The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 05 – Numbers
COPYRIGHT, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–Nu 32:2.
* KEY PHRASE–“MAN GOES TO SCHOOL TO GOD.”
The whole book of Numbers or:–
* Sunday–Nu 9:15-23, The Guiding Cloud.
* Monday–Nu 13:26-33. Reports of Spies.
* Tuesday–Nu 16:1-11 Gainsaying.
* Wednesday–Nu 20:1-13. Water from Rock.
* Thursday–Nu 21:1-19. Brazen Serpent.
* Friday–Nu 22:1-12. Balaam.
* Saturday–Nu 35:6-15. Cities of Refuge.
NAME–This book is called Numbers because it is an account of the double numbering of the people, first at Sinai,–Nu 1., and afterward at Moab,–Nu 26. It is also the book of the wilderness journeyings of Israel. It is the story from Sinai to the plains of Moab.
AUTHOR–Moses. Time of writing about 1450 13. C. Covers period from 1490 to 1450 B. C. About 40 years.
PURPOSE–To give an account of the providential care of the Almighty over the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness and the temptations and murmurings there, by which they provoked and offended their Heavenly Protector so that at length He swore that they should not enter the Promised Land.
STORY–In this book, Moses numbers and marshals the tribes dedicate the altar and the Levites. gives sundry laws about the Passover. The guiding cloud comes down over the Tabernacle and then begins the journey from Sinai to Moab. At Kadesh-Barnea Israel murmured and lost faith in God, bringing upon themselves 38 more years of wandering. Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses and were destroyed by an earthquake. Miriam dies in the desert of Zin. Moses smites the rock instead of speaking to it thus forfeiting his right to enter Canaan. In judgement for bitter murmurings, God sent fiery serpents among the people, the sting of which was healed by looking at the Brazen Serpent. Balaam, false prophet, was the cause of Israel falling into idolatry. A
new generation of Israelites was numbered. The law of vows was given. Six cities of refuge were set up for slayers to flee to and find shelter.
Great Fact I. Preparation.
Nu 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; Nu 7; 8; 9; 10.
The covenant has been made, the law given; the Tabernacle set up, the priests consecrated. The nation must now be schooled in the law and be prepared for its great work.
Hence in the beginning of Numbers, we have the numbering and arrangement of the Tribes and assignment of special Tabernacle duties to the Levites.
Israel is moving again towards the Promised Land. There is to be hard fighting and every male from 20 years old upward able to bear arms is enrolled in the army and trained for Holy War.
Then every Israelite must know his own tribe and family for the time when the land of Canaan should be divided among the tribes. also that the genealogy of the promised Messiah might be known.
Again an orderly host could march more conveniently and would be better prepared for conflict with enemies.
LESSON–The types of Numbers all bear on Christian walk and service. Genesis is the book of the Creation and Fall. Exodus of Redemption, Leviticus of Worship and Fellowship, and Numbers of that which should follow, Walk and Service.
Christians are walking through the wilderness. In Eph 4:1-3 we are exhorted to walk worthy of our calling in all lowliness and meekness with long-suffering, thus making known to all around us the
excellence of Him who has called us from darkness into His marvelous light.
Great Fact II. Unbelief.
Nu 10; 11; 12.
Israel was now facing the Land which was only a short distance away. Their history now, however, is marked by murmurings and rebellions, justifying. Ps 96:10. “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation.”
There was judgement by lightning (fire of the Lord) because of the people’s complaining. Then Israel murmured again because of the monotony of the daily manna, so the Lord sent a flock of quails, flying three feet above the earth, that they might slay them for food. Miriam and Aaron became jealous of Moses, and Miriam was smitten with leprosy for seven days.
Twelve men were sent to spy out, the Promised Land, but they, (Caleb and Joshua excepted) brought back such an evil report, that the people, discouraged and faint of heart, lost faith in God and refused to enter Canaan. See Heb 3:19. This brought about another 38 years of wandering in the wilderness.
LESSON–The people had faith to come out of Egypt (the world) but had not faith to enter their Canaan of rest, yet the wilderness of unbelief is a hard place for Christians to wander in. God opens doors to nations and to individuals. If they fail to discern their opportunity, or take prompt advantage of it, they are either shut out altogether, or enter after long delay and heavy toil. To know when to go forward is no small part of Christian wisdom and virtue.
Great Fact III. Gainsaying of Korah.
Korah, Dathan and Abiram then rebuked Moses and Aaron, saying that the children of Israel were kept in spiritual subjection and were denied their rights. Korah was doubtless sincere, but he blasphemously intruded upon the Priest’s office. Moses referred the matter to the Lord, and God sent an earthquake so that the earth swallowed up all who rebelled.
LESSON–We must learn the peril of discontent and of unholy ambition. All as saults made upon Christ’s salvation and Christ’s priestly work must fail. Christ it the only mediator between God and man and if anyone shall set himself UP is Christ’s place he is a revolting rebel and will be punished.
Great Fact IV. Water from the Rock.
Israel gets in distress because of the shortage of water and bitterly murmured against Moses and Aaron. God recognized their need and bade Moses speak to a rock and it should give forth water. Moses, however, stung by the reproaches of the people, and in a fit of anger and unbelief, called the people rebels and smote the rock He, therefore, was forbidden 90 enter the land of Canaan and died later on Mt. Nebo.
LESSON–Even saints do not stand every test, the best of men make mistakes. but God is so Impartial that even “friends of God” like Moses are punished for their sins. Christ, like the rock, was once smitten for our sin and like this rock needs not be smitten again.
Great Fact V. The Brazen Serpent.
Israel now battles with the Canaanite; and fretful because they have to march around the land of Edom instead of through it, and loathing the manna again they spoke against God and against Moses. In judgement for this, God sent fiery serpents among them and many people died. When they repented, the Lord caused Moses to make a brass serpent and set it upon a pole and everyone that was bitten, when they looked upon it, lived.
LESSON–The whole human family hag felt the serpent’s sting which results in. death. The sufferers are helpless, no human remedy avails. In man’s extremity God sends a saviour in the likeness of the sinner, as the brazen serpent was in the likeness of the fiery serpent. Then by simple faith; healing, life, and happiness came to the sinner. See John 3:14 and Joh 15.
Great Fact VI. Balaam.
Moab was sore afraid of Israel. So Balaak, its king, plotted to get Israel under a curse. He therefore sought the services of Balaam who was originally a heathen magician who had been deeply impressed by the wonderful deeds of God for Israel. He resolved to serve Jehovah and to perform his own enchantments henceforth in Jehovah’s name. Such a combination of heathen magic with the service of Jehovah could not last long.
At first Balaam refused to go the help of the king of Moab. When he did go an angel appeared in the path and stopped the ass upon which Balaam was riding. He got angry and smote the ass, then the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and it rebuked Balaam.
Balaam refused to curse Israel, but according to Nu 31:16 and Re 2:14 he was the cause of Israel falling into fornication and idolatry with the people of Moab.
LESSON–Balaam is a type of men who will sell their Christian influence for social and political prestige.
Great Fact VII. Cities of Refuge.
Order having been given, the land of Canaan is divided among the tribes. Six cities are to be set aside as the cities of refuge for any man that killed another unawares. A kinsman would pursue a slayer to the city of refuge, which would shelter him. The death of the High Priest resulted in the liberty for all those who were in these cities and they could return to their possessions. Thus God impressed upon them the sanctity of life.
LESSON–Israel’s history can be read in connection with the cities of refuge. They shed innocent blood of Christ and are therefore kept out of their inheritance–the Holy Land. The cities of refuge, like salvation, were of divine origin, were a great necessity to sinful man, were near to every man, and were sufficient shelter. “In Christ, there is no condemnation.”
Questions on the Lesson.
1. Why is the book called Numbers?
2. By whom and when written?
3. What the purpose of the hook?
4. Give the keyword and the key verse.
5. Name the great facts,
6. Have you read your Home Readings?
7. Why were the tribes numbered?
8. If Genesis is the book of creation, what is Numbers?
9. Why did Israel refuse to enter Canaan?
10. Why did Korah rise up against Moses?
11. How did Moses forfeit his right to enter Canaan?
12. Why did the serpents come upon the people?
13. Of whom was the Brazen Serpent a type?
14. What two things did Balaam try, to mix?
15. How many cities of refuge and their purpose?
16. In what way were these cities like salvation?