Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20010815.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part I - Knowing WHO We ARE And WHERE We FIT IN With God's FLOCK For Victory
Lesson: When each person in Israel knew WHO they WERE and WHERE they FIT IN to the REST of the group in their relationships to God and each another, and then knew their proper FUNCTIONS, they could personally and as a nation experience God's blessing even in the crisis of war. However, not knowing or functioning in accord with these things would produce confusion, frustration and defeat!
- Though one is saved by faith in Christ, his experience in the Christian life can be either one of victory or defeat, and that with very contrasting results, cf. Hebrews 3:7-9; 4:6-10.
- As the book of Numbers records Israel's wilderness journeying between Egypt and Canaan, it contains records of the many spiritual casualties of this journey, and precious few victors (Hebrews 3:16-19).
- A key factor in becoming a spiritual victor is for each of us to know who we ARE in the Lord, and then where we fit in relationally and functionally in the group of God's people as Numbers 1:1-2:23 reveals:
- Knowing WHO We ARE And WHERE We FIT IN With God's FLOCK For Victory, Num. 1:1-2:34:
- All were to know where each fit in to the CHAIN of COMMAND for God's blessing in war, 1:1-16:
- In leaving Egypt to enter Canaan, the people of Israel were going to have to be victorious in conquering the Canaanites. Hence, God had them numbered and organized in divisions for war, 1:1-3.
- The men who were 20 years of age an upward were to be numbered by Moses and Aaron, and heads of every one of the 12 major tribes in the nation were to head up the warriors in the tribe, 1:4, 5-16.
- Under these tribal leaders in turn were established heads of major family units in the tribes, and these family heads were registered with the men under them according to lineage, Numbers 1:17-46. Hence, there had to be an awareness of who each one was by lineage to function well in warfare!
- The Levites were exempt from military duty, their focus being ministry in the tabernacle, 1:47-51.
- All were to know where each fit in with the group to FUNCTION for God's blessing in life, 1:52-2:34.
- God required the people to know where they fit in geographically with each other so the group could travel in God's WILL, Numbers 1:52-54:
- After numbering and thus organizing the people in the chain-of-command for military purposes, God told Moses to have every man remain in his proper geographical location, Numbers 1:52.
- God shared the tabernacle had to be surrounded properly lest a party violate the Law on God's holiness by trespassing the tabernacle grounds and God then have to harm him, Numbers 1:53-54.
- Accordingly, God prescribed how the tribes were to surround the tabernacle, Numbers 2:1-34:
- Some of the Levites were selected closely to surround the tabernacle with Moses and Aaron located on the East at the Tabernacle entrance with Merari's group on the North, Gershon's group on the West and Kohath's people on the South, J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, volume I, p. 458.
- In the wider group, the tribes of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun would be on the East, the tribes of Dan, Ashur, Naphtali and the tribal people of the Levites on the North, the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin on the West, and the tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Gad on the South, Ibid.
- Significantly, as the tabernacle openings representing God's view, faced East (Exodus 27:9-16), the descendants of Jacob's unloved wife, Leah were put in the favored Eastern spot while Jacob's favored wife's descendants, the descendants of Rachel were put behind God's view, the West. The other sons of Rachel, Leah and their various maids are intermingled on the left and right side of God's view, cf. Gen. 29:31-24; 35:16-18. God was evening the imbalances of Jacob's wrongful favoritism so there would be no schism in the nation. This placement on God's part matches in intent what God does in gifting and placing believers in the Church, cf. 1 Cor. 12:11, 18, 24-25.
Application: (1) As in Israel's era, God's people today must (a) be sure of their IDENTITY as God's children, (b) their PLACE (c) and FUNCTION in the Church Body so they can individually and corporately flourish in God's blessing! Failure here can only bring individual and group failure! (2) If we are not SURE of these things, we should study Scripture and ask Church leaders about them!