We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 31:1-5 which reads: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the Lord of Midian. Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war. So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.”
Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:
Vengeance against the Midianites for their efforts to seduce the Israelites into idol worship and sexual immorality is undertaken. This narrative deals particularly with details concerning the plunder taken from the Midianites. Because the plunder of war had to be handled in a fashion that preserved the holiness of God and of the people, the principles stated here helped prepare the Israelites for the coming conquest of the land.
Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from George Müller. He said: “I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it. The food of the inner man is the Word of God; and not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.”
Our topic for today is titled “Just Looking for a Home (Part 10)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.
— REDEDICATION BEFORE CONQUEST
Encamped on the eastern shores of the Jordan River, the people began to concentrate on preparing to go into the land. However, several matters had to be completed before they could do so.
First, Moses conducted a second census of the new generation. A quick glance at these figures shows that the overall size of the nation was about the same as it had been at the start of the Exodus. This detail reminded the original audience of God’s faithfulness through hard times. Interestingly, several tribes had drastically decreased in numbers (e.g., Simeon, which was now only about a third of its original size), while others had had significant growth (e.g., Manasseh, which was more than 60 percent larger).
Second, Joshua was commissioned to succeed Moses as the leader of the nation. His new position seems to have been mediator of the covenant. As such, he represented the people before God, and God before the people. Moses was told at this point that he would soon leave the people and go up to a mountain where he would die. Analysis shows that some of this material is arranged topically rather than in a strictly chronological order. That seems to be the case from here to the end of the Pentateuch. For example, it is after this appointment that we read of the revenge against the Midianites in Numbers 31, which chronologically would seem to fit better with Numbers 25:17.
Third, we learn that several of the tribes have been eyeing the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River (an event that seems to have occurred chronologically before the Balaam incident). This region was good grazing land, and the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh asked for permission to settle in this region. Initially, Moses was upset, comparing this request with the unbelief that had occurred a generation earlier at Kadesh Barnea. The tribes demurred, however, asserting that they were willing to participate in the conquest, but that this land seemed to fit their every desire. They argued that they would settle their families into the villages and cities, build sheepfolds, and then go with the rest of the nation through the conquest. Moses agreed, and this region became part of Israel but a part noted for its grazing (somewhat like the west Texas of ancient Israel).
Fourth, Moses described the land in the region west of the Jordan (modern Israel), which would become theirs. He laid out borders and told them to allocate the land by lots when they finished the conquest. He also set apart two groups of cities. The larger group was cities for the Levites, who would not receive a tribal inheritance but would be dispersed throughout the nation. As we have already observed, part of the reason for this decision seemed to be that they could represent God to the people in terms of teaching and offer certain sacrifices. Included in these Levitical towns were six that were called cities of refuge: three were on the west side of the Jordan and three on the east side. These were sanctuaries for people who had committed manslaughter.
The final act of Moses was to reiterate the covenant. This rededication is set forth in the book of Deuteronomy.
Let’s Pray —
Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.
All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.
Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.