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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Numbers 9

 

 

Verses 1-14

The Blood of the Cross in Numbers

Numbers 9:1-14

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

It may seem strange to us that the Book of Numbers, which is given, for the great part, to the numbering of the Israelites and the details of their journey, should be productive of a real message upon the Cross, and yet it is so. We will give a few words on Numbers 9:1-23 , and bring out two or three other visions of the Cross in later chapters.

1. God spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. It was from Mount Sinai that the Law came, and the Children of Israel in their journeys were under the Law. However, in the midst of the Law, with its thunderings, and lightnings, and ensuing judgments, Christ crucified is to be found. We are admonished in the Book of Jude to keep ourselves in the love of God. He who would bask under the judgments of the Law will find great sorrow everywhere, but he who would enter into Grace will find comfort and rest.

2. God commanded Israel to keep the Passover at His appointed season. This expression carries with it the thought of time exactness. The Passover was to be kept as a God appointed Feast on the fourteenth day of the first month (Exodus 12:18 ). It was to be slain, not only upon that particular day, but it was to be slain on the evening of that day. Perhaps, the Children of Israel might have thought that any time would suffice to keep the Passover, but God said, "No."

In Numbers 9:2-3 God twice emphasizes that the Passover must be kept at its appointed season. We know the reason for this lay in the fact that Jesus Christ, God's Son, was destined to die in the city of Jerusalem at the very hour of the Passover Feast. It was when the time was fully come that God sent forth His Son made of a woman. It was when the month, the day, and the hour of the typical Passover Feast had come that Jesus was crucified.

The Scriptures definitely state that on one occasion when they sought to slay Him they could not touch Him "because His hour had not yet come."

3. God commanded the Children of Israel in Numbers 9:3 that they should keep the Passover according to all the ceremonies thereof. Not only then was the Passover Feast to be kept on a certain day, but everything in connection with the commanded ceremonies was also to be kept. No part was to be omitted. Nothing was to be changed. In the Book of Exodus we read seven times that "according to all that the Lord commanded [Moses], so did he."

These words were spoken in relation to the building of the Tabernacle. Why was it so vital to build the Tabernacle exactly as commanded? It was because everything in connection with the Tabernacle was figurative, and typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, either in His life, His death, His resurrection, or, in His Second Coming.

Why was it necessary to keep every phase of the Passover as commanded? Because every phase of it was vitally connected with the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE PASSOVER FEAST (Numbers 9:2 ; Numbers 9:10 ; Numbers 9:14 )

There are three different groups presented here.

1. The Children of Israel as a whole were commanded to keep the Feast. This is because they were God's covenant people, and their covenants were built upon pledges of God based upon the virtue of the Cross, the resurrection, and reign of Christ. They had a right to the Passover because they were under the blood.

Who among us, today, has a right to partake of baptism, and of the Lord's Supper? Every covenant child of God. Concerning the supper the Bible says that they who are of the body, have a right to the loaf.

2. There were those who were unclean by reason of a dead body, or a journey afar off. At first Moses hesitated to allow these ceremonially unclean ones to partake of the Passover. The Lord said, "Yet he shall keep the Passover unto the Lord." While leaven was to be excluded from the bread because it represented sin and uncleanness, yet the Israelite who was unclean, himself, could partake.

There are two suggestions here. First of all, we ourselves have no part in the PLAN of redemption, therefore if we eat of the bread, or drink of the cup, our personal uncleanness does not mar the type. Secondly, the blood and the body of the passover lamb, being typical of the blood and body of our Lord, is that work of God which was purposefully done for the unclean. They are the ones who need the Blood. Have we not read that "the Blood of Jesus Christ His Sou cleanseth us from all sin"?

3. A stranger who was not an Israelite was privileged to keep the Passover. It is not a matter of racial distinction, nor of geographical boundaries which safeguard the Cross of Christ. To be sure, of old the stranger had to come into the Israelitish fold, but now even that wall of separation is broken down. The Cross of Christ is open to Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, high or low, native or alien. "Whosoever will may come."

II. THE LORD COMMANDED THAT ANYONE WHO REFUSED TO KEEP THE PASSOVER SHOULD HAVE NO LOT OR PART WITH HIM (Numbers 9:13 )

Here is the expression of our key-text. "The man * * that forbeareth to keep the Passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin." There are some very vital things here.

1. There is a distinct affirmation that the one who keeps the Passover does not bear his own sin. The reason is that Christ upon the Cross was made sin for us. This expression helps us to understand the depth of the meaning of the Passover Feast.

2. The sin of refusing to keep the memorial. In Israel a man who refused was cut off from among the people. We wonder how it is today. Christ is our Passover. In lieu of the Passover Supper, we have the Lord's Supper. The Children of Israel were commanded to keep the Passover. Saints in this age of the Church are commanded to keep the Lord's Supper. However it is very common in all of our churches for Christian people to carelessly, thoughtlessly, and often purposefully absent themselves from the Lord's Supper altogether, or else to get up and leave the building immediately after the sermon or when the Lord's Supper is about to be administered. This is a grievous sin. Christ said, "This do in remembrance of Me." How ungrateful is that Christian who refuses to memorialize his Lord's shed Blood and broken body.

Here is the message before us now. If we will not allow Christ to bear our sins, we must bear them ourselves. Christ died for all, but the death of that Cross becomes effective only to those individuals who believe.

III. A THIRSTY CONGREGATION (Numbers 20:2 )

1. There was no water. We pass to a later part of the Book of Numbers now, and we read that as the Children of Israel journeyed they came into the desert of Zin in the first month. Then comes our verse, "And there was no water for the congregation." Thus it was that the Children of Israel gathered themselves together against Moses. Beloved, Jesus Christ is the Water of Life. We may drink of earth's wells, and of the fountains that gush from the hills, but we will thirst again.

Christ said to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of [Me] shall never thirst." There is, however, within the soul of man that which earth's waters can never satisfy.

2. In the wilderness there was no water. Neither in all the world around us is there the Water of Life. We cannot find salvation in philosophy, riches, or honor. All the reform movements of the world are hopeless when it comes to satisfying the thirst of a sinner's soul. There is but one source from which the river flows, and that is from the uplifted Christ.

3. God's plan. The Lord spake unto Moses, and said, "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together * *, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink." You see that God had the whole plan of redemption in mind. He purposed how the people should be given water.

The whole plan of redemption was also purposed of God. It was not Moses who thought out some scheme by which the people might drink; neither is it the minister, who proclaims the Cross, who thought it out, or purposed, or planned it. We are only preaching the preaching which He bids us. We tell what we are told. No human being on earth could have either purposed or perfected God's redemptive plan.

IV. WHEREIN MOSES BROKE THE TYPE (Numbers 20:10-11 )

1. God told Moses to speak to the rock. In Exodus 17:1-16 ; Moses had been commanded to smite the rock. Now Moses is commanded to speak to it. There is a very deep reason for this. The rock had already been smitten once. It could not be smitten twice, for the simple reason that it is written, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many."

The blood of bulls and of goats was offered year by year, but that was because the type was commanded to be kept continually before the people. However, it was only once that Christ appeared to put away sin with the sacrifice of Himself.

When Moses struck the rock twice he said, in effect, that Christ must be twice smitten upon the Cross. Not only that, but the second time Moses struck the rock, he struck it two times. Thus Moses would have Christ crucified three times instead of once.

2. God's sentence against Moses. To Moses and to Aaron God said, "Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the Children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."

In the first place Moses struck the rock twice, and in the second place Moses spoke unto the people, saying, "Must WE fetch you water out of this rock," as though he, by his own power, would furnish water. When we leave God out in one thing, it is easy to leave Him out in another.

V. GOD'S JUDGMENTS AGAINST ISRAEL (Numbers 21:6 )

We now come to that wonderful story of the uplifted serpent. The Children of Israel were discouraged by the way. Being discouraged they began to complain against God, and against Moses.

"Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth"; therefore, when the people continued their murmuring and their ungodly talk against the Lord, He sent fiery serpents among them, which bit the people until many of the Israelites died. Under the throes of God's judgment the Children of Israel soon repented, and cried for help.

The fiery serpents were symbolical of Satan; he is "the serpent." He entered a serpent in the Garden of Eden. In Revelation he is described as the dragon and the serpent.

The Lord, in all of this, was showing the Children of Israel that when they left Him and His watchful eye, and tender mercy, they threw themselves over into the hands of Satan, "that serpent," who is ready to sting and to destroy. Thus it was that the serpents slew many in Israel. The Lord then said unto Moses, "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."

Here is a descriptive symbolism. The serpent uplifted on the pole, we know, was the picture of Christ uplifted on the Cross. Why should the Lord have been typified by a serpent? Would He type His own Son by a brazen serpent which stood for the fiery serpents which destroyed the people? Let us look into this.

On the Cross of Calvary the Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us. He went there in our place. He went there as the representative of a people who were under Satan's power and control. What is it that destroys the soul? It is sin. It is sin under the power of Satan. Jesus Christ therefore does more than merely take the sinner's place, He is reckoned as the sinner.

VI. THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION MADE PLAIN (Numbers 21:9 )

Perhaps there is no Old Testament Scripture that makes the redemptive plan more simple, and yet more sublime, than this story of the uplifted serpent, and how the people lived.

1. The serpent was uplifted in behalf of serpent-bitten men. Jesus Christ was uplifted in behalf of sin-stricken men. He Himself was just the sinless One who carried us with Him to His Cross. In Him we died. The judgment of God against the Children of Israel concerning the fiery serpents was not removed, but it was transferred from the people to the uplifted serpent.

God seemed to say that the Children of Israel deserved death, however, "I love them, and they are calling upon Me for mercy. My Law says they must die, but I will transfer death to another."

It was on Calvary's Cross that Jesus Christ died, but remember, He died because we were condemned to death. He died, therefore, in our stead. To put it another way: instead of our dying actually, we die in Him.

2. The power of the uplifted serpent was dependent upon the look of the bitten people. It would have been very easy for the people to have argued that a serpent of brass lifted up on a pole could not save them from their death throes, and they, humanly speaking, would have been correct. However, what could not be done was done. Every one who looked lived. Every one who refused to look died: their sin remained.

Had you gone to those Israelites who looked, they would have said, "One thing I know, whereas I was dead, now I live." We may not understand all the marvels of the Cross, but we know that through faith in His Blood we have life.

VII. BALAAM'S SACRIFICE (Numbers 23:6 )

Balak, king of the Moabites, called upon Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam then commanded the preparation of seven altars. The sacrifice upon each altar was to be a bullock and a ram. Afterward, Balaam stood by the burnt offering, and lifted up his eyes and beheld Israel; and he said, "From the top of the rocks I see him." Then he went on, and never more wonderful words fell from any man's lips concerning any people than fell from the lips of Balaam concerning Israel. Among many other things, Balaam said that God had not beheld iniquity in Israel.

The whole story of Balaam's blessing Israel clusters around the Cross. It was because Balaam stood at an altar, Divinely ordered, and with his hand upon a sacrifice Divinely commanded, that he could not curse Israel.

He who is under the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is not under the curse, for Christ is made a curse for him. God beheld no iniquity in Israel because Israel's iniquity had been transferred through the sacrifice of the Son of God unto Jesus Christ; and Christ's righteousness had been imputed unto Israel. "There is no one who can lay any charge to God's elect."

AN ILLUSTRATION

ATONEMENT BY CALVARY

Out in our western country, in the autumn, when there has not been rain for months, sometimes the prairie grass catches fire. Sometimes when the wind is strong the flames may be seen rolling along, twenty feet high, destroying man and beast in their onward rush. When the frontiersmen see what is coming, what do they do to escape? They know that they cannot run as fast as that fire can travel. Not the fleetest horse can escape it. They take a match and light the grass around them, and then take their stand in the burnt district, and are safe. They hear the flames roar as they come along; they see death bearing down upon them with resistless fury; but they do not fear. They do not even tremble as the ocean of flames surges around them, for over the place where they stand the fire has already passed, and there is no danger. There is nothing for the fire to burn. And there is one spot on earth that God has swept over Calvary. D. L. Moody.


Verses 15-23

The Cloud by Day and the Fire by Night

Numbers 9:15-23

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Our study opens with a very brief statement which reads: "On the day that the Tabernacle was reared up." The Tabernacle was the place where God dwelt. It was there that He met His people, and there that He manifested Himself unto them.

Stephen, in speaking on the memorable day of his martyrdom said: "Our fathers had the Tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen." After that Solomon built Him an house. Stephen continued, "Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands."

The present tabernacle in which God deigns to dwell is the bodies of believers, even as it is written, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" This is also seen in the statements of Christ, where He said that He would abide in us and that His Father would come and take up His abode in us.

When we think of the Tabernacle of old, however, we stand in amazement at every detail that marked its construction. The Tabernacle proclaimed Christ and many things relative to Christ. The whole thing was typical of things to come. It was for this cause that God spoke unto Moses that he should make it according to the pattern showed him in the mount. It was because Moses realized the typical meaning of the Tabernacle, that we read seven times, in the last chapter of Exodus, these striking words: "As the Lord commanded Moses," so did he. Moses obeyed to the letter every instruction until he had finished the work.

Not alone was the Tabernacle itself typical, but also everything that was placed within it, was typical. In the outer courts, before one entered the Tabernacle proper there was first of all the brazen altar. Upon this altar sacrifices were made. No one could even approach unto the Tabernacle, itself, nor have a right even to entrance into the Tabernacle enclosure without the offering of blood. So it is today, there is no approach to God apart from the Calvary Sacrifice.

Next to the brazen altar came the laver. This was made of brass and it was filled with looking glasses around it. The idea of the laver was personal cleansing. The looking glasses made sin manifest. The laver was "the washing of water by the Word." It stood for the sanctified life. It suggested that the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son keeps cleansing us from every sin.

In the first inside court of the Tabernacle proper, there were three significant constructions. First, there was the table of shewbread. This spoke of Christ as the Bread of Life, the sustainer of His people. This symbolism follows throughout the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus, Himself, said that He was the Bread which came down from Heaven. He added, "I am the Bread of Life." He asserted that he who ate of this Divine Bread should never hunger.

There was also the altar of incense. This altar stood for the prayers of God's people. Prayers acceptable. It showed that we can get through to God, and that our prayers are a sweet smelling savour, made acceptable unto the Father, because of the Son.

Thirdly, there were the golden candlesticks. These proclaimed Jesus Christ the Light of the World, the light of life. The Gospel of John speaks very definitely of Christ the Light. John's Epistle is just as emphatic.

In the Holy of Holies was the Ark with its mercy seat covered by the cherubims. The faces of the cherubs looked down upon a broken Law, which lay inside the Ark and under the mercy seat. They looked down, however, by way of the mercy seat of gold, upon which the high priest placed the blood every year.

I. SOME SUGGESTIONS RELATIVE TO THE TABERNACLE (Numbers 9:15 )

1. The Tabernacle brings to mind a backward look. When we think of the erection of the Tabernacle we think of God in the midst of His people. It was so in the beginning. Israel had direct fellowship with God. God's presence with Israel was surpassed only by His presence with the first man, in the Garden of Eden. Israel did not need to think of God as far distant in the skies. God dwelt with her, walked with her, talked to her. He described Himself as an eagle bearing His people on His wings. He said: "So the Lord alone did lead him."

He said: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him." He added: "I drew them (that is Israel and Ephraim) with cords of a man, with bands of love." How great was God's love for His people. He surrounded Israel as a fire. He led her with His eye.

2. The Tabernacle brings to mind a present look. God was with His people in the Tabernacle. He is now with us. We love the little expression, so frequently found in the Scriptures "In the midst."

The Lord said: "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." In the Book of Revelation, where we have the story of the seven Churches, we find a marvelous description of Jesus Christ accompanied with this remarkable statement concerning the Churches, And in the midst of them, "One like unto the Son of Man."

It is only when you come to Laodicea that you find Jesus Christ excluded by a world-centered and world-pleasing Church. There, He stands outside the door knocking.

The last command of our Lord was that we should go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. With the command came the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway."

3. The Tabernacle brings to mind a future look. In Zephaniah we read of the Millennial Kingdom under these words: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save."

II. THE GLORY CLOUD (Numbers 9:15 )

In the early part of our verse is the statement, "The cloud covered the Tabernacle." This cloud has a remarkable story throughout both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures,

1. The Cloud and the Tabernacle. In Exodus is the expression: "So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle."

It must have been a wonderful hour when God thus manifested His glory.

2. The Cloud in the Temple. We read in I Kings, "So was ended all the work that King Solomon made for the House of the Lord." Then followed the dedication of the Temple, and Solomon's marvelous prayer. It was, however, when the Ark of the Covenant was brought up to the Temple and when the trumpeters and singers were as one, "to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, * * that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the House of the Lord."

3. The Cloud leaving Israel. In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 8, we read the sad story of the cloud departing from the Temple of God. It is in chapter 10, that we find this statement, "Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory." A little later we read: "Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the Mountain which is on the east side of the city." That cloud will never return to Israel until Christ returns to Israel in the cloud of His glory, and every eye shall see Him.

III. THE TENT OF TESTIMONY (Numbers 9:15 )

This is a marvelous verse, and we cannot pass it over too quickly. Another statement in the verse is this: "The cloud covered the Tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony." This is a most significant expression, and we immediately ask: In what sense was the Tabernacle a tent of testimony? Was it because Moses placed the testimony of God into the Ark? The Ark was certainly an Ark of testimony, and the Tabernacle took its name therefrom and was called the Tabernacle of Testimony.

We have three suggestions to make:

1. The Ark was a testimony to the nations around, of God's presence with His people. If anyone came against Israel, or sought to molest Israel, they realized that God dwelt in the midst of His people. What is our security today? Is it not the fact that God is with us?

2. The Ark was a testimony to the nations of God's provision for His people. We are not talking of temporal provisions, but of spiritual. God provided every spiritual blessing to Israel, and the Ark, in its every typical meaning, testified to those provisions. There was not one thing in the Ark, nor about it, that did not bear testimony to what God was to His people, and what God was doing for His people.

3. The Ark was a testimony to God's preservation of His people. Have we not read, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" The Ark seemed to say, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." The Ark seemed to say, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" As long as God dwelt with His people they were safe. Christ said, "Because I live, ye shall live also."

IV. THE FIRE BY NIGHT (Numbers 9:16 )

1. This is an age of darkness. How dark it. was in Egypt when God spoke judgment unto the Egyptians. Unto Israel, however, it was light. How dark it was among the nations, in Moses' day, when the Tabernacle was reared. However, with Israel it was light.

How dark it is today! The Bible never speaks of the present age excepting tinder the typology of darkness and of night. However, saints are called the children of the light; the children of the day, and not of the darkness, nor of the night. Our path is a path "that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." It grows brighter and brighter because there shines above us the pillar of fire by night.

2. The light shone in the darkness. Jesus Christ is the Light of life. Some men do not care for the light, because their deeds are evil. Have you not read the statement in Matthew? "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nepthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." Thus it is that the pillar of fire makes us think of Christ who is the Light.

3. The light by fire is the suggestion of warmth in the midst of chill. Whenever the sun goes down, the atmosphere is cooled. We speak of the chill of the night. When the sun, however, rises its heat begins to drive away the cold. Let us, therefore, as we think of the pillar of light remember that it was also a pillar of fire. Fire gives light, but it likewise gives heat Is there anything that warms the heart of the believer like the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire?

At Pentecost "cloven tongues like as of fire, * * sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." It was then that their hearts were filled with joy and they "did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" It was then that the Christians were together in hallowed comradeship "and had all things common."

V. JOURNEYING WITH THE CLOUD (Numbers 9:17 )

How striking are the words: "And when the cloud was taken up from the Tabernacle, then after that the Children of Israel journeyed."

1. A God-planned life. When we think that every movement of the Children of Israel, during the years of their wilderness journey was under direct command from God, we cannot help but ask the question, Does God also have a plan for our lives?

Let us remember how it is written that we are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." It is also written, "To every man his work."

Surely "the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord." Mark you, it is not merely the life as a whole, but the steps that means each detail of the life.

2. May we know God's plan? Israel had no difficulty in knowing. Whenever the cloud was lifted, they immediately began preparation to follow it in the way that it led. May we know, is there a cloud that will lift for us? God has given very plain instructions on this line. He says: "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." This is the first step in knowing God's will.

Again, He says: "Be not conformed to this world," that is, do not walk as men, do not follow the movements of earthly clouds. This is the second step in knowing God's plan.

He says: "By the renewing of your mind," that is, put the Living God back of your thinking and your choices. Let Him take charge of the spirit of the mind. This is the third step.

Immediately we are told that we will know what is God's good and acceptable and perfect will.

3. The vital responsibility of life. Had Israel not journeyed when God gave command; had they not followed the cloud, what indescribable havoc would have come to them. So it is that anyone who walks outside of the will of God will meet disaster.

VI. THE TIME TO GO, AND THE TIME TO STAY. (Numbers 9:18 )

Our verse says: "At the commandment of the Lord the Children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the Tabernacle they rested in their tents."

1. The life of action. We realize that there is a time to serve. The same God who said, "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy," also said: "Six days shalt thou * * work."

The life of uncommanded rest is just as fatal as the life of uncommanded activity. The soldier does not march until he hears the command to go forward. To rush into the fray uncommissioned is to rush to defeat. It is also defeat to be idle, when it is time to serve.

The thing that grieves us is that the commands, "Go ye into all the world," "Go out into the highways and hedges," "Return to thine own house," are being so ruthlessly set aside.

One of the chief sins is the hiding of the talent, or of the pound in the napkin. Jesus told us we were to occupy. He said: "Till I come." To one man the Lord said, "Go work today in My vineyard," but he would not. God forgive the millions of Christians who never move when the cloud moves.

2. The life of rest. When the cloud tarried, they tarried. There is a time for us to steal apart a little while and rest. The rest life, however, does not mean a life of inactivity. It is the time for prayer and for communion. We stop the while, in order that we may take on fuel for another journey. We tarry, that we may become stronger for another fight Remember as you think of the rest side of life, that in the beginning there were six days of labor to one of rest. Let us rightly proportion our lives to this rule.

VII. ABJECT OBEDIENCE. (Numbers 9:1-23 : selections from verses 19-23)

In the verses before us there are several statements to which we will call your attention.

1. In Numbers 9:19 , "The Children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord."

2. In Numbers 9:20 , "According to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents."

3. In Numbers 9:21 , "They journeyed: whether it was by day or by night."

4. In Numbers 9:22 , "Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, * * and journeyed not: * * they journeyed."

5. In Numbers 9:23 , "They kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses."

If ever there was a picture anywhere of absolute and abject obedience, it is here.

1. They obeyed under all conditions. They journeyed whether by day or night. If the cloud moved by night, they moved. They did not wait for the dawning of another day. We are not only to obey the Lord, but we are to obey Him immediately. When God said to Philip, "Go * * unto the way that * * is desert," Philip arose and went.

2. They obeyed at all times. That is, whether it were a day, or a month, or a year. Once God said to Israel, "Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount," then they journeyed.

Beloved, let us stay put till the cloud moves. Let us neither run ahead of God, nor lag behind Him.

3. Keeping tryst. It is thus that we like to sum up these verses. It is thus that we hope to sum up our lives. It was the mother of Christ who said to the servants, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." It takes just as much fidelity to Christ to be a shut-in, in His will, as it does to be out in the front of the battle. We are just as faithful staying with the stuff, as we are standing at the front, providing this is God's command. The eighteen years at Nazareth were just as vitally a part in the life of Christ, as were the three and a half years of ministry.

AN ILLUSTRATION

Cloudless lives are not the most beautiful. A life with clouds of struggle and sorrow, all lighted up with the rays from the Sun of Righteousness, far excels in beauty any sunset ever seen. The spray thrown up by the rushing torrent of Niagara greatly adds to the beauty of the Falls, because the sun paints rainbows upon it. And so lives with Niagara torrents of struggle are the more beautiful for the clouds raised by such struggle, if they are flooded with light from Heaven. There is one place where clouds are never seen; and that is the desert of Sahara. Desolation and death are twin monarchs there, The lives which have been richest in good works have been like the life of the Man of Sorrows, full of clouds, and a bow of promise on every cloud. Dr. A. C Dixon.

 


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Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Numbers 9:4". "Living Water". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/numbers-9.html.

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