BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 23, Day 3: Numbers 21:4-7

Summary of passage:  The Israelites are now traveling around Edom to the Promised Land.  Again, they are grumbling against God and Moses.  So the Lord sent poisonous snakes to punish the people for their sin.  They bit the people and many died.  They went to their intercessor, Moses, to pray for God to take the snakes away.


4)  Because the Edomites refused them passage.

5a)  Opinion question.  My answer:  Not sure.  One would think they would be elated after their victory but taking the long way around through desert does take its toll.  They are probably travel weary.  Yet this shouldn’t surprise us.  The Israelites have been grumbling for years now about God’s provision.

b)  God

c)  God sent venomous snakes to kill them.

6a)  They recognized their sin, confessed it, and asked for God to relent and forgive them.

b)  Acknowledge your sin, confess it, and the Lord will forgive you.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I dislike these questions that are so open-ended that I have trouble pin-pointing a specific time.  I would say too many to recollect as this occurs to me almost on a daily basis. I sin, I confess, I experience God’s grace and mercy.  This helps me in incalculable ways in terms of relieving my guilt, allowing me to be a better person, and be more like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Like Day 2, this lesson did nothing for me.  The questions were ones we’ve already seen in previous lessons [ Question 4 was Question 9b in Lesson 22.  Question 5b is numerous questions from previous lessons: Question 7a in Lesson 20, 6a in Lesson 21 ].  The ray of hope is God.  I just wish the people would see this–and I would as well.

End Notes:  Old habits die hard.  Here we see victory and then grumbling by the people.  This scares me as I would like to think I’d be different in these situations but what makes me better than the Israelites?  Nothing.  Very scary, impactful, and convicting when we read of God’s people rejecting Him over and over again.

If you look at my map links carefully (here’s ONE that shows a wide loop), you will see that the Israelites actually had to turn around and go back and away from Canaan to go around the Edomites.  Discouraging?  Yes.  An excuse to complain?  No.

Here we witness the new generation doing the same sins as the previous generation except upped a notch:  they grumble against God Himself as well as Moses.  Not good.  Not good at all.

Some translations say fiery serpents.  Mine says venomous.  This could refer to the color of the snakes as being red or their bite that may have burned like fire.

Scholars believe the victims were mostly of the older generation who died in fulfillment of God’s promise to not allow them into the Promised Land.

Note how the younger generation complained against God but how they also immediately repented and recognized God as their sovereign leader and the only one to save them.  Their hearts are His despite their missteps.


2 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 23, Day 3: Numbers 21:4-7

  1. The Israelite hardened their hearts, not believing in God, complaining all the time on their way, they always wanted to live the life of worshiping the idols they could see with their own eyes and not having faith in God who provided everything without hardship. The love of God is not measurable, He did n`t give up on them, though others died on the way,God wanted his covenant &promise upon his people fulfilled.

    Numbers 13, Moses sent spies to explore the land &it was an order from God,some of the spies came with lies which brought fear to some thus raising more complains. Though all the complains,Moses didn’t give up praying God.His life was right full with God, but the people always brought him down. The Israelite s little faith in God makes some of them attacked,now giving God condition if he lets them conquer, they will dedicate their cities,God is the creator of everything we are just stewards,God purposed to take them to the promised land.

    When all goes on well no one remembers God, but when worse comes to worst,each and everyone turns to God,with God nothing is impossible,When we chose to follow God lets submit unto him and he will always make way for us.The little faith made them change their ways of invading the land. Their motive of in contentment made God bring hash punishment in their lives


  2. Regarding Question 5(a) as to why would the Israelites react like they did after a great victory? They are a stiff-necked people, weak spiritually, prone to discouragement, and apparently 40 years of roaming thru the wilderness hasn’t changed their basic outlook even with a new generation after all the others died out! They have come full circle without much change! The truth is we are very much like them in that when life gets hard, we forget the victories of God in our own life. We focus on ourselves and have a “pity-party.” Fortunately, as believers we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us in our impatience and frustrations. Unfortunately, many times I keep the Holy Spirit in my closet hidden from helping me! I sometimes hate to admit that I am a lot like those “stiff-necked” Israelites. There but for the Grace of God go I.


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