Numbers 14-15

Thursday Evening Bible Study

January 13, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The book of Numbers is the history of the Israelites while they wandered in the wilderness for forty years.

This week we’re going to look at why it took them forty years to do what should have taken them two weeks.

Last week we read about the twelve spies that were sent into the Promised Land.

God wanted the people to know exactly what was going to happen up ahead.

The spies were to let the people know about the good things ahead as well as the bad.

Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people

(Nu 13:30 NKJV) …“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

The other ten spies discouraged the people:

(Nu 13:32 NKJV) …“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.

Numbers 14

14:1-10 Refusal to enter Promised Land

:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.

:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!

:3 Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”

These are obviously the men complaining.

They say they are concerned for the women and children, but they are just as scared themselves.

:3  return to Egypt

(Lk 9:62 NKJV) —62 But Jesus said to him,  “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

No turning back, no turning back.

:4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

:6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;

:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.

:8 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’

:9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”

:9 their protection has departed

It’s very easy for us to look at situations from our earthly perspective and measure the size of my army against the size of your army.

But what Joshua and Caleb are saying is that the size of the army doesn’t really matter.  There is a spiritual realm behind all that you see, and if in the spiritual realm a person’s protection has been removed, there is no amount of weapons or armies that can protect them.

Wicked King Ahab of Israel went to war with good king Jehoshaphat of Judah against the Syrians.

At Jehoshaphat’s request, they sought counsel from the Lord.  God warned them of disaster for the King of Israel.

But off they went anyway.  King Ahab went in disguise so no one would shoot at him as the King of Israel.  Sounded like a good plan!

(1 Ki 22:34 NKJV) —34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”

Just a coincidence?  No, God had removed Ahab’s protection from him.

If God decides that it’s time for someone to fall, they’re going to fall, no matter how well protected they are.

:9 the LORD is with us

This was how Joshua and Caleb saw it.  They figured that if God was on their side, they didn’t have any problems.

Paul wrote,

(Ro 8:31 NKJV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Jonathan also had this same kind of faith when he decided to take on the Philistines with just his armor bearer at his side:

(1 Sa 14:6 NKJV) Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”


John G. Paton (1824-1907) was a missionary to the New Hebrides islands in the 1800s.  When he arrived at the islands, they were populated by pagan, vicious, tribes of cannibals.  In the first year, he lost his wife and infant son to disease.  He was driven off the island four years later by the natives.  When he returned, he had remarried.  The islanders tried to burn down his house.  They tried putting curses on him.  Yet over the next fifteen years they saw the entire island, 3,500 people, come to Christ. Through all his dangers, one Bible text was his rock: 
(Mat 28:20 NKJV)  …and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
This verse would be so much a part of his life that he would have it engraved on the headstone at his grave.
If you look up Mr. Paton on the web, you will find story after story of the attacks on his life and how God delivered him.  You will read about cannibals armed with muskets, hatchets, and clubs.  You will read about them making attempts on his life, then as he is prays they go away.
One morning at daybreak Paton went out to find his house surrounded by armed men, muttering fiercely that they had come to kill him at once. Being inveterate speech-makers, however, the Tannese desisted in their design until a chief had made the following speech: “Missi, we love the ways and practices of our fathers, which you and other missionaries oppose. We killed the last foreigner that lived in Tanna before you came here. We murdered the Aneityumese teachers and burned down their houses. Now we are determined to kill you, because you are changing our customs and we hate the Jehovah worship.”
“Seeing that I was entirely in their hands,” says Paton, “I knelt down and gave myself away body and soul to the Lord Jesus, for what seemed the last time on earth.” The savages grew strangely quiet, listening as he, upon rising, told of the Savior’s great love, and then departed, muttering that he would yet be killed if he did not leave the island at once.
Several days later, while a large number of natives were assembled, a man rushed furiously on Paton with his axe and attempted to take his life. The next day a fierce-looking chief followed him around for four hours, frequently pointing his loaded musket at him as if to shoot. While silent prayer ascended, the missionary went quietly on with his work.
What was the secret of such a gallant spirit? He tells us:
Life in such circumstances led me to cling very near to the Lord Jesus. With my trembling hand clasped in the hand once nailed on Calvary, and now swaying the scepter of the universe, calmness and peace abode in my soul. Trials and hairbreadth escapes strengthened my faith and seemed only to nerve me for more to follow. Without that abiding consciousness of the presence and power of my dear Lord and Savior, nothing else in all the world could have preserved me from losing my reason and perishing miserably. His words, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,’ became very real to me and I felt His supporting power. I had my nearest and dearest glimpses of the face and smile of my blessed Lord in those dread moments when musket, club, or spear was being leveled at my life.”
You and I are probably not facing cannibals with muskets and clubs.  But I know that some of you are facing a lot of fears.  Some of you are struggling with a fear from our difficult financial times.
(Heb 13:5-6 NLT)  Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." {6} That is why we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"
Find God’s presence in prayer.  That’s where you’ll find peace.

:10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.

You might have faith to trust God in a particularly difficult situation, but that doesn’t mean that the people around you are going to necessarily appreciate it.

14:11-25 Moses Intercedes

:11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

:12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”

God is saying that He’s going to wipe out the Israelites and start over with Moses.

:13 And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them,

:14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

:15 Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying,

:16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’

:17 And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying,

:18 ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’

This is a truly crazy time.

They sent the spies in, just like God asked them to.

But now the people are turning on Moses, and it almost seems like God wants to destroy all these people.

How do you make sense of all this?


Back to Basics

There are going to be times in your life that just don’t make sense.
It is going to even look like God is out to destroy you as well.
When life is crazy, go back to the basics.  Go back to the things that you know are certain about who God is.
For Moses, he only has to remember a few months back when he caught a glimpse of the glory of God and God Himself revealed the absolute truth about who He was.  In fact, Moses is simply quoting God’s own words back to Him (Ex. 34:6-7)
(Ex 34:6–7 NKJV)  6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Doesn’t this sound vaguely like what Moses is not reminding God about?

As believers we will all go through times that simply don’t make sense.  They are sort of the “storms” in life.
High Seas Parrot
There was this magician who was working a cruise ship on the high seas. His audience was always different, so he took advantage, allowing himself to do the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem... the Captain’s’ Parrot! The Captain’s Parrot saw the show week after week after week! Soon the parrot began to understand how the magician did every trick, and once he understood... he began to shout in the middle of the magician’s act. “Look... different hat... different hat!” “Hiding the flowers... hiding the flowers, in his coat... in his coat!” “Hello, ALL aces... ALL aces... Look... All aces!” The magician became absolutely livid with the parrot and secretly wanted to make soup of him... however since he was the Captain’s Parrot, there was nothing he could do. One day the ship got caught in a horrendous storm, broke up, and sank! As luck would have it... the magician found himself floating on the same piece of wood as the parrot. There they floated... the middle of the ocean... staring at one another in complete silence... the magician still filled with anger. They spoke not a word to one another, and this continued for a day, and another, and another, and another. After a week the parrot broke the silence with... “OK, I give up... where’s the boat?!”
You may wonder at times “where’s the boat”?Things don’t make sense.
Ancient sailors would often toss out a few “anchors” during a storm to slow the boat down and make it through the storm.
There are a couple of “anchors” I’ve found over the years that help keep me from being “shipwrecked”.
1.      God is all powerful

I wonder sometimes if maybe the trouble I’m in is too big for God to handle.  It isn’t.

(Luke 1:37 NKJV)  "For with God nothing will be impossible."

2.      God is good

If I know God can do anything, then why am I in such a mess?  I need to remember that God isn’t evil and that His plans are for my good.

(1 John 1:5 NKJV)  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

3.      God loves me

If God can do anything, and God is good, then why am I having such a tough time?  Is it because God doesn’t love me?

(1 John 3:16 NKJV)  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us….

I may not always understand why I’m in the storm I’m in, but it sure helps to have some anchors in your life.  Sometimes all I can do is simply hold on.

:19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

Here’s the heart of a good shepherd.

Think of all the trouble Moses has had with these people. Even now, they have just said that they are going to dump Moses and head back to Egypt.

Moses doesn’t ask for God to go ahead and destroy these people, he pleads for mercy.

:20 Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word;

I have this notion that this is what God wanted to do all along, but God needed to hear it from Moses.  God needed to draw out Moses’ heart for the people.

:21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—

:22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,

:23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.

:23 shall not see the land – The writer of Hebrews gives us a little more clue to what is happening:

(Heb 3:19 NKJV) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

They did not obey God by going into the Promised Land because they did not believe that God would help them.

:24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

:25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.”

God gives them specific instructions to head back into the wilderness.  They have lost their chance of going into the Promised Land … for now.

14:26-38 Rebels die

:26 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

:27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.

:28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:

The very thing they were afraid of for their families are going to happen.


Self-fulfilling fears

There is a truth that usually most of the things we fear happening never come to pass.  So often we get caught up in the “what ifs”.
But sometimes when we keep focusing on our fears, over and over again, we can help bring about the fulfillment of our fears.
(Pr 10:24 NKJV) —24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

The person who keeps thinking, “I’m afraid I’ll be fired, I’m afraid I’ll be fired, ... “ just might be spending so much time worrying about their job that they neglect their responsibilities and indeed end up being fired.

The person who thinks, “I’ll never get married, I’ll never find the right person, etc., etc.” can get so caught up in dreaming about it, that they never relax and just feel comfortable being themselves around others of the opposite sex.  They can get so caught up in worrying about what they’re doing or saying that they can drive people away.

:29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.

:30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.

:31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised.

:32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.

:33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.

:34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

:34  forty years

For some reason, God ties the length of the wilderness wandering to the length of time it took to spy out the land.

It makes you think that if they had returned faster, the judgment would have been less severe.

I wonder if some of the spies took too much time building a case for why the land of Canaan was such a bad idea.

This number has come to acquire a symbolic significance in Scripture.  The number forty has become symbolic of judgment.

It rained for forty days and nights - judgment on the earth in Noah’s day.
The spies went out for forty days - to make their judgment on the land.
The people wandered forty years, God’s judgment on them.
Prisoners were given forty lashes, showing their guilt in judgment.
Sometimes prisoners were only given 39 lashes to show the mercy of the court.

:35 I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ”

:36 Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land,

:37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord.

:38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.

:37 the evil report – I couldn’t help but think of what Jesus said:

(Lk 17:1–2 NKJV) Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

These ten spies had put a stumbling block before the nation.   They had caused them to stumble in their faith.


Encourage or discourage?

Important:  It wasn’t the truth about the giants and the nations that caused the people to stumble, it was the bad spin they put on it saying, “We are not able to go up...”
It’s not that we don’t ever have any negative things to say, or that we never have any criticism of anything.
The issue is whether or not we encourage people to trust in the promised of God!

Do the unbelievers around you see in your life and hear from your lips that God is trustworthy?

Do the believers around you only hear of all the times that God has let you down because He didn’t answer your prayer the way you wanted, or can they see in your life that you’re trusting God no matter what?

14:39-45 Futile change of heart

:39 Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly.

:40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!”

:41 And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed.

How are they transgressing God’s commandment when He had told them to go up, and now they’re going up to the Promised Land?  This sounds kind of like repentance, how come God’s not happy with it?

Because in verse 25, God withdrew His original command and instead told the people to set out into the wilderness.

Every turn they’ve made has been against what God has said.

:42 Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you.

:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”

:44 But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp.

:45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.

Here the people had repented from their lack of faith and tried doing what God had originally wanted them to do, but met with utter failure.


Windows of opportunity.

It seems that some of God’s plans and directions for our lives can have certain time windows for when they are valid.
It’s kind of like when NASA is launching the space shuttle to go to the space station.  They calculate all the orbits of the space station, and come up with certain launch “windows” so the shuttle will be able to meet up with the space station.
Esther had gone from being an orphan to queen of the Persian Empire.  When a plot to wipe out the Jews was discovered by her cousin Mordecai, he went to her to ask for her help.  She hesitated because it was a bit risky for her.  Mordecai responded:

(Es 4:14 NKJV) —14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

In other words, God was intent on delivering the Jews, and if Esther didn’t do anything, God would use someone else.  She would lose her opportunity.

This idea of “windows of opportunity” doesn’t hold true for everything though.  There are some things that God always has in His will for us to be doing.
It is still always a good time to repent and ask Jesus into your heart.

Of course there is a day when that “window” will be closed, when your life is over.

There seem to be times in our lives, with certain specific “missions” that God has for us.
These “missions” don’t always have “at your convenience” stamped on them.
There may be a time when God is impressing on you that NOW is the time to share with somebody you work with about Jesus.

You put it off, and then find out that they’ve been transferred. You lost the opportunity.

They may still receive an opportunity from someone else, or maybe not, but either way, you lost your opportunity to share with them.

He apparently took 120 years to build the ark, during which the Scripture calls him a “preacher of righteousness” (2PE 2:5), yet there came a day when the ark was loaded, God shut the door, and it was too late to respond to the call to repentance.
May God help us to respond while the window is open.
Life is so fragile, so short.  One day you are here at Bible Study, tomorrow you may be in heaven with Jesus while we do a funeral for you with your old shell up here in a box.
Use the open windows before you.

Numbers 15

15:1-12 Grain and Drink Offerings

:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you,

:3 and you make an offering by fire to the Lord, a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or in your appointed feasts, to make a sweet aroma to the Lord, from the herd or the flock,

:4 then he who presents his offering to the Lord shall bring a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil;

:5 and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering you shall prepare with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb.

:5 offering – Their sacrifices will include something that hadn’t been mandatory before.  Their sacrifices will include grain offerings and drink offerings.

The grain offerings will be two quarts of fine flour (1/10 of an ephah) mixed with one quart of olive oil (1/4 hin)

The drink offerings will be one quart (1/4 hin) of wine.

As the sacrificial animal got larger, the amount of the grain and drink offering got larger as well.

:2 come into the land


It’s not forever

Even though the Israelites are going to go through a time of discipline, spending an extra forty years in the wilderness, there would be a day when the discipline would be over.
(Ps 30:5 NKJV) For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

:6 Or for a ram you shall prepare as a grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil;

:7 and as a drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a sweet aroma to the Lord.

:8 And when you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering, or as a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, or as a peace offering to the Lord,

:9 then shall be offered with the young bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil;

:10 and you shall bring as the drink offering half a hin of wine as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

:11 ‘Thus it shall be done for each young bull, for each ram, or for each lamb or young goat.

:12 According to the number that you prepare, so you shall do with everyone according to their number.

15:13-16 No discrimination in sacrifice

God will give instructions that these sacrificial laws apply both to the Israelite as well as any strangers that live in the land.

:13 All who are native-born shall do these things in this manner, in presenting an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

:14 And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord, just as you do, so shall he do.

:15 One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.

:16 One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.’ ”

:16 one custom – Both those who would be native to Israel as well as those who were strangers were to follow the same laws and customs.

Even though we see the Jews as God’s “chosen people”, the laws and principles that God lays out for them apply in some way to all men.

All men are in need of forgiveness for their sins.

All men are in need of a Savior.

God has provided the one and same way to all mankind to be saved.

(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him,  “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

15:17-21 Heave Offerings

:17 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

:18 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land to which I bring you,

:19 then it will be, when you eat of the bread of the land, that you shall offer up a heave offering to the Lord.

:20 You shall offer up a cake of the first of your ground meal as a heave offering; as a heave offering of the threshing floor, so shall you offer it up.

:21 Of the first of your ground meal you shall give to the Lord a heave offering throughout your generations.

:19 the bread of the land – These folks are going to spend forty years eating manna in the wilderness.

On the day that they cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land, the miraculous manna is going to stop and they will be eating from food that came from the Promised Land.

God wants them to make sure to remember that this new food also came from God.


It’s all from God

Sometimes we will experience things like the “manna” where we see God do something amazing in providing for us.
But even if it’s not miraculous, it’s still God who provides for us.
(Dt 8:18 NKJV) “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

15:22-29 Unintentional Sin

:22 ‘If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the Lord has spoken to Moses—

:23 all that the Lord has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day the Lord gave commandment and onward throughout your generations—

:24 then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering.

:25 So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their unintended sin.

:26 It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who dwells among them, because all the people did it unintentionally.

:27 ‘And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering.

:28 So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the Lord, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

:29 You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them.

:22 unintentionally – There may be times when you sin and you didn’t realize that you were sinning.

In one situation (vs. 22-26), it’s the nation as a whole that has sinned.

Almost like when some company begins construction of a building and they realize that they’ve built on some ancient Indian burial ground.
In this case there was to be a bull offered as a burnt offering and a goat as a sin offering.

In another situation (vs. 27-29), it’s an individual that sins without knowing that they had sinned.

You are unaware of what the speed limit is, and a policeman pulls you over for going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.
You are to bring a sin offering of a goat.

15:30-31 Presumptuous Sin

:30 ‘But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people.

:31 Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.’ ”

:30 presumptuously – lit, “with a high hand”

The Hebrew phrase is sometimes translated in a positive way as “boldness”

(Ex 14:8 NKJV) —8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness.

Here the idea is that of defiance or arrogance, that despite what God has said, they are going to do it anyway.

The point here is that you couldn’t just get off by making a sacrifice and everything would be okay, there was still a price to pay.


1.  Sin carries a high price

(Ro 6:23 NKJV) —23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Whether your sin was done intentionally or unintentionally, it still results in the same thing, separation from God – “death”
Sin still requires that someone be separated from God to pay for that sin.
God is in the business of making His ledgers balance.

When you sin, an entry goes into the ledger for your account.

And the “dollar amount” of that entry is death, separation from God.

Then on judgment day, all the accounts that haven’t been paid up are done so.

2.  Jesus died for our sins

(Heb 10:10 NKJV) By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
You have the choice of paying your own accounts with God yourself, and being eternally separated from Him in hell as a result of your sins, or letting someone else pay the price for you.
We can ask Jesus to pay our debts, and He will gladly do it.  That’s why He died on the cross, to pay your debt.
(1 Jn 1:9 NKJV) —9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

3.  Earthly consequences

We receive heavenly forgiveness with God when we confess our sins.  Yet sometimes there are still earthly consequences for what we’ve done.
David was forgiven by God for his sin, but there was still a consequence in this life that he had to face.
(2 Sa 12:13–14 NKJV) So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
If I go out and do drugs, and then come back and confess my sin, I may still get AIDS from the needle or brain-damage from the drugs.
If I go out and rob a store, then confess my sin, I may still go to prison, though I could be forgiven by God.

15:32-36 Sabbath breaking penalty

:32 Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.

:33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation.

:34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him.

:35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”

:36 So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.

:36 stoned him

Now we get an example of an “intentional” sin.

For over a year, it has been forbidden for anyone to do any work on the Sabbath day. It was pretty obvious to everyone that Sabbath work was forbidden.

This man is caught, the penalty was death.

Why so harsh?

We seem to rarely give the death penalty to even someone who murders several people, instead we call them “insane”.

This almost sounds like something that the Taliban would do, putting someone to death for working on Saturday.

Yet God has already explained this several times over the previous year.

(Ex 31:13–14 NKJV) —13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
God’s reasons for the Sabbath:  To rest, to remember Him
It’s interesting to note that God had already given the penalty for someone who profaned the Sabbath.  Yet somehow the people didn’t feel it was clear enough, or maybe they thought it was a little bit overboard.

The Sabbath was intended as a day for you to spend with your God.

A day of rest and building your relationship up with God.
When you neglect your Sabbath, you are “breaking your date” with God.
Jack and his buddies were discussing an upcoming hunting trip, but Jack was very sad because his wife wouldn’t let him go.  Instead, he had promised he would spend the weekend at home and take her out on a date.  Later on when Jack’s buddies arrived at the hunting camp, they were shocked to see Jack. He was already there with a Pepsi in his hand, burgers cooking on the grill, gun cleaned and loaded, and a camp fire glowing. “How did you talk your missus into letting you come, Jack?” “I didn’t have to,” Jack replied. “When I left you guys, I went home to sulk.  Then Bernice snuck up behind me, covered my eyes, and said, ‘Surprise.’” “When I peeled her hands back, she was standing there in a beautiful dress and said in her naughty voice, ‘Carry me into the bedroom, tie me to the bed, and you can do whatever you want!’” “So, HERE I AM!”
That guy ought to be shot.


Keep your date with God

God wants you to develop your intimacy with Him. He’s serious about it.

15:37-41 Tassels

:37 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

:38 “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners.

tasselstsiytsith – fringe, tassel

You will see these “tassels” on the prayer shawls (talit) that Orthodox Jews wear.

:39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined,

:40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.

:41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”

The value of a wedding ring is in its ability to remind you of your relationship with your spouse. 

It can also be a way of letting other people know that you are married, that you are “taken”.

Yet there are some people who look at a wedding ring as a challenge to conquer the unconquerable.  Others simply ignore the fact that they’ve made a vow to their spouse and the ring is no more than a hand decoration.


Tassel Abuse

For some people, the tassels were nothing more than a way to flaunt their “religiosity”.
(Mt 23:4–12 NKJV) 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

borderskraspedon – the extremity or prominent part of a thing; the fringe of a garment; in the NT a little appendage hanging down from the edge of the mantle or cloak, made of twisted wool

The “borders” were these tassels.  Some people liked to make them extra large, not because they had trouble reminding themselves to obey God’s laws, but because they wanted people to notice how religious they were.

6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Tassels without humility were worthless.  They in fact defeated the very purpose of the tassels.

The tassels were to remind you to submit yourself to God and His laws.  But when pride crept in, they became a way of putting “self” on the throne of a person’s life.


Ministry and Obedience

Jesus actually wore tassels.
(Mt 9:20–22 NKJV)20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

The word for “hem” is the tassel.

hemkraspedon – the extremity or prominent part of a thing; the fringe of a garment; in the NT a little appendage hanging down from the edge of the mantle or cloak, made of twisted wool

Did Jesus need the tassels to remind Him to obey God?

No, but by wearing them He showed that He still intended to live His life in obedience to God.

Jesus said,

(Jn 6:38 NKJV) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

For this woman, it was the tassel that she grabbed a hold of and was healed.

(Mt 14:35–36 NKJV) And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

It was these tassels that became a place of contact for the people to receive healing from Jesus.

Jesus lived a life of complete obedience to God.

In contrast to the Pharisees, Jesus lived a life of humility as well.

God works through us in the lives of others as we too live lives of obedience and humility.