24 March 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 26-36

There are a lot of things to cover in these 11 chapters. (Wait until the first week of April when we review 26 chapters in Deuteronomy!)

God calls for another census of the Israelite people to determine how many men can serve in the army and to determine how the land will be divided among the tribes.

Zelophehad’s five daughters approach Moses and ask for land because Zelophehad died without having any sons. God agrees to give the daughters their due property. Zelophehad’s daughters trust in God’s promises about inheritance. And God provides new inheritance laws regarding women.

Then God promises a new leader when Moses dies. God allows Moses to see the Promised Land but keeps His promise that Moses will not enter the land. Moses’ only concern is for the people. So he asks God to appoint a new leader. God chooses Joshua, Moses’ current assistant. Moses transfers his leadership to Joshua and commissions him to lead the people.

God outlines the sacrifices and festivals for the Israelites (chapters 28-29). The regulations have not changed, but He reminds this new generation about His expectations. God also instructs the people to keep the vows they make (chapter 30). God keeps His word, and He expects us to keep our word as well.

God commands the Israelites to destroy the Midianites because they led the Israelites into idolatry and sexual sins (chapter 31). This may seem harsh to us. But killing the Midianites preserves the Israelites as God’s holy people set apart for Him.

God explains how the Israelites should divide the Promised Land. The tribes of Reuben and Gad are happier in the land on the east side of the Jordan River. (The major part of the Promised Land was on the west side of the river.) These tribes prefer this land for their sheep and cattle. Moses sees this as an excuse not to fight as they take over the Promised Land from the Canaanites. Moses consults with God. Then the Reubenites and Gadites promise to fight with the other Israelites as long as they can come back to this land and settle there (chapter 32).

Moses details the Israelites’ travels as a reminder of how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt into their own land in Canaan (chapter 33). This is another way Moses hopes to keep the subsequent generations from repeating the first generation’s mistakes and sins.

God clarifies the boundaries in the land (chapter 34). God establishes cities of refuge to protect anyone who accidentally kills someone (chapter 35). This protects the person until the evidence is collected and the trial is conducted. God instructs the people about daughters receiving inheritance (chapter 36).

Things to Think About

  • What kind of legacy am I leaving for my descendants? Will I teach my descendants not to repeat my mistakes?
  • Am I known as a person who keeps her word?
  • Which sin do I allow to remain in my life? Either repent or face the consequences.
  • Wise people learn from the past as they look to the future.
  • God sanctifies His children. He will use past mistakes and victories to help us learn and serve Him today.