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doctor looking at chart March 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Numbers 25:1- 26:34; 1Chronicles 7:14-19; Numbers 26:35-37; 1Chronicles 7:20-29; Numbers 26:38-65

Responsibility and Restoration

Suppose you are admitted to the hospital with an illness. The nurses give you the prescribed medicines and the doctor periodically checks your progress. Eventually, you are allowed to go home, but you must report to the doctor on a regular basis until he is sure you are cured. You have to take responsibility to follow the doctor's orders to be cured and live a healthier life. You are held accountable for your restoration to health. As you are held accountable for your physical restoration, all people who have been to Jesus for spiritual healing are held accountable for their spiritual restoration (1John 2:1-3).

The Israelites had spent forty years in the wilderness. Because of their refusal to trust and obey God and go into Canaan, their Promised Land, everyone twenty years and over died in the wilderness (except Caleb and Joshua); and their children lived as shepherds until the time was complete. Israel paid for her sins. Even so, God continually expected her to live up to his holy standards. God was gracious to the Israelites, despite the punishments they endured. God was with them in the wilderness. Not only did he give his people and their many flocks and herds water to drink and food to eat, but he also protected them from disease and wild animals. He even protected them from threats by foreign nations, and one such nation was Moab. As we read yesterday, King Balak of the nation of Moab tried to hire Balaam, a noted diviner, to curse Israel. However, God protected Israel. When Balaam finally arrived in Moab, he could do nothing but bless the Israelites, and he did this three times! Balak was furious, but Israel was beloved of God and under his protection. Balaam could only say what God wanted him to say. Instead of cursing Israel for Balak, Balaam spoke a curse against Balak's kingdom and other surrounding nations. Here is an application to all those seeking spiritual restoration: God is our shield and defense (Romans 8:31-39).

Even though God protected Israel, she was still held accountable for her actions. Balaam went home but then returned. He was greedy for the money that King Balak offered, so he devised another plan. “Balaam … taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality,” (Revelation 2:14, NIV).

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor [the place where Baal was worshipped]. And the LORD's anger burned against them. (Numbers 25:1-3, NIV)

God's anger burned against Israel for prostituting themselves before Baal of Peor and defiling themselves in sexual immorality (Numbers 31:1-16). God plagued the Israelites, putting 24,000 to death before Phinehas, a grandson of Aaron, helped to stay God's anger.

How much do we care about God's honor? In our day many people want us to try to understand the offender, make excuses for him and defend him rather than condemn him for the wrong he has done. God is a God of love, but he exercises justice on the guilty. He wants us to do the same within our framework of authority (lawfully, of course). Parents must sometimes be the referee of their children and punish the guilty. Coaches must sometimes sit players on the bench because they do not work as team members or they are fighting. Teachers must exercise control and discipline in their classrooms. Churches and other government bodies must exercise God given judgment on their members or citizens. God holds each of us responsible for our actions (Hebrews 9:27; 2Corinthians 5:10).

By comparing Numbers 1:44-45 and 3:39 with Numbers 26:51 and 62 , we see that over a forty year period God replaced, almost man to the man, everyone who died in the wilderness. There were approximately 1,000 less in the military but 1,000 more Levites in the second census (even after losing 24,000 in the afore mentioned plague). This not only shows God's judgment; it shows his mercy and grace. Though the Israelites rebelled against God, they were not completely wiped out. Though the first generation out of Egypt lost their opportunity to enter the Promised Land, their children and grandchildren did not; their inheritance was not lost. We too may experience judgment for our sins, but God in his grace is interested in our restoration and a continuance of a godly seed. A godly seed comes through a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He gives us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...) We can reproduce godly seed by telling our children to treasure their relationship with the LORD, to love and obey him. Even if we have made mistakes, we can tell our children to learn from our mistakes, missed opportunities, and punishments so they do not suffer as we have. God is just, but God is good and kind.

Lessons to live by:

  • God is our shield and defense
  • Christians bear responsibility for keeping themselves holy. Beware- Satan uses sexual temptations as a tool to ruin God's servants.
  • God holds each of us accountable for our actions.
  • We may experience discipline for our sins, but God in his grace is interested in our restoration and a continuance of a godly seed.
  • A godly seed comes through a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He gives us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...)
  • We can reproduce godly seed by telling our children to treasure their relationship with the LORD, to love and obey him, and to learn from our mistakes.
  • God is just, but God is good and kind.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Ezekiel 18: 32 “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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