Sin has consequences, and in Numbers 25, some of the Israelites commit 2 of the worst — immorality and idolatry. Jesus brings both of these up in the letter to the church of Pergamum in the Book of Revelation. Here in Numbers, God deals with the sinners accordingly.
The problem is that we humans don’t learn from history. We don’t learn from the mistakes other people have made and the consequences their bad actions caused. It’s part of the lies Satan tells us. He is the tempter and the great deceiver. This lesson can’t be any clearer. If we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it!… Let’s dig in….
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. 2 These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. 3 In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.
4 The Lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the Lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.”
5 So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.”
6 Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spear 8 and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, 9 but not before 24,000 people had died.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger. 12 Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him. 13 In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me.”
14 The Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a family from the tribe of Simeon. 15 The woman’s name was Cozbi; she was the daughter of Zur, the leader of a Midianite clan.
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, 17 “Attack the Midianites and destroy them, 18 because they assaulted you with deceit and tricked you into worshiping Baal of Peor, and because of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed at the time of the plague because of what happened at Peor.”Numbers 25 NLT
After this, all of the old generation, who were too afraid and didn’t trust God when the spies came back from the Promised Land, are all dead. All except 3 — Joshua, Caleb and Moses. However, Moses won’t get to enter the Promised Land for disobeying God by hitting the rock rather than speaking to it. Clearly, disobeying God has its consequences.
Now they had to take a new count of the next generation of men 20 years and older, who are capable of fighting the inhabitants of the Promised Land.
Numbers 26 – A New Census
After the plague had ended, the Lord said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, 2 “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war.”
3 So there on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho, Moses and Eleazar the priest issued these instructions to the leaders of Israel: 4 “List all the men of Israel twenty years old and older, just as the Lord commanded Moses.”
This is the record of all the descendants of Israel who came out of Egypt.Numbers 26: 1-4 NLT
I won’t bore you with all the names and numbers. You can read them all here. But, there are some notable names: from the Tribe of Judah, Perez and his son Hezron, who are ancestors of Jesus as confirmed in Matthew 1. Continuing…
51 In summary, the registered troops of all Israel numbered 601,730.
52 Then the Lord said to Moses, 53 “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the grants of land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. 54 Give the larger tribes more land and the smaller tribes less land, each group receiving a grant in proportion to the size of its population. 55 But you must assign the land by lot, and give land to each ancestral tribe according to the number of names on the list. 56 Each grant of land must be assigned by lot among the larger and smaller tribal groups.”Numbers 26:51-56 NLT
In Numbers 1, they had 603,550. They lost 1,820 men of fighting age, all because they didn’t trust God. Nevertheless, we will see in many occasions in the Old Testament how God can do more with less.
What about the Levites — the priests? They’re next….
62 The men from the Levite clans who were one month old or older numbered 23,000. But the Levites were not included in the registration of the rest of the people of Israel because they were not given an allotment of land when it was divided among the Israelites.
63 So these are the results of the registration of the people of Israel as conducted by Moses and Eleazar the priest on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. 64 Not one person on this list had been among those listed in the previous registration taken by Moses and Aaron in the wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had said of them, “They will all die in the wilderness.” Not one of them survived except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.Numbers 25:62-65 NLT
Following this, Moses and Eleazar are faced with a different issue and they take it to God. God always has the answer. We need to remember that. Whatever issues we face, when we take them to God, He provides a solution — it may not always be the solution we want, but He does always provide!
One day a petition was presented by the daughters of Zelophehad—Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. Their father, Zelophehad, was a descendant of Hepher son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph. 2 These women stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the tribal leaders, and the entire community at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 3 “Our father died in the wilderness,” they said. “He was not among Korah’s followers, who rebelled against the Lord; he died because of his own sin. But he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons? Give us property along with the rest of our relatives.”
5 So Moses brought their case before the Lord. 6 And the Lord replied to Moses, 7 “The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father’s relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father.
8 “And give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If a man dies and has no son, then give his inheritance to his daughters. 9 And if he has no daughter either, transfer his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 But if his father has no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan. This is a legal requirement for the people of Israel, just as the Lord commanded Moses.”
A New Generation
Since we have a whole new generation, Moses has to go through ALL the sacrifice and offering rituals again for them, as well as, the festivals they must observe. They’re in Numbers 28 – 30. I’ll let you read them on your own.
However, keep in mind that what God wants from us is for us to spend Holy Time with Him! Notice that these sacrifices, offerings and festivals were either daily, weekly, monthly and annually. We have to spend more time with God so that we know how to live righteously! Here’s what you can do …
- Daily – Read your Bible and pray – start your day with God and you’ll have the spiritual nourishment that you need to carry you through. End your day with God and He’ll help you sleep in peace and comfort.
- Weekly – Go to church. Find a Bible-focused church that doesn’t water down the Gospel. Find a non-denominational church or a Calvary Chapel. Go on Sundays. Join a Bible study group that meets once a week. Go to a prayer meeting.
- Monthly – My church holds a women’s event on the first Saturday of each month. It’s a fun time of socializing and fellowship. Some groups volunteer somewhere once a month. That’s a sacrifice of service time that you’re giving to God.
- Annually – We have Easter, Pentecost, Christmas.
There is no excuse why you can’t spend more time with God! Obviously, just going twice a year to church on Christmas and Easter (we call these the C&E’s), doesn’t cut it.
Jesus told us…
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33 NLT
Believe me, it really works! Check out my testimony at the bottom.
A Relationship with God
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU!
You can’t be friends with someone if you don’t get together and have conversations. (That’s prayer, by the way!)
- The letter to the church of Ephesus asks if we love the church more than Jesus. We’re supposed to worship Jesus directly. Not follow a church’s teachings or a pastor or priest only.
- In the letter to the church in Smyrna, we learn that if we remain faithful, we will receive the crown of life!
- The church in Pergamum had a major problem that Jesus hated and that was idolatry and immorality. We still have those problems today. We are supposed to worship the one true God only! Not Mary, not the saints, not a job, a lifestyle or a car. We are supposed to have a strong moral compass. Look at our world today and we see that evil, immorality and chaos are so prominent.
- The letter to the church in Thyatira questions whether we love our faith over our jobs. That’s a very controversial subject right now. Do we stand up for our faith or give in to the immoral culture just to stay in business?
- Sardis: Stuff happens when you least expect it! As Jesus says a lot, “Like a thief in the night.”
- The church of Philadelphia was one of the 2 churches who did not get a scolding. They got a letter of encouragement and hope because they were faithful.
- Laodicea was the “lukewarm” church. Neither hot nor cold. They had all they needed so they didn’t care. Apathy is a huge problem in today’s world, too.
Afterwards, Jesus says this….
Jesus is calling you! Can you hear Him? He won’t force Himself into your life. You have to let Him in!
It’s time to GET RIGHT WITH GOD!
What are you waiting for?!
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