Numbers 11-16

This teaching is the 9th part in a series of thirteen. Please read the other 12 parts.

Now, let us liken the topic to our situation, when an agent of satan has just created disorder, it enables you to quickly have an element of discernment, even in relation to those who rapidly fall into that type of disorder. When you have people who have a quick disposition to evil, believe in falsehood, support wickedness, it is an element to examine profoundly. Last time, I found myself rebuking some brethren. A few brethren had a problem with another brother, they went and explained the problem and those to whom these brethren explained the matter each rebuked them saying they acted poorly. Nevertheless, a few of them instead said the brethren who were wrong were right. As soon as we examined the problem together, it was so glaring that those who fell in the trap of backing the brethren who were wrong became ashamed. I told them that it was at least a proof that something was wrong at their level. When you are always ready to go the wrong way, it is at least a proof that something is wrong with you. I told them to draw lessons from that. In relation to what we have just studied, understand that if we can accuse the "rabbles" or "strangers" as they are referred to here, it is worth noting however that the people fell into their traps, it is because their heart was inclined to murmuring.

So, if we come back to the question: would the people have been spared if there was no rabble among them? We can truly say yes. For the word of God says they were the ones who provoked the wrath of God, even though that is not a reason to justify the people. For, if the people were firm before the Lord, they would not have fallen in the trap of the rabble. So, beloved, we have to organize ourselves in such a manner that even if there are some rabbles in our midst; we must not fall in their traps. Because if you fall in the trap of the rabbles, it will not be said that it is because of the rabbles that the Lord struck you. Even if it is said that it is because of the rabbles, the Lord would have already struck you. The proof is that in the case of the people here, they followed the disorder of the "rabbles" and were struck. So, do not let God strike you with the pretext that it is such and such person who caused you to murmur. That is not how things are supposed to be. Let us fear the Lord, let us have a good disposition, let us make sure that for each case, we take only the side of God's justice and truth.

Question: if we fear the Lord with all our heart and some rabbles happen to infiltrate our midst, can the Lord still choose to strike them as He did in the case of Ananias and Saphira, or is the discernment that He gives us to detect them and put them out of the Assembly enough?

Answer: it depends; when we did the study on Discernment, I told you that the Lord has blessed us greatly. I wonder if we could expect more than what the Lord has given us. For, it is only thanks to discernment that we are able to cope in this world of vipers. With discernment therefore, we are able to detect these rabbles. But I have told you that discernment alone is not enough, just because we are limited. It is for this reason that revelations, dreams, visions come to our aid. With discernment, we are already able to detect many of these satan agents hiding in our midst. But there are always cases that we miss. This is the reason why the Lord intervenes through revelations.

I said it depends because you can never foretell the way the Lord will work. The works the way He wants and at times we don't even understand why He does certain things. Normally, with the knowledge that God has given us, He would not be expected to strike any rabble in our midst anymore because with the help of discernment, we can get them. And when our discernment is not sufficient, God exposes them to us. And when He does it, you must put them out of the church without waiting for the Lord to strike them. But to believe that the Lord shall always work this way, the answer is no. because cases are different, depending on the mission that the rabble came to accomplish in our midst. If the Lord thinks that a rabble has gone too far, the Lord can truly strike him; that is not excluded. But our wish is that the Lord should not strike them because we do not want to see corpses. We prefer to excommunicate them rather than leaving them there for the Lord to strike them. We won't be happy to witness the death of a so-called brother, isn't it? That is why we pray the Lord to remove them from our midst before striking them. So, nothing can be excluded, the Lord can handle it the way He wants, we can foretell how the Lord will handle the various cases.

The brethren also mentioned the patience of Moses which is something that we must learn. Let's endeavour to cultivate patience. All the fruits of the Lord that we bear shall remain an eternal blessing for us. We understood that when we did a study on the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph... we therefore have to imitate the positive aspects of their lives.

Let us come back to an element that all the groups mentioned: because of the mistake of a few, many other persons can suffer. We see here how the murmuring of these wicked and their incantations made the people to suffer. Joshua and Caleb, who got their blessing, had to wait for 40 years before enjoying the blessing. You have blessing right at the door, but you can't get hold of it because of wire net blocking it at the door. And because of that it took 40 years to get hold of the blessing due to the works of the wicked. Innocent people, that is, all the children of God spent 40 years before entering the Promised Land even though they neither murmured nor sent their parents to murmur. When the Lord calls it crime, it is truly criminal. They were criminals. Those who provoke the wrath of God for everyone to suffer are the wicked. That is why we have to treat such wicked people rigorously when the Lord exposes them.

Question: why were these wicked people sent to explore the country?

Answer: at that time, they did not know they were wicked.

Question: was it necessary to explore the country before going there?

Answer: yes, we also explore, but this is a very good question, was it really necessary to explore the country? In our walk with the Lord, we can hardly know where our problems will come from. Because if Moses knew that sending those people were going to create a lot of problems, he would have just gone straight into the country without exploring. As you say, was it really necessary to explore the country? The answer is no. The proof is that they won serious battles without fighting. A war like that against Pharaoh during which at one point it was the sea fighting on their behalf; with all that did they really need to explore? Unfortunately man is limited. It is when something happens to you that you say: "but was it even necessary for me to do this? Why didn't I instead do it this way?". Just look at our lives, it is when we advance that we discover that we would have done otherwise. But at that given time in your small knowledge, you can't understand what will happen in order to prepare a better solution. It is when it happens that you say: "I would have done this or that." Was it necessary to explore? The answer is that it was not necessary.

Question: Numbers 13:1-2 says: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, everyone a leader among them."

Answer: Certainly the Lord said it but the question remains: was it necessary to explore? When we say that it was not necessary to explore, we do not mean that the initiative Moses took did not come from the Lord. The question is: was it necessary to explore?

Intervention: Deuteronomy 1:22 "And every one of you came near to me and said, 'Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come."

May the Lord bless you! This is the way you make a teaching interesting. We need all these passages in order to be balance. And all these elements help us to better understand the sense of the Word of God. For in reality, even before the brother read this verse of Deuteronomy, that is what we were saying. We insist on the fact that even though it is mentioned that God said exploration should be done, in reality the same question remains: was it necessary to explore? For Moses could say: Lord you are sending us to explore a country, do we really need to do that? With all that we have already seen, water and water only crushed Pharaoh's entire army, why do we still need to explore the country?" This is what he could have done.

The proof is that we see the centurion who met the Lord Jesus in Matt 8:5-9 "5Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." 7And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When he makes his request to the Lord, Jesus told him that He will go and heal the child; but he said to Jesus, no Lord, you don't need to do that. Say just a word and your servant will be healed. Moses could tell the Lord: "Lord, do we really need to explore this country? Simply send us and the problem will be solved." As we notice from the passage our brother has just read, God just said what the people wanted. If the people did not want exploration, it would never have taken place. And if they did not go to explore, they would certainly have been spared. Because the Lord would have given them victory and all of them would have entered the Promised Land.

And as you mentioned, if these wicked people did not do what they did, Moses would have entered the Promised Land. It is because they had so much overburdened him that at last he did not know what he was doing anymore.

Some brethren mentioned a very important aspect here. They said murmuring destabilizes servants of God and to back up that point, they cited the passage of Numbers 11:21-23 And Moses said, "The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, 'I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.' 22Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?" 23And the Lord said to Moses, "Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not."

In this passage, Moses starts asking himself: "Lord, where shall we get meat for all these people?" Moses who knew God and knew quite well that God could provide meat for a more numerous people than those who were with him. You can therefore see for yourselves that the wicked are not there for our good. So beloved, this exploration could have been avoided! The brethren also spoke of the people's obstinacy.

Question: can we say that the Lord wanted to purge the people?

Answer: in any case, it is the people who wanted to be purged. Is it the Lord who wanted to purge the people? If the people want to be purged, what do you expect the Lord to do? The Lord will grant their request. I have told you that the Lord always gives the people the desire of their hearts. The Lord gives each person the desire of his heart. If we have a willing heart, the Lord will grant the desire of our hearts which would be blessings. But if we have an unwilling heart, it would be so terrible for us.

Intervention: concerning exploration, what was remarkable in this case is that it was not the issue of sending people that was problematic. This is because exploration by definition is to go and see, then give a report of what has been seen and not what you want. On the contrary, these spies seized the opportunity to harm the people, to show that they were wicked. If they did just what they were asked to do, there would not have been any problem. If the twelve leaders were all like Caleb and Joshua, there would not have been any problem!

Yes, it is true beloved. That is where you really see wickedness. They only needed to come back and describe what they saw. Something like this: "when I arrived, I found a tree with three branches, another tree with two branches, and a road linking..." and allow each person to draw his own conclusion. But they came and said: "do not just dare because we shall appear before them like insects". This was not a description anymore but rather serious incantations prepared in order to wilfully mislead the people. Through this, we understand that when God acts, He takes into account all His goodness.

This last point gives us a better understanding of the teaching on blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Because we have always wondered why God who is so compassionate and merciful, who forgives all sins, comes across another sin and says it will never be forgiven in this age nor in the age to come. But after our analysis, we understood that God who is full of goodness cannot easily arrive at such a conclusion. When we come back to this case, we understand that these people were fundamentally wicked. They did that wilfully in order to mislead the people. You cannot wilfully mislead somebody and go free before the Lord. The Lord will never spare you. After this, you may still read the teaching on blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in order to understand better.

Intervention: I would want to note the subtleness of the heart of man here. Because elders were chosen following God's criteria but they were not elders. This means that before they were sent to go and explore the country, they had not yet manifested any sign of rebellion. At least, they distinguished themselves as good servants of God, as good elders. This makes us to understand how subtle man is. At times we think we are dealing with true Children of God until they manifest their real nature.

As we can read from chapter 13:27 Then they told him, and said: We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. They did not stop there, they continued saying, 28Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large. A way of saying: "But we don't want to enter that country". This proves that the truth can never be refuted. The truth is a well-established fact, it can never be contradicted. "Truly it is a land… but since we are of falsehood..." they even added in verse 32 ... it is a land that devours its habitants. We wonder where they saw inhabitants who were devoured by the land. It's really terrible! Look at the exploration report that the wicked had the guts to give the people.

The brethren also mentioned the aspect of lust. Lust as you can notice is something terrible. The Lord laid emphasis on it in the first epistle of John in Chapter 2 from verse 15. God warns us against that. And the brethren concluded by saying that only contentment makes us different from the people of the world. I think that their conclusion is sufficiently clear. Let us glance at 1John 2:15-17 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. We can first of all halt here and make a comparison between this passage and the conclusion that the brethren gave us. Only contentment makes us different from the people of the world. The passage further tells us: 16For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. You see that the Lord is really warning us against lust.

For the people to find themselves in this degree of rebellion which cost them dearly, lust must have played a great role. And things did not just end there; even when the people further went astray and asked for a king contrary to the will of God, it was lust that pushed them to that level of disobedience. In 1Samuel 8:5 they said to Samuel now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. Always wanting to imitate others; that is something very dangerous! We are not there to imitate people but rather, we are there to imitate the Lord. I have always told you that we must know what we want; each child of God must know what he wants. If as a child of God you understand that the final objective for you is to reign with the Lord, then, you have understood the most essential thing. It is when you don't know what you want that satan can manipulate you anyhow. Each time he will tell you to 'go right' and you will go right, or he tells you 'go left' and you will quickly obey, saying 'satan, I have the impression that you are always right' etc. But when you already know where you are heading to and what you want, it will be easier for you to remain firm during times of difficulties.

We sang the hymn titled 'faith' in Hebrews 11. You actually understood what the Lord tells us therein. This passage mentions the names of those who knew how to seek the face of God to the extent of voluntarily accepting persecution in order to have a good resurrection. For they knew that resurrection is a reality, and that happiness with the Lord Jesus Christ is a reality. And then, every time I ask the question: Where are the brothers who were persecuted during that time? Are they still on earth being persecuted? No, they are gone, because the time on earth is limited enough, and we all know that. Currently, we are waiting for either the rapture or death. One or the other will come and we will not take anything when leaving. We will not take anything from all that our eyes are coveting today. You know it because you've seen people leave. There is no single day without someone dying. Fire burns some, water carries away others, bombs explode and kill others, and there are those who die from diseases. Nobody has ever taken anything, and we know it.

Grace be with you all who have Jesus Christ as Master!


Please feel free to make copies of this article and give them out.
To download it, click HERE , or on the PDF icon.

To read PDF files, you need to use Acrobat Reader.