Life of Moses Lesson 25 Day 5 Numbers 31-36

Numbers 31-36

9.  a.  Brief background of the Midianites—

  • The Midianites were descendants of Abraham’s fourth son. Genesis 25:2
  • “They were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe.” Easton’s Illustrated Dictionary
  • Joseph’s brothers sold him to a caravan of Midianites. Genesis 37:27, 38
  • Moses married, Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest, and lived in Midian for forty years.
  • Balaam lived in Midian.
  • “…when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they (the Israelites) entered into the land of Midian proper, they (the Midianites) joined with Balak, the king of Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Numbers 22:4-7).
    Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.

Reasons for God’s vengeance against the Midianites—

The Midianites had joined with the Moabites, through the counsel of Balaam (Numbers 31:16), to entice the Israelites into sin so that the blessing of God would cease to operate in their lives (Numbers 25). So this was judgment on that nation for their sins against Israel and the Lord.  Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

When we previously studied this story, I realize I was mentally interchanging Moabites and Midianites. I need to check my answers on that lesson for errors.

I see now where I got confused. In Numbers 25, the heading in the NLT says “Moab Seduces Israel”. That’s exactly what happened in Numbers 25:1-5. Those verses refer to Moabite women.

Based on verses 1-5, I got the impression Moab did more harm to Israel than the Midianites. Balak, the king of Moab, was intent on cursing Israel.

But in Numbers 25:6-9, the Israelite man brings a Midianite woman into the camp and has sex with her. Some commentaries suggest this act occurred at the tent of meeting itself and not the man’s own tent, as some translations say.

If this act did occur at the tent of meeting, it’s no wonder God chose to take revenge. Not only had some of the Israelite men worshipped another god, they also profaned the place His glorious presence lived among them.

And both of the “M—ites” worked together taking Balaam’s advice.

b.  I think I merged questions a and b.

10.  a.  The Reubenites and Gadites—

  • Owned exceptionally large herds of livestock.
  • Observed the excellent grazing land east of the Jordan in Jazer and Gilead.
  • Approached Moses saying the Lord had already allowed them to conquer the land for Israel.

b.  Moses was not pleased with the Reubenites’ and Gadites’ choice.

He thought they were taking the easy way out to avoid war. Moses considered unfair to the other tribes.

c.  The leaders of the Reubenites and Gadites—

promised Moses that their warriors would join their fellow Israelites in conquering the land west of the Jordan.

11.  a.  As a way to remember God’s faithfulness, the details of their conquests were written down.

b.  Keeping records—

My mother’s grandfather recorded the dates each of his children accepted Jesus. It is in his own handwriting, and I have a copy. Just knowing how important that was to him—so important, it was the one record he put in writing—represents a priceless legacy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve kept a journal since childhood. Several times in recent years, I’ve gone through old journals to glean “God moments” and other special events I want to remember.

The feelings and events I never want to revisit again, go in the shredder.

Some things worth recording—

  • Answers to prayer
  • Blessings
  • Things for which I’m thankful
  • Miracles
  • Favorite verses and promises
  • Dreams, visions, revelation, and direction from God
  • Encouraging, inspiring, and prophetic words from others
  • Encouraging, inspiring, and prophetic words for others, especially family members
  • Your calling, destiny, and gifts
  • Your family member’s callings, destinies, and gifts

12.  Cities of refuge—

The cities were a safe haven to which people could flee if they had killed someone accidentally. Bloodshed would pollute the land. Numbers 35:33

The cities of refuge were six in number (Numbers 35). The number six in the Bible represents “Weakness of man; Manifestation of sin ; Evils of Satan” Numbers and their meanings

  • On the west of Jordan were,
    • Kadesh, in Naphtali;
    • Shechem, in Mount Ephraim;
    • Hebron, in Judah.
  • On the east of Jordan were,
    • Golan, in Bashan;
    • Ramoth-Gilead, in Gad;
    • Bezer, in Reuben.
      Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.

It’s interesting, God didn’t leave the tribes on the east side of the Jordan—by their own choice—without cities of refuge. Each side of the Jordan had three.

Also interesting, the cities of refuge weren’t only for God’s chosen people. Anyone else living in the land could use them.

Establishing cities of refuge shows—

  • A beautiful picture of God’s love
  • God values life
  • God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • God is a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 32:7 AMP
  • God is my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Psalm 119:114 AMP
  • So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.Jesus is our eternal hope Hebrews 6:18 NLT

When I was a teenager, my parents turned our guest room into a place of refuge. They took in a young college student whose parents kicked her out. She stayed through the summer and then went home.

They also took in a couple who had a troubled marriage. They got on their feet financially and found a place of their own.

Others stayed with us short-term.

My own home now serves as an escape for our grandchildren, primarily the two youngest. One parent works at home, and the other is very ill. The children come over looking for something to eat, a quiet place to curl up and watch movie, get a snuggle, etc. It didn’t dawn on me until reading about cities of refuge, just how significant that escape is for them.

I could use a physical place of refuge myself!

Photo credit—By Illustrators of the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons