This week Pastor Gene takes us to the end of Numbers and into Deuteronomy as we continue looking at the Israelites wanderings.
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somebody liked that intro like yeah it's okay you can clap for things i do all the time if you're new here among us my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor and i have a question for you have you ever cursed someone oh yeah we're awake this morning ready for some honesty sounds biblical right well maybe not but have you ever cursed at someone definitely maybe you've done that in traffic here in naples florida i'd say that if you can get through season here in naples without cursing at someone you're doing pretty good it can be tough here in naples if we're being honest naples florida where stop signs are a mere suggestion people do not know what blinkers or turn signals are what's that for people are constantly cutting you off i don't know what it is but it seems worse down here for being honest perhaps it's age perhaps it's prescription medication or day drinking not a good idea but people do it anyway my favorite is the merge the merge is a very simple concept like shuffling a deck of cards if we just each let one person go in front of us we kind of shuffle in and it happens smoothly in theory but there's always that guy the off-roader all right who decides to try to cut in front of the whole line quite obviously that guy gets cursed a lot so in new york we have a technique what we do my wife is laughing because she loves to police the merge so what we do is we kind of pull out just enough so we don't lose our spot keep like about one tire right there and then block the cutter's passage so people a lot of people are nodding you can use this technique but i will warn you you will probably get cursed at if you do it speaking of blocking passage we are continuing in the book of numbers last week we left off at the water from the rock we returned there about 40 years later moses is frustrated with the israelites so instead of speaking to the rock like he's commanded he strikes the rock probably in anger now the lord says you too will die in the wilderness if we continue reading numbers 20 we see that the [ __ ] block israel's passage now there's some bad blood here and here we're going to connect a lot of dots today in the rest of the story i'm going to be like your tour guide as we wander through the wilderness with the israelites stopping the tour bus from time to time so i can point some things out and here's one of those things the [ __ ] have bad blood and so if you remember jacob becomes israel his brother esau his other name edom jacob stole esau's blessing and we saw that he didn't get revenge he wanted to kill him but he didn't get revenge in his own lifetime but his ancestors don't forget about it and so they're blocking israel remember it was jacob's passage through it's where that comes from if you are reading things about the [ __ ] it might be interesting to go to obadiah obadiah is a one-page book a prophetic book to the [ __ ] it's basically like don't gloat we're going to see the fall of the kingdom later in the series prophet obadiah is telling them don't gloat about it you too will get yours if we continue numbers chapter 20 the end of that chapter aaron dies 123 years old indeed as the lord told them you will die in the wilderness don't feel too bad for him because remember he's the one who made the golden calf and lied about it if we keep going we see the conquering of the canaanites not completely again a special name if we look back if you can remember who is canaan well you might know the story about noah and the flood you know that part well do you remember the part where noah made a vineyard and then he got drunk and passed out naked well ham one of his sons there's ham shem and japheth he sees his father's nakedness tells his brothers about it the brothers they kind of back in and they cover their father's nakedness but not ham and so noah gets really really mad and he curses han son kanan this is where the canaanites come from so not seen as a very good people so now we're going to stop the tour bus again and look at the account of the bronze snake a lot of you guys know about that it's kind of weird it happens because again the israelites are complaining and complaining and complaining this time again about the bread from heaven the lord is providing bread from heaven what more could you want oh they could want more they're complaining so the lord sends poisonous snakes after them to bite them sounds kind of weird but the lord tells moses make a bronze snake and put it on pole when people look at it they'll be healed that sounds weird but it's a prefiguring of jesus it's not weird when you listen to what jesus says about it how many of you here can quote john 3 16. quote john 3 16 or paraphrase it you don't have to get it perfect i never get anything perfect when i'm up here all right what about john 14 3 14 and 15. jesus quotes it just as moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the son of man will be lifted so everyone who now believes in jesus it's about faith will now be healed eternally this time though a pre-figure of jesus and no it is not necessarily the medical symbol a lot of people say oh this is where the medical symbol comes from no that's from greek mythology and even that is very very confused we're actually using the wrong symbol long story don't want to get tangential on you if that's how you say that word we get the name of this snake in second kings just to kind of point one thing out to you guys real quick it's another example of us getting names of things in other parts of the bible it's not in this account we see it later they end up worshiping this snake in the time of hezekiah and isaiah so second kings 18 4. he removed the pagan shrine smashed the sacred pillars as hezekiah and cut down the asherah poles those are like phallic worship symbols she's the goddess of fertility it's true he broke up the bronze serpent that moses made because the people of israel had been offering sacrifices to it the bronze serpent was called nehustan if that's how you say it so it's another one of those names where it means like three different things snake unclean thing or bronze sounds like all of them will continue on the tour bus they travel along the border of moab where do we get the moabites from do you remember the story of lot everybody here probably knows about sodom and gomorrah right fire lot and brimstone family escape what does his wife do pill or assault right doesn't obey but lot first goes to a little place a little town zohar with his daughters he doesn't like it there he's afraid of the people or whatever and now he goes to a cave with his daughters now the daughters get the idea in their head that well it's kind of like the end of the world they're the only people left in it so what else should we do but get our father drunk and sleep with him they do the eldest daughter has a child names it moab so they're not exactly clean people so we're going to see interactions between them and the israelites as well very interesting we see the conquering of king sihon and og they also try to block israel's passage it doesn't work out now speaking of being cursed a lot of you guys know this story but i'm going to try to point out some details you may not know so we have king balak and he's really afraid of the israelites last week if you were paying attention you notice that moses said there are 600 000 capable warriors among us well scholars say if you add the women and children you get something like 2 million people they're traveling with a lot of people balak's worried about it they're going to conquer us or something so he decides to get this prophet from another culture and we'll learn a little bit more about him today balaam because he says anyone that balaam curses is cursed anyone who balaam blesses is blessed all right so let's get him but first before we go into it i want to take a peek at a little something point something out to you that many never notice way back when we did job and you can go back and watch the rest of the series the beginning through our app heather i'll tell you how to download that later if you go to the account of job we saw a couple places where job might have appeared genesis 36 is one of them and then i hopped over and i showed you the longer ending of job in the greek version of the old testament and so if you want to learn more about that go to the intro and go to the corresponding bible study watch those a lot of information basically quickly the bible of the early church was all in greek they're writing the new testament all in greek and they're quoting the old testament the greek version time and time again even remarkably in the book of hebrews when the author preacher is quoting the old testament he is not using the hebrew he's using the greek it is a greek speaking world back then and the great gives us some other details sometimes this is one of them so check it out and i'll show you how job connects to the story job 42 17 and these were the kings who were ruling in edom which territory also he himself ruled first bala the son of beor and the name of his city was dinnaba and after job who is called job tells us who job is but many say that that bela or bella is balaam if you know anything about languages if you're spanish speaking you know that we don't say your name's right do we no right so it's hard to translate names from one culture to another so it's never going to be exact so very very interesting detail but the premise is is that he's getting balaam balak is getting balaam to curse him he sends two waves of messengers to try to get them the first time it's just a hard no nope not going to do it the second time it's a little bit different but balaam responded to balak's messengers numbers 22 18. sorry about that even if balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold i would be powerless to do anything against the will of the lord my god but stay here one more night and i will see if the lord has anything else to say to me indeed the lord does he says you know what go but do only what i tell you to do so now we get the part of the story that everybody likes and remembers balaam's donkey so he's riding on his donkey as a couple of servants with him and the donkey sees an angel of the lord but balaam doesn't so it's trying to give you an idea about balaam's character here he's not always spoken of highly when he's quoted in the new testament and so balaam's donkey sees the angel of the lord he perceives it balaam doesn't says the lord's angry with him and this is probably why he's not perceptive here so the donkey bolts off the first time balaam beats it then they're in a path the angel of the lord's there next time the donkey they're probably in between two vineyard walls some translations say and he crushes balaam's foot against the wall balaam beats it the angel of the lord appears again the donkey sits down balaam beats it again he's really mad he says you've made a fool of me if i had a sword with me i'd kill you then it says this numbers 22 30 the donkey talks but i am the same donkey you've written all your life the donkey answered have i ever done anything like this before now without saying this is weird right he says no balaam admitted then the lord opened balaam's eyes and he saw the angel of the lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand balaam bowed his head and face and fell face down on the ground before him why did you beat your donkey those three times the angel of the lord demanded look i have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me three times the donkey saw me and shied away otherwise i would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey and then balaam confessed to the angel of the lord i will return home if you are against my going but the angel of the lord told balaam go with these men but say only what i tell you to say so balaam went on with felix officials so he gets there and king balak's like what took you so long this is really important balaam says this balaam replied look now i have come but i have no power to say whatever i want i will speak only the message that god puts in my mouth and now you have these three messages right so they kind of run in cycles just like the appearance of the angel three times three beatings three messages it's really interesting each time balak expects him to curse the israelites but he doesn't they can only say what the lord tells them to say and so he blesses them so we have these prophetic poetry type of blessing things and on the third one it says that he's filled with the spirit he's filled with the holy spirit and so these are selective instances that we see in the old testament of selected people being filled with the spirit of the lord bezalel to make the tabernacle on the priestly garments the 70 elders eldad and me dad being among them are filled with the spirit and they prophesy so here's another example of that and it's worth noting that when he does it sounds an awful lot like what we saw in genesis 39 which is israel's blessing over judah kind of cool again balak's really angry because israel is getting blessed it's the opposite effect but this is what is said numbers 24-12 balaam told baelik don't you remember what i told your messengers i said even if balak were to give me his pal his palace filled with silver and gold i would be powerless to do anything against the will of the lord i told you that i could say only what the lord says he cannot curse them they are blessed for now then we see a story about moab causing trouble so you remember moab we just talked about him well one of the big things in deuteronomy we're going to approach that in a minute in deuteronomy 7 they have to stay away from foreign women because they're going to seduce them and then lead them into idolatry that's the big thing this is the reason in the future the main reason why israel falls they're worshiping other gods so the women they're going to entice you to do that so we have a situation here where phineas this is aaron's grandson he sees a couple zimri and israelite and cosby and they're together and so he spears them the spear goes through zimri and kills cosby into caused by and so the lord relents a little bit but still is what paul quoted in first corinthians 10 last week 24 000 of them die so now i'm going to speed up the tour bus a bit this is where if you got through the first couple of chapters and numbers and you made it through the registration of all the people in here were the bulk of the stories that we see in numbers and then again we see more registration of the troops the tribes it's pretty long so i'm just going to kind of speed the tour bus up we'll go to deuteronomy so we see the daughters of zelophehad this tells us what happens if somebody like zelophehad doesn't have sons to give their inheritance to well it explains it to us in there and then importantly the anointing of joshua really important he is going to get them into the promised land no moses and aaron won't go but joshua's gonna gonna lead them along with caleb they're those two exceptions when they scouted out the land they didn't incite panic or fear we get a summary of israel's wanderings boundaries for the land cities of refuge and again the daughters of zelophehad and here we arrive at deuteronomy and i'll stop the bus this is interesting it is another book of the old testament book of the bible whose name is greek so if you didn't see the intro that should make you kind of go huh why is a book that we think is written in hebrew named with a greek name again the bible of the early church and really it's a second telling of most dish of what happened from exodus through numbers 36 duda second so you go through it again it's going to be a recap of a lot of things leaving out some things and giving us extra details and some of them are extremely important like the shema the shema is a recital a prayer of scripture that is very important to the jewish people in fact so important that they recited on special holidays like yom kippur remember that we talked about the day of atonement in this series and also on your deathbed these would be your last words if you're a religious observant jew israel elohim it's a quote deuteronomy 6 4. listen o israel the lord is our god the lord alone if we continue and you must love the lord your god with all your heart all your soul and all your strength this is what jesus quotes what's the most important command and then the other is like it love your neighbor as yourself continues in deuteronomy i'll give you a theme here deuteronomy 6 6 and you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that i'm giving you today repeat them again and again like the shema to your children talk about them when you're home and when you're on the road when you're going to bed and when you are getting up tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates this is a theme that will be woven throughout all the way into joshua for example deuteronomy 11 18 so commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine tie them on your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders so explaining a little something these are important verses to know and things to know about when you read books like revelation you get more of it right when you understand the old testament so think of these things like an idiom you have to know them like the back of your hand it's also worth noting that the priestly garments on the turbine it says holy to the lord on there so all of this stuff you should be imagining as you read these verses and then later in books like revelation helps you to understand it better the idea here is constantly keep these things in mind have the law in your hearts and your mind all of the time very important as you walk along with your kids recite it think about it when you're going to bed constantly being filled with god's word again deuteronomy is mostly a summary of repeat material until we get to deuteronomy 27. so i'll give you what's going on here the background this is for later so some of these things are being commanded to do when you get into the promised land right so they're talking about what they're going to do it's not actually happening so there's mount ebal and mount gerizim half the tribes of israel are going to go on one mountain and shout curses half of them are going to go on the other mountain and shout blessings but it tells us in 27 that they go up there and they're supposed to make an altar with uncut stones why well you don't want to defile it with anything you don't want to chisel it with tools or do anything to it it's pure but they are going to cover it with the scriptures with the instructions very important so the instructions are again half the tribes ebal shout the curses half the tribes gears him shout the blessings if you're reading the whole thing i've had someone do this kind of a prosperity person and yes we're to be blessed and yes we sometimes run into trouble but this person is insisting that we're always going to be blessed all the time no matter what and they decided to quote deuteronomy 28 and if you know your bible you know that is highly problematic because if you read all the way through chapter 27 is concerned entirely with curses curses and it says this at the end of it deuteronomy 27 it's not funny that they're cursed it's funny that someone would use these verses for prosperity 27 26 cursed is anyone who does not affirm and obey the terms of these instructions and the people reply amen now if you keep reading you'll notice that yes in 28 we get to the blessings and then the other half of it is curses and some of them are extremely horrific so quoting something in the beginning of deuteronomy 28 for prosperity is basically inappropriate is how i would look at it because some of these curses that they'll experience are horrible they involve things like cannibalism you're going to be so hungry under siege and their siege is so hungry that you're going to eat your own children the rest of the story you will probably never hear on sunday morning women pregnant women are going to eat their after birth they're going to hide the babies from the husband and eat them later we're going to see that two women are arguing assyria they're under a siege i believe it's been haidad they're arguing why because while we agreed to eat each other's children and now she won't give her kid up it's bad really really bad in the rest of the story deuteronomy 28 1 why well here you go if you fully obey the lord your god and carefully keep all his commands that i'm giving you today the lord your god will set you high above all the nations of the world you will experience all these blessings if operative word you obey the lord your god if you obey we don't like the word obey do we neither did they if if you see they made a choice deuteronomy 30 15 now listen today i'm giving you a choice between life and death between prosperity and disaster for i command you this day to love the lord your god and keep his commands decrees and regulations by walking in his ways if you do this you will live and multiply and the lord your god will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy but remember moses is a prophet that is someone the lord speaks to and then he conveys that message and then we see this deuteronomy 31 16 the lord said to moses you are about to die and join your ancestors after you are gone these people will begin to worship foreign gods the gods of the land where they are going they will abandon me and break my covenant that i have made with them then my anger will blaze forth against them i will abandon them hiding my face from them and they will be devoured terrible trouble will come down on them and on that day they will say these disasters have come down on us because god is no longer among us at that time i will hide my face from them on account of all the evil they commit by worshiping other gods they will not obey and as predicted moses dies without reaching the promised land deuteronomy 34 7 moses was 120 years old when he died yet his eyesight was clear and he was strong as ever the people of israel mourn for moses on the plains of moab for 30 days like they did for aaron until the customary period of mourning was over if we continue to verse 10 there has never been another prophet in israel like moses whom the lord knew face to face the lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of egypt against pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land with mighty power moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all israel as predicted at meribah moses does not get to the destination have you ever been prevented from reaching your destination maybe you missed a flight ever have that happen maybe you got caught in traffic maybe you were on the receiving end of that blocking technique perhaps the guy doing the off-roading has an emergency do we ever think of that i don't know perhaps you cursed me when you were being blocked you felt cursed because you couldn't cut in the line maybe you missed your exit and you said or thought something like i must be cursed maybe you got held up in traffic for example and have you ever had something like this happen to you where you found out that if you had arrived on time in your time that you would have gotten in a car accident have you ever experienced something thought you'd been cursed but then realized you were blessed i heard stories around 9 11 like that it was a famous actor actually missed the flight that crashed into the twin towers i bet at first he thought ah a real inconvenience here i missed my flight then realize he was blessed god was looking out for him maybe god does that with us sometimes maybe we should have a better attitude knowing that he might be keeping us from something did you know that jesus was cursed a lot of people don't know that we're gonna hop over to the new testament i've said this before that the new testament is the best commentary we have the old it gives us some more information the book of galatians the basic reason for writing this book is that there are people that want to go back and follow the law jesus has fulfilled the law and as we saw some of those commands some of those curses it's a good thing that jesus fulfilled the law pretty hard to follow pretty strict and so paul is writing to them saying no no no no don't go back to the law and you don't need to do that jesus fulfilled it with that context galatians 3 8 what's more the scriptures look forward to a time when god would make the gentiles right in his sight because of their faith god proclaimed this good news to abraham long ago when he said all nations will be blessed through you so all who but their faith in christ share the same blessing abraham received because of his faith but those who depend on the law to make them right with god are under his curse for the scriptures say cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in god's book of the law so it is clear that no one can be right made right with god by trying to keep the law for the scriptures say it is through faith that a righteous person has life this way of faith is very different from the way of the law which says it is through obeying the law that a person has life but christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law for when he was hung on the cross he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing for it is written in the scriptures cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree through christ jesus god blessed the gentiles with the same blessing he promised to abraham so that we who are believers might receive the promised holy spirit through faith the israelites were cursed because they didn't obey the law but now we have jesus who fulfilled the law through what he did on the cross through jesus if our faith is in him we receive an eternal blessing jesus was cursed on our behalf so that we could be blessed so that we could be eternally blessed in this life we may be blessed we may also be cursed or at least we feel like it sometimes and then this life will end but if we are in christ it is only an eternal blessing that will stand we must always remember that we are blessed to be a blessing we must be always mindful like the shema and grateful for this so we adopt an attitude of gratitude and bless not curse people around us as we go out this week let's see obstacles as opportunities delays as divine detours let's turn curses into kindness that kindle the love of christ did you know that moses was not only a prophet he was a poet one of the psalms is attributed to him as i close this morning i'd like to pray that over you i'm going to read it will be on the screen psalm 90 a prayer of moses the man of god lord through all the generations you have been our home before the mountains were born before you gave birth to the earth and the world from the beginning to the end you are god you turn people back to dust saying return to dust you mortals for you with a thousand years are as a passing day as brief as a few night hours you sweep people away like dreams that disappear they're like grass that springs up in the morning in the morning it blooms and flourishes but by evening it is dry and withered we wither beneath your anger we are overwhelmed by your fury you spread out our sins before you our secret sins and you see them all we live our lives beneath your wrath ending our years with a groan 70 years are given to us some even live to 80 but even the best years are filled with pain and trouble soon they disappear and we fly away who can comprehend the power of your anger your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom oh lord come back to us how long will you delay take pity on your servants satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives give us gladness and proportion to our former misery replace the evil years with good let us your servants see your work again let our children see your glory and may the lord our god show us his approval and make our efforts successful yes make our efforts successful in jesus name amen