women could take a Nazirite vow for any amount of time, and their shaved heads would show that they were in the middle of it! When they were done, here is what sacrifice they had to bring:
 “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting,  and he shall bring his gift to the LORD, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering,  and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. (ESV)
This was what Paul paid for 4 men when he was arrested in Acts.
Priestly blessing Numbers 6:23–27
 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
 The LORD bless you and keep you;
 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (ESV)
Moses sets up the tabernacle and people are moved to give things to the Lord’s service.
 On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils,  the chiefs of Israel, heads of their fathers’ houses, who were the chiefs of the tribes, who were over those who were listed, approached  and brought their offerings before the LORD, six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two of the chiefs, and for each one an ox. They brought them before the tabernacle. (ESV)
Moses divides up all of the six wagons and twelve oxen among all of the Levites…except for the Kohathites. The Kohathites had to carry the temple furniture by hand, not by carts.
Numbers 9 – first Passover in the wilderness
Numbers 9 they celebrate their first Passover in the wilderness. There are some unclean guys that come and ask Moses, “We’re unclean, what do we do?” They don’t want to celebrate it if they aren’t allowed to, but they don’t want to miss it if they are!
Moses asks the Lord and the answer: No matter if you are unclean or not, keep the Passover!
The Cloud that followed them
When the clouds stopped, they stopped.
 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. (ESV)
When they set out for Canaan Numbers 10:33–36
 So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.  And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.”  And when it rested, he said, “Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.” (ESV)
Ark of the Covenant with a Three Day Lead: the Trinity in Numbers
33 So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey. And
the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them three days’
journey, to seek out a resting place for them.
34 And the cloud of the
Lord was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let
your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before
36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten
thousand thousands of Israel.”
As Israel wanders in the desert, it’s another part of the Bible where actual historical events are happening and in a bigger picture it’s a forecast of our life in Christ.
Here are half a million people, wandering towards a destination that they have heard of but not visited. They are led by a god that they are still becoming acquainted with.
Then comes this line
“The ark of the covenant of the Lord when before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.” Numbers 10:33
At the last supper, Jesus told the disciples,
“There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too.” John 14:2-3 NET
So Jesus is going ahead of us, to prepare a place for us, just like the ark of the covenant went three day’s journey ahead of the Israelites to seek out a resting place for them! Oh yes, and Jesus was in the grave for how many days? Three. Three days ahead of us to prepare a resting place for us in an unknown land.
And there is one more cool bit. He didn’t leave the Israelites alone and unprotected. The ark didn’t go on without them with nothing left behind to guide them.
There was a pillar of fire in the night and a pillar of smoke and clouds during the day. It says that this was their protection and their guide as they traveled. It is also referred to as the Presence of the Lord.
On the day of Pentecost, God sent His Holy Spirit onto the disciples and it looked like fire. From then on those that believe in Jesus, that have left their life of unbelief (like the Hebrews left Egypt) are filled with the Holy Spirit to guide them and protect them as they go through life!
So here it is, like so many other places in Numbers, where the entire Christian life is laid out. Jesus has gone before us, God the Father oversees us and guides us, and the Holy Spirit is within and among us.
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