Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 49 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Numbers 14 today and our focus is on God’s compassionate and terrifying character. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
First, a comment from listener Lamar Powell, hailing from Kiowa , Alabama, on yesterday’s episode on blood in the Old and New Testaments:
Interesting episode on blood in the Old Testament. The reason for the focus on blood in the Bible is that we are taught early on that life is in the blood. Before Mosaic law, before the Ten Commandments, before God’s covenant with Abraham, God told Noah to fill the earth and told him he could eat of all flesh, except not to consume the blood of that flesh.“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.””Genesis 9:1-7 NASB1995So the use of sacrificial blood is literally, according to scripture, to offer that life. And the beauty of Christ’s Blood is because He is perfect and everlasting, that His Blood can always cover us and we don’t have to perpetually sacrifice the blood of animals. Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Christ’s Blood is that when we partake of His Blood in the Eucharist (whether literally or symbolically) we are partaking in the Life of Christ.
Some have a view of God that He is like a kindly old grandfather, sitting in a chair, giving candy to His grandchildren, and winking and grinning when they sin and mess up. This picture, however, falls fall short of both God’s kindness AND His Holiness. God is far kinder and more gracious than the kindest of grandfathers, and He does anything but wink and grin at sin. Consider these two sobering passages:
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:22
In Numbers 14, we see that the children of Israel have repeatedly sinned against God, and God – who is abounding in mercy, but also holiness and justice – is preparing to wipe out the sinful, grumbling Israelites and start over. But Moses, like Abraham before Him, intercedes (asking on behalf of someone else) for the Israelites, reminding God of His character and mercy, in what is our verse of the day:
18 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generation. Numbers 14:18
I use the word ‘remind’ with some hesitation, because I do not believe God has ever forgotten anything, and He has no need of being reminded, and yet it is a very biblical thing to do in prayer – to ‘remind’ (in quotes) God of His promises, nature, mercy, and character. Perhaps in reminding Him what we are really accomplishing is that we are reminding ourselves. We are fallible and forget – God never loses His patience and mercy and acts rashly or foolishly, forgetting who He is.
Does Moses’ intercession here actually change God’s mind, or is this more of an exercise in relationship-building on God’s part – drawing Moses in to intercede for His people so that He learns God’s mercy in a deeper way? The question asked a different way: Did God REALLY intend to wipe out the grumbling and sinful Israelites, but Moses ‘talked’ Him out of it in prayer? The Bible does not clearly answer this question in our text today, I suspect the answer is much deeper than that God simply changed His mind, because God does not change – ‘I, the LORD, do not change.’ (Malachi 3:6) God is sovereign and sees all ends. I do not believe Moses ‘changed God’s mind,’ but I do think something meaningful and powerful and important happened there. In intercession we interact with the living God in the deepest of ways and we adopt the character and activity of Jesus:
Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
So, though we can only understand intercession from our perspective – we do know that it is a good, Christlike and impactful activity – one of the highest and noblest activities that a human can undertake.
Tomorrow: The Heart of a Pastor/Minister. Acts 20.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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