Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20020417.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XXIX: Becoming Two Out Of One Million, Two Hundred Thousand To Survive By Faith
Lesson: In Israel's wilderness wanderings, (1) though there were degrees of TRIBAL blessing due to the degrees various TRIBES heeded God, (2) there were even STARKER contrasts of blessing by how men PERSONALLY heeded God. (3) Also, INDIVIDUAL obedience in Israel was rewarded by God on a PERSONAL basis regardless of the relative godliness of the GROUP to which one was assigned.
- There is great blessing from God in being a survivor in the life of faith.
- However, often those who survive are fewer that those who shipwreck their Christian walks in unbelief, and end up living without the blessing of God.
- This was the case in the wilderness wanderings, and viewing this fact in Numbers 26 encourages us to "stay on the beam" in fervently living by faith and heeding the Lord (as follows):
- Becoming Two Out Of One Million, Two Hundred Thousand To Survive By Faith, Numbers 26:1-65.
- Numbers 26:1-65 records a census God had Moses and Eleazar, Aaron's son make of all the people of Israel age 20 and upwards just before Israel entered the promised land of Canaan, cf. Numbers 26:1-2.
- Such a census was taken back in Numbers 1:1-46.
- Yet, BETWEEN these 2 numberings, Israel repeatedly failed to heed God, so God judged the ADULTS numbered in Numbers 1 to die in the wilderness, Num. 14:22-23, 29. Only Caleb and Joshua who heeded God in Numbers 14 were promised they would survive this judgment, 14:2, 6-9.
- Thus, comparing the two numberings reveals the following (cf. Ryrie St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to 26:5-51):
- As God promised increased and decreases in population in proportion to obedience to the Law (cf. Deut. 28:1-2, 4 with 28:15-18), we note variations of God's blessing among the tribes as TRIBES: (a) the tribe of Reuben decreased by 2,770 adult males (Numbers 1:21 with 26:7); (b) the tribe of Simeon decreased by 37,000 adult males (Numbers 1:23 with 26:14); (c) the tribe of Gad decreased by 5,150 adult males (Numbers 1:25 with 26:18); (d) the tribe of Judah gained 1,900 adult males (Numbers 1:27 with 26:22); (e) the tribe of Issachar gained 9,900 adult males (Numbers 1:29 with 26:25); (f) the tribe of Zebulun gained 3,100 adult males (Numbers 1:31 with 26:27); (g) the tribe of Manasseh gained 20,500 adult males (Numbers 1:35 with 26:34); (h) the tribe of Ephraim decreased by 8,000 adult males (Numbers 1:33 with 26:37); (i) the tribe of Benjamin gained 10,200 adult males (Numbers 1:37 with 26:41); (j) the tribe of Dan gained 1,700 adult males (Numbers 1:39 with 26:43); (k) the tribe of Asher gained 11,900 adult males (Numbers 1:41 with 26:47) and (l) the tribe of Naphtali had decreased by 8,000 adult males (Numbers 1:43 with 26:50) between the 2 numberings.
- However, on an INDIVIDUAL basis, the differences between blessing and its loss are STARTLING:
- The total number who had died in personal judgment was 1,200,000, a great tragedy, Ibid.
- Indeed, in highlighting the tragedy involved, Moses noted significant failures leading to deaths between the two numberings: (a) He highlighted how Dathan and Abiram, men of renown, had struggled for influence against Moses and Aaron and died a violent death by the ground opening up and swallowing them, Num. 26:9-10. (b) He highlighted how Nadab and Abihu who had led in offering an unbiblical fire before the Lord had died in their sinful ministries, Numbers 26:61.
- In stark contrast, Moses told how not a SINGLE man 20 years and older in the first census had survived EXCEPT Caleb, the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, Numbers 26:64-65. Thus, Caleb and Joshua were 2 out of 1,200,000 individuals who survived by heeding God, 14:1-24
- Note that Caleb came from a MORE UPRIGHT tribe than did Joshua as Caleb's tribe of Judah increased by 1,900 men and Joshua's tribe of Ephraim decreased by 8,000 between the two numberings, cf. Num. 13:6, 8 with "II,D,1,(d) and (h)" above! This means INDIVIDUAL blessings come for INDIVIDUAL obedience REGARDLESS of their GROUP'S uprightness!
Application: Let us as a GROUP heed God, but let us even MORE fervently resolve INDIVIDUALLY to HEED God ESPECIALLY if the GROUP FAILS Him; God ALWAYS rewards ANY who heed Him!