Following God Requires Submission To Him
Our Text: Book of Numbers 1-10
Just as in the Book of Leviticus, our lessons will only cover a small portion of the Book of Numbers. In fact we will only have three lessons and we cannot do justice to this great Book of the Bible.
The title “Numbers” comes from the Hebrew word “be-midmar” which really means “in the wilderness”. But this book is also called The Book Of “Numbers” because it contains a record of the numbering of the children of Israel.
This book is historical because it gives us details that are not found in other places of the Bible, of the route taken by Israel when they escaped from Egypt,(the Iron furnace) of the Bible.
This book covers almost the entire 40 years of Israel’s journey in the wilderness.
The Book of Numbers is then the recorded history book of the wanderings of the children of Israel before they got to Canaan, the promised land.
What is recorded in the Book of Numbers is the fact that Our God is a God of Order!
Israel was not to be a rag tag bunch of freed slaves wandering lost in the wilderness.
God would organize His people through the painful process of testing and maturing them, according to His written Word.
The Book of Numbers begins with an old generation, then moves through a transitional period, and then ends with a new generation at the door way of Canaan. This where the Book of Deuteronomy takes over.
What we can learn from this book is that this is the same transition of every “Born Again” the Child of God!
1.) Our old life, as a lost soul in need of a Savior.
2.) Our salvation and the process of Sanctification.
3.) Preparation to enter into God’s Heaven.
The Apostle Paul preached this sermon to the Corinthian Church and the modern day church should also learn this valuable lesson!
This sermon is found in I Corinthians 10:1-11
Paul said these things were written for our examples!
1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Co 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Co 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1Co 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
1Co 10:7 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.
1Co 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
1Co 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
1Co 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
1Co 10:11 [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].
I can personally relate to this.
I was saved at the age of 12, but I chose to wander aimlessly in the wilderness of life for 40 years before I realized that I was not living the truth of God’s Word. God caught up to me after these 40 years and began to show me with His Word and also with His Hickory switch, that I was not dedicated to Him.
Thank God for His patience and His truths!
The Nation of Israel would learn that there would be Divine Judgment on “unbelief” in the Word of God!
***We all need to learn this lesson early in life so we can be a part of the tremendous blessings that come from serving the Lord God Almighty!
The Book of Numbers is a testimony to the “Grace “and “Mercy” of God and points everyone who studies the Old Testament to the “Divine Grace” that is shone to the entire world through Jesus Christ.
1.) The fire is in type, His divine presence.
2.) The Cloud is in type, His divine guidance.
3.) The Manna is in type His divine provision, the bread of life, His Holy Word.
4.) His thirst quenching water is in type being washed in the Word of Life by the Holy Spirit.
5.) His gifts in type represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus made reference to this time when He was teaching the 12 disciples who were to teach the New Testament church.
Joh 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Joh 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
What we will also see in this short study is the God is a God of “Order”!
Things must be done in a certain order for us to end up in Heaven!
Num 9:15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
Num 9:16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
Num 9:17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
Num 9:18 At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
It had been a complete year since the the first passover that signaled the escape from Egypt. And, We know that Israel had not traveled very far.
Israel was not in jeopardy of Egypt because God had not only destroyed the evil Pharaoh but also his entire army and had left Egypt in turmoil through those plagues.
It would be many years before Egypt would again rise to become a power in the region, but they would never dominate, as a world power again, as they had for a period of time after Joseph and they have not up till this day we live in.
During this first year Israel had received the Law of God and they had built the Tabernacle of God.
First we see.) God had called on Moses to number a standing army. This Book of Numbers is also a book of preparation for war.
Num 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;
Num 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
***The number of Israel’s Army was 603,550.
a.) These were all males, the age of twenty and up.
b.) These had to be able bodied men, mentally and physically able to go to war.
This did not include women and children, nor the Levites so we can figure on at least 2,000,000 people or better of the Nation of Israel at this time.
It is easy to see this group of God’s people would have to be organized in order to travel to Canaan Land.
*** Think about this, If God numbered the believers in His Church today that are willing to be in the Spiritual Battle of our time, I wonder how many would He find ?
We know that Our God is a God of love but the Bible also says:
Exo 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Our God is a God of War!
We can read of the wars that will be ending at Armageddon but the War we are in now with Our Lord during the church age is the Spiritual Battle for Souls.
This is the war we are in now!
The Bible says:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
To be a soldier in God’s Army is a privilege and the safest place to be is “in the battle”!
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
The enemy will not have any excuse!
It is a sad thing but this entire Army of Israel, died in the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness because they refused to enter into Canaan Land when God first sent our those spies. They refused the Word of God to get into the Battle!
Just using the number of this army, this averages out to about 15,088 men a year or about 42 men dying daily.
These were all unbelievers. This was tragic and should make us realize that in the world be live in there are many more than this that are dying lost without the Lord every day and yet we as Christians simply will not get into God’s Army and will not be a part of this, God’s battle for souls.
We will see that this entire army was replaced before it went into Canaan Land:
Num 26:51 These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.
The Levites were not included because they were assigned a much greater place in the Battle, their ministry was the care of the House of God!
Worship and Warfare may seem to be two different extremes but we must realize that it takes special training to be in God’s Army and we know that when we get to the Book of Revelation we can see God’s Warfare with evil.
*****Once saved, we are in the war, as King David found out, the safest place to be in this war is at the forefront of the Battle.
We should want to be on the frontline of this war!
Second we see.) This army had to be organized!
It would have been impossible for this large group of people to get the word that they were moving or that they were stopping. So God used a cloud to signal these moves and He used a fire by night to show them that they were never alone.
As the people of God, it would be impossible to figure out what we are to do without God’s Word, the Bible. We are most of the time, are own worst enemy in our war with evil.
This is why we need a daily dose of the Word of God! He has given us His instruction manual that we call the Bible!
Just as Israel was to be a separated people and “that fact was to be noticed when they traveled”, the Church is to be a separated people from the evil of this world and “is also be noticed as such”. Not in any evil way but in a Holy and Godly way!
God’s presence as that cloud, was noticed by the children of Israel, therefore their camp had to be pure and holy in His sight.
God abides in every believer by the Holy Spirit, we are to be aware of His presence and therefore be holy and godly!
Third we see.) The people of God must be dedicated!
Every thing that was done in the camp was ordered by the Lord!
At the end of the first year of freedom, the Tabernacle was built and assembled and the worship service was set in precise order. The Levites were chosen as Priests and dedicated to the Lord. Moses had been chosen as leader but Aaron was to be the spiritual leader as the chosen of God. Through Moses was there was divine revelation and divine leadership.
Today God has revealed His will through His written Word and prayer.
1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
1Th 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.
1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Just as the Levites camped closest to the Tabernacle, God’s called out preachers and pastors must be diligent to protect the flock from those that would destroy the Church:
Praise the Lord for our Pastor, Preacher Sam!
Act 20:28 says: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
We know that dangerous enemies are trying to pervert the Word of God and there are even some of those are inside this church and every other House of God:
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Fourth we see.) Just as the children of Israel, the Body of Christ are wandering pilgrims, marching through the wilderness of this evil world like an army but still needing the guidance of The Almighty God and Our Lord and Savior.
The Body of Christ should journey by the command of the Lord and when they find their place in a local assembly then they should pitch as long as God’s cloud abides over that Tabernacle.
Unless God calls us to to leave we are to put in roots and stay the course in the place He has chosen for us and “If” we listen to the Holy Spirit we have the assurance that God will be with us no matter where we are.
Num 10:29 And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses’ father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
Num 10:30 And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.
Num 10:31 And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.
Num 10:32 And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.
When it comes to that pillar of cloud moving, it was to be “the absolute command of the Lord”. There could be no debate about being ready or about let’s wait until tomorrow. The camp was to be broken and Israel was to move. These people were to follow God not knowing where God would lead them!
This is exactly what we are to do as Christians. We are to trust that God will lead us to where we need to be!
These Jews always had to be ready to move because they knew the place they were at, was not their home!
Again this is exactly what God wants us to do. Our home is in Heaven and we must be ready to go where ever God leads us!
Those that are not on the road of God will never make it to Heaven. Jesus Christ is God’s Highway!
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 [Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it].
Jesus Christ is God’s door to Heaven!
Jesus is not the door way, He Is The Actual Door To Heaven!
Jesus is not the gateway, He Is The Actual Gate To Heaven!
What we must realize is that this “pillar of cloud” is in typology the “written Word of God”!
It brought light to God’s people and darkness the their enemies!
Those that do not know Christ as their Savior, will never understand the Word of God!
***It is probable that Israel placed watchers just to keep an eye on that “pillar of cloud” just so they would not be caught of guard and be ready at all times.
The Bible tells us:
Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Chapter ten tells us about two silver trumpets. These two trumpets were sounded by the priests.
The Levites were the official musicians but these two trumpets were not for worship, they were used to communicate orders to the camp.
***Not only did Israel need those that would watch for that pillar of cloud to be ready to move, they also had to keep their ears open to listen for the commands of God.
When we are assembled in the House of God we are to keep our ears open to the message of the Pastor or the Preacher to hear the commands of God.
***Keep in mind, we are now waiting on the sound of those trumpets, that will call us home:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and [with the trump of God]: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, [at the last trump]: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Notice how Paul says “this is the last trumpet for the Saint of God” at the day of “the Rapture” of the church, the Body of Christ.
As we begin this section of the Book of Numbers, Israel will begin a 38 year journey to the promised land. At this time they are only in their second year of freedom.
We will see a long time of unbelief and failure!
I can certainly relate to this time in my sinful life!
But also in our daily walk with God, we will not see growth unless we see challenge!
We must accept that everything God allows to cross our path is a means to challenge us and make us stronger!
If we are obedient to God, He will bring out the best in us!
If we are obedient to Satan, he will bring out the worst in us!
These are the facts of life!
***There is another thing we should notice as Israel journeyed:
The children of Israel moved in a precise order!
Every tribe moved in their place and together but, there was always a group of people who were in the rear!
Exo 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
This mixed multitude that could not be assigned to any tribe walked in the rear and in the rear is where they were most vulnerable to attack.
*****The children of God must find a place to worship and never try to walk alone in this evil world. Satan will be relentless in his attack on all those that make themselves vulnerable. There is much truth to the saying, “there is safety in numbers” especially in the Church.
*****Moses gives us a great example of inviting others to go with us in our journey to Heaven.
Moses at first just gives an invitation and when that was rejected, he gave an appeal, he pleaded with Hobab.
We should never give up on our family or anyone else we are praying for!
Notice that his appeal worked:
Jdg 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.
The children of Hobab settled in Canaan land and were known as Kenites.
The witnessing of Moses gives us a guideline of how to witness in today’s world:
1.) Moses gave a his Testimony. (We are journeying in the Lord)
2.) Moses gave an Invitation. (come with us in this journey)
3.) Moses told of God’s Promise. (we will do thee good because the Lord will do us good)
4.) Moses told of God’s Reason. (for the Lord spoken concerning Israel, The Lord Promises)
There is not a better outline for witnessing in the Bible!
There is no better order in which we should tell others about Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation!
Remember God is a God of order.
Moses had faith. He knew that Jehovah God was with Israel and Moses knew that the future lies with those that trust the Lord!
Some say Moses needed Hobab as a guide because he knew the territory but Moses knew he had to follow the “pillar of cloud”, God is our guide!
The Bible says:
Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
BUT the Bible also says:
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Every Christian should know how to use both his heart and his mind in discerning the “Will of God.”
These two things do not contradict each other!
These two things work hand in hand to allow for us to grow as Christians and be more equiped for the work of God!
It pays for us all to remember who and what we are:
1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, [to the strangers] scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you [as strangers and pilgrims], abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
We are strangers in this world we now live in!
And, We are on a journey to the Promised Land of God!
Num 10:33 And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them.
Num 10:34 And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.
Num 10:35 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.
Num 10:36 And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.
Why did Israel depart at this time?
God had decided it was time for Israel to begin their journey to the promised land.
It is God that sits on the throne to direct all our lives!
It was important that Israel realized it was not Moses who was in control because even Moses moved at the will of God.
We can see that Moses and Aaron marched ahead of all the tribes but their position was just behind the Ark!
*****Each time the pillar of cloud moved and when it settled we know that Moses prayed.
Moses is revered throughout this world as a man that led a rebellion that freed a people of captivity.
This again showed Israel, and should show the world, that even Moses was to follow the will of God.
We also know that these people never really believed these things, though they witnessed them:
Deu 1:32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,
Deu 1:33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.
We can also be sure that this cloud covered the entire army of God as they moved from place to place:
Psa 105:39 He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
Not only could these people see God’s presence but they could also feel His presence and His comfort from the heat of the wilderness!
We know that when God rested, these people would rest But God would still show His presence:
Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; [even the night shall be light about me].
This prayer of Moses was used by many a believer and it would be good for us to remember it also:
Psa 10:12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
God made a promise to Israel and He makes this same promise to the Church:
Exo 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Exo 23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
We are wrong when we do not dissect, study and learn from these great examples in the Old Testament!
These things were taught to the early church in the time of the Apostles:
We cannot have a better outline of our own travels after salvation.
Our journey will not end until we die or at the rapture of the church, whichever comes first.
God wants us to have decency and order in our lives until that time.
God expects us to follow that pillar of cloud that dwells within us, The Holy Spirit.
Most of all God encourages us to invite others to travel with us as NUMBERS are important to God!