Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20011212.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XIII - Missing Blessing By Living Independent Of God And His Leaders
(Exodus 2-4; Numbers 14:1-23, 39-45)
Lesson: Though Israel's INTENT in ATTACKING the Promised Land's inhabitants was what the nation was EARLIER SUPPOSED to do, God's JUDGMENT had SINCE THEN determined that this generation would NO LONGER enjoy His help in conquering that Land. Thus, Israel's attack on the land's inhabitants in DISOBEDIENCE to GOD'S HUMAN LEADER, MOSES ended in defeat.
- To enjoy God's blessing in our lives, we must obey the Lord, cf. John 14:21, 23.
- Well, an area the Lord requires we obey Him is in union with obeying the human overseers He places over us in Biblically-sanctioned human institutions: children must obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-4), wives their husbands (Eph. 5:22), servants their masters (Eph. 6:5), Christians their local church leaders (Heb. 13:17) and citizens their civil leaders (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We obey Him in part by heeding His leading us by instrumentality of such rightful overseers.
- A passage in Scripture where this is candidly illustrated is provided for us in Numbers 14:1-23, 39-45.
- Missing Blessing By Living Independent Of God And His Leaders, Ex. 2-4; Num. 14:1-23, 39-45.
- God had initially wanted the nation Israel to trust Him to use Moses to lead them to the Promised Land.
- God called Moses to lead Israel up out of Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land, Ex. 2:23-25; 3:6-10.
- God even verified to Israel that He wanted to use Moses to do this: God gave three authenticating miracles to Moses to perform to prove to Israel he was to lead them out of Egypt, cf. Ex. 4:1-9, 29-31.
- However, when ten of the spies gave a faithless report that they could not take the land, the people spoke of replacing Moses with another captain who would lead them back to Egypt, Num. 13:30-33; 14:1-4:
- Because of this sin of unbelief, God determined that faithless generation in Israel would die in the wilderness as they had faithlessly complained would be better for them, Numbers 14:2, 32-35.
- After Moses' announcement of this judgment, the "repentant" people rose up early the next morning to try attacking the Promised Land's inhabitants in an effort to "rectify" their previous sin, Num. 14:39-40.
- Though their effort fit what God had first called them to do, it did NOT fit God's current will for them:
- It is a fact that God had originally wanted the people not to doubt His goodness or leadership of them through Moses: the people had indeed sinned in not showing the courage of Joshua and Caleb in seeking to enter the Promised Land by faith in God's help, cf. Numbers 14:11-12.
- However, since the people had sinned this TENTH time in unbelief, God's plan had altered: from then on, that faithless generation would die in the wilderness where the next generation plus Joshua and Caleb would take the Promised Land, cf. Numbers 14:29-31.
- Accordingly, as God's spokesman, Moses WARNED Israel not to do battle against the Promised Land's inhabitants as they would not enjoy God's help and would be defeated before humanly overpowering foes they would face in the process, Numbers 14:41-42, 43.
- Nevertheless, the people attacked the Promised Land's inhabitants without the LORD (as represented in the ark of the covenant's remaining in the camp) and without MOSES, the man God had chosen to lead them (as represented in Moses' also staying behind in the camp), Numbers 14:44.
- Sure enough, as Moses had warned, the people were soundly routed in their presumptuous attack, 14:45:
- Israel attacked the high hill country tribes of Canaan, and were very severely beaten backwards, Numbers 14:44-45a NIV.
- They were driven as far back as Hormah fifteen miles south of the closest high hill country (southeast of Hebron) they would have attacked, Num. 14:45b. (cf. Israel: Map of the Cease-Fire Lines (Survey of Israel, 1961, "Israel 1:250,000 South"); Aharoni & Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, p. 41)
Application: (1) God uses Biblically sanctioned HUMAN overseers to guide His people to do His will for blessing. Hence, we MUST heed what such HUMAN overseers DIRECT if we would realize GOD'S blessing. (2) The SOLE exception occurs when the human overseer proposes we disobey God and His Word, Deut. 13:1-4; Acts 5:29. In that case, " . . . We ought to obey God rather than man."