Notes on Numbers
1:1-54 - ‘Every man able to go forth to war’: This is the key phrase in verses 1-46. God is looking for ‘soldiers’: Soldiers of Christ! To live for Christ is to be engaged in warfare. It is spiritual warfare. We need ‘the whole armour of God’ (Ephesians 6:10-20). We must remember that ‘the weapons of our warfare are not worldly’. They have ‘divine power’. They are ‘powerful weapons from God’. They are ‘mighty through God’ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). The Levites were to lead worship (47-54). The battle is the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). We will never be strong ‘soldiers of Christ’ unless we are learning to worship the Lord. Worship lies at the very heart of the life of God’s people. Without worship, we are weak. Worshipping God, we will grow ‘strong’. We will ‘firmly resist’ the enemy. We will ‘take action’ for God (Daniel 11:32).
2:1-34 - ‘The Lord said to Moses’: These words appear more than eighty times in Numbers. Let your life be centred on the Word of the Lord - Listen, Read, Study, Memorize, Meditate! God’s people were ‘facing the tent of meeting on every side’ (2). There were to be no gaps in the ranks. We are not to pull in different directions. We are to pull together. Everyone has their place. All who are willing to serve the Lord will find a place in His service. Let us be united in worship and witness. Without this spirit of co-operation, the work of the Lord will fail. Each of us needs to be ‘in position’ (17) - on the Lord’s Day for worship and on other occasions, when we are called upon to ‘serve the Lord with gladness’ (Psalm 100:2). Let our ‘standard’ (17,31) be the Lord - not the world: We are God’s people!
3:1-51 - The Levites were to ‘minister at the tabernacle’ (5-8). Different people were given different responsibilities. They were not to compete with each other. There was to be no overlapping. One was not to interfere with the work of another. The call comes from God. ‘Every male from a month old and upward’ (15,24,28,34,39-40,43): Long before we even thought of serving God, He was calling us to be His servants. God is in control: He determines who will serve Him, and how we will serve Him. Each of us has a part to play. The important thing is the whole work of God. Let each of us be faithful so that the whole work can move forward. Never forget this: We serve the Lord as a ‘redeemed’ people, for whom Christ has provided ‘redemption’ - ‘we have redemption through His blood’ (44-51; Ephesians 1:7).
4:1-49 - ‘The sons... from thirty years old up to fifty years old’ (2-3,22-23,29-30...): The service of the Lord calls for maturity. Long before we ever offered ourselves to God, He had His hand upon us. If, however, we are to prove worthy servants of the Lord, we must press on to spiritual maturity. Why is it that so many people upon whom God’s hand has been laid early in life never attain their true spiritual status? - They have been distracted. ‘Self’ has intruded where only God should be. Choose God-centred blessing - not self-centred rebellion. God is ‘holy’ (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Serving Him is a ‘holy’ calling (4,15,19-20). In all of our service, one thing must take priority: Worship. We can ‘put on a performance’. It can be very impressive. Without real worship, it means nothing!
5:1-31 - ‘The Lord said...’ (1): Let us hear and obey His Word. God is holy: His people are not to be defiled (3). Sin is not merely moral. It is spiritual. It is not only a deviation from law. It is an offence against God - ‘breaking faith with the Lord’ (6). God is holy: ‘Atonement’ is more than a provision for our need of forgiveness. It is a ‘restitution... to the Lord’ (8). Christ’s atoning death does two things: (a) It meets the demands of God’s holiness. (b) It meets our need of salvation. We must not do ‘the wrong’ and ‘break faith with the Lord’ (6-7). We are to obey the Gospel call for ‘faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’: This is ‘repentance’. We obey God’s ‘command...to repent’ (Acts 20:21; 17:30). No longer ‘trusting in ourselves that we are righteous’, we confess our sins and look to Christ for mercy (Luke 18:9,13).
6:1-27 - ‘Separate... to the Lord,... Separate... from wine and strong drink’ (2-3): These two thoughts are closely connected in the New Testament - ‘Do not get drunk with wine,... Be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). We are to be ‘holy to the Lord’ (8). ‘Consecrated to the Lord’, our whole life must be controlled by one thing: ‘Do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31). Motivated by a desire for God’s glory, we will enjoy God's blessing (22-27). God’s blessing is not a ‘cheap’ thing, something that doesn’t matter very much. Remember Esau (Genesis 25:29-34). He couldn’t be bothered. He couldn’t care less. God’s blessing meant nothing to him. He didn’t want God’s blessing. What did God do? - He gave it to Jacob. ‘The Lord bless you...’: Do you want this? Or must God find somebody else?
7:1-47 - Why do we bring our offerings to the Lord? - ‘that they may be used in doing the service of the tent of meeting’ (5). We give ourselves to the Lord - ‘Love so amazing, so divine, Shall have my soul, my life, my all’ - and we ask Him to put our gift to good use - ‘O use me, Lord, use even me, just as Thou wilt, and when, and where’ (Church Hymnary, 437,485). Why is there so much repetition here? - God does not look only at the total offering. He prizes each separate offering. Each gift expresses the giver’s love for Him. Let us ‘lay up... treasures in heaven’, bringing our offerings in faith, as an expression of our gratitude to God for His abundant grace. Which matters most to you? - ‘earth’ or ‘heaven’: ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:19-21).
7:48-89 - At the end of this long chapter, we have Communion with God: ‘When Moses went into the tent of the meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat...’ (89). This is what it’s all about: We ‘draw near to the throne of grace’. We ‘receive mercy and find grace...’ (Hebrews 4:16). Listen for God’s Word. Speak to God in prayer. So often, the most important things get crowded out. We lose sight of God - His love, His grace, His mercy. Religion becomes a burdensome, legalistic thing. There is no joy in it. God comes to us in mercy - ready to forgive. In love, He offers us a new beginning. By His grace, we can live as the people of God. God is speaking. Are you listening to Him? God is listening. Are you speaking to Him? Nothing is more important than this!
8:1-26 - The Levites were ‘set apart’ for God (14). They were ‘a gift to Aaron... to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting...’ (19). We are to work together as a team. ‘Yield yourselves to God...’ (Romans 6:13): Help each other to be better servants of Christ. The ‘lampstand’ (1-4): ‘Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (Psalm 119:105). Without Christ, the living Word, we remain in darkness. With Him we ‘walk in the light’, in the joy of His salvation (John 8:12; 1 John 1:7). ‘Service for the people of Israel’ (19): As servants of Christ - He ‘came not to be served but to serve’ (Mark 10:45) - , we are to serve others for ‘Jesus’ sake’ (2 Corinthians 4:5). To those whom we serve, we say, ‘We are your servants but you are not our lords’. Jesus is Lord: It is ‘as the Lord commands’ (22).
9:1-23 - God’s people were ‘in the wilderness’ (1) - No longer in the land of bondage, not yet in the land of promise. This is our situation - We look back to what the Lord has done for us, we look forward to what the Lord will yet do for us. The Passover directs our attention to the death of Christ, ‘our Passover Lamb’ (4; 1 Corinthians 5:7). The Cloud directs us to the return of Christ - ‘He is coming with the clouds’ (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30). God’s people are guided by the ‘cloud’ and ‘fire’ (15): Not one without the other, but both together. We need both grace and faith: Not grace without faith, not faith without grace. God is ‘able to keep us from falling’ (Jude 24) - This is grace. We are to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21) - This is faith. ‘Kept by the power of God through faith’ (1 Peter 1:5).
10:1-36 - God’s Word - ‘the testimony’ (11) - reveals God’s purpose (29) and provides God’s guidance (33). The ‘cloud’ is like the presence of God’s Spirit hovering over us. Great things are about to happen. The Spirit of God is moving over the face of the people of God gathered for worship (11; Genesis 1:2). Through the Word, the Spirit draws our attention to the Lord who has promised good to us (29). Instructed by the Word and strengthened by the Spirit, we ‘journey’ with God (33). We are moving on with God, looking forward to the fulfilment of His good purpose. We have heard the trumpet sound, calling us to worship the Lord, to be His soldiers and servants (1-10). We hear the divine declaration, ‘I am the Lord your God’ (10), and we say, ‘Yes, Lord, You are our God’ (Psalm 63:1; John 20:28).
11:1-35 - ‘The people complained in the hearing of the Lord’ (1) - Remember: All our words are spoken ‘in the hearing of the Lord’! There was ‘a rabble among them’ (4): What problems there are when such people are mingling with God’s people! What are we to do when this happens? - Pray for God’s help (10-15). God will not disappoint us - He gives people who will ‘take their stand with us’ (16), the Spirit who rests on God’s people (25), the Word, ‘strong meat’ to sustain our spiritual strength (31-32; Hebrews 5:12-14). The lure of the world , the pull of the flesh - ‘the rabble’ wanted to go back to ‘Egypt’ (4-6): This is the attack of the devil. Standing in Christ’s strength alone, we ‘resist the devil’. Defeated by Christ, Satan can do nothing but ‘flee from us’ (Philippians 4:13; James 4:7; 1 John 3:8).
12:1-13:33 - Miriam and Aaron complained (12:1-2). Caleb and Joshua encouraged (30; 14:6-9). Thank God for encouragers! How did Moses react to criticism? He ‘was very meek’ (3). He was like Jesus - ‘When He was reviled, He did not revile again’ (1 Peter 2:23). Moses - ‘a servant’ - was ‘entrusted with all God’s House’: We look beyond Moses to Christ who is ‘faithful over God’s House as the Son’ (12:7; Hebrews 3:5-6). In times of difficulty, we draw our strength from Him. Where there is the encouragement of faith, the discouraging voice of unbelief is not far behind it. Unbelief sees nothing but problems - ‘We are not able...’ (30-31). ‘Not able’ or ‘well able’? The choice is yours. Choose faith. There must be no place for unbelief.
14:1-45 - ‘All the congregation raised a loud cry...’, ‘all the people of Israel murmured...’, ‘all the congregation said to stone them...’ (1-2,10). Was there any ‘light at the end of the tunnel’? Yes! - ‘The Lord... will bring us into this land’ (8). With the promise, there was also the warning: ‘Do not rebel against the Lord’ (9). Though angry, God remained patient: ‘How long will this people despise Me? How long will they not believe in Me?’ (11). He was waiting patiently for a change of heart. Moses prayed for mercy without presuming on it: ‘He will by no means clear the guilty’ (18-19). God announces His pardon (20). Nevertheless, there may be times when God says, ‘Enough is enough - It’s time for a new beginning’: Only Caleb, Joshua and the ‘little ones’ would enter the land (30-31): No one else! Not even Moses!
15:1-41 - We read of offerings for ‘atonement’ (25,28). We think of Christ: He went ‘outside the camp’ for us (35-36; Hebrews 13:12) - to bring us forgiveness (25,28). We are to ‘be holy to our God’, the God of our redemption (40-41). Obedience to God is of the utmost importance: We need to be reminded of all His commandments (39). Our supreme motivation is redeeming love. This divine redemption creates a relationship. God is our God and we are His people. Out of this relationship is to come the obedience of faith (40-41). ‘E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die’; ‘When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we'll sing, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”’ (Mission Praise, 671; Church Hymnary, 380).
16:1-50 - ‘You have gone too far!’: They regarded themselves as ‘holy’, yet they refused to go ‘too far’ with God (3)! What kind of ‘holiness’ is this? There is a ‘holiness’ which is more concerned with respectability than obedience to God. Faced with ‘the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’, we dare not say, ‘We will not come up’ (12; Philippians 3:14). We are to be ‘holy’: ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity’ (4; 2 Timothy 2:19). ‘Separate yourselves’ (20): This is not the false separation of the Pharisees - Spiritual ‘pride’ is ‘an abomination to the Lord’ (Proverbs 11:1-2). Maintain your high calling - Don’t get dragged down to the level of those who ‘will not come up’ to where God wants them to be - and remember: ‘By grace... not your own doing... the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8).
17:1-18:32 - The call comes from God - to Aaron, to Christ (17:5; Hebrews 5:4-6). Christ is both the Offering for sin and the Great High Priest (Hebrews 5:7-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:25). We look at ourselves, and we say, ‘We perish, we are lost, we are dead’ (17:12). We look to Christ, and everything changes (John 3:16; Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:1). ‘Service’ and ‘reward’ (18:31): The Lord blesses those who serve Him faithfully each day (1 Corinthians 15:58). Building on Christ, we seek to do work of lasting value - ‘gold, silver precious stones’. We dare not rest content with shallow superficiality - ‘wood, hay, straw’. There is ‘a reward’ for those whose ‘work’ is ‘built on the Foundation, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
19:1-22 - The sacrifice was to be ‘without defect’. There was to be ‘no blemish’ (2). Here, we have a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ - ‘without sin’, He offered Himself ‘for the sins of the people’ (Hebrews 4:15; 2:17). The gathering of ‘the ashes’ (9-10) speaks of the completeness of Christ’s work for us - ‘for all time a single sacrifice for sins’ (Hebrews 10:12). The danger of becoming unclean through touching a ‘dead body’ (11) - there is a warning for us here. ‘Dead in trespasses and sins’, we have been ‘made alive’ in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). We dare not look back (Luke 17:32; Genesis 19:26; Luke 9:62; 2 Peter 2:20-22). We have been purified ‘from dead works to serve the living God’ (Hebrews 9:14). Christ ‘saves to the uttermost’. How dare we ‘shrink back’ from Him? ‘Have faith. Be saved’ (Hebrews 7:25; 10:39).
20:1-29 - No man or woman is indispensable. God’s work goes on, with or without us! (a) Miriam (Moses’ sister) served and worshipped the Lord (Exodus 2:7-8; 15:20-21). Now, her time had come. She was not to enter the land. She ‘died’ (1). (b) Moses had been the leader of God’s people. He sinned, and he was excluded from the promised land (12). Do not rest on your laurels. Yesterday’s grace is not sufficient for today’s challenges. A day-by-day walk with the Lord is called for. (c) Aaron (Moses’ brother) had stood alongside Moses in leadership. He ‘died’ (28) without entering the promised land. In the leadership of God’s people, the names and the faces change - but the Lord never changes. He remains unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable in His love. When Moses, Aaron and Miriam had gone, God was still there!
21:1-35 - In verses 5-9, there is an illustration of God’s salvation (John 3:14-15). There is sin and death (Romans 5-6; 3:23, 6:23). Christ prays for our forgiveness (7; Luke 23:34). Lifted up on the Cross, He dies that we might have eternal life. In love, He appeals to us, ‘Look to me and be saved’ (John 12:32; Isaiah 45:22). Enter, Destroy Possess (21-24, 33-35): Let Christ enter your heart, destroying Satan’s strongholds and taking possession of your life (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5). If we are to be victorious to the ‘praise and glory and honour... of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 1:6-8), we must ‘go by the King’s Highway, not turning aside to the right hand or the left’(22; 20:17). For the Christian, ‘the King’s Highway is ‘the Way of Holiness’: ‘This is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 35:8; 30:21).
22:1-41 - Learn from the past. In 2 Peter 2:15-16, Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14, we are encouraged to learn from the events of this chapter. Each passage contains a warning. (a) 2 Peter 2:15-16 - Don’t leave ‘the straight way’ and follow the crooked way! (b) Jude 11 - Don’t let making a profit become more important than being a prophet! (c) Revelation 2:14 - Make sure you don’t get drawn away from God into sin! What is God saying to us here? - ‘these things happened... as a warning... they were written down for our instruction... let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall’. With the warning, there is also the promise: ‘...God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape...’ (1 Corinthians 10:11-13).
23:1-30 - Our words are to be an echo of God’s Word. We are to speak only what God says (8,12). Before we can speak for God, He must speak to us. ‘God’s Word is truth’ (John 17:17). God does not lie. He does not change His mind. What He says, He does. He fulfils His purpose (19). How does God carry forward His purpose of blessing? We receive His blessing. We share His blessing with others. We can only bring blessing to others when we ourselves seek blessing from the Lord. His blessing comes to us. His blessing reaches out through us. We speak His Word, yet - through our words - He speaks (20). This is the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit’ (Ephesians 6:17). The Spirit uses the Word to convict us of our sin and lead us to our Saviour (Hebrews 4:12-16).
24:1-25 - When ‘the Spirit of God came upon him’, Balaam’s ‘oracle’ was described as ‘the message of the man who sees clearly’. His ‘eyes are opened’. He sees ‘with far-seeing eyes’. He ‘hears the words of God’. He ‘sees the vision of the Almighty’ (2-4,15-16). Balaam looks beyond his own time. ‘With far-seeing eyes’, he prophesies concerning our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘I see Him, but not now’ (17). Balaam catches a glimpse of Jesus Christ, the ‘King of kings’ (Revelation 19:16). This is what we must pray for: ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ’. Pray that you will be ‘in the Spirit’, ready to ‘hear what the Spirit says’ (Revelation 1:1,10; 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22). God is the unchanging God - Nothing changes Him (23:19). He is also the changing God. He changed Balaam. He will change us!
25:1-26:22 - Read of Israel’s adultery and idolatry and remember God’s Word of warning: ‘Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould’ (25:1-5; Romans 12:2). God is looking for people who have the ‘same zeal’ as He has (25:11). Those who are zealous for God may be few in number, but we must not be discouraged. Glorying in Christ our Saviour, we must continue to be zealous for Him. In Christ we have ‘peace’, ‘atonement’ and a ‘perpetual’ salvation (25:12-13; Romans 5:1-2,9-10). We are saved to serve - This is the thought contained in the phrase, ‘all in Israel who are able to go forth to war’ (26:2). The wilderness wanderings were over. God was doing a new thing. He was looking for a new people, determined, by grace, to carry His work forward into the future. He is still looking!
26:23-65 - There is real sadness in the final words of this chapter: ‘There was not left a man of them, except Caleb and Joshua’ (65). There is also a sense of expectation. So many had died in the wilderness. This was now a new generation. We’re living in changing times. God is equipping His people for new challenges. We must not stand still. We dare not say, ‘It’s never been done that way before’! A new generation has to be won for Christ. Will we rise to the challenge? Or, will we ‘die in the wilderness (65)? Taking possession of ‘the promised land’ would not be easy. Making advances for Christ will not be easy. We must lay aside those things which need to ‘die in the wilderness’. We must take hold of all that God has given to us - if there is to be ‘Good News for the next generation’!
27:1-23 - The daughters of Zelophehad were concerned about the continuation of the father’s name (1-11). Our first concern must be the glory of God, our Heavenly Father. We are to honour our parents, loving them deeply. We must not allow such love to compete with our love for Christ. He must come first. We are called to a life of single-minded devotion to Jesus Christ. Joshua is chosen to succeed Moses as the leader of God’s people (12-23). Soon, Moses would be gone. The Lord was preparing His people for the future. God had His man - Joshua - waiting to continue the work which Moses had begun. For each place and time, God has His ‘Joshua’. The work of God will go on. His work requires more than a ‘Joshua’. What part will you play in God’s ongoing work? Will you take up the challenge?
28:1-31 - The sacrifices, offered to God, were to be ‘a pleasing odour’ to Him (2,6,8,13,24,27). These sacrifices are no longer required. A greater Sacrifice has been offered and accepted. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has offered Himself as a Sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:23-26). This Sacrifice is ‘a pleasing odour’ to God. It is ‘good news’ for us. This is ‘good news’ - the Gospel of our salvation: ‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:3). How do we know that Christ’s Sacrifice is ‘a pleasing odour’ to God? - God ‘raised’ Him from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4). The ‘feast of weeks’ (Pentecost) turns our thoughts towards the Holy Spirit (26-31; Acts 2:1-4). It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the ‘good news’ of Christ becomes real in our lives. He brings us to Christ and leads us on with Him (Acts 2:37-47).
29:1-40 - Between the feast of weeks (Pentecost) and the feast of trumpets (28:26-29:6), there was the harvest. Pentecost - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit - has ushered in the time of Harvest - the saved are being gathered in as men and women are being won for Christ. During this time of harvest, we ‘blow the trumpets’ of worship, rejoicing in the Lord (1), and ‘alarm’, calling on men and women to pay attention to the Word of the Lord (Joel 2:1). By blowing the trumpets for God, we prepare the way for the final trumpet, ‘the trumpet of God’ (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). We must get ready, and we must encourage others to get ready, for Christ’s Return. Atonement (7-11), Tabernacles (12-40): Christ has ‘tabernacled’ among us (John 1:14). He has made ‘atonement’ for us (Romans 5:11). Share the Good News!
30:1-31:20 - Vows (30:1-16): Be careful what you say - You may live to regret it (Ecclesiastes 5:2, 4-6; Matthew 12:36-37; James 3:6-11). Learn from Balaam. Full of good intentions about speaking God’s Word (22:18; 23:12), he hoped to ‘die the death of the righteous’ (23:10). He did not live up to his good intentions. He sinned and he led others into sin (31:16). He ended up being slain among God’s enemies (31:8). Why were the Midianites destroyed (31:7-8)? They opposed the Lord, exerting an evil influence on His people. We must take care that we do not cause God’s people ‘to act treacherously against’ Him (31:16). Sin needs to be removed if we are to press on to a greater enjoyment of God’s blessing. ‘Put to death what is earthly in you... put off the old nature... put on the new nature’ (Colossians 3:5-11). This is what we must do.
31:21-54 - If we are to be ‘soldiers of Christ’, we need to be ‘purified’, made ‘clean’. There is purification by ‘fire’ and ‘water’. Purification may be painful, but we have the promise of God’s protective presence. He says, ‘I will be with you’. He assures us, ‘the waters... shall not overwhelm you... and the flame shall not shall not consume you’ (22-24; Isaiah 43:2). From the Old Testament wars, we learn important spiritual principles: Enter the war, Destroy the sins, Possess the land. This is what we must do throughout life. Looking beyond Israel’s triumphs to Christ’s victory over Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8), we thank God for His victory and we claim this victory by faith (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4-5). The battle may be ‘fierce’. The ‘victory is secure’ (Church Hymnary, 479). Praise God!
32:1-42 - Some look for an easy life. They know that there will be conflict on the other side of the Jordan. They opt out - ‘do not take us across the Jordan’ (5). They think they’ve travelled far enough. God says, ‘Let us go on to maturity’ (Hebrews 6:1). ‘My happiness’ - This is what concerns the self-centred person. Spiritual maturity is not about happiness. It’s about holiness. We find happiness when we aim at holiness. What is holiness? - ‘It’s the life apart from the world’s excess. It’s the Lord’s command, not the Lord’s request. It’s the only life that the Lord can bless’. Pretend to be more holy than you really are, and ‘be sure your sin will find you out’ (23). A small minority - Caleb and Joshua - ‘wholly followed the Lord’ (12): Better a minority with God than a majority without Him.
33:1-49 - In the history of Israel - Set free by the power of God, failure to learn, wandering, the promised land - , there is a picture of the Christian life - conversion and growth to spiritual maturity by way of learning from our mistakes. We are not to remain in the past. That would be nostalgia. It is, however, a good thing for us to remember, with gratitude, all the way the Lord has led us. This will increase our appreciation of the goodness of God. It will deepen our sense of indebtedness to Him. Israel’s redemption was a mighty work of God. Our salvation is a mighty work of God. Think back over your life - ‘stage by stage’ (2) - and thank God for all that He has done. ‘These are the stages of’ what the Lord has done (1): You may see the Lord in places where you hadn’t noticed Him before!
33:50-34:29 - ‘Drive out all the inhabitants of the land’ (52): We must drive out the enemy (Satan) if we are to enter more fully into our salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:3-14). Idolatry is to be banished (52). It has no place among God’s people. God wants us to ‘possess the land’ (53) - a fuller enjoyment of Him. Idolatry is settling for ‘second best’ - letting something or someone else become more important to you than the Lord. Don’t let it happen! The setting of the boundaries of the land of Canaan (34:1-29) is a reminder that there are boundaries in the Christian life, boundaries set by God Himself, the boundaries of Holy Scripture. When we move beyond the boundaries of God’s holy Word, we move outside the sphere of God’s blessing. Live in the will of God - within the boundaries set by His Word.
35:1-36:13 - Cities of refuge were provided for those who had killed someone accidentally. This is a good illustration of fleeing to Christ for refuge. He is our ‘strong tower’. We ‘run’ to Him and we are ‘safe’ (Hebrews 6:18; Proverbs 18:10). God gave Israel a ‘land’. They were not to ‘defile the land’ (34). God has given us a Saviour. We are not to dishonour Him. Christ is our ‘inheritance’. Our full enjoyment of Him is still to come (36:2-4, 7-9,12; Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 3:24; 1 Peter 1:4). How can we enjoy our Saviour more fully ? - ‘These are the commandments...’ (36:13). The names change. The places change. The principle remains the same: Obedience to God. We have been redeemed by God. Let us live in obedience to Him. There is nothing more important than this - if we really want to enjoy His blessing.