Friday, July 05, 2024

2024.07.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 16:1–40

Read Numbers 16:1–40

 Questions from the Scripture text: Who rise up against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:1-2)? What do they claim about them, and about themselves (Numbers 16:3)? What does Moses do (Numbers 16:4)? What does he say YHWH will do (Numbers 16:5)? What does he tell the rebels to do (Numbers 16:6-7)? What does he tell them YHWH has done for them (Numbers 16:8-10a)? What does he tell them they have now done, and actually against Whom (Numbers 16:10-11)? Whom does Moses call, and how do they respond (Numbers 16:12-14)? How does Moses pray at this point (Numbers 16:15)? What does he tell the others to do (Numbers 16:16-17)? What do they do (Numbers 16:18)? Who gathers and where (Numbers 16:19a)? What happens there (verse 19b)? What does YHWH say to do, and that He will do (Numbers 16:20-21)? How do Moses and Aaron now pray (Numbers 16:22)? Now what does YHWH command (Numbers 16:23-24)? Now to whom does Moses go (Numbers 16:25)? Who else come? What does he tell whom to do (Numbers 16:26)? What do they do (Numbers 16:27)? What test does he announce (Numbers 16:28-30)? What will they understand (Numbers 16:30)? What happens (Numbers 16:31-33)? What do Israel now do (Numbers 16:34)? What happens, instead, to whom (Numbers 16:35)? Whom does YHWH command Moses to do what (Numbers 16:36-37)? For what purpose (Numbers 16:38)? What does Eleazar do (Numbers 16:39)? Of what was this a sign and a memorial (Numbers 16:40)? 

What do envy and idolatry have in common? Numbers 16:1–40 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these forty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that envy and idolatry both reject the Lord.

The danger of envy, Numbers 16:1-3. The Lord has just taught them the importance of holiness to Him (Numbers 15:32–41), but our sin can horribly distort even the best things. In their envy, leaders from among all the people claim holiness as a ground upon which to reject the authority that the Lord has set over them! This is what comes from being infatuated with our holiness, rather than being driven by it to act in a holy way. 

Intercession and instruction, Numbers 16:4-11. Moses falls on his face (Numbers 16:4), but not before the people as in Numbers 14:5. The rebels have forgotten two important things God is the One Who decides Who may come near Him (Numbers 16:5-7), and God has already exalted them even above others (Numbers 16:8-10a). When we complain against those whom YHWH has ordained, He Himself is the One against Whom we rebel (Numbers 16:11). 

The blinding of envy, Numbers 16:12-15. Moses commands Dathan and Abiram to come up, but they refuse. Their envy blinds them to remember Egypt as if it were a promised land paradise (Numbers 16:13a) and to accuse Moses of tyranny, failure, and torture (Numbers 16:13-14). This is so offensive that, for a moment, Moses turns from intercession to imprecation (Numbers 16:15).

Wrath and grace, Numbers 16:16-22. Apparently, Moses had partial information from the Lord. It seems that he knew that their offerings would be rejected, and Aaron’s would be accepted (Numbers 16:16-18). But then the sons of Korah rally the whole of Israel to their “cause” (Numbers 16:19a). At this point YHWH displays His glory (verse 19b) and declares His wrath (Numbers 16:20-21). For the third time, the Lord threatens to destroy all of Israel, and Moses (this time with Aaron) intercedes (for the rest of the congregation, not for Korah). 

Reminders of Who God is, Numbers 16:23-40. What YHWH displays here is that He is the Creator. Numbers 16:30 literally says “And if YHWH creates a creation” using the “create” word that is used exclusively of God Himself. And YHWH shows that He is Who He is (Numbers 16:31-32). And lest you think that this was just an extraordinarily coincidental sink hole, the ground closes back up over itself (Numbers 16:33). Moses teaches us that this especially indicates Whom it is that they have rejected: YHWH Himself (end of Numbers 16:30). This is He to Whom we come in worship!

But He is not only the Creator of earth, but also the God of heaven. The Nadab/Abihu judgment is now repeated more than a hundredfold (Numbers 16:35). He is the holy and living God, Whom we approach in the worship that He has appointed. And it must be done only in the way that He has appointed! So the Lord commands that the bronze from these incense shovels be used to make a second bronze layer over the altar, (Numbers 16:37-38a). This is a sign and a memorial that the only safe and right way of coming near to YHWH is the way that He Himself has appointed (Numbers 16:38-40).  The Lord Jesus has brought us near to the true and living God. We ought to be amazed that we have been brought near through Him, and we ought to refuse to come near in any other way.

What is your attitude toward those whom the Lord has raised up as leaders in His church? In what manner has He given us to draw near? Through Whom? How else do people worship, and why shouldn’t you do that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for bringing us near Yourself in Christ. Forgive us for envying others’ positions in Your church and for taking for granted Who You are, Who has brought us near. Now, in Your Son, You have made us priests unto You, so receive our thanksgiving and give us humility, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH274 “Jesus, My Great High Priest”

No comments:

Post a Comment