(Numbers 14, Psalm 50; Optional Romans 16:1-19, Proverbs 22:6-9)
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NUMBERS 14 – Continuing from Num 13, “Discontent with God’s PLAN…”
Num 14:2 – This doesn’t even make sense! Preachers long ago spoke of the “noetic effects” of sin (based on the Greek words for mind and thinking). It basically meant “Sin makes you stupid.” We need to be aware that when we follow our feelings rather than what God has said we’re going to get in deep trouble fast! Note that THEIR perspective is that they’re grumbling against Moses and Aaron, but see GOD’s perspective in Num 14:11, 27.
Num 14:3-4 – Using their families as their excuse to complain and do their own thing (wanting to choose another leader and go back to Egypt!).
Num 14:6-10 – Joshua and Caleb remind the people of GOD’s perspective and call them to trust and obey Him! I love the confidence in v 9 – the reason for not fearing the enemy is that Yahweh is with His people!
Num 14:11-12 – God, knowing that Moses will intercede like he does in v 13-19, declares His intense displeasure with Israel.
Num 14:13-19 – Moses’ intercession (a model for how to intercede for others)… 1) Appealing to God because of how enemies will claim that God was NOT ABLE to bring His people into the Promised Land (v 13-16). 2) Appealing that God will keep His word, and He quotes the heart of OT theology revealed powerfully in God’s revelation of Himself to Moses in Ex 34:5-7. 3) Appealing to God’s unchanging character.
Num 14:20-38 – A sad turning point in Israel’s history. They were on the edge of the Promised Land, but now will be in the wilderness for 40 years (a year for each day the spies saw the goodness of the land and rejected God) during which God will execute everyone counted in the census (Num 1) – all those 20 years old and up. And the children they tried to use as an excuse in Num 14:3 would (in 40 years) be the generation that God Himself would bring into the promised land. In the meantime (see v 33), the children would have to endure some of the consequences of the parent’s disobedience.
Num 14:36-38 – Greater accountability for leaders! Compare James 3:1.
Num 14:39-45 – The response to God’s punishment on their disobedience SHOULD have been Godly sorrow and preparing the next generation to obey God. BUT… now they decided they WOULD go into the land, even though warned NOT to, that NOW to go in would get further punished (v 41-43). We sinners tend to think that ONE more disobedience will make things better, but that’s NEVER true! When we disobey, things get tougher at the next stage, but it’ll simply get harder AGAIN if we choose our way over God’s (see the huge defeat in v 44-45).
PSALM 50 – Ps 50:1-15 – God is the righteous Judge (v 4, 6) of all the earth (v 1). Because He HAS been silent for a while (see v 21), the wicked wrongfully thought they would never have to answer for what they’ve done. BIG MISTAKE! God WILL bring perfect justice in His own timing. Don’t miss comparing the “devouring fire” in Ps 50:3 to Ex 24:17, Heb 12:28-29. And God BEGINS the judging with those who are supposed to be His people. They LOOK righteous on the outside, because of their continual sacrifices, but see v 9.
Ps 50:9-15 – God is NOT needy and hoping for our offerings! No, HE is the Giver / Deliverer!
Ps 50:15 – Clear that our only hope is calling out to God for salvation/rescue. God is NOT needy!! So when you “sacrifice” and “perform your vows” (Ps 50:14), remember NOT to do it “as though He needed anything” – Acts 17:24-25! He is a DELIVERING God (Ps 50:15), not a HUNGRY God (Ps 50:9-13). He is a God to THANK (Ps 50:14, 23), not to FEED (Ps 50:9-13).
Ps 50:16 – God hates righteous APPEARANCE with no REALITY!
Ps 50:17 – How do I respond when God’s Word is hard??
Ps 50:18 – What pleases me?? Who do I “keep company” with (this includes media / entertainment)??
Ps 50:19-20 – Our tongue reveals us. What does mine reveal about me??
Ps 50:21 – The wicked THOUGHT that God was like them and had been silent because they were getting away with their sin. But they were very wrong – He is NOT like us (cf Num 23:19, Isa 55:8-9)! God sees EVERYTHING and there WILL be perfect justice one day.
Optional Rom 16:1-19 – Sweet glimpses of the church family in Rome, hints of something like a “pastoral recommendation / membership letter” in v 1-2 (I’ve tried to get similar input from church leaders in a new person’s previous church), and a very strong and sober warning in v 17-19. All important parts of being in a church family!
Optional Proverbs 22:6-9 – Prov 22:7 – Truth, whether we like it or not! Wise to get out of debt ASAP, and be only beholden to God and how HE leads you to spend the money He entrusts to your stewardship. Still working towards that myself, and this verse spurs me on!