Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old Testament survey (04): Numbers

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (Numbers 12:6-8)

Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. (Numbers 14:30-34)

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)


[1] Numbers, from Thru The Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee ©, with free downloads Notes & Outlines (PDF), Complete 5-Year Study (MP3), Balaam: A Prophet for Profit (PDF)

In the Book of Numbers we see the children of Israel depart from Mount Sinai and march to Kadesh–barnea. After their failure at Kadesh–barnea, they began to wander until that generation died in the wilderness. The years of wandering were a veritable saga of suffering, a trek of tragedy, and a story of straying.

“Pilgrim’s Progress” is an apt theme for this book. Here we find the walking, wandering, working, warring, witnessing, and worshiping of God’s pilgrims. It is a handbook for pilgrims in this world. In the words of the hymnwriter, “Chart and compass come from Thee.” This is a road map for the wilderness of this world.

This book is helpful for us today. The lessons which the children of Israel had to learn are the lessons that you and I will need to learn, which is the reason God recorded this history for you and me. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). (Read the complete article)
[2] Book of Numbers, from (this website is also available in Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese-Myanmar, Cebuano, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malaysian, Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Quechua, Sesotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu, and 70 other languages)
Most of the events of the Book of Numbers take place in the wilderness, primarily between the second and fortieth years of the wandering of the Israelites. The first 25 chapters of the book chronicle the experiences of the first generation of Israel in the wilderness, while the rest of the book describes the experiences of the second generation. The theme of obedience and rebellion followed by repentance and blessing runs through the entire book, as well as the entire Old Testament.

The theme of the holiness of God is continued from the book of Leviticus into the book of Numbers, which reveals God’s instruction and preparation of His people to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. The importance of the Book of Numbers is indicated by its being referred to in the New Testament many times. The Holy Spirit called special attention to Numbers in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12. The words “all these things happened to them for examples” refers to the sin of the Israelites and God’s displeasure with them.

In Romans 11:22, Paul speaks about the “goodness and severity of God.” That, in a nutshell, is the message of Numbers. The severity of God is seen in the death of the rebellious generation in the wilderness, those who never entered the Promised Land. The goodness of God is realized in the new generation. God protected, preserved, and provided for these people until they possessed the land. This reminds us of the justice and love of God, which are always in sovereign harmony. (Read the complete article)
[3] Numbers, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)
The book derives its name from the fact that it records the enumeration of Israel. Historically, NUMBERS takes up the story where EXODUS left it, and is the book of the wilderness wanderings of the redeemed people consequent upon their failure to enter the land at Kadesh-barnea.

Typically, it is the book of service and walk, and thus completes, with the preceding books, a beautiful moral order: GENESIS, the book of the creation and fall; EXODUS, of redemption; LEVITICUS, of worship and fellowship; and NUMBERS, of that which should follow--service and walk.

It is important to see that nothing was left to self-will. Every servant was numbered, knew his place in the family, and had his own definitely assigned service. The N.T. parallel is 1 Cor. 12.

The second typical lesson is that, tested by wilderness circumstances, Israel utterly failed.

NUMBERS is in five chief divisions:

1. The Order of the Host, Numbers 1:1-10:10
2. From Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 10:11-12:16,
3. Israel at Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 13:1-19:22
4. The Wilderness Wanderings, Numbers 20:1-33:49
5. Closing Instructions, Numbers 33:50-36:13.

The events covered in NUMBERS cover a period of 39 years (Ussher). (Read the complete article)
[4] The Book of Numbers (with chart Camping with God), from Uplook Ministries

Further study
(Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Materials by David Malick
[2] The Law: The First Five Books, by J. Hampton Keathley, III

[3] Israel’s Failure at Kadesh Barnea, by Bob Deffinbaugh

[4] “A Star Will Come out of Jacob”: Early Regal Images in Numbers 24:15-19, by Greg Herrick (download Word doc)

Sermons on Numbers (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Numbers: Book of Wanderings, Wandering in the wilderness of sin, from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee AR

[2] Caleb–Vision versus Ordinary Sight, Numbers 13:1-14:38, from Palm Springs Baptist Church

[3] The Jackass Did Speak! by Michael Stark, New Beginnings Baptist Church

[4] A0415_The Lord Bless You, by Joel Dawson

[5] Prayer of Blessings, by Rev. Wilbur D. Winborne Sr.

[6] Moses, by Kenneth Morris

[7] A Star Out of Jacob, by Douglas James Wilson

[8] The birth of Jesus, by Chad Oltman

[8] The Advent, by Rev. Gregory S. Byrd

[9] The Star of Bethlehem, by Douglas James Wilson

[9] The Star that Led to a King, by Frank Walker

For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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