Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20020605.htm
NUMBERS: OF SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XXXVI: Blessing In Contemplating God's Faithfulness Throughout Our Lives
Lesson: (1) God's UNCONDITIONAL promises to Abraham KEPT Him CONSTANTLY providing for Israel's welfare though from 70% to 95% of the time the nation was under discipline for SIN. (2) As GOD would cause Israel to move either after just an overnight stay or after staying a whole year in one place, and as GOD made MOSES keep a RECORD of EVEN the OVERNIGHT stays, we know GOD wanted ISRAEL to value EVERY MOMENT of their journey so THEY would be FAITHFUL to HIM.
- Most of our lives involves the routine, so we forget about most of its details and remember the highlights.
- Not so with God! God remembers and values all of the details of the lives of His people, and knowing this provides us with lessons of edification and motivation in how we live in "the NOW" as follows:
- Blessing In Contemplating God's Faithfulness Throughout Our Lives, Numbers 33:1-49:
- Listed in Numbers 33 is a record of all the journeys of the people of Israel, and that beginning with their departure from Egypt to where they pitched by the Jordan, poised to enter Canaan, Numbers 33:1, 49.
- Now, it was the LORD Who had ordered Moses to keep this record that led to his writing it all down, cf. Numbers 33:2a! Thus, all the moves, including the wilderness wanderings were important to God!
- As we look through the list, we notice that in their journeys of 40 years, there were 41 stages, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, King James Version, ftn. to Numbers 33:1ff. Thus, they moved on the average of once a year from one camp to another.
- However, we recall from Numbers 9:15-23 that Israel had to be watchful for the Lord's leading at all times, and not pay attention just once a year, for God could move them any day:
- Sometimes, God's cloudy pillar would stay over the tabernacle for many days, Numbers 9:19.
- At other times, His cloud would remain for a few days before moving, meaning Israel had to follow God's cloud and move after just a few days in one location, Numbers 9:20.
- Sometimes, the cloud would stay only overnight, so Israel had to move after a single night's stay, 9:21.
- In any event, Israel had to be on the watch to follow God closely, Numbers 9:22-23.
- Now, by far, the bulk of God's leading included those times when the nation was under discipline, when God was slowly causing the faithless generation to die in the wilderness so He could work with a new generation: those days include listings in Numbers 33:19-49 (cf. Num. 12:16 with 25:1, 26:1-2, 63-66 and 33:49), and they compose 29 of the 41 stages, or over 70% of the stages of the whole JOURNEY! If we recall this judgment on the first generation came following TEN SINFUL FAILURES at EARLIER journey STAGES, that 70% would CLIMB at LEAST to 95%! (cf. Numbers 14:22-23)
- Yet, though the BULK of Israel's travel moves were marked by SIN and divine JUDGMENT, God remained FAITHFUL to ISRAEL:
- The BULK of the time in the wilderness when Israel was in SIN, God FAITHFULLY gave them FOOD in the form of manna EVERY MORNING, Deuteronomy 8:3.
- The BULK of the time in the wilderness when Israel was in SIN, God FAITHFULLY kept their clothes from wearing out EVERY DAY for FORTY YEARS so they had something to wear to protect themselves from contrasting desert cold or daily heat in the wilderness, Deut. 8:4a.
- The BULK of the time in the wilderness when Israel was in SIN, God FAITHFULLY kept the feet of the people from swelling with poor health, and that around the clock, Deuteronomy 8:4b.
Application: (1) Though much of our lives may seem to us to be MUNDANE, they are IMPORTANT to GOD (as seen in His making Israel HEED His leading via how IRREGULARLY He moved the cloud), so we should be VIGILANT to buy up the opportunities we have been granted by Him to LIVE EVERY MOMENT for HIS GLORY. (2) Though we FAIL the Lord, GOD remains FAITHFUL in His DAILY PROVISIONS for even food and clothing due to His UNCONDITIONAL promises to us in Christ. (a) Let us PRAISE Him for His faithfulness, and (b) REST in the ASSURANCE OF His steadfast love!