Theme: Consequences of Rebellion
Know: The children of Israel treated God with contempt by doubting He could lead them into the Promised Land. God forgave them but they still had to face consequences for their unbelief.
Think: Rest in the assurance that God always keep His Word.
Do: Trust and obey God’s Word, never doubting His ability to accomplish His will.
Scriptures: Numbers 14:1-45
Notes and questions:
B1 The difference between fear and anxiety
Dr Harriet Lerner writes, “Sometimes we distinguish the two by our bodily experience. I'm sure you're aware that the neurobiology of fear is different than the neurobiology of anxiety. The sudden re-arrangement of your guts when an intruder holds a knife to your back (fear), is different from the mild nausea, dizziness and butterflies in your stomach as you're about to make a difficult phone call (anxiety).
Anxiety is also the word of choice to describe lingering apprehension, or a chronic sense of worry or tension, the sources of which may be totally unclear.
But the notion that "fear" always connotes something bigger and stronger than "anxiety" breaks down in real life experience.”
- A verse: Do all things without grumbling and disputing, Philippians 2:14
- The Greek word for grumbling is γογγυσμός/goggusmos (gong-goos-mos'). The idea is a secret complaint, for example, John 7:12 (And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceives the people).
- The Greek word for disputing is διαλογισμός/dialogismos
- It has the idea of doubting, questioning what is true, and arguing
- A link for a good article: http://thecripplegate.com/grumbling-pt-1/
B3 Setting: The Wilderness of Paran
- Many opinions as God’s people seem to have forgotten where it is.
- An interesting article on Mt Sinai and Paran: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/11/What-Do-Mt-Horeb2c-The-Mountain-of-God2c-Mt-Paran-and-Mt-Seir-Have-to-Do-with-Mt-Sinai.aspx
- A map
- The characters
- The Israelites
- Moses and Aaron
- The 12 spies among whom are Joshua and Caleb
B4 The outline
- The Israelites respond to the evil report Numbers 14:1-10
- Moses and God converse about the problem Numbers 14:11-38
- The rebels go to fight but are defeated Numbers 14:39-45
B5 Numbers 14:1-10
- The context: 26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants [fn] (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:26-33
- What is the underlying problem with these complaining Israelites?
- Was the land a land of “milk and honey?”
- Why were the Israelites discouraged then?
- Why wouldn’t they listen to rational argument?
- Why do people reject God’s message, even today?
- Whom do the Israelites blame, get angry at? Why?
- What can we learn about this?
- Do we believe God’s promises?
- Abraham passed God’s test, so did David, Moses, and many others. Others have failed the test as Adam, Cain, Balaam, and here. Why do people fail when God tests them?
- Does God mind if we ask Him questions? Was there any difference between Mary’s and Zechariah’s questions? See Luke 1:18-20 and Luke 1:34-37.
And Zechariah said to the angel, “By what will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” 19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and began to wonder when he was delayed in the temple. 22 And when he came out he was not able to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them, and remained unable to speak. 23 And it happened that when the days of his service came to an end, he went away to his home.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, your cousin Elizabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
- In Numbers 14:8, Joshua and Caleb tell them the giants’ protection is gone. What does this mean? How can we apply that for today?
- Punishment comes to all sinners. We Christians have the Lord Jesus who was our Passover Lamb sacrificed for us. Is Numbers 14:10 an example of when people cross God’s line of no return, no time for repentance, now is judgement time?
- Why do the Israelites want to go back into slavery, not long after they had been delivered? See 2 Peter 2:20-22 (If indeed they have escaped the corruption of the world through their knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, only to be entangled and overcome by it again, their final condition is worse than it was at first. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud).”
B6 Numbers 14:11-38,
- God’s statement to Moses is that He will destroy these rebels and make of him a greater nation than them. Is this a true statement?
- Exodus 14:18, what important lessons can we learn about God and His dealings with humanity?
- Exodus 14:18, the 3rd and 4th generations are punished? What if they do not commit the same sin? See
9 ‘You shall not bow down to them, and you shall not serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, punishing the guilt of fathers upon their children and upon the third and upon the fourth generation of those hating me, 10 but showing loyal love to thousands of those who love me and of those who keep my commandments.
Look! All lives are mine. The lives of father and son alike are mine. The person sinning will die.
- Even though God forgave them, they will still be punished. Why should they be punished, if God forgave them? Does God delay punishment?
- Numbers 14:22, is there a limit for the amount of times we can test God?
- The 10 spies feared the Amalekites and the Canaanites instead of God. How can we avoid the same danger of fearing the wrong thing?
- The Israelites feared the inhabitants of the Promised Land saying they (Israel) would die. So now all Israelites 20 years old and older will die except Joshua and Caleb. What might happen to us if we do not believe God?
- Some say that the actual wandering in the wilderness is only 38 years not 40 as God had stated. The 40 years of wandering would include the wandering they had done since they left Egypt.
- The plague that brought death to the 10 evil spies was a sudden death by whatever cause. They experienced God’s wrath in this life, then only to face the eternal wrath later. They were totally rejected by God. We should be careful too.
B7 Numbers 14:36-45
- Numbers 14:36-38, who lived and why?
- Israel sought a second chance, but there was no second chance. What can we learn from this?
B8 Other questions
- What is the difference between faith and doubt?
- What does faith produce? How do we exercise faith?
- What does doubt produce?
- What happens when we rebel against God and His standards?
- God has forgiven us our sins, but do those sins still have consequences?
- How does knowing God’s promises help our faith?
- What are the results of unbelief?
B9 A reminder
- Know: The children of Israel treated God with contempt by doubting He could lead them into the Promised Land. God forgave them but they still had to face consequences for their unbelief.
- Think: Rest in the assurance that God always keep His Word.
- Do: Trust and obey God’s Word, never doubting His ability to accomplish His will.
B10 Next week:
- A clean slate
- Theme: A covering for sin
- Scriptures: Numbers 15:1-31