[bible1year] Devotional comments on Numbers 31-33

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From: glen_stewart@...
Date: 19 Feb 2014 12:37:46 -0000
        Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 
25:1-6). When Moses fled from Egypt forty years before 
the Exodus (Exodus 2:15-21), he helped the daughters of 
Jethro, the Priest of Midian, and married one of his 
daughters (Zipporah). Therefore, the Midianites were 
descendants of Moses, as well as the Levites. Through 
the influence of Balaam the Midianite women and girls 
were able to seduce the men of Israel. Because of this, 
God commanded Moses to destroy the nation of Midian 
(Numbers 25:16-18). In Numbers 31 Moses now receives the 
order to execute this command.

        The spiritual laws that God has given are just 
as absolute as natural laws. Galatians 6:7 tells us, "Be 
not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap." Also, Numbers 32:33 
tells us, "Be sure your sin will find you out." If a man 
sows wheat, he reaps wheat; if he sows corn, he reaps 
corn. Spiritual laws are just as certain. In the 
righteous government of God, sin always brings sorrow 
and suffering.

        In chapter 32 we see the request and dispute of 
Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh with Moses, concerning the 
portioning of the land. The request was a selfish one, 
characterized by worldly convenience. The property they 
chose was outside the Promised Land and they, thereby, 
showed unbelief and a willingness to shun war. Moses' 
rebuke in verses 6-15 warned them of the fruits of 
unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea when the spies were sent out. 
Their compromise to join their brothers was accepted, 
and can be compared to Lot's selfish decision (Genesis 
13:5-11). In the final arrangement (verses 25-42), the 
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh 
obtained the rich grazing lands of Transjordan. We will 
see later, in II Kings 15:29 and I Chronicles 5:25,26, 
that their choice resulted in unbelief and world 
conformity.

        Chapter 33 gives the summary of the journey from 
Egypt. The first and second stages are given in verses 
1-17; the third and fourth stages in verses 18-49; and 
the directions to exterminate the Canaanites are given 
in verses 50-56. Notice particularly verses 55 and 56. 
God explains here the results of disobedience concerning 
His instructions to exterminate the Canaanites. Again we 
are reminded that God demands complete obedience to His 
Word; partial obedience will bring judgment and 
chastisement to offenders.