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Numbers 10:11-36 (From Sinai to Paran)

Dec 9, 2018   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Numbers Sermons (written), Old Testament, Old Testament (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written), Writings  //  No Comments

Numbers 10:11-36
From Sinai to Paran

What kind of a guide are you? There are people that need to be led, and there is a place that they need to be led to. Today’s passage is a curious one when you first read it. The people are said to have started out on the journey from Sinai to Paran. There is then a sudden, even abrupt, introduction of someone named Hobab. It is a name never mentioned before in Scripture, and which will only be mentioned one more time, in Judges 4:11.

After a short conversation with him, the story reverts back to say that the people departed the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days. Its apparent that the Lord put this person, Hobab, in here for a reason. Moses asks him to be their eyes on the journey. Some people are just blind. They may have the path right in front of them, and they may even have the evidence of the Lord – in all of His splendor – directly in front of their faces, and yet, they cannot find their way. How do we know this is correct? Paul says as much in Romans 9 with the words –

“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,

And their words to the ends of the world.” Romans 10:18

People know the truth of God, but they can’t seem to find their way to following Him. This is how Israel was, apparently. Moses knew it. The Lord is there in the pillar, and the ark is going before them, and yet Moses asks for a guide for the people.

So, let me ask again, “What kind of guide are you?” The Lord does His part in the equation, making Himself painfully evident to the people of the world. And yet, it still takes us, doing our part, to lead people on the proper path and to conduct our affairs in the right way in His presence.

Think about it. How many denominations in Christianity alone are there? Well, depending on who is counting, the number goes from 1,100 up to about 43,000. Surely, they can’t all be right. After that, we could count the number of other religions in the world who are certainly not right, but there is no point. In the end, there is a path which needs to be taken, and there needs to be people to be eyes for those who are too blind to find it on their own, or to know what to do once the path is found.

Text Verse: “I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” Isaiah 10:20

Somehow, there are those who don’t seek the Lord, and yet they find Him. And yet Israel, supposedly seeking the Lord, completely missed Him. How did that happen? I mean, like Israel in the wilderness, the Lord was right there in front of them, and yet they needed a guide along the way. And then when Jesus came, He stood right there in front of them. There He stood, in all of His glory and splendor, and… they missed Him.

What they need is a guide to lead them back to Him, and guess what, it ain’t going to happen all by itself. They are not seeking Him now, and the only way they will find Him is if we open our mouths and speak. And this isn’t just true with the Jews. It is true with people who sit in churches every single week of their lives. And yet, they are no closer to finding that path than a blind man is. Without someone leading them to it, they will never find it.

But it needs to be someone who already knows the way. Hobab has been asked to assist Israel. The account today doesn’t say if he accepted the invitation or not. Did he? Well, let’s go through the verses and find out what we can. And you, will you not just sit there in your chair once a week feeling satisfied that you know the path! Will you please respond to the call to be the guide the Lord intends you to be? The path is there, you know what it is, where it is, and what it takes to get on it, so please do what you’re called to do. That is… after you hear today’s sermon. You’ve already started, and so you might as well stick it out. It’s a marvelous part of His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Day of Departure (verses 11-28)

11 Now it came to pass

v’hi – “and it came to pass.” It is a very common expression in the Hebrew, used well over 750 times, and yet this instance bears an excitement and a wonder that is almost palpable. Something marvelous is about to be described, and which will lead the people of Israel into the second major section of the book of Numbers. The first section was a “wilderness section” found in Sinai. That went from verse 1:1 to 10:10. This next section is what we might term a “road trip.” It is a time of travel, going from verse 10:11 to 12:16. It covers the travel between Sinai and the next wilderness section found in the wilderness of Paran.

11 (con’t) on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year,

A review of several dates needs to be made in order to understand the significance of this date now provided. First, Exodus 12:40 established the time of the exodus as the year 2514AM. From there, Israel had a 45-day journey to reach Mount Sinai, where the Israelites worked to construct the Sanctuary. In Exodus 40:17 it stated, “And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up.”

The date now in numbers is fifty days later. It has been 395 days since the Exodus (one year, one month, and five days), and it is 350 days since their arrival in Sinai (Exodus 19:1), or just ten days short of one year. It is still the year 2515AM. The Lord is being extremely precise in these dates. The second Passover has been observed, and the details concerning the silver trumpets are the last item recorded to date. There is a reason why that was so. They are about to be used for their intended purpose…

11 (con’t) that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.

The sign of Israel’s time of departure has come. As it said –

“Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.” Numbers 9:17 

But what is the significance of this day? Sergio, while reading Numbers just a couple months ago, emailed with a marvelous pattern. Because the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month, and it is now the 20th day of the second month, that means that it matches the Jubilee pattern. It was set up and rested 49 days, and it was then set for departure on the 50th day. There is a sense of Jubilee, or release, from the labors of Sinai, after the erection of the tabernacle.

What is also rather amazing, based on this verse, is that from this day until Israel crosses the Jordan into Canaan, it will be exactly 14,000 days – to the day – by the biblical calendar. That is recorded in Joshua 4:19 –

“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.” Joshua 4:19

That was the 10th day of the first month of the 41st year. Subtracting one from another, the count is exactly 14,000 days. More interestingly, is the pattern which is seen which follows this. Christ was hailed by Israel as their King on 6 April AD32. They rejected Him, and exactly 14,000 days later, on 5 August AD70, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people were scattered.

The people saw the glory of the Lord on Mount Sinai, and yet they disbelieved (Numbers 14) and were punished. The people saw the glory of Christ Jesus, they disbelieved, and they were again punished. It is a pattern which bears the divine mark of God’s work in redemptive history, verifying that Christ Jesus is Yehovah incarnate. For now in Numbers though, it is time for Israel to begin its trek to the Land of Promise, as is seen in the next words…

12 And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys;

Israel has set out, as it says, from the Wilderness of Sinai. Sinai means “Bush of the Thorn.” Israel has, during all of this time, revealed the glory of the Lord in type and shadow. The name Sinai has been used to anticipate the work of Christ on Calvary where He would bear the crown of thorns. It is the ultimate picture of everything seen over these past days and months. From there, Israel will trek to another wilderness location, next named…

12 (con’t) then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.

The cloud went until it arrived in Israel’s next place of rest, the Wilderness of Paran. However, Paran is not the first stop, but the third. The words here summarize the trip from beginning to end.

Paran comes from the same root as porah, meaning a branch. But the idea from which it comes is that of ornamentation. That is found in the root of both words, paar, signifying to beautify or glorify. Abarim defines the name then, not on it being a place abundant in foliage, but in the sense of glory, because it is there, in that area, that the Lord had deposited His covenant law. From there, they make the obvious connection that the next time this occurred was when He once again deposited a New Covenant in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ. In other words, here we are being given a picture in Israel’s first move. From the Sinai, the cross of Christ as the fulfillment of the Law, to Paran, the New Covenant in Christ, where He rules from heaven. One precedes the other, and one leads to the next. This is why John 1:14 says –

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

It was only after the cross and resurrection that they realized the true glory of Christ. It is only after Sinai that Israel goes to Paran, or “Glorious.” Israel’s very movements are being used to show what God would do and reveal in Christ.

13 So they started out for the first time according to the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

The trek now beginning is described in Deuteronomy 1:19. There it says,So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites.” The terrible nature of the wilderness will be seen in the verses ahead as they progress. For now, the departure is said to be al pi Yehovah b’yad Mosheh, or “according to the mouth of Yehovah, by the hand of Moses.” This movement is now described by the order of precedence of arrangement around the tabernacle, which has already been described, but which is now explained in order of departure…

14 The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first according to their armies; over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

As we saw in the previous sermons, Judah, or “Praise” goes first before the Lord. It is the tribe from which Jesus descends, and the tribe from which we derive the term “Jew” today. They are the tribe which was situated furthest east, and they are first to depart. Nahshon means Enchanter, or Serpent-person. Amminadab means My Kinsman Is Noble or People of the Prince. Along with Judah, marching under their standard, and yet individual armies, are two other tribes to depart with them. First…

15 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar.

Second to travel is Issachar, or “He is Wages.” Nethanel means Given of God. Zuar means Little One. Next is…

16 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.

Third to travel is Zebulun, or “Glorious Dwelling Place.” Eliab means My God is Father. Helon means Very Strong. Next…

17 Then the tabernacle was taken down;

After the tribes to the east had begun their march, the tabernacle itself was taken down. It would follow immediately after this first set of armies under Judah’s standard.

17 (con’t) and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle

Gershon means “Exiled One.” Merari means “My Bitterness.”

18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their armies; over their army was Elizur the son of Shedeur.

After the tabernacle, the tribes from the south side were next to break down and depart. They fall under the main standard of Reuben, meaning “See a Son.” Elizur means God of the Rock. Shedeur means Spreader of Light.

19 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

Simeon means, “He who hears.” Shelumiel means Peace of God. Zurishaddai means Rock of the Almighty.

20 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

Gad means “Good Fortune.” Eliasaph means God has Added. Deuel means Known of God.

21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. (The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival.)

Kohath means “Obedience,” or “Congregation.” It is this family of Levi who is given the responsibility for ha’miqdash, or “the holy things.” The word literally signifies the sanctuary, but in this case, it is speaking of the things for which the sanctuary was constructed, meaning those items which were carried by man, not transported on wagons. They follow after Reuben because this would then allow time for those of Gershon and Merari to unload the wagons and have the tabernacle set up and ready for their arrival. They would march directly to it, place them where instructed, and then the priests would conduct the tasks necessary to have them ready for service.

Interestingly, Reuben – the second set of tribes to set out – follows the sanctuary, and behind him are the sacred things of the tabernacle. Thus, his name, “See a Son” is perfectly reflected in his position. Both to the front and to the rear of his standard are those things which picture the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

22 And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set out according to their armies; over their army was Elishama the son of Ammihud.

The tribes to the west of the sanctuary broke camp next, following those sacred objects carried by the Kohathites. Ephraim, or “Twice Fruitful,” is the main standard. Elishama means God has Heard. Ammihud means My Kinsman is Glorious. Next, and with him is…

23 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

The main meaning of Manasseh is “To Forget.” Gamaliel means Reward of God. Pedahzur means The Rock has Ransomed.

24 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.

Benjamin means, “Son of the Right Hand.” Abidan means Father of Judgment. Gideoni means Feller (as in one who cuts down).

25 Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies; over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

Taking up the rear of the entire procession would be the camps found on the north side of the sanctuary. Dan was the main standard of these armies. Dan means “Judge.” Ahiezer means Brother of Help. Ammishaddai means My Kinsman is the Almighty. Along with Dan were two tribes, starting with…

26 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran.

Asher means “Happy.” Pagiel means Occurrence of God. Ocran means Troubled. Also under the standard of Dan was…

27 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan.

Naphtali means, “My Wrestling.” Ahira means Brother of Purpose. Enan means Having Eyes.

28 Thus was the order of march of the children of Israel, according to their armies, when they began their journey.

The order is set, as it says, according to their armies. Taking the meaning of the names of the tribes, this is what we come up with –

Praise / He is Wages / Glorious Dwelling Place

Sanctuary – Gershon means “Exiled One.” Merari means “My Bitterness.”

See a Son / He Who Hears / Good Fortune

Holy Things – Kohath means Congregation (Obedience)

Twice Fruitful / To Forget / Son of the Right Hand

Judge / Happy / My Wrestling

We are on our trek to the Promised Land
Setting out, the Lord goes before us
We are safe when in Him we make our stand
And so we shall faithfully follow the Lord Jesus

Though we are in a wilderness, we will surely be brought out
He will guide us every step of the way
In this walk, Him we will bless – and we shall never doubt
Our faith will remain strong day unto day

Our arrival is a sure guarantee
And so in our hearts we shall never doubt
Until we stand before Him at the glassy sea
And there to Him we shall joyfully shout

II. A Beloved Gentile Among Israel (verses 29-36)

29 Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law,

The account suddenly, and without any explanation, turns to this person Hobab. He is 1) the son of Reuel, 2) the Midianite, and 3) Moses’ khathan, or father-in-law. Thus, he is the same person mentioned in Exodus 18 who was there called Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law. Or, he is his son, who accompanied Jethro. Either way, it was explained during that Exodus 18 sermon that the events recorded there occurred between Numbers 10:10 and 10:11, just prior to the departure of Israel from Sinai. This now completes that account. The reason for its placement in Exodus was explained at that time. Hobab, or Khovav, means “Beloved.” Reuel means “Friend of God.” Midian means “Place of Judgment.”

29 (con’t)  “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’

The words are spoken prior to the departure recorded in the previous verses. But the account is recorded now as a logical insert to show what occurred at the time of the call for departure. A decision had to be made concerning what Hobab wanted to do in relation to moving or not moving with Israel. In hopes of him coming along, we next read…

29 (con’t)  Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”

It is obvious that Moses wanted him to join them on their trek to the Promised Land. As the Lord has promised good things to Israel, so he is asking Hobab to share in those same good things by joining them on their journeys, and becoming a part of them.

30 And he said to him, “I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives.”

It is a certainty that Jethro did return to his home. That is recorded in Exodus 18:27 –

“Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way to his own land.” Exodus 18:27

If Jethro is Hobab, then he departed according to his word here. If he is Jethro’s son, being given the same title, then Moses is asking him to separate from his elderly father and his home people, and to join the people of God on their trek to Canaan. This second option is possible as we will see in another two verses…

31 So Moses said, “Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.

Despite his adamant desire to return to his own land and relatives, Moses again implores him to stay, explaining that he is knowledgeable concerning the land, the ways of the land, and about how to interact with the land. The statement, “and you can be our eyes,” implies that they were blinded to the nature of the journey, they were incapable of seeing the avenues to easy travel and proper camping, they were unaware of the haunts of enemies and how they would lay out ambushes, and so on. To be their eyes, then, means that he would be the one to lead the blind on their journey.

Out of this arises an obvious question. “Why, if the Lord is leading Israel, would they need someone to tell them these things?” The answer is the same found in the establishment and running of a church, or a reliance on the success of a company started under the principles of the Lord, or a marriage dedicated to the Lord, and so on. The answer is, as Adam Clarke plainly says it, “Man cannot do God’s work; and God will not do the work which he has qualified and commanded man to perform.” There are things the Lord will do in leading His people, and there are things His people must do in following Him. Moses, understanding this, continues…

32 And it shall be, if you go with us—indeed it shall be— that whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same we will do to you.”

The repetition of the word v’hayah, or “and it shall be,” is a spoken stress of the guarantee of what is promised. Whatever good they receive from the Lord, it will be granted also to Hobab and his posterity. The words end the conversation and nothing is recorded as to what his decision is. And so we can only guess based on the rest of the evidence found in Scripture. First, the descendants of this man are recorded as living in the land of Israel. That is seen in Judges 1:16 –

“Now the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the City of Palms with the children of Judah into the Wilderness of Judah, which lies in the South near Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.” Judges 1:16

There, he is called “the Kenite,” indicating the area in which he settled. He is again seen in Judges 4:11 –

“Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.” Judges 4:11

A likely reference to them is again made at the time of Saul –

“Then Saul said to the Kenites, ‘Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.’” 1 Samuel 15:6

Because of these references, a couple options are possible: 1) Jethro and Hobab are the same person, and after Jethro returned to his home, as is recorded in Exodus 18, he later joined with Israel as their guide. 2) Jethro and Hobab are father and son. Jethro returned to Midian, but Hobab relented and joined Moses, maybe after taking his father home. (The word khathan does not necessarily mean “father-in-law,” but an in-law of some sort). No matter, Hobab did join with Israel, but he never became a part of Israel, meaning a convert through circumcision of the flesh. He remained a Gentile. We know this because his descendants do come into Canaan, and their kindness to Israel was long remembered by the Israelites, and yet they remained Gentiles, receiving the same promises as Israel.

For now, what is certain is that Israel departed Sinai as the Lord directed. Whenever he joined them, his descendants after him entered and remained in the land of Canaan.

33 So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days;

This is the actual departure which was first recorded and anticipated in verse 12. The intervening verses were placed where they are to dispose of the matter requesting Hobab join with Israel on their trek. With those verses complete, the actual moment of departure for the people is recorded. Here, Sinai is called, “the mountain of the Lord.” It is a term that will later be used by Isaiah to describe Jerusalem, where the temple of the Lord is, and where Christ will sit in authority.

In their first journey, they travel a distance requiring three days. The meaning is probably two-fold. First, there would have been two periods of stopping the procession without setting the camp in its expected layout. Secondly, the entire journey is one trek, even if interrupted by periods of rest. From the time they left, until the time they reached the first goal, it is but one journey.

We use the same terminology today. If we drive from Florida to Oregon, we might take four days. It is one journey, even if we stop for three nights. Further, we don’t consider the stops as anything other than rests on the larger trek. A second option is that the distance of the journey took three days, even if there were extended periods of time at each stop. If we travel to Oregon, which is a four-day drive, but we stop for a week at each stop, it will take us a month to make the four-day journey. Either is possible because no specific days are given after that in verse 11.

33 (con’t) and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for the three days’ journey,

Some find a contradiction in these words. The holy objects were said to travel between the standard of Reuben and the standard of Ephraim. To resolve this, some say it means that the ark symbolically led the congregation, as a general is said to do so, even if he is in the middle or rear of the advancing army. However, there is no reason to assume that this is the case. It says the ark went before them, and that in no way contradicts that the other holy objects went between the tribes as indicated. Where the ark was, so was the pillar of cloud, high above. It was a sign to all behind that the Lord was leading.

What is interesting is that the ark here is not called the ark of the testimony, which relates to what it contains, but it is rather now called the ark of the covenant of Yehovah because of its purpose and intent for the people of Israel. It is the Lord who goes before His people in covenant faithfulness which is in accord with the covenant between them. In this, He goes forth first…

33 (con’t) to search out a resting place for them.

A new word is introduced here, tur. It is a verb to meaning to seek out, spy, or investigate. It cannot be said that the Lord actively searched out a resting place, as if He didn’t know where to go, but that He is leading the people. Their eyes on the cloud show them that the Lord is leading to the place searched out for them.

34 And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day when they went out from the camp.

In the poetry of the psalms, this cloud is said to have covered all the people. Opinion about what this means varies. Some see it as the cloud covering the entire congregation. Some see it as being above them visibly, but only above the ark. And so on. The two things which are absolutely certain is that 1) The cloud is a special, recognizable cloud known as anan Yehovah, or “the cloud of Yehovah,” and that 2) it was literally above them in some respect. The people would have no doubt that the Lord was with them as they journeyed.

As we know from earlier, it had the appearance of a cloud during the day, and that of fire by night. It was with them during the entire time of their journeys. It was the determining factor of when the people moved, and how long they rested in any given location. When the Lord decided, it was time to again break down camp. At that time, Moses had a special petition of the Lord…

35 So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said:

“Rise up, O Lord!
Let Your enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate You flee before You.”

The words of Moses here are closely followed by David in the 68th Psalm –

“Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.” Psalm 68:1

Moses’ words are an anticipatory look ahead to the resurrection of Christ. The ark is, as we have seen, a picture of Christ, the embodiment of the Law. In His death, He rested from His labors. In His resurrection, the enemies of the Lord are scattered and those who hate Him flee before Him. In the physical petition by Moses for protection from human enemies, there is a picture of the spiritual realm and protection from the forces which work there.

But there is much more than this. In Christ’s resurrection, those who hated Him, and those who continue to hate Him today, are His own people, Israel. The curses of Leviticus 26 prophesy that they would be scattered, by Him, even to the utmost parts of the earth. That occurred, and that has continued on for 2000 years. It will continue until He returns to His place of rest, which was prophesied by Isaiah –

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10

That is seen in Moses’ words which comprise our final verse of the day…

*36 (fin) And when it rested, he said:

“Return, O Lord,
To the many thousands of Israel.”

The resting of the ark looks forward to the return of the Lord, but it looks more specifically of the return of the Lord to Israel. The Gentiles sought Him while Israel rejected, even hated Him. The Gentiles streamed to Him; Israel was scattered and they fled. But someday, after the rapture of the church, there will be a change. The exact same phrase, shuvah Yehovah, is translated as “restore, Yehovah” in Psalm 126. There, it is a petition to restore the people of Israel from their captivity. As it reads –

Bring back our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.” Psalm 126:4

Thus, there is in this a prophetic double entendre. It is a petition for the Lord to return to the many thousands of Israel, but it is first a petition to “Restore, O Lord, the many thousands of Israel.” Only in their restoration will He return to them and sit in His place of rest.

As the Lord scattered His enemies, meaning His own people Israel, someday they will call out to Him and He will restore them and He will return to them. Israel is leaving Sinai and is heading to Paran. Christ left the cross and went in glory, to that place which is Glorious. It is this which is seen in our verses today.

This explains why Hobab was mentioned in this passage. It is a picture of the Gentiles seeking after the Lord and finding His rest, even when Israel failed to do so. Hobab was, and he remained, a Gentile. However, as we saw in the Exodus 18 sermons, he is used as a type of Christ. His name means, “Beloved.” For those in Christ, they are – as He is – beloved. Paul’s words to those in Rome explain this relationship. In Romans 9, while citing the prophet Hosea, and when discussing Israel’s rejection of the Lord, he says this about the Gentiles –

“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.” Romans 9:25, 26

Moses’ petition was for Hobab to be Israel’s eyes, implying that they were blinded and in need of him. He refused and returned to his place, all explained in the Exodus 18 sermons. Israel was left with only the Old Covenant types to guide them, and they have been blinded on their journey because of it. Their only sure guide is what they have, for the most part rejected, the New Testament epistles which tell of Christ.

It is – whether popularly accepted or not – the Gentiles who have held to the New Covenant, and who have led the remnant of Israel during the movement of the Ark, meaning Christ, through history. While Israel’s bodies have been scattered in the wilderness, the Gentiles have guided the process of understanding God’s work in Christ, and leading those few Jews who have been a faithful remnant also spoken of by Paul in Romans 11. Someday, that will change. The Lord will restore, and the Lord will return – to Israel.

This is why the term “mountain of the Lord” is used. It is speaking of Jerusalem where the Jews departed from in their exile, and it is in this exile that they journey for three days before reaching their destination. It is reflective of the words of Hosea, taking a day for a thousand years –

“Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.”Hosea 6:1, 2

The restoration is happening in our lifetime. The return cannot be far off. Moses’ petition cuts like a sword, and yet it petitions for balm. It is what any faithful leader of the Lord’s people should pray for – “Scatter your enemies, O Lord! Make those who hate You flee before You.” But at the same time, “Restore Your people O God, and return to them when they are restored.” May it be so.

Closing Verse: “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25

Next Week: Numbers 11:1-15 Through his distress, to the Lord he will get his wordin (Moses’ Heavy Burden) (20th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It may seem at times as if you are lost in a desert, wandering aimlessly. But the Lord is there, carefully leading you to the Land of Promise. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

From Sinai to Paran

Now it came to pass on the twentieth day
Of the second month, in the second year, so we see
That the cloud was taken up
From above the tabernacle of the Testimony 

And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai
On their journeys, yes they moved on
Then the cloud settled down
In the Wilderness of Paran 

So they started out for the first time as we now understand
According to the command of the Lord by Moses’ hand

The standard of the camp
Of the children of Judah set out first, but not in a taxicab
According to their armies
Over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab 

Over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar
Was Nethanel the son of Zuar

And over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun
Was Eliab the son of Helon

Then the tabernacle was taken down
And the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out
Carrying the tabernacle
Praising the Lord as they went, no doubt

And the standard of the camp of Reuben
———-set out according to their armies, for sure
Over their army was Elizur, the son of Shedeur

Over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon, by and by
Was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai

And over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad
———-so the record does tell
Was Eliasaph the son of Deuel

Then the Kohathites carrying the holy things set out
The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival, no doubt

And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim
———-set out according to their armies, looking good
Over their army was Elishama the son of Ammihud

Over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh, for sure
Was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur

And over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin
———-as we see
Was Abidan the son of Gideoni

Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan
The rear guard of all the camps, by and by
Set out according to their armies
Over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai

Over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher
———-as they moved on
Was Pagiel the son of Ocran

And over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali
Was Ahira the son of Enan, so we see

Thus was the order of march of the children of Israel, as we see
According to their armies, when they began their journey

Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel
The Midianite; Moses’ father-in-law too
“We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said
‘I will give it to you

Come with us, and we will treat you well
For the Lord has promised good things to Israel

And he said to him, “I will not go, please understand
But I will depart to my own relatives and to my own land

So Moses said, “Please do not leave
Inasmuch as you know, yes to you it is no surprise
How we are to camp in the wilderness
And you can be our eyes 

And it shall be, if you go with us—
Indeed it shall be—
That whatever good the Lord will do to us
The same we will do to you; this is my guarantee

So they departed from the mountain of the Lord
On a journey of three days, as it came about
And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them
For the three days’ journey, a resting place for them to search out 

And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day
———-His approval stamp
When they went out from the camp

So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said:
“Rise up, O Lord!
Let Your enemies be scattered
And let those who hate You flee before You.”

And when it rested, he said:

“Return, O Lord,
To the many thousands of Israel.”

Lord God, we are even now in a wilderness
And we are wanting to be led by You
Without You to direct, our lives would be a mess
And so be our guide, O God; You who are faithful and true

We long for the water in this barren land
May it flow forth from the Rock, our souls to satisfy
Give us this refreshing, spiritual hand
And may we take it, and to our lives daily it apply

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to you for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. 12 And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. 13 So they started out for the first time according to the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

14 The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first according to their armies; over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab. 15 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar. 16 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.

17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle.

18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their armies; over their army was Elizur the son of Shedeur. 19 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. 20 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. (The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival.)

22 And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set out according to their armies; over their army was Elishama the son of Ammihud. 23 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. 24 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.

25 Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies; over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. 26 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran. 27 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan.

28 Thus was the order of march of the children of Israel, according to their armies, when they began their journey.

29 Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”

30 And he said to him, “I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives.”

31 So Moses said, “Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. 32 And it shall be, if you go with us—indeed it shall be—that whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same we will do to you.”

33 So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. 34 And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day when they went out from the camp.

35 So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said:

“Rise up, O Lord!
Let Your enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate You flee before You.”

36 And when it rested, he said:

“Return, O Lord,
To the many thousands of Israel.”

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