February 27, 2016
Alternate Reading Plans
Chronological Order: Numbers 3–4
Old Testament Only: Numbers 2:1–3:39
New Testament Only: Mark 5:21–43
Drive Out The Inhabitants
Today’s Passage: Numbers 32-33
Way back in Genesis God told Abram that He would give Canaan to his descendants but that they would first sojourn in Egypt until the fourth generation because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” Genesis 15:16. The implication was that the Amorites were in for judgment, but God, in His mercy, was giving them time to either repent or reach complete debasement. (No. Debasement is not the cold dark room under the house.)
Sodom and Gomorrah is illustrative of this process. God didn’t destroy these two cities until their iniquity was complete. Abraham didn’t quite understand this and so thought he had changed things up when God agreed that He wouldn’t destroy these cities if 10 righteous people could be found within them. God already knew there were not 10 righteous people in these cities; their iniquity was complete. Lot was saved because of his relationship with Abraham but his wife couldn’t leave the iniquity behind and his daughters had incestuous relations with their father. The descendants of Lot and his oldest daughter became the people of Moab.
The term Amorite used in Genesis 15:16 covered all of the various people groups within the land referred to as Canaan. The Moabites came under the umbrella of this term. The iniquity of the descendants of Lot, the Moabites, was complete. The iniquity of all of the peoples of Canaan was complete, and the time had come for judgment in the form of an Israelite takeover of their land.
Just as God is about to bring them into the Promised Land, the Israelites are stumbling because of the sinful behavior and influence of the peoples around them. I think the following excerpt from “Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee” sums this up pretty good:
“The Midianites, you recall, joined the Moabites in hiring Balaam to curse Israel and afterwards seduced the people to idolatry and licentiousness. The only woman named in this seduction was Cozbi, a Midianite (Num. 25:6–15). After this episode God commanded His people, “Vex the Midianites, and smite them: For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake” (Num. 25:17–18).
Midian in the wilderness is a type of the world. For the child of God there is to be a spiritual separation from the world today.”
McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
As I’ve said before, we are to be in the world not of the world. When we allow the sinful behavior and influence of the world within our homes we will be seduced, and negative consequences will naturally follow. Look at what God told the Israelites to do in our reading today as they began their campaign to take the Promised Land.
Numbers 33:55-56 ESV
“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”