“AS IN THE PROVOCATION”
About 1550 years after the children of Israel reached the promised land, the Holy Spirit directed this message to some Hebrews:
Hebrews 3:8 to 4:2
8 “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me proved me, and saw my works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart: and they have not known my ways.
11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom aware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
Much is said in God’s Book concerning Israel’s pilgrimage of 40 years.
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.”
“Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite”
“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the Book of the Prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?”
“And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.”
Now look at a map and see the distance from the Red Sea to Sinai; from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea; from Kadesh to the River Jordan and the City of Jericho where the Israelites entered the Holy Land, about 1455 B. C. You will learn that it is less than 350 miles from the point where the children of Israel left Egypt to the city of Jericho. ,
If God’s people had been obedient and faithful and if they had followed God’s leading, they could have reached the land in much less than 40 months. But they were forty years making the trip and they endured much suffering, because of their rebellious attitude toward God. God suffered too because of their disobedience and ungodliness. We read this statement in Romans 10:21:
“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
In this lesson we see when this began. All of the Israelites suffered because of the sins of the others. This reminds us of the statement in I Corinthians 12:26: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
All believers today are members of the Body of Christ.
Romans 12:4 and 5 and 10 and 16
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
Let us keep in mind Romans 15:4 and I Corinthians 10:5 and 10:10 to 12 and learn our lesson from the experience of Israel in the wilderness.
We quote these four verses:
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
I Corinthians 10:5 and 10 to 12
“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”
“Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 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. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
We have studied some of the murmurings of Israel before they reached Sinai. Now read:
Exodus 32:1 to 6
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
The children of Israel made a calf of their golden jewelry and worshipped it.
Then note what God said to Moses:
Exodus 32:7 and 10
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.”
Then Moses interceded for the sinning Israelites (Exodus 32:11 to 14) . Note Moses’ words in:
Exodus 32:30, 31 and 32
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”
Then note the action of God:
Exodus 32:14 and 35
“And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” “And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”
God’s mercy was extended because of Moses’ intercession, and because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Exodus 32:13.
GOD’S ORDERS—THE LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY
Exodus 33:1 to 3 and 14
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou has brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.”
“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
“For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.”
THE BROKEN STONES
When Moses went down from the presence of God and found Israel worshipping the golden calf, Moses brought the two tables of stones on which were written the ten commandments
“And it came to pass as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest “ Here we have God’s lesson for the human race. As David declared in Psalms 119:126: “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void (broken) Thy law.”
“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?”
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Man could not perfectly keep God’s law. All were lawbreakers. Therefore, the broken stones. But God would not stand for a broken law, so two unbroken stones were put in the ark. Remember that above the ark was the mercy-seat of pure gold which was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, so that God could be just and cover the sins of believing sinners. Here we have truth pointing forward to the blessed Divine truth of:
Romans 3:23 to 26
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
So that God might be both just and merciful, He sent Christ to take the law-breaker’s place. Some say that was not just, for it is not just for the innocent to suffer for the guilty. But we must remember that Christ was in the Godhead and had the sovereign right to take man’s nature and flesh and man’s sentence of death for his sins.
When Christ was going to Calvary note what He did and said:
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”
I Corinthians 11:24
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
So the Bible tells us of:
1. The Broken Stones
2. The Broken Law
3. Christ’s Broken Body
4. The Broken Bread.
GOD SPAKE ALL THESE WORDS
“And God spake all these words, saying.”
Let us be impressed with the many statements, beginning with the day that God appeared to Moses as the I AM and told him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, from which we learn that the Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, spake with Moses. Note Hebrews 1:1 and 2. God at sundry times and in divers manners spake.
Exodus 34:34 and 35
“But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.”
In Exodus 35 to 40 is recorded the setting up of the tabernacle for worship.
Exodus 40:33 to 38
33 “And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and rot up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation. and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation. because the cloud abode thereon. and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle. the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
THE OFFERINGS OF LEVITICUS
Genesis, “The Book of Beginnings.”
Exodus, “The Going Out.
Leviticus, “The Laws of Offerings—Vows and Their Redemption “
“Leviticus” comes from Levi, from which tribe came God’s holy priests. In the Book of Leviticus the word “holiness” is found 87 times. Leviticus is God’s message of union and communion.
Leviticus and Hebrews should be studied together. The word “better” is found several times in Hebrews. Christ is better than all of the priests, sacrifices and offerings under the Levitical law. “In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:3 and 4.
Now as to union and communion, salvation, separation and service. No one is called to service for God until that one has. first received salvation from God. After salvation the call is to separation and then to service. Separation is holiness.
In the study of the Scriptures we must know the difference between union and communion, between salvation by faith without works and salvation unto good works. The Bible teaches a great difference between salvation by grace through faith in the good works of the Lord Jesus Christ and the believer’s reward for the good works done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.
This is so clearly taught in:
Ephesians 2:8 to 10
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
I Corinthians 3:14 and 15
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Let us ever keep in mind that during this period of time in which we live God’s program differs in many respects from the program He gave Israel under the law. With their message of salvation was a mixture of law and religion. But note these words dictated to Paul by the Lord
Ephesians 3:1 and 2
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward,”
II Timothy 1:9
“Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Ephesians 5:31 and 32
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The believer under this present reign of grace is united to Christ in an eternal union. The believing sinner is thus united to Christ when he goes to Calvary and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
Communion is not possible until the union has taken place. The believing sinner enters the Household or spiritual Family of God when he receives Christ.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
The relationship is established at Calvary where Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. I Peter 3:18. We are not serving a dead Christ but a living glorified Man at God’s right hand in the heavenlies. Note this blessed truth
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Now study and compare these Scriptures
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”
I John 2:1 and 2
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
I John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Hebrews 10:19 and 20
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Here we learn that when the believing sinner accepts Christ in His once-for-all sacrifice for sin, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
But we learn that Jesus Christ in heaven is the believer’s Advocate and Intercessor. Confession of sin in the name of Christ brings forgiveness to the believer. Let us remember that “I John” is written to saints or believers. I John 5:13. The believer has the guarantee of uttermost salvation, because Christ is the believer’s never-ceasing Intercessor. The believer can, and should, run the good race because Christ is the Author and Finisher of his faith.
Hebrews 12:1 and 2
“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We read in I John 1:7, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another.” Therefore, we see that fellowship depends upon the believer’s walk; while relationship is established by the sinner’s faith in the perfect redemptive work of Christ, and not by the sinner’s walk, conversation, religious activities or behaviour. But let us, in this connection, remember the words of:
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
THE LEVITICUS OFFERINGS
The offerings, sacrifices and other religious services of Leviticus, pointed forward to the perfect work of the perfect Christ, in His sinless and perfect life in His once-for-all sacrifice and His never-ceasing intercession in God’s presence in heaven. Note again
Hebrews 8:1 and 2
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
“For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
1. In Leviticus 1 we learn of “the burnt offering,” pointing forward to the Lord without spot, and His sacrifice. Hebrews 9:14.
2. In Leviticus 2, “the meat offering.”
3. In Leviticus 3, “the peace offering.” Christ made peace on the cross and He is the believer’s peace. Ephesians 2:13 to 18.
4. In Leviticus 4, “the sin offering.”
5. In Leviticus 5, “the trespass offering.”
CONCERNING THE HIGH PRIEST
Now let us note:
Numbers 3:5 to 12
“And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels. both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him. Leviticus 8:6 and 8:10 to 12. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine.”
While the Jesus Christ is a Priest or ever after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:11), note what we are told in:
“For if He were on earth, He should not be a Priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.”
“For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”
Aaron and his successors, with their offerings, spake in many ways of Jesus Christ as both the Offerer and the Offering.
According to I Timothy 2:5, Christ is now the one Mediator between God and man. God has no special order of priests during this reign of grace except as all believers are priests in accordance with
I Peter 2:5
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
“And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.”
Now note concerning:
THE BELLS AND THE POMEGRANATE:
EXODUS 28:33 to 35
33 “And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.”
EXODUS 39:22 to 30
22 “And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue.
23 And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend.
24 And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen.
25 And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates;
26 A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the Lord commanded Moses.
27 And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,
28 And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen,
29 And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the Lord commanded Moses.
30 And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”
The pomegranate spoke of the believer’s fruit in Christian living. The bell spoke of the believer’s testimony. We should live Christ and preach Christ. Note the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 to 26.
“Yom” is the Hebrew for “day.” “Kippur” “covering” or “atonement.” This was a very important day with Israel. Read about it in Chapter 16 of Leviticus. We also find the story told in Hebrews 9, how the high-priest in his priestly robes first offered the blood of the sacrifice for his own sins. Then in the afternoon, perhaps about the time Christ died on the cross, he took the blood of the slain goat behind the vail, in the most holy place, and sprinkled it upon the mercyseat. Then he and his associates went to the goat that was tied outside, placed their hands upon it, and sent that scapegoat through the wilderness. All of this pointed forward to Christ on the cross:
“For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Then note the story of the two birds:
Leviticus 14:4 to 7
“Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.”
The bird dipped in the blood of the sacrificed bird flying away into the heavens spake of the Lord Jesus Christ in His work described in:
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
In Leviticus 17, God’s instructions are plain and positive that the sacrifices must be killed on the brazen altar outside the tabernacle. And remember this important verse
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
No higher laws were ever legislated than those recorded in Leviticus 19. After reading in that chapter God’s requirements of man in his dealings with God and his fellow-man, we can appreciate God’s statements in Romans 7.
Take the time to compare Leviticus 19 with Romans 7. Note how Leviticus 19 closes:
Leviticus 19:35 to 37
“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord.”
Now note these verses from:
Romans 7:12 to 14
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
THE CAMP ACCORDING TO NUMBERS
The place and arrangements of the children of Israel around their tabernacle in the camp is very interesting. This is described in Numbers 1 to 10.
Note the law of the Nazarite:
Numbers 6:1 to 4 and 8
1 “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord;
3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried
4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.”
8 “All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.”
We shall later study of such Nazarites as Samson and John the Baptist. Just how to observe the Passover is told in Numbers, chapter 9.
Now in closing this lesson let us study
1. The Tithe of the Levites.
2. Smiting the Rock.
3. The Brazen Serpent.
4. The Story of Balaam’s Ass.
THE TITHE OF THE LEVITES
This is plainly told in:
Numbers 18:20 to 24
20 “And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering, unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.”
THE SMITING OF THE ROCK
In Numbers, chapter 20, we filed the record of Israel’s murmurings against God at the time that Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died at Kadesh. They said, “Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord.” Numbers 20:3. God commanded and Moses smote the rock to get water for the murmuring Israelites. But Moses made a mistake by smiting the rock twice:
“And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”
If the rock spoke of Christ, remember, God smote His Son but once
“For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth He liveth unto God.”
THE BRAZEN SERPENT
Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, note this statement in John 3:14 and 15
John 3:14 and 15
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Numbers 21:4 to 9
“And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived.”
Thus we see that Christ on the cross was typified by that brass snake on a pole. Brass in the Bible speaks of judgment. All sinners have been bitten by the serpent and his poison is sin. Christ on the cross is the one and only cure.
NUMBERS 22:9 to 14
9 “And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee?
10 And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying
11 Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them: peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.
12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you.
14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.”
NUMBERS 22:20 and 21
20 “And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. 21 And Balsam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.”
NUMBERS 22:22 to 34
22 “And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balsam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou bast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou bast ridden over since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. 31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
32 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
33 And the ass saw me, and turned.34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned.”
Balak still insisted that Balaam curse Israel. Note Balaam’s reply:
“How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?”
Numbers 23:20 to 22
“Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn.”
“If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak?”
“And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.”
1. How many of the Israelites who left Egypt reached Canaan?
2. Why did the Israelites journey so long to make the trip?
3. How, when and where did the Israelites worship God in the wilderness? How did God lead and protect them?
4. Mention several sins that sorely displeased Moses and brought judgment from God?
5. Why did not God destroy Israel in the wilderness? Were many of them killed by God’s decree? Give Scriptures.
6. What lesson are we to learn from Israel’s experience in sin and Divine judgment?
7. What is said about God’s attitude toward Israel in Romans 10:21?
8. Explain the difference between union and communion, between salvation and rewards.
9. Mention the four broken things in our lesson. Why was Moses not permitted to put the two broken stones in the ark of the covenant?
10. What stood immediately above the ark and on what particular day of the year did the high priest sprinkle blood thereupon? What was the blessing there from?
11. What sin was committed by Israel to cause Moses to break the stones? What was the outstanding statement of Moses in his prayer of intercession for Israel after that great sin?
12. What is it that God can do and does do for believing sinners because Christ took the sinner’s place in judgment. Romans 3:24 to 26.
13. In the Lord’s Supper what does the broken bread symbolize?
14. What is the great truth declared in Leviticus 17:11? Tell about the smiting of the rock by Moses at Kadesh.
15. With respect to the law, what is the great difference between the Israelites in Leviticus and the members of Christ’s Body in Ephesians?
16. How does a sinner become the child of God in this day of grace?
17. To whom was the dispensation of the grace of God, for Gentiles, given, according to II Timothy 1:9 and Ephesians 3:1 to 3?
18. Explain the vow and duty of a Nazarite and the inheritance of the Levites.
19. Tell the story of the brazen serpent and its prophetic and symbolic significance.
20. Tell the story of Balak, Balaam, and the ass.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.