Today we begin Numbers Chapter Eleven.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
What irony of ironies!!!
Yesterday we just finished up Numbers Chapter Ten and boy did it end on such a positive and inspiring note!
In the closing verses of the last chapter, the Tabernacle has been re-erected, the Ark has been set up in its proper place and the chapter finishes off with that most glorious ancient poem that speaks of the power and wonder of the Lord who goes ahead of Israel to fight on her behalf.
A beautiful picture of the God of Israel’s perfection and invincibility is painted for us.
…once we begin Numbers chapter 11, what do we get?
We get the equivalent of a loud record screeching off the turntable, that’s what we get!
Numbers Chapter 11 begins that section of the Torah chronicling Israel’s roughly 38 years of wandering in the desert.
And unfortunately the major themes we’re going to encounter in the upcoming chapters will be lack of faith, complaining, and horrendous rebellion being committed by God’s people.
Today begins a journey into a most fascinating part of Scripture that has so much to teach us believers today.
What’s also interesting is that this particular part of the Torah also captured the imagination of the Apostle Paul.
Right now, let’s read what he wrote about this part of the Bible in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware
that all our fathers were under the cloud,
all passed through the sea,
all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
all ate the same spiritual food,
and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them,
and that Rock was the Messiah.
But with most of them God was not well pleased,
for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things became our examples,
to the intent that we should not lust
after evil things as they also lusted.
And do not become idolaters as were some of them.
As it is written,
“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Nor let us commit sexual immorality,
as some of them did,
and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
nor let us tempt Messiah,
as some of them also tempted,
and were destroyed by serpents;
nor complain, as some of them also complained,
and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples,
and they were written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands
take heed lest he fall.
-1 Corinthians 10:1-12
Can you see the great parallels Paul is drawing between the Corinthian believers in his time and the Israelites during Moses’ time?
Let’s not forget that Paul was a highly educated Jewish Rabbi who was keenly aware of the many sobering warnings in Torah directed to anyone (whether Jew or gentile) who would declare allegiance to the God of Israel.
Paul’s whole point in this letter to the Corinthians is that if God did not hesitate to deal severely with His chosen people Israel in Moses’ day, what makes you think you’re going to get away with disobedience now that Messiah has come?
And it’s the same question that could be asked of us today.
It is a complete falsehood to teach that believers today are no longer subjected to God’s anger and judgement.
Take a really good look at what Paul is saying about the Israelites.
He’s saying they were ALL saved!
They were ALL brought under God’s Covenant (both the native-born Hebrew and the mixed multitude)!
They ALL drank of the same living water that was Messiah!
They ALL ate of the MANNAH from Heaven.
They ALL had a relationship with the God of Israel.
Yet despite all of this, God did not hesitate to strew their bodies across the desert when they rebelled.
And for those who would dare say that the Torah was only for Israel during Moses time, take a good look 1 Corinthians 10:11.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Paul is clearly saying that these things were to us “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” or the ACHARIT-HAYAMIM in Hebrew.
If that isn’t enough motivation to cleave to and study Torah, I don’t know what is.