Entering His Presence Numbers 12 Does God still love me, despite my past? Can I really experience a personal relationship with him? Why do my sinful desires keep tripping me up? Numbers 12 has some fascinating metaphors that will help us understand our relationship...
Numbers 17 tells us that Aaron’s staff blossomed with lovely almond flowers. You may be wondering about the significance of almond blossoms. Why did Aaron’s staff sprout, bud, blossom, and even bear ripe almonds? Why did the budding of Aaron’s staff imply that God had chosen Aaron? Why did it put an end to the grumblings of the Israelites? Even more perplexing, why did the people think they were going to die after seeing the blossoming rod?
Aaron and his sons were given the job of carrying the iniquity of the sanctuary and the priesthood. Let’s look more closely at this phrase. What does it mean to bear the sins of the sanctuary and the priesthood? Why should Aaron and his sons and the people of his tribe (the Levites) bear the iniquity of the sanctuary? And why should they also carry the sins of their own priesthood?
Numbers 16 tells the story of Korah’s rebellion and the discipline God sent as a result. When Moses spoke out about the earth opening and swallowing these imposters, did he know in advance what God was going to do? Or did the prophecy come to him in that very moment, before he had even realized it?
Many Christians are familiar with the story of the twelve spies who explored the land of Canaan, the promised land that God had promised to give to the Israelites. Numbers 12 explains that ten of the spies gave a bad report. Caleb and Joshua, the last two spies, believed they could overcome their enemies and take the land. God was pleased with Caleb and Joshua. Forty years later, when the people of Israel finally entered the Promised Land, these two were the only spies that were allowed to inherit the land. The other ten evil spies died in the wilderness because of unbelief.
Numbers 22:1 (ESV) records, “The people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.” This verse paints a perfect picture of the Israelites (who represent our spiritual life) being disturbed and attacked by the Moabites (who represent our flesh) before they captured Jericho (which represents strongholds of the evil spirits). God loves the Moabites, so He ordered Moses not to attack the Moabites (Deuteronomy 2:9). But due to fear, the Moabites were stirred up by the enemy to disturb and curse the Israelites and resist God’s move through the Israelites.
Does God still love me, despite my past? Can I really experience a personal relationship with him? Why do my sinful desires keep tripping me up? Numbers 12 has some fascinating metaphors that will help us understand our relationship with the Lord.
After our Bible meeting finished, we were still puzzled over Numbers 7. We didn’t understand some of the questions in this chapter. For example, the twelve tribes of Israel offered the same gifts twelve times. Each time, they were exactly the same. Yet, they are described repeatedly. We know that one written word of the Bible is worth a thousand pieces of gold. The Holy Spirit would surely not record unnecessary words in the Bible. However, from the perspective of efficiency, it seems a bit wasteful to repeat the sacrifices offered by the twelve tribes. This was a question that everyone had during our meeting.
One question that disturbs us in Numbers 10 is, what is the name of Moses’ father-in-law? Numbers 10:29 (ESV) says, “Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law…” This section is very confusing. The meaning in the Recovery Version that we are reading is “Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, is the son of Reuel the Midianite,” because Judges 4:11 mentions “Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses.” But when I first read it, I felt like “Moses’ father-in-law is Reuel, and he has a son named Hobab.” One person at the meeting said that this understanding was not consistent with Judges 4:11. It seems to her that the father of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law, was called Reuel. But I said that when Exodus 2:18 was talking about Moses had helped to water the flock of the daughters of a Midianite priest in the wilderness, it was mentioned that their father’s name was “Reuel”. This proves that Reuel is not Moses’ grandfather, but rather Moses’ father-in-law himself. When Exodus 3:1 mentions Moses’ father-in-law, the name used is “Jethro”.
Numbers 9 tells two stories. In the first story, the Lord was telling Moses to let the Israelites celebrate the Passover, and He answered Moses’ question about whether the Israelites could still celebrate the Passover since they were ceremonially unclean because of a dead body, and were away on a journey (Numbers 9:1-14, NIV). The Lord said that even if they were unclean because of a dead body or were away on a trip, they could still celebrate the Passover (Numbers 9:10, NIV). But if a man who was ceremonially clean and not on a journey failed to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people (Numbers 9:13, NIV). A foreigner residing among the Israelites could also voluntarily celebrate the Passover.