The biblical books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy contain a full recording of all the ceremonial, civil, and moral laws, as well an account of the Israelite people's travels while in the wilderness. The book of Leviticus is dedicated to the Law. The ceremonial portions of the Law refer to the sacrifices and religious practices associated with how the Israelite people were to worship God. The civil portions of the Law give instructions for governing themselves as a people. The moral portions of the Law are made up of commands for how the Israelites were to live their lives.
Numbers and Deuteronomy tell of the Israelite's time in the desert. After leaving Mount Sinai, they traveled directly to Kadesh Barnea, a city on the southern tip of Canaan, the Promised Land. This week, we read of what happens when ten spies are sent to scout out the Promised Land. Their mission, and the Israelite people's response to it, leads to a forty-year period known as "The Wandering," in which the Israelites do just that: wander around in the wilderness. God pronounces this period by saying, "Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to your fathers," (Deuteronomy 1:35) except Caleb and Joshua. And thus, an entire generation of Israelites pass away while wandering the desert. At the end of forty years, the people arrive near the banks of the Jordan River, just east of Canaan, where they receive the Law again and prepare to enter their long awaited Promised Land.
For The Sermon over Numbers 21, Listen Below:
For an additional podcast over this weeks' content, listen below:
FOR MORE CONTEXT, WATCH THIS VIDEO FROM "THE BIBLE PROJECT"
FAMILY INGREDIENT: LOVE & RESPECT
As the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land, God gives them commands for living in close relationship with Him. They are to love Him, and only Him, with all their heart, soul, and strength. Only in this state of living will they enjoy the long, good life that He desires. He also foresees the challenge of training the next generation of children to know and obey Him. Consequently, He gives practical methods. An intentional and safe baton pass allows faith to continue from one generation to the next. Lastly, He reminds them that when they get settled with all the blessings that He gives them, they are not to forget that everything has come from Him. God also instructs us to pass our faith on to our children. The foundational ingredient of Love and Respect helps our children to hear our instructions with open ears and hearts. Harshness and belittling have the opposite effect. That is why this ingredient is so vital.
- How much are we to love God? What does that look like?
- Deut. 6:7-9 lists some suggested times and places the Israelites could use to talk about God throughout their day with their children. What were they? What would that look like for our family to apply today?
- What were all the things God lists in Deut. 6:10-11 that the people might receive in the Promised Land? What does He warn them about and why (vs. 12)?
- Read James 1:17. What does this verse remind us about all the good things we have?
Supplies: cups, quart jar with lid, M&Ms or Skittles, and fun sized candy bars. Prep ahead without kids: fill a jar with 3 candy bars and then fill it to the top with small candies. Put the lid on and shake. Add more M&Ms to fill the jar to brim. Take everything out of the jar. Set aside the candy bars and divide M&Ms in cups (1/family member). Now you are ready!
Discuss the passage and the "Family Questions" (younger kids- Deut.6: 5-6 only). Say: "Even though God wants us to love Him with all our heart, mind, and strength, sometimes we let other things become more important. These candy bars represent God and time with Him. The small candies represent all the things we often make more important than God." Pour the small candies (not candy bars) into the jar and share ways that you love to spend your time. Now add the candy bars and put on the lid. Everything will not fit! Try again, but put the candy bars, representing God and time we spend with Him, in first. Add small candies. Everything fits. We love and respect God by putting Him first. Pray together.
- Moses is a reminder that spiritual leadership is hard and sometimes heartbreaking. It is accompanied by adversity and opposition. Spiritual leadership may be hard and heartbreaking, but it is also hopeful because God is our anchor. Moses’ reward was not the peoples’ admiration, and not even the Promised Land. God was his reward.
- What promises should we trust?
- What command should we obey?
- What sin should we avoid?
- What lessons do we learn from the twelve spies?
- Will you decide to develop an unwavering trust and confidence in the Lord like Caleb and Joshua?