SINAI 1 - All The Bible Teaches About

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At the end of the Book of Leviticus, they have been out of Egypt for a little more than a year. Exodus covered a year; Leviticus only a month — but the Book of Numbers encompasses more than 38 years. The wilderness was intended as a temporary place — a place to move through, not to live in.

It is not a completely arid desert, but contains little vegetation and a few trees. The rainfall in such areas is too light, a few inches per year, to support cultivation. Its opening ten chapters, covering a mere fifty days, describe how Moses organized Israel for the march from Sinai to the Promised Land.

Moses at Mount Sinai

The Book of Numbers gives us a big vision: Where is God taking us? What will it take to get there? What inward qualities must God develop in us and demand in us along the way? Promised Land people are very different from slave people. Israel emerged from Egypt a slave people, basically unsuited for the Promised Land. How would God transform them into a promised-land people? Their difficulties had been great, their bondage cruel, but they were free from the necessity of thought and arrangement. Having escaped from their taskmaster, they imagined that freedom meant escape from rule.

They had been taught in their year of encampment under the shadow of the mountain that they had to submit to law, and it was irksome to them, and they became discontented. This discontent resulted from lack of perfect confidence in God. When we are in the wilderness, we are tempted to launch a hundred different schemes and plans to escape.

You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. This was the first step in taking the Promised Land — an inventory to see where Israel was and what Israel had to get where God wanted them to be. Though the Promised Land has been mentioned during the exodus to this point, the focus has been on getting to Mount Sinai and receiving the law.

That was just the beginning; now, the focus turns towards taking the Promised Land and recognizing it will be a battle. Imagine how this census would affect the nation!

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As the count was made, every family would know preparation was being made for war. By their armies : The order to count the potential soldiers was not meant to imply that Israel would take the land because of superior forces or merely the bravery of these men — they would receive the Promised Land by the hand of God. Nevertheless, they still had to fight and know what they had available to them going into battle. We may fail in spiritual battle because we do not take an honest inventory about where we are spiritually. We may overestimate or underestimate our spiritual strength and resources.

From Reuben… from Simeon : Twelve tribes are mentioned, but not the tribe of Levi.

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This was a military census, and the absence of the tribe of Levi among the potential soldiers is important but explained later in the chapter. Nahshon : This was the head of the house of Judah and is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Matthew They recited their ancestry by families : The leaders of each tribe was responsible to count the potential soldiers in their tribe, then they gathered to make report to Moses. Each one individually : Every individual was important to God. To be a priest, the bar was higher and required a higher level of holy living.

To be high priest, the standard was even higher. In Protestant circles especially, we have blurred the line between the clergy and the laity, and this isn't all bad. Indeed, we are all priests. But with this blurred line we have come to believe that spiritual leaders are no different than anyone else, that there are no special qualifications, and that the standard of behavior for leaders is no greater than for the members of the congregation. This is wrong and unscriptural!

Now the overseer must be above reproach Here are some of the ways men and women are told to prepare themselves for holy encounters, that is, to be sanctified or consecrated:. Is there anything wrong with food?

Enduring Word Bible Commentary Numbers Chapter 1

Is there anything wrong with wearing shoes? Of course not. Is it morally wrong to go without a shower? Do taking these actions actually make you holy? No, but they are gestures of contrition and desire to make oneself right before God. Ultimately, we are helpless to atone for our own sins, but these are signs and symbols of our allegiance to the Lord. Take the Sabbath, for example:.


This is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. Regardless of our position, we cannot remain passive about our sins. We must recognize who we are before the Lord's holiness and be humble. The New Testament also shows believers taking special steps to sanctify themselves before the Lord 1 Corinthians ; Acts ; ; Matthew Nevertheless, we acknowledge the truth that we are accepted before the Lord by his grace, not our works Ephesians We hold two truths side by side:.

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The role of the leader is to call people to prepare their hearts and lives before the Lord and to live holy lives -- and for the leader to model this lifestyle before the people. The people are to hold high standards of holiness as a community as they live their lives before the Lord and one another. Everyone in the camp trembled. The purpose of this was to put the fear of God in the people, so that they might not treat God casually -- or Moses, his servant.

They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, 'Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning. It is sad to observe that, in their fear, the people reject their own role as priests before the Lord Exodus Rather they say to Moses:.

What a tragedy! We must fear God in the sense that we are afraid to displease him by sinful actions. But we are not to let terror rule the relationship. The Apostle John says:. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I believe that a healthy fear of God is a necessary step in a disciple's life.

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I have a rule when driving: don't mess with large trucks and buses -- they are so large they can flatten my car in a split second! Healthy fear is good, but it is not the ultimate step. That step is love. We find that love for God is a much more powerful motivator for keeping from sin than fear ever was. Moses and Aaron are on the mountain when the Lord gives what are known as the Ten Commandments Exodus ; Deuteronomy ; We won't take time to look at each of these here. But note that these commandments are the core of the covenant being made between God and the people of Israel. They are "the words of the covenant" Exodus and are referred to as "the covenant" itself Deuteronomy When they are eventually written on tablets of stone, they are placed in the ark Deuteronomy , which is subsequently known as "the ark of the covenant" Numbers ; ; Deuteronomy ; , The Ten Commandments are primarily moral principles that form the basis of our actions.

In Exodus God gives Moses civil and religious laws to govern the nation of Israel. The people formally and unanimously accept these terms of the covenant. Based on that initial acceptance, Moses prepares the covenant documents in writing for a public reading later. It is strange that some scholars deny that Moses was the author of the five "Books of Moses," the Pentateuch, the Torah.

Egypt to Sinai, Pt. 1 (GCBI 103.02)

Moses was an educated man, capable of reading and writing, and is clearly described as "writing" God's words down. These commandments were not orally transmitted, only to be recorded generations later as some historical sections of the Bible probably were , but written down soon after they were given on Mt. The next day, sacrifices are prepared by the "young Israelite men," 14 both burnt offerings and fellowship offerings:. Though the significance of the blood is spelled out more clearly in Leviticus , even here the blood is set apart for a special purpose to consecrate the people.

Blood was also shed in ratifying the Abrahamic Covenant Genesis , as was common in Ancient Near Eastern covenants. Now Moses reads from the "Book of the Covenant," the Ten Commandments and ordinances that Moses had told the people about previously Exodus That was preliminary; this is the formal acceptance of a written covenant. This significance of the blood in the making of the covenant is mentioned in the New Testament by the writer of Hebrews in chapter Now that we have seen the holiness of the blood of the covenant, how much more special are Jesus' words at the Last Supper when he held up a cup and said to his disciples:.

But even while it was in effect, God speaks through his prophet Jeremiah about its replacement in this famous passage:.