A Year for Each Day, Part III
In the passage today, we should once again be reminded of the context. The people are in the wilderness, even the wilderness of Paran, or Glorious. They had seen the marvels of the Lord all the way to Sinai, they had seen the marvels of the Lord at Sinai, they had been given the law, they had been ensured they would receive the Land of Promise, and they had been given manna, every single day, since shortly after leaving Egypt.
In fact, in today’s passage, they will see a true miracle in the striking of ten of the twelve spies who went into Canaan. And all of this time, they continued to eat manna. In fact, verse 40 shows us that the people rose early in the morning in order to be disobedient to the Lord once again. And yet there is no doubt that they first sat down to a meal of… manna.
Despite being in the wilderness with a population larger than most cities, they had enough water to sustain them, and they had enough manna to feed them for three meals, every day, seven days a week. The utter stupidity of people who would be so well cared for, and who would then distrust the very Source of their daily sustenance is almost too incredible to imagine. But we, meaning the world in general, are no different. Not in the least.
Text Verse: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-5
The world at large loves to deny there is a God, or they attempt to deify the creation so that we don’t need a God who is transcendent. But both of those are logically inconsistent. If the universe is God, then the universe would have no beginning. If there was no beginning, we could not be right here, right now. There would always be an infinite regress to time, and there could be no “right now.” If the universe had a beginning, then it is a contingent being, meaning it is dependent on its existence for both being here and continuing to be here. In other words, it needs a Sustainer, just like the one who sustained Israel with manna every morning.
The people were sustained, and yet they failed to believe their Sustainer. We are, logically and inescapably, being sustained, and yet we fail to believe in our Sustainer. No, we are no different than Israel. We mock them because of their failure to believe, and yet we fail to believe in varying degrees ourselves.
If we accept evolution, then we deny creation. If we accept creation, but we deny the account as given in His word, then we don’t believe His word. Or, we pretend we do by making excuses about what it actually says. But an excuse is merely an attempt to hide disbelief. If we say we believe in eternal life because of Christ, but we then fear death, we are failing to truly and wholly believe in eternal life. This isn’t a maybe, it is a fact. At what point does our faith begin to falter?
Faith is what we will be rewarded for. Even our deeds have to be done in faith, or they are faithless deeds – no reward for you! One thing is certain, the more we hold to the word, the more we cherish the Person and work of Christ, and the more we simply exist in Him, forgetting about the other things which weigh us down, and the more our faith will grow. Everyone is on a different level, but everyone should be going up in their faith level from day to day.
The surest way to do this is to get “self” out of the way. Any time self gets introduced into the equation, faith is excluded. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. These things are revealed, once again, in today’s passage. It’s all to be found in 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. Your Carcasses Shall Fall in the Wilderness (verses 26-38)
26 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
In verse 14:2, the whole congregation is said to have spoken against Moses and Aaron. In 14:5, it said that Moses and Aaron fell on their faces. In verse 14:11, the Lord spoke to Moses directly, and in verse 14:13, Moses responded to the Lord with His petition. After that, the Lord responded to Moses’ petition in verse 14:22. With that behind them, it now says that the Lord spoke to both Moses and Aaron. It appears from this that all of the verses have occurred right in front of the congregation. Either Moses and Aaron were there on their faces, or Moses went into the tabernacle to hear the Lord while Aaron remained humbled before the Lord.
In other words, the glory of the Lord appearing in the tent of meeting, the Lord’s anger at the people, and Moses’ petition on behalf of the people, have been accomplished in the sight and in the hearing of the people. That is why both Moses and Aaron are addressed here. Whether the people heard the voice of the Lord or not, they have seen the events unfold. The Lord speaks to both, because both are in leadership positions. His words to them are…
27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me?
The Hebrew is deliberately broken, showing the anger of the Lord. It reads, “How long for congregation the evil the this…” It thus forms an aposiopesis where the intent has to be inferred. And the inference is, “How long shall I put up with this?” And the reason is that it is Me they are complaining against.
27 (con’t) I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.
In one verse, the word alay, or “against Me,” is stated twice. It was Moses and Aaron who were about to be stoned in verse 10. In that same verse, the Lord appeared. The Lord is tying the actions of the people against Moses and Aaron directly into an attack against Him. This is why the question is asked of them. In essence, He is asking this not only on His behalf, but on theirs.
He also uses the word tlunah, meaning to mumble or murmur. It is used nine times in Scripture, all in Exodus and Numbers, and all are concerning the murmuring of the Israelites. Each time, it is an offense against the Lord in which the murmuring occurs. As Moses and Aaron in position picture Christ – the Lawgiver, Prophet, and High Priest of the Covenant – we can see how speaking against Christ is to be treated as a direct attack against God. He represents the Godhead, just as Moses and Aaron represent the Lord.
28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord,
Because of the people’s words and actions against Moses and Aaron, which are considered a direct attack against the Lord Himself, He now speaks out words of prophecy. The Hebrew says, khai ani neum Yehovah – “Live I, utters Yehovah.” It is a word used just once so far in the Bible, neum. In Genesis 22:16, after Abraham had proven his faithfulness to the Lord, He made a solemn utterance of promise. The word comes from naam, a prophecy. Thus, an oracle from the Lord is now forthcoming…
28 (con’t) ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:
The Hebrew actually carries a negative particle which makes the words more exciting than whatever version you are reading. Literally, it reads “if not, just as you have spoken in My hearing, so will I do to you.” The obvious question is, “What have the people spoken in His hearing?” The answer is that of verse 2 –
“If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!” Numbers 14:2
The Lord had redeemed them from Egypt, and there was no way He was going to unredeem them. But He would also not let them go into the land they were unwilling to enter through their faithlessness. And so, He grants them the one request that is suitable to their evil speaking against Him. Of all of the translations of this verse, the one that most closely reflects the sense of the Hebrew is given by Robert Young –
“say unto them, I live — an affirmation of Jehovah — if, as ye have spoken in Mine ears — so I do not to you;” YLT
The Hebrew of verses 27 and 28 contain exciting literary devices intended to convey emotion to the ears and minds of those who hear them, including us. Next, to explain His words of what He intends to do, the Lord says…
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.
The sentence is pronounced, and it applies – as it says – to all who were numbered in the wilderness. It then further defines them as those “from twenty years old and above.” Because of this, scholars go to extremes certainly not intended by the text. They say that because the Levites were not mentioned in that census, they are not included in this counting. They say this is certain because Eleazar, Aaron’s son, is specifically mentioned as having entered into Canaan. Such conclusions are wholly unnecessary. First, none of the women were counted in the census. And yet, in verse 14:1, it says that the whole congregation lifted up their voices and wept. Unless it is speaking of a congregation full of sissy men who wept, and hardy women who didn’t, then the sentence falls upon the women as well as the men.
Secondly, the term, “the generation of the men of war,” is stated in Deuteronomy 2:14, and again in Joshua 5:4. It is simply an all-inclusive statement of those who are twenty and above. This is certain, because the tribe of Levi is counted in the second census of Numbers 26. After their counting, it says –
“But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they numbered the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had said of them, ‘They shall surely die in the wilderness.” So there was not left a man of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.’” Numbers 26:64, 65
And thirdly, there is no reason to assume that Eleazar was over twenty. His two older brothers were dead, and he and Ithamar could well have been under twenty. The tenor of everything written beyond this implies that the sentence was pronounced upon everyone twenty and above except Joshua and Caleb. There is no reason to assume that it is not an all-inclusive statement. Nothing is lost either way though.
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.
The exception of both Caleb and Joshua is explicitly stated now. And more, just as it is probable that the Levites and wives were included in the previous statement, it is just as likely that if these men were married, their wives would be granted the same promise as they. These things can only be assumed, and there is no reason to get overly dogmatic about them. But these seem like logical assumptions. The land of Canaan is the promised inheritance and rest. In type then, it is where those of faith go. As Caleb and Joshua are singled out, it seems obvious that they are being used here as types of those who would enter that place of rest.
Caleb would be those Gentiles who are of faith and who receive the promise. Joshua would picture those Jews who are of faith and who receive the promise. This is just typology. The promise is made, and it reflects the notion of entering into the inheritance based on one’s faith in the promise of the Lord. As for Canaan, the next words would then retreat back to the promise to Israel in the flesh, not a type of those who are saved through age or innocence…
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.
Once again, the words of the people are repeated from verse 14:3. However, there it said, “Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims?’ There it mentioned the wives, but now it only mentions the taph, or little ones. It is another indication that all those twenty and above are included in the judgment, women as well as men.
And so likewise, the term taph, or “little ones” is extended to all who are nineteen and below. As we saw, that comes from taphaph which signifies to trip, or to take little steps, and thus a small child. Whereas the people were implying that the Lord was lacking compassion on those who were most helpless, the Lord is showing abundant mercy on those who are even close to full maturity by extending the promise to those up to nineteen. For the rest…
32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.
u-pigrekhem atem – “And your carcasses; you.” The stress is lost in most translations. The idea is, “Dead bodies will litter the land, and they will be you.” After speaking out His exceptions who will enter, the utterance of verse 29 is again spoken. The wilderness will consume all those who are twenty and above. They would fall, and there they would lie. Exactly as they had spoken in verse 2.
33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years,
The period of forty years is inclusive of the time already spent in the wilderness. Joshua 5:10 says –
“Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day.”
That was the forty-first year, and the same week as they entered Canaan. Thus, it was forty years, to the day, from the first Passover until they ate of the produce of the land of Canaan. It is during all of this time that the sons of the faithless generation would feed their flocks in the wilderness. And again, the term “sons” is used as an inclusive term to indicate all those nineteen and below – both male and female. As before, there is no reason to assume any exceptions were made for those twenty and above beyond Caleb and Joshua and maybe wives if they had them.
33 (con’t) and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.
The word here is a new one, zenuth. It is a noun which will be seen nine times. It indicates harlotry or whoredom. The people were unfaithful to the Lord, just as a harlot is to her husband. And their actions lead to a truth that escapes many people which is that the children will bear the brunt of their parent’s actions.
People ask if it is fair that the children suffer for the parent’s actions. The answer is, “Yes.” It is not the Lord who punishes the children. It is that the children, by virtue of being a part of the family, receive the burden of the parent’s actions. A simple example would be a person who kills someone else. He is caught, tried, and convicted of murder. If he had children, they will receive the brunt of the parent’s actions. They will be fatherless, maybe poor, etc. To say it is unfair would mean that the father could not be punished at all. But that would be unjust to the society, and to the family who lost their own loved one.
People ask if it is unfair concerning all that has come upon Israel for rejecting Christ Jesus. It is exactly the same premise as we see here. There is nothing unfair about it, and any Jew who wants to not be a part of that collective punishment needs to simply call out to Jesus and receive Him. But the parents have taught the children, for 2000 years, that Jesus is bad. The punishment has been a self-inflicted one, and it has been one that has been passed on to the children through the parents. It is not God’s fault, but theirs.
Another point we learn here is that it is obvious, from what we have seen, that Caleb and Joshua are used as types of those who enter God’s promised rest by faith, but that these children, when they enter Canaan, are not. Rather, they are carrying on the story and history of Israel of the flesh. The reason we know this comes from the New Testament. In the book of Hebrews, it says –
“For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:8-10
Joshua did bring Israel – those nineteen and younger at this time – into Canaan. However, the author of Hebrews notes that he did not give those who entered with him rest. Rest, meaning God’s promised rest, is obtained by faith in the Lord. Caleb and Joshua demonstrated faith and are typical of those who have trusted in the Lord. But Israel did not enter their rest, of which Canaan is typical, because they did not believe. Therefore, those who do enter Canaan in forty years are simply Israel of the flesh, living out their history.
The reason this is important to understand is so that we do not err in making a theological point about salvation of people of a certain age based on these verses here; something which is rather common for people to do. It is the punishment upon the faithless, and the bearing of the burden of the children during these forty years, which are typical of Israel’s punishment for rejecting Christ Jesus.
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,
A day for a year is given. The spies were in Canaan forty days, and the punishment will be upon Israel for forty years. This will be repeated in Ezekiel 4 where a punishment will be a day for a year. It will also be the time allotted by Christ as the sign of Jonah to Israel. Jonah proclaimed, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Jesus said that would be a sign to Israel of their own coming punishment. Forty years after His ministry began, the Romans destroyed the temple and exiled Israel.
34 (con’t) and you shall know My rejection.
Here is a word found only twice in the Bible, tenuah. It is derived from nu which signifies to hinder or frustrate. Thus, it is a turning away of the Lord from the people; a rejection, or even an active working against them. What is being said here is, “You have rejected Me. I know what it is like. And now it’s time for you to find out what it’s like when I reject you.” Here we can see, once again, Israel in their dispersion. The Lord rejected them, and He even worked against them, exactly as He promised in Leviticus 26.
35 I the Lord have spoken this.
ani Yehovah dibarti – “I, Yehovah, have spoken.” There is no chance of the words failing. What He has uttered in an oracle will surely come to pass.
35 (con’t) 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.’”
The people are called an evil congregation once again. They had complained against Moses and Aaron, and thus they had complained against the Lord. They were to be cut off, be finished off, and die in the wilderness. The sentence is pronounced, and the judgment will be rendered. The Lord, Yehovah, has spoken. As a note of surety that this is picturing a reject of Jesus, Peter says the same thing to Israel in Acts 2:40 – “Be saved from this perverse (CEV ‘evil’) generation.”
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,
The ten men of the company who went into Canaan are now singled out. They had gone under orders to give a report on the state of the land, not to give a report on whether the land could be subdued or not. The Lord had already told them that He would go before them. Their bad report of the land was based on the greatness of the inhabitants in relation to the people of Israel. But because the Lord is their Leader, it was a bad report against the greatness of the Lord. In order to prove to the people that what He had said to them about their coming to an end was true, He would make these ten men an object lesson…
37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord.
The word is magephah. It was used by the Lord when He spoke to Pharaoh through Moses in Exodus 9:14. A sudden striking of the men by plague came upon them. Had this actually been because of something they caught or ate in Canaan? No…
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.
The truly remarkable aspect is not that the ten spies had died, but that it did not happen to Caleb and Joshua. In other words, if they all died, it could be interpreted that they all picked up a disease in Canaan which killed them all. Thus, it would mean staying out of Canaan was a great idea. However, in the death of ten miscreants, and the health of the two faithful, it was a true sign that their punishment was of the Lord. It was then a further sign to Israel that they would, in fact, die in the wilderness.
In his commentary of this verse, Adam Clarke – whether intentionally or unintentionally – ties the taking of Canaan in to the gospel. He says, “Let preachers of God’s word take heed how they straiten the way of salvation, or render, by unjust description, that way perplexed and difficult which God has made plain and easy.”
In other words, Canaan was to be God’s place of rest for the people. Jesus is God’s place of rest for us. We have a hugely simple gospel message. It is so simple that Paul actually calls it a stumblingblock because people trip right over it. God made the path to Canaan plain and easy – “Follow Me, and you will enter your rest.” God has made the gospel equally easy. “Follow Me, and you will enter your Rest.” Woe to the one who gives a false report about the simplicity and surety of what God has offered.
As a side point in this verse, Joshua is named first before Caleb. However, in verse 30 Caleb was named first. And, in verse 24, Caleb was the only one named. If Caleb is representing Gentiles here, as I would suggest, it is a clue to the primary belief of Gentiles in Christ in verse 24 and 30, but that the original faith in Christ went to the Jew first as is seen in this verse. That may not be the intent at all, but it does match the pattern in history.
Choose life, this is what I ask of you
Trust in the Lord and place Him as Your highest delight
Have faith in Him, and to His word be true
And all things will work out well; everything will be alright
Don’t complain against the Lord when trials come
Trust that He already knew they would come your way
Be blinded to the trials; to them, let your mind be numb
Simply trust the Lord, and every word He does say
Choose life, this is what I ask of you
Give God the glory and pursue Him all of your days
Have faith in Him; and to His word be true
And be sure to give Him His due; give to Him all of your praise
II. Up to the Mountaintop (verses 39-45)
39 Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly.
There is a sorrow for sin, and there is a sorrow for the punishment of sin. The two are not the same, and the latter does not always correct the former. The people were greatly sorrowed when Moses told them the Lord’s verdict upon them, but they were not sorrowful for what they had done. This is painfully evident in the rest of the account.
A person can have an affair outside their marriage and get caught. The verdict is divorce and a loss of a ton of money and possessions. The person can be sorrowful over that, and still not care about the reason for it. A person can kill someone else and be convicted for it for with forty years in the pokey. He can be sorrowful about the loss of freedom, but not care a bit about the person he killed.
Until our sorrow over our sins meets up with the punishment we receive from those sins, we will never have a desire to be truly obedient to the Lord. Such is the case with the congregation now…
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!”
Here it shows their eagerness to not be punished. They had mourned over the verdict which was pronounced, and they probably thought that their mourning was sufficient to appease the Lord’s wrath and get Him back into forward motion. And so it says they went up to the top of the mountain. What is probably the case here is that verse 40 actually follows chronologically after verse 44. This is because they are told to not go up in verse 42, and they actually went up in verse 44. This is seen in the words of Deuteronomy 1 –
“‘“Then you answered and said to me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord; we will go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the mountain.
42 “And the Lord said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.” ’ 43 So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the Lord, and presumptuously went up into the mountain.”’” Deuteronomy 1:41-43
Here in Numbers, in order to show their utter stupidity, verse 40 is given now. First, they bring in the Lord again with the words, “to the place which the Lord has promised.” That promise remains, but not for them. They have a new promise. They rejected the first; He will not reject the second. The ironic words, “for we have sinned,” shows the lack of clarity in their thinking. They sinned at first, and now they are sinning again, as is revealed to them in the words…
41 And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed.
The Hebrew says, “Why this you pass by the mouth of Yehovah.” The Lord first gave a command to Moses in verse 25 that on this very morning they were to turn and move out into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.
In connection with this command, He has spoken out a sentence upon the people, but they were not willing to accept that punishment. They are simply passing it by, ignoring it and determining their own path. However, Moses tells them that such a path will not be successful. What is said should be sufficient to end the matter, but to ensure they understand, he continues…
42 Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you.
Verse 25 noted that the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley. Once the people came down from the mountain, they would face these foes. If the Lord was among them, their victory in battle would be guaranteed. Without Him, their own defeat was certain. Moses implores them to follow the word of the Lord, again warning them…
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword;
This tells what has already been seen in verse 25. It was an ominous warning that danger laid ahead, and the only acceptable choice was to turn away into the wilderness, following the Lord’s command. If they chose otherwise, death was certain. This was…
43 (con’t) because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”
Before, the Lord was with them, and they thought they could do nothing. Now the Lord is not with them, but they are intending to accomplish all things without Him. This is certain because Moses tells them that if they go, they will go alone…
44 But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop.
Here is another new and rare word, aphal. It signifies, “to swell.” And thus it indicates pride. It is only seen again in Habakkuk 2:4 where it says –
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4
That is cited by Paul in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. This word reveals the intent of the entire passage we are looking at.
This verse now is where verse 41 follows chronologically. The word “presumed” is expanded on by the words, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.” They acknowledged their sin of unbelief but replaced it with the sin of presumption of entering into the Promise by their own effort. However, entry is not by the will, nor by the work of man. Rather, it is by faith in the Lord…
44 (con’t) Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp.
Here, for the second and last time in Numbers, it is called the ark of the covenant of Yehovah. This is 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, or He does not go at all. The ark signifies the presence of the Lord in covenant relationship with them. That no longer exists.
But, even before the ark was made, the people went into battle and were victorious when Moses held up the rod of God. That was in Exodus 17. It was a picture of Christ. Moses is mentioned in this verse as not departing to specifically show that Christ is not among those who went. He was not in covenant relationship with them, nor was He visibly among them, any longer.
*45 (fin) 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, what was said was going to happen is exactly what came about. The foes who dwelt there came down and struck them. The final words say, v’yaketum ad ha’kharema – “and crushed them as far as the Khormah.” Khormah comes from the word kharam, it means to make accursed, or utterly destroy. Thus, “the Khormah” is that which is devoted to destruction. This is the only time that the term ha’kharema, or “The Destruction,” with the article, is mentioned in Scripture.
The passage is obvious. The people had failed to accept the Lord at His word and they were given their sentence because of it; they were to die in the wilderness. That is what happened to Israel after rejecting the Lord Jesus.
However, there is a group of people who rejected the Lord, but who presumed to take action into their own hands. They went from the sin of disbelief to the sin of presumption. It is a sin which continues on to this day in certain circles. The first part of the passage, from verse 26-38, dealt with the entire group – Israel having failed to come to Christ. The second part, from verses 39-45, dealt with that portion of people who acknowledged they had erred, but instead of accepting the word of the Lord as it is given, added in the sin of pride, only compounding their guilt.
This is reflected in the two people groups who are mentioned, the Amalekites and the Canaanites. Amalek has consistently be seen as picturing the Judaizers. They are those who wring off the head from the body. To brush up on that, go back and watch the sermon on Exodus 17:8-16. The Canaanites are those who bring into subjection. Both Amalek and Canaan then are those who pull others away from the gospel of Christ.
The passage here is what the book of Galatians is specifically written about, but which is revealed in many parts of Paul’s writings. It speaks of the Judaizers – those who say they were wrong about the Lord, but who continue to reject that same Lord by reinserting the Law of Moses as a means of climbing the mountain to its peak. False teachers seen in the Amalekites come in and take those who would otherwise follow the Lord, and they pull them away to destruction. Said otherwise, they attempt to ascend to God through their own efforts. It is they who Paul speaks of in Galatians 1 –
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
These people had rejected the truth of the gospel, and they then came with another gospel, a false one. As Paul says, such are accursed. The word Paul uses there is anathema. Guess what! It carries the exact same meaning as kharam – a thing accursed and thus devoted to destruction. The second group, the Canaanites, would be the Jews of Israel who formed the Talmud, bringing their people into subjection. Thus the place here is called ha’kharema, or “the Destruction.” The pattern is established; Paul filled in the blanks fifteen hundred years later.
The Jews rejected Christ, but some seemingly accepted Him after that. However, it was under false pretenses. They came, not to exalt God, but themselves through works of the law; their own effort. That continues on today in the Hebrew Roots Movement, and many messianic churches which teach adherence to the law. And yet, neither the New Covenant which is found in Christ, nor Christ Himself is among them. They are accursed because they pursue a false message of personal works leading to salvation.
And this is true in countless other churches as well. Anytime someone promotes the law, circumcision, the Sabbath, the Feasts of the Lord, or adherence to any other type or shadow from the Old Covenant, they pervert the gospel of Christ. Indeed, they shall be crushed and the ban shall remain on them unto destruction. This is the continuing message of Scripture – God has given us a way which is plain and easy. He has done the work, and He has invited us to follow in His grace. No other way is acceptable. Come to Jesus, be saved by His grace, and follow in His steps to the Land of Promise which lies at the top of the mountain where God dwells.
Closing Verse: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:1-4
Next Week: Numbers 15:1-21 Pictures of Christ that are really quite grand…(When You Have Come Into the Land) (28th 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.
A Year for Each Day
And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying
These words to them He was then relaying
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation
Who incessantly complain against Me?
I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel
Make against Me constantly
Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord; My word is true
‘Just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you
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 I make this address
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; such hopes for you are quashed and done
But your little ones, whom you said would be victims
So you had apprised
I will bring in, and they shall know the land
Which you have despised
But as for you, so to you I now address
Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness
And your sons shall be shepherds
In the wilderness forty years, certainly no less
And bear the brunt of your infidelity
Until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness
According to the number of the days
In which you spied out the land, forty days
———-I will hear no objection
For each day you shall bear your guilt one year
Namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection
I the Lord have spoken this
I will surely do so to all this evil congregation, by and by
Who are gathered together against Me
In this wilderness they shall be consumed
———-and there they shall die
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
Which then spread throughout the nation
Those very men who brought the evil report about the land
Died by the plague before the Lord
———-yes, by the Lord’s own hand
But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh
———-as we so understand
Remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land
Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel
And the people mourned greatly
———-for them things weren’t going so well
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, but now our debt we are repaying
And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress
The command of the Lord?
For this will not succeed
It is contrary to His word
Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, I say
For the Lord is not among you
———-and you will be defeated this very day
For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you
And you shall fall by the sword, it is true
Because you have turned away from the Lord
The Lord will not be with you
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
They disobeyed His spoken word
Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites
Who dwelt in that mountain came down
And attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah
Yes, they were beaten all the way to destruction town
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…