BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 4: Numbers 20:14-29

Summary of passage:  Moses sent a message to the King of Edom, requesting to pass through his territory.  The Israelites promised to not drink nor eat nor take anything from them–merely to stay on the road through their country onto the Promised Land.  Edom refused.  Moses asked again, this time offering to pay for any water used.  Again, they were refused.  Edom marched their army against the Israelites and the Israelites backed down.

At Mount Hor, near Edom’s border, the Lord told Moses and Aaron that it was Aaron’s time to die.  Aaron and his son, Eleazar, were to go up on Mount Hor, where Eleazar would put on Aaron’s garments and take over as High Priest.  Moses did as commanded and when Aaron died he was mourned 30 days.

Questions:

9a)  Possibly because the Israelites were related to the Edomites as descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau, and they didn’t want to fight their relatives.  Also because the Lord had not told Moses to go that way.  I’m assuming the Israelites are still being led by the cloud.

b)  Take a long, hard detour and go around through more desert .

c)  When God tells you to resist.  When God tells you to yield.  There are no hard, fast rules here and every situation is different.  It’s all on what God wants, not the individual.

10)  Aaron knew he was dying so he had time to say good-bye to his family and friends.  To make amends if he had to.  Presumably to offer sacrifices and die a cleansed man.  And he was honored by being taken away to Mount Hor ceremoniously.  Furthermore, Aaron was mourned by the people for 30 days.  Although we can’t say for certain Miriam didn’t have any of this, we know Aaron did.  And that is full of grace.

11a)  Aaron died a physical death.  Jesus’ priesthood is forever and perfect and ever-lasting.  Only through him can we have eternal life.  And on a chronological note:  Aaron’s passing tells us where we are at in history and just how much time has passed.  Important in the march towards Jesus.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  The power of the cross and what happens next sustains me when this life becomes seemingly impossible.  My home is not here.  I need not depend on man.  Only Jesus.

Conclusions:  Great chapter in the Bible.  I love how we see the death of Miriam, the condemnation of Moses and Aaron, the hard hearts of the Edomites, and the death of Aaron all together.  For here we see God’s amazing grace and mercy and will.  And I believe most of us would say it’s not our will but God’s for I’m not for sure any of us would have condemned Moses nor rejected Moses at the footsteps of Edom.  God’s ways, not ours.

Despite my belief that Aaron is nothing but a follower, God honors him here.  God honors followers as well as leaders.  Everyone matters to Him despite his or her sins.  Not everyone has the strength of character to be a leader.  And that’s okay.  Look at Aaron.  He was second in command to Moses, a man above all men in terms of closeness to God.  He was second in command to God.  God spoke to Aaron and appeared to him.  That’s something I can’t say about me.  Even in sadness there is God’s mercy.

End Notes:  We are in the final leg now of the approach to the Promised Land.  Scholars break the journey down into five stages:

Stage One:  The Exodus from Egypt and the journey to Mount Sinai (Exodus 12:31 to 18:27).
Stage Two:  The time at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1 to Numbers 10:10).
Stage Three:  The first attempt to enter the Promised Land, beginning at Mount Sinai, which failed as the people rebelled and refused to enter (Numbers 10:11 to 14:45).
Stage Four:  The 38 years of wandering in the wilderness, waiting for the generation of unbelief to die (Numbers 15:1 to Numbers 20:13).
Stage Five:  The Israelites succeed in their second attempt to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:14 to Joshua 2:24).

Why the Edomites refused such a simple request is not recorded (and seemingly unwarranted).  Perhaps out of fear or just because they didn’t want 2 million people traipsing through their backyard.  But there is no retribution on the part of the Israelites and Moses in fact commands the Israelites not to hate them (Deuteronomy 23:7).  Yet for the rest of Biblical history, there is war and strife between the two nations.

Note how 38 years is boiled down to a mere 5 1/2 chapters while the year at Mount Sinai is 50 chapters!  Presumably, nothing of note happened in 38 years.  The people lived out their lives normally, sadly waiting for God’s judgment time to pass.

Lesson to us:  we can exist, but not live.  We can wander around for years and find ourselves right back where we started.

Note how Moses who represented the law, Miriam who represented prophets, and Aaron who represented priests all died before the Promised Land.  Only Joshua (whose name means Jesus) led the way!  How cool is that!

Aaron as the first high priest of Israel deserved to be honored.  His position alone demands it.  The man may fail but the priesthood (and the path to God through our High Priest, Jesus) will not.

Map of Mount Hor:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/mount_hor.htm

Another Map of Mount Hor showing entire Exodus Route:  http://www.keyway.ca/gif/wildjour.gif

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 3: Numbers 20:1-13

Introductory Note:  Since Day 2 and Day 3 are the same passage, my summary and end notes are exactly the same as well.

Summary of passage: After 38 years of wandering, Miriam died (scholars date this as the first month of the 40th year of wandering). Again, grumbling by the Israelites against Moses and Aaron because there is no water. Same complaints about food, etc. Moses and Aaron feel down at the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses to speak to a rock with his staff and water would appear. Moses struck the rock twice with his staff and water rushed out. However, God rebukes Moses and Aaron for his lack of faith and sentences them to die before the Promised Land is reached as well.

Questions:

6a)  “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together.  Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.”

b)  Moses did take the staff as commanded and did gather the Israelites together in front of the rock.  However, here Moses did his own thing.  He rebuked the people and took credit for bringing water from the rock.  He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it.

7a)  They didn’t trust that God’s words were enough.  They thought they needed action so they struck the rock.

b)  They didn’t follow God’s commands.  They took credit for bringing up the water.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  This is one of those questions I’ll have an answer to when I get to heaven.

8a)  They will not live to see the Promised Land as well.

b)  Yes.  As leaders they are held to a higher standard than the other Israelites (James 3:1).  Their lack of faith can influence countless others.  Aaron is to be expected.  He’s a follower, period.  Moses, however, was so close to God–closer than anyone before or after–that God must have been heartbroken at Moses’s lack of faith.  It would be similar to a betrayal by your best friend–only infinitely more so.

Conclusions:  The personal question was again in my opinion questionable.  I see it as a reminder that our actions do affect those around us and it’s something we need to be cognizant of.

I’m seeing the overall pattern here:  Trust in God.  Never doubt Him.  He will reward you if you do.  Punish you when you don’t.  Either on this side of heaven or the other.  Trust, trust, trust.  He will never let you down.

End Notes: The Israelites are back at Kadesh (see MAP and MAP) where they first told God “no” about entering the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26-28).

Miriam’s death here is important; it showed the Israelites He was serious about everyone dying before entering the Promised Land. She’s the first of Moses’s family to suffer for their collective sins. Although Miriam had great moments of faith (Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21), one major sin marked her for life. We see this today in the downfall of politicians or celebrities. Great lesson for us: no one is exempt from God’s judgment.

Timeline: This is the beginning of the last year of wandering. It appears the Israelites camped at Kadesh here for 3-4 months (based off of Numbers 33:38) perhaps because of Miriam’s death. Aaron will die four months later. The bible doesn’t tell a lot of what happened in this 38 years. Presumably, nothing of consequence as the Israelites merely lived out God’s judgment.

Here we see a new generation of unbelievers as the old generation is dying.

Moses also was not commanded to speak to the nation nor to rebuke there. Here, we see Moses as we’ve never seen him before–utter contempt for the people he has so often saved from destruction. We also see pride when he says “we” as if God were not enough. Moses’s heart had twisted and God obviously didn’t like what He saw.

Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock. I can just imagine his frustration at the people boiling over. However, in his anger, he makes a fatal mistake–literally.

Yet God is so gracious and so good and so loving He provides for His people despite their sins.

Moses did not believe God. He probably remembered back in Exodus 17 where he had to strike the rock.

The punishment was strict. But as we all know, those who know God are called to a higher standard. Can you imagine the standard Moses had to live up to? A lot of pressure. Yet because he was so close to God and a leader, his punishment reflects God’s expectations of those who know Him. Great lesson for us as well.

Moses’s sin was small compared to the Israelites’ sins. Yet not in God’s eyes. God says in Deuteronomy 32:51 that Moses “broke faith” with Him and “did not uphold my [God’s] holiness amongst the Israelites.” A warning to us all–what we consider as a small sin can be huge to God.

Moses pleads with God to let him go over to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:23-27) and when God says no, Moses blames the people. Poor, poor Moses. He has seen time and time again of God reversing His initial punishment, not ridding the land of the Israelites and not giving Miriam leprosy that he thinks for sure God will relent and reverse His position. But God does not. Our hearts bleed for him; yet, God remains good and gracious and kind and judging. His ways, not ours.

The picture of Moses reflecting Jesus here is now tainted. Moses struck twice; Jesus only once.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 2: Numbers 20:1-13

Summary of passage:  After 38 years of wandering, Miriam died (scholars date this as the first month of the 40th year of wandering).  Again, grumbling by the Israelites against Moses and Aaron because there is no water.  Same complaints about food, etc.  Moses and Aaron feel down at the Tent of Meeting.  The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses to speak to a rock with his staff and water would appear.  Moses struck the rock twice with his staff and water rushed out.  However, God rebukes Moses and Aaron for his lack of faith and sentences them to die before the Promised Land is reached as well.

Questions:

3)  It is merely mentioned in passing.  Acts of honor or mourning are not mentioned and life seems to move on quickly after her death.  It shows how the older generation is dying and meeting God’s judgment upon them.

4a)  As soon as there’s trouble or life becomes difficult or something doesn’t go their way, the Israelites blame Moses and Aaron.  The people had already faced such an obstacle and God provided.  So why not trust God now?

b)  It’s hard to say here without a tone of voice.  They could be exaggerating but thirst is a powerful motivator and not having water (and we’re not told for how long) can drive people insane.

5)  The Lord provides for the Israelites physical needs (food, water, etc) as He always does. He angers over their lack of faith and punishes accordingly.  Although both are sins (grumbling), the magnitude appears to differ in God’s eyes.  Hunger and thirst can cloud the mind and desperation sets in.  Lack of faith is a heart issue–one much more serious.

Conclusions:  I wonder what this would have looked like if the Israelites, instead of grumbling, had cried out to God every time.  What a testament that would have been!

No shocker for the rebuke of Aaron.  But Moses?  Scripture is vague here (I wonder if Moses was too embarrassed to write it down) but we know it must have been a grave sin for God to rebuke Moses as such.  Some scholars say Moses didn’t follow directions here.  I notice Moses taking credit for the miracle when he says “we” instead of God.  I can’t imagine Moses’s heartache after all this time and all his faithfulness.  It would drive me close to insanity.

End Notes:  The Israelites are back at Kadesh (see MAP and MAP) where they first told God “no” about entering the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26-28).

Miriam’s death here is important; it showed the Israelites He was serious about everyone dying before entering the Promised Land.  She’s the first of Moses’s family to suffer for their collective sins.  Although Miriam had great moments of faith (Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21), one major sin marked her for life.  We see this today in the downfall of politicians or celebrities.  Great lesson for us:  no one is exempt from God’s judgment.

Timeline:  This is the beginning of the last year of wandering.  It appears the Israelites camped at Kadesh here for 3-4 months (based off of Numbers 33:38) perhaps because of Miriam’s death.  Aaron will die four months later.  The bible doesn’t tell a lot of what happened in this 38 years.  Presumably, nothing of consequence as the Israelites merely lived out God’s judgment.

Here we see a new generation of unbelievers as the old generation is dying.

Moses also was not commanded to speak to the nation nor to rebuke there.  Here, we see Moses as we’ve never seen him before–utter contempt for the people he has so often saved from destruction.  We also see pride when he says “we” as if God were not enough.  Moses’s heart had twisted and God obviously didn’t like what He saw.

Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock.  I can just imagine his frustration at the people boiling over.  However, in his anger, he makes a fatal mistake–literally.

Yet God is so gracious and so good and so loving He provides for His people despite their sins.

Moses did not believe God.  He probably remembered back in Exodus 17 where he had to strike the rock.

The punishment was strict.  But as we all know, those who know God are called to a higher standard. Can you imagine the standard Moses had to live up to?  A lot of pressure.  Yet because he was so close to God and a leader, his punishment reflects God’s expectations of those who know Him.  Great lesson for us as well.

Moses’s sin was small compared to the Israelites’ sins.  Yet not in God’s eyes.  God says in Deuteronomy 32:51 that Moses “broke faith” with Him and “did not uphold my [God’s] holiness amongst the Israelites.”  A warning to us all–what we consider as a small sin can be huge to God.

Moses pleads with God to let him go over to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:23-27) and when God says no, Moses blames the people.  Poor, poor Moses.  He has seen time and time again of God reversing His initial punishment, not ridding the land of the Israelites and not giving Miriam leprosy that he thinks for sure God will relent and reverse His position.  But God does not.  Our hearts bleed for him; yet, God remains good and gracious and kind and judging.  His ways, not ours.

The picture of Moses reflecting Jesus here is now tainted.  Moses struck twice; Jesus only once.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 5: Numbers 17-19

Summary of passages:  Numbers 17:  In an effort to end future rebellions, God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout.  Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.  God told Moses to put Aaron’s staff in front of the ark as a reminder to the people of His choice.

Numbers 18:  God told Aaron he and his sons were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood.  The Levites are to help Aaron but not go near the furnishings of the Tabernacle or the altar.  Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  Everything.  They are to receive no land.

The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

Numbers 19:  God commands Eleazar the priest to sacrifice a red heifer without defect, sprinkle its blood in front of the Tent of Meeting, and burn it up.  The ashes are to be gathered up for use in the water of cleansing to be purified of sin–specifically to be used when touching a dead body, removing a dead body, or touches a human bone or grave.  If the person does not cleanse themselves, they are to be cut off from the community.

Questions:

10a)  God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout. Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.

b)  Here, God wants to end all rebellion against Him.  The responsibility of the high priest is to atone for the people and make them right with God.  Every high priest is selected by God to administer such an important role.  Jesus was selected by God to be our forever high priest and atone for our sins.  God chose Jesus like He chose Aaron.  It shows God’s keeps His promises to man.

11a)  They were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood. Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.

b)  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  The priests also received the firstborn, which would usually be redeemed with money.  The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That the Israelites were to use the ashes of a dead animal to cleanse themselves of touching a dead person.  That death cleansed death.  Like Jesus.

Conclusions:  The Hebrews passage is a long one.  Focus on Hebrews 7:11-8:6.  Questions 12 was a throw away in my opinion.  A waste.  Didn’t learn anything from it.  A question on the symbolism of Jesus here would be more edifying.

The lengths God goes to just for us is amazing.  He does all these miracles just to save us from ourselves.  Love is everywhere here and anyone who doubts God’s love for them should read Numbers 13-17.

End Notes:  Numbers 17: The staff is a symbol of an apostle’s Godly-authority over the people.  We see this since God gave Moses the staff of God (Exodus 4:17, 20).

The grumbling is an indication of the heart.  God here is giving them one more chance to show His sovereignty.  After this, judgment only.

God gives us more than enough as evinced by the blossoming of the staff.

Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek and thus is our high priest.  We studied this either in Acts or Matthew I can’t remember.

Note there are now three things in the Ark:  The Ten Commandment tablets, manna, and now Aaron’s staff.

The people are definitely afraid now and realize the severity of their sin.  But are their hearts changed?  We shall soon find out!

Numbers 18:  God grants Aaron authority and accountability.  They always go together.

Salt was considered pure and unchangeable.  A covenant of salt then was a covenant to last forever and never be amended.

Tithing is not mandated by the New Testament (and therefore the New Covenant).  However, we are to be a giving people and that looks different for all (2 Corinthians 9).  Deuteronomy 14:28-29 extends this and shows how once every 3 years, the tithes were shared with the poor.

The Levites had a job to do and were expected to do it in return for their pay–just as we are.

The Levites had to give a tenth of their tenth; they needed to be givers as well.

We have seen the amount the Levites gave was well over the tithe.  They gave offerings and freewill offerings and all the special offerings for festivals and any special projects like the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:4-9).  The Israelites were a giving, generous people.  God commanded all of this so they would become giving and generous like He wants us to be–like Jesus.

Numbers 19:  A heifer is a female cow that has never been pregnant.  So we are looking for a pure cow of a red color with no defects–quite rare.

The difference between this sacrifice and others was that the cow’s blood was to be burnt up as well instead of being drained out.

Cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet was used in Leviticus 14:4-6 to cleanse a leper.  These three items point to Jesus–some say Jesus’ cross was made of cedar.  Hyssop was offered to Jesus while he hung from the cross (Matthew 27:48), and scarlet represented Jesus’ blood.

Being unclean was not a sin; it just meant you couldn’t be with the community or with God.  Luckily for us, we are bathed by Jesus every day (John 13:5-11).

A dead body was the result of sin; hence, if you touched it, you were touching sin in essence and thus unclean.  The primary reason here was not the spread of disease because most people who die are found relatively soon afterwards.

Note the symbolism:  ashes of the heifer (Jesus) combined with living waters (Word of God & Holy Spirit).

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 4: Numbers 16:23-50

Summary of passage:  As punishment for the rebellion against Moses (and God), God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families.  Fire consumed the 250 men.  Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar.  This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.

Still, the Israelites grumbled so God in His glory appeared at the Tent of Meeting.  He brought a plague upon the people which only stopped after Aaron offered incense and made atonement for the people.  14, 700 people died.

Questions:

7a)  God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families. Fire consumed the 250 men.

b)  Moses had seen God’s anger and God’s desire to kill everyone.  He had prayed to God to just punish Korah only.  I would assume God had told Moses His judgment of Korah ahead of time.  Even if not, Moses had a pretty good idea God would punish him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  A bit of extrapolation but ok.  Pray more.  Read His word more.  Be more like Jesus.  What I do everyday.

8a)  Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.

b)  “Grumbled against Moses and Aaron.”

c)  Atoned for their sins.  Encouraged Moses and Aaron in their leadership role.  Obeyed God.

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I sometimes think God gets fed up with us, His creation, and can’t take it anymore.  God cares about how you treat Him and His people.  You will face judgment for it when you stand before Him.

b)  He made atonement for the people to end the plague against them.

c)  We are saved completely through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and we are forgiven and justified through him.  He is our intercessor as Aaron was here–only Jesus is permanent.  He stands between the living and the dead.

Conclusions:  I hadn’t realized the amount of grumbling in the Bible until this study. Unbelievable!  I think if I just witnessed God Himself opening up the earth and swallowing a family and then fire-balling 250 men, I’d have a healthy fear and appreciation of God and His servant, Moses.  The personal questions here are lackluster.

End Notes:  Our take away should be to stand away from divisive people as well and those who would cause unneeded trouble.  The Bible speaks to this is numerous places including Titus 3:10-11 and Romans 16:17-18.

The fact the families paid the price as well shows how sin affects not just you but those around you as well.

The coals were scattered because that was not holy as it was unauthorized; only the objects themselves were.

Moses’ heart once again shines through as he attempts to save the people from God’s wrath and judgment.

Incense is prayer (Revelation 8:3-4) and prayer does make a difference as we dramatically see here.  Aaron prayed; killing stopped.

Fun Fact:  The Hebrew Bible begins chapter 17 at Numbers 16:36.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 3: Numbers 16:1-22

Summary of passage:  Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led 250 well-known council members in a rebellion  against Moses.  Moses tells them in the morning God will choose who is holy.  Moses chastises the Levites for being greedy and wanting the priesthood as well as the honor of serving God in His tabernacle.  Moses is accused by Dathan and Abiriam of leading them to death instead of a land of milk and honey.  Moses asked the Lord not to accept their offering out of anger.

The next day all the men took incense and their censer before the Lord at the Tent of Meeting. The Lord appeared in all His glory.  God tells Moses to move away from the entire group so He can kill them.  Moses and Aaron though beg for the lives of the 250 and just put the ringleaders to death.

Questions:

4a)  They accused Moses of putting himself above everyone else.  Dathan and Abiram accuse Moses of leading them to their deaths and not into a land of milk and honey.

b)  To promise them something greater–hear it sounds like the priesthood.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Ever hear of politicians?  All the time.  People promise you something to come over to their side.  Even amidst children.  Human nature.  One of the oldest (as we are reading) tricks in the book.

5a)  Korah:  Greed, desire for power, recognition

Dathan and Abiram:  desire for an easier life

Moses:  compassion, anger, forgiveness

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This question has nothing to do with the passage.  Not sure.  I can’t speak for God.  And this passage is really not flattering to anyone.

6a)  God. Verse 11

b)  Moses fell facedown to God, he tells them they are rebelling against God, Moses tells God not to accept the offering of Dathan and Abiram, and Moses asks God only to punish the ringleaders and not everyone.  Moses knows God almost wiped them all off the face of the earth and he is trying to contain this rebellion before God decides to do it again.

Conclusions:  Unbelievable so close to God having almost killed the people and punished all of them by not allowing them to make it to the Promised Land.  Man never learns, does he?

I am struck over and over again with the greatness and compassion of Moses.  Never before have I realized just how instrumental he was in the Exodus and in rescuing God’s people from themselves.  I am awed by his love and his behavior and his courage especially in the face of God’s anger.  I’m not for sure I would have the courage to speak up to God to spare the people when God’s about to destroy everyone.  So many lessons we see from Moses:  standing up for others, loving others, compassion for others, understanding others, etc.  Every chapter I come to see just how special Moses truly was.

End Notes:  Korah was a great-grandson of Levi.  Both Moses and Korah were descended from Kohath but by different sons.  So they were distant cousins.  See Numbers 26:58-59.

Korah played to the people, claiming to represent their interests and needs, when in truth it was all about a power grab for himself.

It’s significant that Korah accused Moses of pride–a man the Bible called the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3–debatable about if Moses called himself this or not as the author of Numbers). It is therefore significant that Korah managed to get so many followers because these men should have known how preposterous the idea was and should have known Moses’ character.  Great example on how man is often deceived by smooth talkers.

Moses sets the example for all of us:  the first thing he did was pray.  Pray for guidance to God.

In this prayer (which we are not told how long it lasted), Moses presumably received direction from God in terms of what to do.  Moses wouldn’t issue a challenge to Korah and speak for God to show Himself and choose His leader if God hadn’t have told him to do so.

Korah was ungrateful and instead of seeking God to give him gratitude he chose to take Moses down.  His heart indeed was not God’s.

Unbelievable how Dathan and Abiram called Egypt “a land flowing with milk and honey.”  Yet how often have we done the same thing with the past–when something terrible has happened and we sugar coat it to something completely different.  It’s as if we never want to believe the worst.

Saying nothing is a sin as well when someone is falsely accused and you do nothing.  The 250 community leaders here hold blame as well.

Moses could easily have the rebels arrested and executed if he so desired.  Instead, he left it to God.  And Moses’ passion and anger against the rebels shows just how much he wanted to protect God’s people against those who would lead them astray.

The censer test with incense was what the priests used in worship.  God chose this to give the evil-doers what they wanted–to be a priest.  However, they were far from worshipping God here.

Moses and Aaron’s prayer perhaps saved these men.  We don’t know for sure, but the fact this is recorded emphasizes the power of prayer.  Another example for us to follow.  Certainly, both Moses and Aaron are becoming more and more like Jesus–one reason God allowed this rebellion to happen.

Fun Fact:  Korah means “baldness” in Hebrew.  Gives us a better picture of him, don’t it?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 2: Numbers 15

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses more instructions for bringing offerings to Him when they enter the Promised Land.  Everyone must follow these rules including aliens for offerings. These are offerings by fire, special vows, freewill, or festival offerings.  And offerings from the first ground meal as well.

The Lord describes offerings for unintentional sin both for the community as a whole and for the individual.  They are to present a bull or goat to be sacrificed, the priest is to make atonement, and then they will be forgiven.  However, if the sin is intentional, then that person must be cut off from his people.

A man gathering wood on the Sabbath was stoned to death at the Lord’s directive for breaking his command to keep the Sabbath holy.

The Lord commands all people to wear blue tassels on their garments as a reminder to obey His commands.

Questions:

3a)  God says He is giving them the Promised Land as a home and He is the one taking them there.  The offerings in this chapter are offerings for when they get to the Promised Land so that must mean they will get there.  God says when you eat of the food of the land–The Promised Land.  God never said “if”.  It’s “when”.  God keeps His promises.

b)  Gathering wood on the Sabbath.  So the people would know the consequences of breaking God’s commands.  We’re not sure the time-frame of this penalty but if it were so close to the rebellion of the people against God in Chapters 13-14, then God had to come down harshly to make His point to discourage any more rebellion by His people.  To instill a fear of God in the people.  Obviously, this man knew he was breaking the law and he did it anyways.  To God, this is not okay.  And this man paid the price.  All the Israelites needed to know who was in control and thumbing your nose at God is not a good idea.

c)  Positive:  So the people will remember all the commands of the Lord and that they may obey the commands and not prostitute themselves by going after the lusts of their hearts and eyes.  The tassels will show the people are consecrated to the Lord.

Negative:  They are marked as God’s people and therefore may be targets of discrimination and hatred by pagan peoples.  It could be annoying to always have a reminder about being good and make the people feel like children.  However, God knows what His people need, and they are His children.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wanted His people to have a visual reminder that they are His and are special to Him.  It reminds me that I am special as well and am marked with the Holy Spirit as my reminder.  God is with me to resist temptation and sin.

Conclusions:  I think this must have been close after Numbers 13-14 of the rebellion as we see God reassuring the people, giving them visual reminders to help them, and punishing a man very severely for something small to make a point.  God wants His people to obey and He is doing everything in His power to make them.  God cares so much, doesn’t He?

End Notes:  The people once more were almost eliminated by God.  He had just told them none of them would live to see the Promised Land.  The people needed God most here to comfort and reassure them that He is still with them, He still loves them, they can still be forgiven for their sins, and their children will see the Promised Land.  God is pulling them back to Him with grace and mercy and love.

The amount of the offerings gets progressively bigger as our growth with Him should.  As we know Him, we give more and more and sacrifice more and more and receive more and more from Him as a reward.

Sin is sin.  Period.  Unintentional sin still counts.  Many dismiss it today as good intentions.  Still, sin occurs and must be atoned for like any other sin.  Luckily, our God is great and forgives all sins.

Intentional sin was basically a sentence of death.  Wonder how many people today would be castigated out if this were still the case?

The color blue is associated with holiness.  The Ark, the curtains, and the priest’s garments were of blue cloth.

We wear similar reminders today:  cross necklaces and earrings, T-shirts, etc.  Just like in Jesus’ day with the Pharisees (Matthew 23:5), we must be careful not to wear it in a prideful manner and as an indication of superiority over others.

I like wearing these reminders as a marking of whom I belong to to others.  It can be a great conversation/evangelism jumping off point when people remark how much they like my necklace or earrings.  I often forget I am wearing them, but others remind me!