The fourth book of Moses called Numbers which records the tragic story of Israel’s unbelief, should serve as a dramatic lesson for all of God’s people. As part of their preparations, the Lord gave strict guidelines to the Israelites regarding purity in the camp. He wanted them to have a life-style distinct from the nations around them. He wanted them to be a holy people. Similarly, we should concern ourselves with purity in the church.
The Israelites were prevented from entering the promised land because of their unbelief. Throughout history, God’s people have continued to struggle with lack of faith. We must prevent unbelief from gaining a foothold in our lives, for it will keep us from enjoying the blessings that God has promised.
When the people complained against God and criticized Moses they were severely punished. Over 14,000 people died as a result of rebellion against Moses. As a result of Korah’s rebellion, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their households died, along with 250 false priests. Dissatisfaction and discontent, if allowed to remain in our lives, can easily lead to disaster. We should refrain from complaining and criticizing our leaders.
The Moabites and Midianites could not get Balaam to curse Israel, but they did get him to give advice on how to draw the Israelites to idol worship. Balaam knew what was right, but he gave in to the temptation of material regards and sinned. Knowing what is right alone is never enough. We must also do what is right.
1450 – 1410 B.C.
To Whom Written:
The people of Israel
To download a PDF outline of the Book of Numbers click here.