Here are the answers to the discussion questions we pondered in tonight’s meeting. Thanks to everyone for contributing to the discussion with our answers. David
1.Did Yeshua ever use the story of the children of Israel receiving manna for food in his teaching? The manna mentioned in Chapter 11 could remind us of Yeshua in John 6:29-32. He fed people by a miracle. They wanted more and they reminded Him of Moses and the manna. Yeshua’s reply to them should also speak to us. The miracle is only to remind us that the source is the real issue not the miracle. It’s only purpose is to keep us focused on Him who provided the miracle. This was Israel’s problem and sometimes our problem as well. They demanded flesh to eat and lost sight of the provider. We must not focus on flesh but rather on spirit. Yeshua’s followers had a hard time with this and we read in John 6:66 many withdrew and did not follow Him anymore. We read that in the last days many among the elect will fall away. In that day they will lose sight of what G-d is doing and rather look at what they perceive as right. May we never fall into that pattern. Life lived for G-d is the issue – comfortable or not, convenient or not is not the point. Stay on the walk each day with our spiritual eyes open and don’t lose focus.
2.In Numbers 11:4 who were the mixed multitudes? In Numbers 11:4 we read about the mixed multitudes. They were people who came out of Egypt with the children of Israel and were living with Israel. We read about them also in Exodus 12:38. “And a mixed multitude went up also with them.” So what was the problem here? Evidently, the children of Israel paid attention to the grumbling of others. Spiritually we are told we are a peculiar people. (I Peter 2:9). What does this mean to us and what did it mean here for Israel? Nehemiah chapter 10 deals with this same issue. We can’t be swayed by people who are not believers. Our spiritual life should be lived in such a way that we are not affected by the world or even by other believers who are not living a G-dly life. We should be touching their lives. Not the other way around. We must have boundaries in our spiritual lives. We can’t become like the world but be ever alert of who we are and what G-d has told us. If not we find ourselves listening to the wrong voices and wake up in rebellion, as here, and wonder how we got to this place. Life is finite and G-d has a walk for us. We cannot afford to waste time off the path. Don’t be misled by a mixed multitude.
3.The tribe of Dan was the last tribe to leave the camp when they traveled. What was their job? What tribe led the group? Which tribe would you prefer to be in? In Numbers 10:25 we see that the tribe of Dan was the last to leave camp. They were at the end of a huge group every time Israel left camp. Judah was at the front, Levites followed after bearing all the articles of the Mishkan, the leaders of the procession with all the honor that went with their position. Finally we have Dan at the end. Now one interesting fact, Dan is the only tribe who were honored with a description of their purpose. The word in Hebrew is “Ma asof,” meaning collectors. They were to pick up anything left by the other tribes as they broke camp. Dan was a tribe who didn’t have the glamour of Judah or the Levites but they were called to live their lives for others. They were called to pick up the pieces so to speak and restore them. So this started me thinking about us.
Most of us will never be on TV as a great minister, receiving world renown. But we are to be the collectors. I Cor 12:12-31 talks about how we as the body of Messiah are to operate. Not everyone marches at the front. And you know what, that is as it should be. Our human part fights against this but in the Spirit it is a privilege to be one who picks up the pieces and do what they can to restore.
4.What did the continually burning light of the Menorah symbolize? Can you find verses where Yeshua talked about being the light? First tell me what spiritual insight can we glean from these verses about the golden lamp stand in the Miskan in Numbers 8:1-4. In the Miskan this lamp stand was a symbol of the light of G-d’s presence. It burned continually. Daniel 2;22 speaks of this light. For us as believers in Messiah we see in John 8:12 where Yeshua says that He is the “light of the world.” Also in Matt. 5:14-16 we read where we who believe are referred to as the light of the world. How can this be? We reflect the light of Messiah before us. We do this by having our heavenly High Priest constantly trimming our wicks and adding oil to our lamps.
The golden lamp stand also can symbolize the “Tree of Life,” found in the Garden. It was made with branches, buds, and flowers. It is talked about three times in Revelations 2:7, 22:2, 22:14. In Revelations 22:2 it’s described as being by the river of Life. In Rev. 2:7 Yeshua says those that overcome will eat of the Tree of Life which is in Paradise. This lamp stand tree idea carries all the way to Revelations. It is connected with eternal life as it was in the Garden of Eden. So as we read of this lamp stand here in Numbers I hope you can grasp the continuity of scripture and how knowing what is said here in Numbers helps us understand the New Testament.
5.In Numbers 10:33 it says the ark would go before them to search out the next resting place. Why would this be better than sending a scouting party ahead of the group? In Numbers 10:33 we read about the Ark of G-d going before the people to search out a resting place. What does this say to us? This should tell us how vitally important it is to not get ahead of G-d. He will lead us, not the other way around. When He does lead, He will lead us from resting place to resting place. When G-d leads us we should have perfect peace about where we are in life no matter the physical setting. G-d will arise before us and scatter His enemies.
6.Please read Numbers 11:11-15 and Numbers 12:13. What was different in Moshe from the first interaction with G-d in Numbers 11 and his reaction in Numbers 12? What do you think changed in Moses? Up until now, we have seen Moshe as a strong, great man of G-d. He was the one who stood up to Pharaoh and even in Shemot 32:32 challenged G-d. This is the public Moshe. Like us, it was that external picture that the world saw every day. However, in Numbers 11:4-5 we see one complaint too many for Moshe. Then in Numbers 11:21-29 we find G-d’s answer to Moshe. He is able to see that he is not alone but he has men to help him. Even more importantly G-d is still with him and has not left him. Moshe, in Numbers 11:29, expresses his transformation.
But what happens the next time he is confronted by disappointment? Will he fall back into despair? In Numbers 12:1-3 we see the cruelest blow of all. Moshe’s own brother and sister talk about him, no, gossip about his choice of a wife. Those closest to us can hurt us the most and here we see Moshe rise above the hurt of his sibling’s gossip. In fact, in verse 12:3 we read that, “Now Moshe was very humble, more so than any other man on the face of the earth.”
How did this change happen? He went from, “Kill me now” to the quiet confidence that G-d is with me. He did not need to defend himself.
If we look back to his rant to the Father he used all the personal pronouns, “I”, “me” and “myself.” He saw the Israelites behavior as a challenge to him – not G-d. G-d had to remind him. “Is the L-rd’s arm too short?” Then his view was changed. It was not him, it was the Father who would carry him. C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” For genuinely humble people it is G-d, other people and principle that matters, not me. If we do not think constantly about “I” we can’t be injured by those who speak ill about us. They are shooting at a target that no longer exists. True humility reminds us that we are not the center of the universe but rather we serve the One Who is.” G-d allows those things into our life that challenges us so that we might learn to turn to Him that we may become, Oved Elohim or servants of G-d.
7.In Numbers 10:34-36 it says, “Arise O L-rd and let your enemies be scattered and let them that hate you flee before your face.” What is the difference in your enemy and someone that hates you? What does this teach us? Enemies are people who behave in an antagonistic way toward G-d. Think of this in history. Who were America’s enemies in WWII? Japan and Germany. Are they enemies today? No. Usually enemies are enemies because they fear you and you are a threat. We can be an enemy of G-d when we act contrary to His demands on our lives. We don’t like it so we rebel and do it our way not His. It is a behavioral thing that can change. Hate on the other hand is something from the heart. Someone hates you just because you exist, not because of anything you have done – but just because you are. This carries over to G-d. People who hate G-d cannot stand the idea of a creator. It is a much deeper problem than enemies. Also it is the root cause of anti-Semitism. People, countries, hate the Jews not because of their actions or a perceived threat but because of who they are. This hate has at its heart a hate of the Father. As adopted members into Israel we see Christians around the world persecuted and killed not because they are a threat but just because they exist.
We as G-d’s people cannot fall into this trap of hatred toward a person or a group of people. To do so puts us at odds with the Father. In I John 4:20 it says, “If someone says, “I love G-d,” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen how can he love G-d whom he has not seen?” We may disagree with someone or a group of people but we cannot allow it to grow into hatred. An example of this is found in Genesis 37:4, “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” We can read the story of Joseph’s brothers and how their hatred of Joseph changed their lives and his.
There are many verses about hatred. I encourage you to read some of these. Psalms 38:15, I John 4:19-20 Genesis 37:4, Leviticus 19:17-18, Matthew 10:22, Luke 21:17. There is one thing we are commanded to hate and that is evil. Psalms 97:10, Proverbs 8:13, Proverbs 6:16-19. You will notice people are not in this list only actions. Our role as G-d’s people is to love people and bring the light of G-d into lives and never allow ourselves to be drawn into hate for that will bring nothing but destruction into our lives both spiritually and physically.