The transition from one generation to the next

The Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Hus’s last w … More

Authority

God-Ordained Authorities are:

  • Government: Rom 13, I Pet 2:17
  • Employer: Eph 6, I Pet 2:18
  • Husband: I Pet 3:1, Col 3:18, Eph 5:22
  • Parent: Eph 6

The events described in this chapter probably occurred shortly after Israel’s tragic failure at Kadesh-Barnea, and they reveal clearly that the people still hadn’t learned how to trust and obey. The history of Numbers records very few events of these transitional years, for in a real sense they were years where one generation of Israel’s sacred history was quickly dying off, and its rising youth as yet had no history at all. But even though the period lacked in events, it did not lack in its significance as a transitional period. The Lord wanted the new generation to enter the Promised Land and enjoy it for many years, but that enjoyment depended on their obedience.

Geographically, the people wandered aimlessly about the wilderness and desert areas, between Kadesh and the Red Sea (13:25). As to population, these transition years produced the greatest change. The 600,000 warriors met their appointed death over the space of these years, some by violent causes (16:49), and were buried in the wilderness as daily reminders of the great judgment of God. Children and youth under twenty years of age grew up, were married, reared children, and by the end of the wandering years a new generation of the seed of Abraham had appeared.

Application

The older generation of Israelites repeatedly refused to submit to the authority of God’s Word as well as the authority of God’s appointed leaders. Lord, help me to obey your Word and those you place over me.

Numbers 15:1-15 (English Standard Version)

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you, and you offer to the LORD from the herd or from the flock a food offering or a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or at your appointed feasts, to make a pleasing aroma to the LORD, then he who brings his offering shall offer to the LORD a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil; and you shall offer with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, a quarter of a hin of wine for the drink offering for each lamb. Or for a ram, you shall offer for a grain offering two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a third of a hin of oil. And for the drink offering you shall offer a third of a hin of wine, a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And when you offer a bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or for peace offerings to the LORD, then one shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with half a hin of oil. And you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, as a food offering, a pleasing aroma to the LORD. "Thus it shall be done for each bull or ram, or for each lamb or young goat. As many as you offer, so shall you do with each one, as many as there are. Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD."

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