God sent Israel to avenge
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward will you be gathered to your people. 3 And Moses spoke to the people saying, Arm some of your men for war, and go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian. 4 You are to send to war a thousand from every tribe throughout all the tribes of Israel. 5 So a thousand from every tribe were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from every tribe: the men and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, went to war with the holy objects from the sanctuary, and the trumpets to sound the charge in his hand. 7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they killed all the males. 8 And they killed the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: they also killed Balaam, the son of Beor, with the sword.
- In Numbers 22 the Moabites hired Balaam to curse Israel.
- Balaam tried but couldn’t curse those God had blessed; so, in Numbers 25 the Moabites sent beautiful women into the camp of Israel. They seduced the men into adultery and idolatry.
- It appears that the Moabites and Midianites were together in this.
- This separated Israel from God, who is their life and power, and 24,000 people of Israel died.
- Verse 16 shows us it was Balaam who suggested this.
- Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captive, and their little ones, and took plunder of all their livestock, all their flocks, and all their possessions. 10 They burned all their cities where they lived, all their good castles, with fire. 11 And they took all the plunder and all the prey, both of men and animal. 12 And they brought the captives, the plunder, the spoils, to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went out to meet them outside the camp. 14 And Moses was furious with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, who came from the battle. 15 Moses said to them, Have you saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
- God is not mocked.
- He gives mankind to reap what they sow.
- Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that has known man by lying with a male. 18 But keep alive for yourselves all the female children that have not known a man by lying with him. 19 Remain outside the camp seven days: whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any dead, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day. 20 Purify all your clothing, all that is made of skins, all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood. 21 And Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses; 22 but the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 Everything that can stand the fire, you are to make it go through the fire, and it will be clean: nevertheless it will be purified with the water of separation: and all that can stand the fire you will make go through the water. 24 You are to wash your clothes on the seventh day and you will be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp.
- God is holy and requires that we be clean in His presence.
- Christ’s death on our behalf cleansed us so thoroughly that we only need to confess our sins.
- He fulfilled the whole law and replaced it with His law of love.
- I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
25 And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 26 Count the plunder that was taken, both of man and of animal, you, Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation: 27 Divide the plunder into two parts; between those that took the war on themselves, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation: 28 And take a tribute to the LORD from the men of war who went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the sheep: 29 Take it of their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest for a heave offering of the LORD. 30 And from the children of Israel's half you are to take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of animals, and give them to the Levites, who keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD. 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses. 32 And the plunder, being the rest of the prey that the men of war had caught, was 675,000 sheep, 33 and 72,000 cattle, 34 and 61,000 donkeys, 35 and 32,000 people in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him. 36 And half, which was the portion of those that went out to war, was 337,500 sheep: 37 And the LORD's tribute of the sheep was 675. 38 And the beeves were 36,000; of which the LORD's tribute was 72. 39 And the asses were 30,500; of which the LORD's tribute was 61. 40 And the persons were 16,000; of which the LORD's tribute was 32 persons. 41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the LORD's heave offering to Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses. 42 And of the children of Israel's half, which Moses divided from the men that warred, 43 (the half that pertained to the congregation was 337,500 sheep, 44 36,000 cattle, 45 30,500 donkeys, 46 and 16,000 persons;) 47 From the children of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of 50, both of man and of animal, and gave them to the Levites who kept the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
- They divided the spoils war in two parts— part for those who fought the battle and a part for the rest of the nation that remained at home.
- Then those receiving the spoils were to give a tenth of it to the LORD for the priests and Levites.
- A thousand men from each tribe of Israel went to war.
- Dividing half between them gave each soldier more than the individuals at home received.
- It seems fair that the ones who fought risked their lives receive the larger portion.
- Then the tribute, a gift to God, was given from the individuals to God.
- Like our tithes and offerings it was to be used for God’s work on this earth of giving eternal life to the world.
God preserved them in battle
48 And the officers that were over thousands of the army, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near to Moses: 49 And they said to Moses, Your servants have counted the men of war that are under our charge, and not one man of us is missing. 50 Therefore, we have brought an offering for the LORD, what every man has found, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD.
- Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
- 1 Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly will know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.
51 And Moses and Eleazar the priest took their gold, all crafted jewels. 52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the LORD from the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds was 16,750 shekels. 53 (For the men of war had taken plunder, every man for himself.) 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.
- Because God had so blessed this war that there was not one casualty, the military was so grateful that they brought God an extra gift. Atonement means covering.
- God has covered us with His righteousness (Galatians 3:27), with Christ.
- Psalm 85:2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people, you have covered all their sin. Selah.
- 1 Peter 1:18-19 …you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
God wants us to help others enter their promised land and not discourage them
1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock: when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, behold, it was a place for cattle; 2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the princes of the congregation saying, 3 Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4 the country that the LORD struck before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and we, your servants have livestock: 5 Therefore they said, if we have found grace in your sight, let this land be given to us, your servants for a possession, and do not bring us over Jordan. 6 And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Will your brothers go to war, and you sit here? 7 Why do you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? 8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel not to go into the land that the LORD had given them.
- The children of Israel at their peak only claimed 1/10 of the land God promised them.
- The Lord gave them the best land on earth.
- Deuteronomy 8:7-10 For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; 9 A land in which you will eat bread without scarceness, you not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you will bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you.
- Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up my hand to them, to bring them of the land of Egypt into a land that I had saw for them, flowing with milk and honey, that is the glory of all lands:
10 And the LORD's anger burned at that same time, and he swore saying, 11 Definitely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, will see the land that I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: 12 Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. 13 And the LORD's anger burned against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.
- Unbelief cannot enter the Promised Land because the Promised Land is entered by faith.
- Faith is reliance on the facts God has presented about Himself and His faithfulness to keeping His word.
14 And, behold, you are raised up in your fathers' place, an increase of sinful men, to add more to the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel. 15 For if you turn away from him, he will leave them in the wilderness again; and you will destroy all this people. 16 And they came near to him and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones: 17 But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place: and our little ones will dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our houses until the every man of the children of Israel has inherited his inheritance. 19 For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward. 20 And Moses said to them, If you will do this thing, if you will go armed before the LORD to war, 21 and all of you will go armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he has driven out his enemies from before him, 22 and the land is subdued before the LORD: then afterward you will return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land will be your possession before the LORD. 23 But if you will not do this, behold, you have sinned against the LORD: and be certain that your sin will find you out.
- Nothing is hidden from the Lord.
- He calls to account.
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
- Romans 14:12 So then every one of us will give account of himself to God.
24 Build cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do what has proceeded out of your mouth. 25 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke to Moses saying, Your servants will do as my lord commands. 26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock, will be there in the cities of Gilead: 27 But your servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord says. 28 So Moses commanded Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel concerning them: 29 Moses said to them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the LORD, and the land is subdued before you; then you are to give them the land of Gilead for a possession: 30 But if they will not pass over with you armed, they will have possessions among you in the land of Canaan. 31 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered saying, As the LORD has said to your servants, this we will do. 32 We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan so that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.
- Jeremiah 7:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you will be my people: and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you.
33 And Moses gave to them, to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with its cities in the coasts, even the cities of the surrounding country. 34 And the children of Gad built Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth, Shophan, Jaazer, Jogbehah, 36 Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities and folds for sheep. 37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kirjathaim, 38 Nebo, Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names to the cities that they built. 39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, took it, and dispossessed the Amorite that was in it. 40 And Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt there. 41 And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns, and called them Havothjair. 42 And Nobah went and took Kenath, and its villages, and called it Nobah, after his own name.
- God destroys civilizations that lead others to eternal death—like the generation of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
- The Canaanites were like the other civilizations that God has destroyed.
- The children of Reuben and Gad stopped short of the land, when they found a territory comfortable for them.
- Og and Sihon were not under God curse of destruction.
- However, they would not let Israel pass through their land.
- They warred against Israel and brought destruction on themselves.
- God fights our battles.
- By God’s power the Israelites had conquered these lands.
- 1 Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly will know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.
- Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
God records our journey through life
1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel that went out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2 And Moses wrote starting places according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their starting places. 3 They left Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
- God has recorded in heaven the journey of all the lives of His children, their physical journey and their spiritual journey.
- Remember that even the hairs of heads are numbered (Luke 12:7).
- For Israel this was a journey of unbelief.
- This record tells where they went as they wandered in the wilderness.
- God provided for them to go right into the Promised Land.
- But they didn’t believe, brought judgment on themselves, and wandered around until those who failed to believe had died.
- Then God led their children in to claim the Promised Land.
God executed judgment on their gods
4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had struck among them: the LORD also executed judgments on their gods. 5 And the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped in Succoth. 6 They left Succoth and camped in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. 7 They moved from Etham and turned again to Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they camped before Migdol.
- Don’t think that God was mean or unfair to strike down their firstborn.
- He gave them lots of chances to avoid this judgment.
- It was their evil and unbelief that brought this upon them.
- They had been killing Israel’s firstborn males for 80 years.
- Moses was one of those condemned to die at birth by Pharaoh.
- God allowed His firstborn to be struck down for all of them and all of us.
- Psalm 82:1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods.
- John 3:16-17 God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
8 And they left Pihahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped in Marah. 9 And they moved from Marah and came to Elim: in Elim were twelve fountains of water and 70 palm trees. They camped there. 10 And they moved from Elim and camped by the Red sea. 11 And they moved from the Red sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12 And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin and camped in Dophkah. 13 And they left Dophkah and camped in Alush. 14 And they moved from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink. 15 And they left Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16 And they moved from the desert of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hatta'avah. 17 And they left Kibroth-hatta'avah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 They left Hazeroth and camped in Rithmah. 19.And they left Rithmah and camped at Rimmonparez. 20 And they left Rimmonparez and camped in Libnah. 21 And they moved from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 They journeyed from Rissah and camped in Kehelathah. 23 And they went from Kehelathah and camped in mount Shapher. 24 They moved from mount Shapher and camped in Haradah.
- The God who loves us enough send His Son to die for us is the one who can do all things.
- Let’s not let this slip past us without appreciating that this is the One we call FATHER.
25 And they moved from Haradah and camped in Makheloth. 26 And they moved from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 And they left Tahath and camped at Tarah. 28 And they moved from Tarah and camped in Mithcah. 29 And they went from Mithcah and camped in Hashmonah. 30 And they left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31 And they left Moseroth and camped in Benejaakan. 32 And they moved from Benejaakan and camped at Horhagidgad. 33 They went from Horhagidgad and camped in Jotbathah. 34 And they moved from Jotbathah and camped at Ebronah. 35 They left Ebronah, and camped at Eziongaber.
- The Lord told the people when to move and where to go.
- He led them.
- He was with them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night
- Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
- Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: fear not, neither be dismayed.
- Psalm 48:14 this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
36 And they moved from Eziongaber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37 And they moved from Kadesh and camped in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. 38 And Aaron the priest went up to mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month. 39 And Aaron was 123 years old when he died in mount Hor.
- God takes His own to be with Him at death.
- Psalm 23:4 Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me…
- 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
40 And king Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41 And they left mount Hor and camped in Zalmonah. 42 They left Zalmonah and camped in Punon. 43 And they left Punon and camped in Oboth. 44 They left Oboth and camped in Ijeabarim, in the border of Moab. 45 And they left Iim, and camped in Dibongad. 46 They moved from Dibongad and camped in Almon-diblatha'im. 47 And they moved from Almon-diblatha'im and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 They left the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. 49 And they camped by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.
- 42 places are listed where the children of Israel stopped and camped.
- This happened over 39 years which shows us that they weren’t moving every couple of weeks or even months.
50 And the LORD spoke to Moses in
the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho saying, 51 Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, When you have passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; 52 Then you are to drive out
all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their figures/pictures, destroy all their molten images, and destroy all their high places: 53 And you will dispossess the inhabitants of
the land, and dwell in it: for I have given you the land
to possess it. 54 You are to divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: to more you will give more inheritance, and to fewer you will give less inheritance: every man's
inheritance will be in the place where his lot falls; you will inherit according to the tribes of your fathers.
- God owns the earth for He created it and sustains it.
- He gave Palestine to Israel.
- God had them destroy every thing that would bring to mind the false gods.
- He gave property to them all according to the size of their families.
- Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness of it; the world, and those that dwell in it. 2 For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods.
- Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then you will be a special treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
55 But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it will happen, that those that you let remain of them will be briers in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and will trouble you in the land where you dwell. 56 And as I planned to do to them, I will do to you.
- The Lord would do to Israel what He planned to do to the Canaanites because the Israelites would have become like the Canaanites, full of evil.
- There was to be no compromise!
- These former inhabitants of the land represent the things in our lives that come between us and God. He still wants no compromise.
- Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye (focus) is single, your whole body will be full of light.
- Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.
SUMMARY: Numbers 31-33
- The LORD sent Israel to avenge
- He preserved them in battle
- He wants us to help others enter their promised land
- He executes judgment on false gods