Brave Hearts Ministry

Numbers


Memory Verse:  I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. 

                           I am the Lord your God.  Num. 15:41

 

Fun Facts

 

Author:             Moses

Main Subjects:  Preparing for the Journey, First approach to the Promised Land,

                          Wandering in the Wilderness, Second approach to the Promised Land.

Location:           Old Testament

Purpose:           To tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, how

                         they sinned and were punished, and how they prepared to try again.

When:              This was written 1450 – 1410 B.C.

 

                                                            Overview

                       

Lesson #1:  Numbers 1:1- 3:50           Preparing for the Journey Part 1

Lesson #2   Numbers 4:1- 10:10         Preparing for the Journey Part 2 and

                                                              Start of Journey

Lesson #3   Numbers 10:11-14:45      First Approach to the Promised Land

Lesson #4   Numbers 15:1-21:35        Wandering in the Wilderness

Lesson#5    Numbers 22:1-36:13        Second Approach to the Promised Land

 

Lesson #1:  Preparing for the Journey. Read Numbers 1:1-3:50 Part 1

 

“It was on the fifteenth day of April of the second year after the Israelis left Egypt that the Lord issued the following instructions to Moses.  ‘Take a census of all the men twenty years old and older who are able to go to war, indicating their tribe and family.  You and Aaron are to direct the project, assisted by leaders from each tribe.’  On the same day Moses and Aaron and the leaders from the tribes were summoned to come and register, each man indicating his tribe and family, as the Lord had commanded Moses.  The total number did not include the Levites, for the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Exempt the entire tribe of Levi from the draft, and do not include their number in the census.  For the Levites are assigned for the work connected with the Tabernacle and its transportation.  They are to live near the Tabernacle, and whenever the Tabernacle is moved, the Levites are to take it down and set it up again; anyone else touching it shall be executed.’ 

 

So all these instructions of the Lord to Moses were put into effect.

The Lord gave further instructions to Moses and Aaron: “Each tribe will have its own tent area, with its flagpole and tribal banner, and at the center of these tribal compounds will be the Tabernacle.

 

In summary, the armies of Israel totaled 603,550 (not including the Levites, who were exempted by Jehovah’s commandment to Moses.”  The people set up their camps, each tribe under its own banner, in the locations indicated by the Lord to Moses.

The role of the Levites was to follow Aaron’s instructions and perform the sacred duties at the Tabernacle on behalf of all the people of Israel.  For they are assigned to him as representatives of all the people of Israel.  They are in charge of all the furnishings and maintenance of the Tabernacle.  However, only Aaron and his sons may carry out the duties of the priesthood; anyone else who presumes to assume this office shall be executed.”

 

Questions:

 

1.      Why did God tell Moses to take a census?  ( The 1st organized the people into

marching units to better defend themselves, the second prepared them to conquer

the country east of Jordan.)

2.      Why was it necessary for a census of men 20 years and older to be taken?  (In case

they were needed to go to war while moving toward the Promised Land.  Remember

these people didn’t know what was ahead of them.)

3.      What tribe was exempted from the census.  (The tribe of Levi.)

4.      What was their special job.  (They were assigned for work connected with the Tabernacle and its transportation.)

5.       What would happen if someone other than a Levite worked with the Tabernacle?

(They would be executed.)

6.      How many were in the armies of Israel, not counting the Levites?  (603,550)

7.   Can you imagine moving that many people across the wilderness? 

8.   How would we do this today?  Discuss the magnitude of doing this huge move of people, animals, household goods, etc.  The importance of organization is to train people to be effective in great movements.  It is always wise to count the cost before setting out on some great undertaking.  When we are aware of the obstacles before us we can more easily avoid the pitfalls which lie ahead.  In God’s work, we must remove any obstacles which may hinder our relationships with others so that our effectiveness is not diminished.

 

Summary:  God gave specific instructions on how He wanted everyone to fit into the

                   march. Everyone had a job and a place.  They were expected to obey.

 

 

Lesson #2  Preparing for the Journey Part 2 and Start of Journey.  Read Numbers 4:1-10-10

 

“The Lord gave Moses specific directions for the tribe of Israel to perform.  These included all the sacred duties concerning the Tabernacle.  When the camp moved, Aaron and his sons will enter the Tabernacle first and take down the veil and cover the Ark with it.  Then they will cover the veil with goat skin leather, cover the goatskins with a blue cloth, and place the carrying poles of the Ark in their rings.  The table where the Bread of the Presence is displayed had special instructions that had to be followed in getting it ready to move.  Next the lampstand, the lamps, snuffers, trays and reservoir of olive oil had to me prepared for travel.   The ashes had to be removed from the altar and the altar made ready to be moved.  This was followed with the altar utensils.  Finally, the carrying poles are to be put in place. 

 

When Aaron and his sons had finished packing the sanctuary and all the utensils, the clan of Kohath shall come and carry the units to wherever the camp is traveling; but they must not touch the holy items, lest they die.  He gave instruction for everyone to obey.  These included purity in the camp, being faithful to husband and wife and consecration themselves to the Lord in a special way. 

 

Now the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons that they are to give this special blessing to the people of Israel:  The Lord bless and keep you, The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.’

 

Next came the dedication of the Tabernacle.  Moses anointed and sanctified each part of the Tabernacle, including the altar and its utensils, on the day he finished setting it up.  Then the leaders of Israel –the chiefs and the tribes, and the men who had organized the census-brought their offerings. It took twelve days for all the offerings to be brought to the Tabernacle.  Next the Levites were dedicated.  They were sprinkled with water of purification, there bodies were shaved and washed as well as their clothes.  The Levites will represent all the people in serving the Lord.

 

The second Passover was on the Sinai peninsula, during the first month of the second year after leaving Egypt.

 

The Lord lead His people with a pillar of cloud in the day and fire by night.”   

 

Questions: 

 

1.      The tribe of Israel was special.  How do you know this?  (There were in charge of the Tabernacle furnishings and moving it on their travels.)

2.      What was unusual about the way the Tabernacle was moved? (The Lord told them in the exact order how to take down the Tabernacle.  Remind the children the outside of the Tabernacle was a tent, not a permanent building.)

3.      What would happen to anyone who touched the holy items? (They would die.)

4.      Talk about the carrying poles and the rings.  The rings being on the holy items and the poles were very long.  It would take many men to carry these poles.  Remember they must not touch any of the holy items.  The poles slid into the rings, they did not place them through the rings by hand.

5.       The Lord gave Moses further instructions for everyone to obey.  What were they?

(purity in camp, faithfulness of husband and wife and concentration themselves to the Lord.)  Discuss meaning of purity.  The condition of being pure, cleanness, innocence.

6.      Did you recognize the special blessing the Lord gave to Moses to give to the people?

(The Lord bless and keep you, The Lord make His  face shine on you and be gracious to you;  The Lord lift His countenance on you, and give you peace.)

Have you heard that blessing in any of our services?

7.      How did the Lord lead His people of their journey?  (A pillar of smoke by day and

fire by night?

Talk about all of the preparation it took to move that large amount of people.  Rules were set up and duties assigned.  Was this a good thing or not? 

           

Summary:  God’s rules and duties to performed on the journey to the Promised Land.

                  Everyone had a duty to be completed.

 

Lesson #3:  First Approach to the Promised Land.   Read Numbers 10:11-14:45

 

“The Cloud lifted from above the Tabernacle and the journey began.  The Israelites left the Sinai wilderness and followed the Cloud until it stopped in the wilderness of Paran.

 

This was their first journey after having received the Lord’s travel instructions to Moses.  The people were soon complaining about all their misfortunes, and the Lore heard them.. His anger flared out against them because of their complaints, so the fire of the Lord began destroying those at the far end of the camp.  They screamed to Moses for help, and when he prayed for them the fire stopped.  (God responded positively to Moses when he complained and negatively to the rest of the people. Why?  The people complained to each other but Moses took his complaint directly to God who could solve the problem.)

 

Always go to the one in charge when you have a complaint.

 

The complaints continued.  First about the lack of food. God answered by sending quail.  They were tired of Manna.  The manna was the size of small seeds, whitish yellow in color.  The people gathered it from the ground and pounded it into flour, then boiled it, and then made pancakes from it- they tasted like pancakes fried in vegetable oil.  The manna fell with the dew during the night.

 

Jehovah now instructed Moses, “Send spies into the land of Canaan.  Send one leader from each tribe.”  Moses sent them out with these instructions: “Go northward into the hill country of the Negeb, and see what the land is like; see also what the people are like who live there, whether they are strong or weak, many or few; and whether the land is fertile or not; what cities there are, and whether they are villages or are fortified; whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are many trees.  Don’t be afraid, and bring back some samples of the crops you see.”

 

So the spies went into the land and did as the Lord had told Moses they were to do.  After forty days of exploration they returned from their tour. They made their report to Moses, Aaron and all the people of Israel in the wilderness.  They showed the fruit they had brought with them.

 

This was their report.  ‘We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country – a land ‘flowing wit  milk and honey.’  Here is some fruit we have brought as proof.  BUT the people living there are powerful, and their cities are fortified and very large; and what’s more, we saw Anakim giants there!  The majority of the report of the spies was negative.  The people were afraid to go into the Land.  Moses prayed for the rebellious people. The Lord said,” I will pardon them as you have requested.  But I vow by my own name that just as it is true that all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, so it is true that not one of the men who has seen my glory and the miracles I did both in Egypt and in the wilderness – and ten times refused to trust me and obey me, shall even see the land I promised to this people’s ancestors. Some of the people tried to enter on their own but were chased back.”  

 

Questions:      

           

1.      How did the Israelites know it was time to move?  (The cloud lifted above the

Tabernacle.)

2.     Why did the people start to complain?  (They were tired of manna and wanted meat

meat to eat.)  Talk about where our focus is when we become dissatisfied.  We think

about what we don’t have and not about what we have.  Are we grateful for the things God has given us, or are we always thinking about new things we would like to have?

We should not allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God’s gifts of life, food, health, school and friends.

3.   What did God provide for them and did this make them happy?  (God provided quail

(a bird) for them.  They still found reasons to complain.)

4.   How did they prepare manna?  (They ground the seed into flour, boiled it and made

it into pancakes.)  See if any of the group can relate this to the American Indians making  tortillas from the acorn.?

5.   They reach the Promise Land.  God told Moses to send spies into the land.  What              

      were they to look for?  (1. See what the land was like, 2. See what the people were

      like, 3. was the land fertile 4. Were the cities villages or fortified cities, 5. Bring back

samples of crops.)

 6.  The spies came back and what was their report?  (It is a land of milk and honey, BUT

the cites are large and well fortified and the people are giants!)

 7.  How did the Israelites respond to this news?  (They were afraid to enter the city.)

 8.  How did God respond to this disobedience? (Not one of these men who have seen    

      my glory shall even see the land I promised to this people.)  Remember there are

      consequences when we disobey.  God’s rules, mom’s and dad’s rules or our teacher’s

rules.  In our next lesson we will learn about the consequences for this disobedience of God.  

 

Summary:  God gave these people every opportunity to enter the Promised Land, all they had to do was obey.  The results of disobedience can be harsh.

 

Lesson #4:  Wandering in the Wilderness. Read Numbers 15:1-21:35

 

After their disobedience and unsuccessful attempt to enter the Promised Land, the Israelites are condemned to wander forty years in the desert.  Even in the midst of this punishment, the people continued to rebel and thus God continued to punish them.  But the hearts of the people remained hard and rebellious.  Hard hearts toward God may bring similar calamity to us.

  

God added additional regulations for them to follow.  The first was concerning the burnt offerings for their sins and the next was for anyone breaking the Sabbath. God also had given specific rules concerning their clothing.

 

Many leaders rebel against Moses.  They didn’t like the fact that Moses was close to God and they weren’t. Remember Moses is the only man that ever spoke face to face with God.  Moses became angry with the people.  God was going to instantly destroy them.  Moses and Aaron asked God to have mercy on the very people who rebelled against them.  They prayed for those with whom they were most angry and frustrated. God destroyed the men who despised the Lord, not everyone. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘to stop the question of authority of Aaron’s leadership have all of the tribal chiefs bring a wooden rod with his name inscribed upon it. Put these rods in the inner room of the Tabernacle where I meet with you, in front of the Ark. I will use these rods to identify the man I have chosen: for buds will grow on his rod!  Then at last this murmuring and complaining against you will stop!”   When Moses brought them out to show the others, they stared in disbelief!  Then each man claimed his rod except Aaron.  His rod had budded and was blossoming, and had ripe almonds hanging from it!  This should end the complaining of Aaron’s authority to rule with Moses.  However this didn’t stop the people.  They only grumbled more.

 

God set the rules for the priest and Levites.  There was a stiff penalty for any one who didn‘t obey.

 

The people complained that they didn’t have enough water.  God told Moses to speak to the rock and tell it to pour out its water.  So Moses took the rod from the place it was kept before the Lord.  He lifted the rod and struck the rock twice, and water gushed out; the people and their cattle drank.

     

The Lord said to Moses, ‘because you did not believe me and did not sanctify me in the eyes of the people you shall not bring them into the land I have promised them!’     

The people continued to grumble.”

 

Questions:

 

1.      Why were the people forced to wander in the desert so long?  (They didn’t follow

God’s commands and some even tried to enter the Promised Land by themselves.)

2.      God gave the people further regulations to follow. What were some of them?  (One

was concerning burnt offerings, another was about breaking the Sabbath and there

was another about clothing for the priests.  We do not have burnt offerings or special clothing for our pastors, but in what ways do we keep the Sabbath?)

3.      Why don’t we have to follow these commands today? (Jesus was the sin offering for

us. One offering for all sins for those who believe in Him. We labor for six days and rest on the seventh, the Sabbath by going to church, spending time in family activities. Let them tell about ways their families spend the Sabbath. )

4.      The leaders of the tribes rebelled against Moses.  What’s was God’s solution for this?  All leaders were to bring wooden rods with their names carved on the rods to Moses.

He put them in the inner room of the Tabernacle. The chosen leader’s rod would have

growth on it. This is called budded.)

5.      Did this miracle happen?  What was on the budded rod, and whose rod was it? (The

rod belonged to Aaron.  It had blossoms on it and almonds hanging from it.)

6.      The last complaint we will talk about today is the miracle of Moses getting water

from the rock. How did God tell Moses to do this?  (Moses was to speak to the rock

and the rock would gush forth water.)

7.      What did Moses do?  (He took the rod from the inner room and hit it twice on the

rock.

8.      Because Moses didn’t obey God, what was his punishment?  (He would never enter the Promised Land.)  This seems like a harsh punishment after all Moses had gone

Through, but God is a fair and just God.  All of us must expect the consequences for

our disobedience. We must all obey our parents, teachers, God and anyone who is

in charge of us. Talk about some of their punishments and how they have felt about

the fairness.  

     

Summary:  Hardships continued to follow the people and they continued to disobey.     Moses disobeyed God’s command.  He received a very serious punishment.  He wasn’t     allowed to enter the Promised Land.

 

        

Lesson #5:  Second Approach to the Promised Land.  Numbers 22:1-36:13

 

Now the old generation has died and a new generation stands poised at the border, ready to enter the Promised Land.  God assured Israel that their enemy was conquered even before the battle began!

 

      Balaam was a sorcerer, one called upon to place curses on others.  Belief in curses and blessings was common in the Old Testament times, sorcerers were thought to have power with the gods.  Thus the king of Moab wanted Balaam to use his powers with the God of Israel – hoping that, by magic, Jehovah would turn against his people. To the king’s dismay Balaam was used by God to bless, not curse, Israel.

  

God uses a donkey to help Balaam see his situation.  The donkey saved Balaam’s live but made him look foolish in the process.  So Balaam lashed out at the donkey to satisfy his anger and wounded pride.  We sometimes strike out at blameless people who get in our way because we are embarrassed or our pride is hurt.  Lashing out at others can be a sign that something is wrong in our heart.

 

The Israelites fall back into their old pattern of behavior.  While they were camped at Acacia, some of the young men began going to wild parties with the local Moabite girls.  These girls also invited them to attend the sacrifices to their gods, and soon the men were not only attending the feasts, but were freely in the worship of Baal, the god of Moab; and the anger of the Lord was hot against his people. God caused a plague to effect the people.  It was stopped by a man named Phinehas, but only after 24,000 people had died.

 

After the plague had ended, Jehovah said to Moses and to Elazar,(son of Aaron the priest), take a census of all the men of Israel who are twenty years old or older, to find out how many of each tribe and clan are able to go to war.  So the census was taken.

 

Not one person in this entire census had been counted in the previous census taken in the wilderness of Sinai!  For all who had been counted then had died, as the Lord had decreed when he said of them, “They shall die in the wilderness.” The only exceptions were Caleb and Joshua.

           

Moses did not want to leave his work without making sure a new leader was ready to replace him.  First he asked God to help him find a replacement.  Then, when Joshua was selected, Moses gave him a variety of tasks to ease him into his new job.  Moses told the people Joshua had the authority and the ability to handle the job of leading the nation. 

Offerings had to be brought regularly and carried out a certain way under the supervision of the priests.  The people had to undergo a period of preparation to insure that their hearts were ready for worship.  By spending this much time and preparation in worshipping God, they gave idolatry little time to influence their lives.” 

 

God is pleased today when we allow nothing to come between him and us.  He also is delighted by hearts that are prepared to receive his guidance. 

      The book of Numbers covers 39 years and closes with the Israelites poised near the Banks of the Jordan River with the Promised Land in sight.  The wanderings in the

wilderness had come to an end, and the people were preparing for their next big –

move, the conquest of the land.  The Apostle Paul said that the events in Numbers 

are examples that warn Christians and help them avoid the same mistakes.  From

the Israelites’ experiences we learn that unbelief is disastrous.  We also learn not to long for the sinful pleasures of the past, to avoid complaining, and to stay away from all forms of compromise. If we choose to let God lead our lives we should not ignore the book of Numbers.

 

 

Questions:

 

1.      Where were the people and what did assure them?  (They were at the border of the Promised Land.  God assured them their enemy was already conquered.)

2.      We need to talk about Balaam.  Who was he? ( A sorcerer)

3.      What is a sorcerer in our words? ( a magician)

4.      What did King Moab want Balaam to do?  (King Moab wanted Balaam to use his power with God of Israel, hoping his magic would turn Jehovah against His people.

5.      How did God use Balaam?  (God used Balaam to bless, not curse Israel.  Do you have

friends that try to convince you to do something you know is wrong?  Do you go along with them?

6        What animal did God use with Balaam and what was Balaam’s reaction?  (God used a donkey.  This embarrassed Balaam and he lashed out at the donkey.)

7        The Israelites went back to their normal pattern of sinning. How did God punish them this time? (God sent a plague to them.  Many died.) 

8        Moses picked a new leader.  Who was he and why did Moses pick him before he died?  (Joshua would be the new leader.  A new leader needs to know how to do the job.  Moses taught him what he needed to know.)

9        What pleases God about us?  (We don’t allow anything to come between Him and us.  Our hearts are in the right place.  Talk about areas in their lives they need to be cautious about; following the crowd, sneaking things, cheating in school, not doing homework, talking back to parents, teachers etc) 

 

Summary:  The Israelites got to the border of the Promised Land again.  They continued

                   to disobey God.  God punishes them with a plague.  Many die.  A new leader,

                  Joshua is selected.  Now they will soon cross into the Promised Land.

 

 

 

 

*All scripture for this unit was taken from “Life Application Bible, The Living Bible”. (1988).  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc:  Youth For Christ/USA. Wheaton, Illinois.


Posted 5/09