Numbers 33:40

 

 

The Bible says in Numbers 33:40-52, “And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.[41] And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.[42] And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.[43] And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.[44] And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ije-abarim, in the border of Moab.[45] And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibon-gad.[46] And they removed from Dibon-gad, and encamped in Almon-diblathaim.[47] And they removed from Almon-diblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.[48] And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.[49] And they pitched by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.[50] And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,[51] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;[52] Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:” As the children of Israel travelled toward the land of Canaan, God gave them a reputation so that the Canaanites would fear them. God was already planning to give the victory to the children of Israel. God has a plan. If we will just follow that plan, everything will work out wonderfully in eternity because God’s plan will unfold just the way it was meant to be. One good result of the wanderings in the wilderness was that the Canaanites had plenty of time to hear about the Israelites and to them. One of the advantages that the Israelites always had when they were right with God was their courage that always comes with faith. Those who do not have faith are always susceptible to fears that will become their downfall.

 

In verse fifty-two God made it clear what He expected the Israelites to do when they came into the land of Canaan: “drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places.” The Canaanites were wicked. If the Israelites mixed with the Canaanites, then the children of Israel would be corrupted too by the bad influences. They would be influenced by false religion. And they would be influenced by immorality and other godless life styles. The Israelites would be drawn away from God’s way. In the Old Testament the way to accomplish the separation from wicked people was to wipe them out. In other words God was going to use the Israelites to bring judgment upon the Canaanites. One of the reasons that God put the children of Israel in Egypt for four hundred years was to give the Canaanites plenty of chances to repent, but they never did. Yes, it was a harsh time under the Old Testament law. No, we no longer do things that way because of Jesus: we are not under law but under grace. But we do still have the spiritual principle of separation from the wicked ones who have rejected the Lord Jesus. It says in Second Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,[18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

 

In Number 33:52 the Israelites were told about the Canaanites to “destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places.” Of course, this primarily refers to the false religion of the Canaanites. Get rid of false religion from your life. How will we even know what that might be? No one will be able to do that unless they know Jesus as Savior, and unless they are students of the Bible, especially the New Testament. To note an interesting application of this commandment to today’s world, notice the phrase: “destroy all their pictures.” We have all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When someone makes a picture, that picture is their creation. That picture expresses who they are and possibly what they believe. That picture teaches something to everyone who sees it. For over a hundred years we have had “moving pictures,” from which we get the name “movies.” Of course, now we have TV, and cable, and video, and streaming of pictures. These pictures teach. Too often they teach the godless, humanistic, hedonistic, and immoral life styles of the ones making the pictures. These pictures teach. No wonder that faith is dying on the earth. No wonder that our country is becoming more and more a secular society. No wonder that more and more people are losing appreciation for the constitution, freedom of speech, and the virtues of capitalism as well as the virtues of the teachings of Christ. What happened? Far too many people have looked at the wrong pictures.

 

The Bible says in Numbers 33:53-56, “And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.[54] And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.[55] But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.[56] Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” God said to the Israelites in verse thirty-five, “I have given you the land to possess it.” God gives every believer something to do in this life. It is a big world and He has divided it up to all the believers. God will call you to a place and to a time and to an opportunity. Do not lose it. You have a work to do in that place where the Lord puts us. You take possession of it by being everything that you can be for Christ. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven

 

How do we “drive out the inhabitants of the land” as it says in verse fifty-five in the age in which we live? Two things must be done: people need to repent and come to Christ, and those that are Christians need to grow in Christ so that they can serve the Lord as part of a local congregation of believers. Verse fifty-five also tells us what will happen if we do not take possession of the land that God has given to us: “then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.” In other words, it is describing exactly what is happening in the world today: too many lost souls have not turned to Christ and too many professing Christians do not have a zeal to serve Jesus. What happens if it continues like this? Judgment will come. In verse fifty-six God tells us, “I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.”

 

The Bible says in Numbers 34:1-12, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[2] Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)[3] Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:[4] And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadesh-barnea, and shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass on to Azmon:[5] And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.[6] And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.[7] And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:[8] From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:[9] And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border.[10] And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham:[11] And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:[12] And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.” In these verses God is very precise about the boundaries of Israel. God told them what the boundaries were before they even entered the Promised Land and before they cast out any of the people or fought any of the battles. It is noticeable that the amount of land is larger than the present-day Israel. Therefore, that means that the present-day Israel is not the fulfillment of God’s Promised Land. It will need to have boundaries that are much expanded. In view of the present political circumstances, that fulfillment will probably not take place until Jesus returns.  

 

And it turns out that Israel is even bigger than the previous verses indicate because a large part of what is today the country of Jordan was also promised to Israel because of the permission given to Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh. The Bible says in Numbers 34:13-15, “And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:[14] For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance:[15] The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising

 

The Bible says in Numbers 34:16-29, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[17] These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun.[18] And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.[19] And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.[20] And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.[21] Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.[22] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli.[23] The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod.[24] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.[25] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.[26] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan.[27] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.[28] And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.[29] These are they whom the LORD commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.” Notice what God said to Moses in verse eighteen: “And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.” The details of dividing up the land was given to these men. God gives us something to do, and then He gives us a lot of freedom to decide how to do it. The same principle of freedom was given by Jesus when He said in Matthew 18:18, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In other words God gives us a lot of freedom to figure things out, and make decisions, and use our imagination. What have you done for Christ with all the options and freedom that He has given to you?                   

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved