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Friday, September 29th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 17

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-13

  1. INTRO:
    1. Harold & Natalie - share on Haiti Trip.
    2. In the 11th century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard(Prior=ecclesiastical title) at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. “Your Majesty,” said Prior Richard, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.” “I understand,” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.” “Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.” When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.”
      1. When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant, or teacher, or mother, or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where He puts us, and when He returns, we’ll rule together with him.
    3. Last week - Korah & others weren’t content with the ministry God had given them (sacred duties around tabernacle) & wanted the more important job of the priesthood.
      1. Selfish ambition” is one of the works of the flesh (Gal.5:20) & it brings destruction. {works of flesh is opposite of fruit of spirit}
    2. One of Israel’s besetting sins were murmuring/complaining. Read 1 Cor.10:10
      1. God’s people are commanded not to complain - Phil.2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.
        1. Complaining is thus a sin.
      2. Why is it such a big deal? Because [1] Complaining gives evidence of unbelief in our hearts. [2] It also shows a lack of gratitude toward God.
      3. If we were truly “giving thanks always for all things”(Eph.5:20), we would not be complaining.
      4. The best way to overcome a complaining spirit is to accept God’s will by faith & thank Him for His goodness, even if we don’t see anything good happening. (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.96)
    3. Rom.8:28 is still there for us to claim! “all things work together for good…”
    4. (5) The rod of the man whom I choose will blossom - is an eternal principle!
      1. ​​​​​​​There is an indissoluble connection between God’s choice & our fruitfulness.
      2. I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit. Jn.15:16
      3. May we say like Ephraim, “Your fruit is found in me!” Hos.14:8
        1. Not my fruit, but Your fruit is found in me!
        2. Remember, the fruit is 1st found in the root!
          1. As Isaiah said, “…take root downward, And bear fruit upward.” 37:31
    6. (7) Before the Lord - Spiritual leadership will be recognized by its life & fruitfulness, which come from being in the Holy of Holies, with God!
    7. AARON’S ALMONDS! (8,9)
    8. God vindicated his servants(Moses & Aaron) 1st by bringing death to some of their opponents & 2nd by giving life to Aaron’s rod.
    9. Ultimately the power of God caused the dead rod to produce beauty & fruit.
      1. Its the same power of God that causes our dead lives to produce fruit.
      2. Which means, without this power, we are just dead sticks!
    10. (9) Each man took his rod - Each of the princes took back their dead rods.
    11. AARON’S SIGN! (10,11)
    12. What were the 3 items placed in the Ark of the Testimony/Covenant?
      1. Pot of manna (Reminding us of God’s miraculous loving care to feed them in the wilderness for many years)
      2. Aaron’s rod that budded – (Reminding us of God’s Priesthood)
      3. The 2 tablets of stone (The actual 10 commandments Moses brought down from the mountain, written by the finger of God)
        1. Pot of manna = God’s Love!
        2. Aaron’s rod that budded = God’s Redemption!
        3. The 2 tablets of stone = God’s Holiness!
    13. Everything about the Tabernacle & its Furniture was meant as a teaching tool! We also see that every part of it pointed to Christ!
      1. Tabernacle (And the Word became flesh and dwelt/tabernacled among us); Lampstand (light of the world); Showbread (I am the bread of life); Veil (Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh)Mercy Seat (redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation/covering); Manna (I am the bread of life); Aaron’s Rod (Jesus the High Priest); Tablets/Stone (perfectly fulfilled)
    14. ISRAEL CRIES UNCLE! (12,13)
    15. One day, the people wanted to serve in the tabernacle(ch.16); the next day, they were afraid to get near it!
      1. What the death of nearly 15,000 people could not do(ch.16), the silent blossoming of a dead stick did accomplish!
      2. Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!
    16. How do we know our personal calling? How can I know the will of God for my life?
      1. Probably not going to be as miraculous as this budding rod!
      2. Yet, God is not a Cosmic Easter Bunny looking down saying, “you’re getting warmer!”
        1. Story - Friend of a friend who found his calling to Hawaii, in the shape of a communion Matzo cracker.
    17. Let’s start with a simple assumption: Since God has a will for us, He must want us to know it. (Excerpts taken from John MacArthur Jr. “Found: Godʼs Will”) God’s will is that you be: (5 things)
    18. Saved - obviously it starts here; you can’t be in His will w/o being “in Him”!
    19. Spirit-filled - do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is, & do not be drunk w/wine...but be filled w/the Spirit/yielded;
      1. You can’t tell a glove to play the piano, but you can place your hand in it, then the glove is empowered to play.
    20. Sanctified - holy; pure; control your body.
      1. It’s the cavalry officer who’s life depends on his sword, so he keeps it clean.
      2. “It’s not great talent, not great ideas that God uses, it is great likeness to Jesus!”
      3. A holy man is an awesome weapon in the hand of God.
      4. Submissive - Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake...For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men 1Pet 2:13,15.
      5. Suffering (Phil.1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.
        1. Rom.12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
    21. If you are doing all 5 of the basic things, the next principle is, “Do whatever you want!”
      1. Get into the main stream of what God is doing & let Him lead you to that perfect will.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Numbers 17". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/numbers-17.html. 2017.
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