Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 9
TABERNACLE SET-UP; DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS: CHRIST; HIGH PRIESTLY WORK: KADESH-BARNEA
Exodus – Deuteronomy
I’ve had many people writing and calling; admonishing me to hurry up and get into prophecy. So I am skipping a few things, that I don’t really like to skip, but only for the sake of time, not that they are not important. But I want to take us up to the Book of Numbers. A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that seven weeks after the Tabernacle was raised up the first time, the cloud lifted, and it directed the children of Israel all the way up to the border of the Promise Land, the land of milk and honey. Now here we are in Numbers 14, and a lot has taken place in the mean time. We have had the episode of leprosy with Miriam because of her complaints. God dealt with it, but fortunately He also healed her. We also had the episode of the quails. Remember Israel was complaining because they didn’t have the flesh pots of Egypt. But now as we come to this chapter, it’s a sad, sad state of affairs:
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses (this wasn’t anything new was it?) and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, `Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!'”
Always remember the setting. Here in the last thirteen months of time, they have experienced the miraculous exodus out of Egypt. Their task masters were thrown off their backs. They’ve walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They’ve seen the appearance of the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. They saw all of the thunder and lightening and the fire on Mount Sinai. They saw how God could institute a plague and kill 20,000 people and He could also come back, in mercy, and stop it. They have just seen miracle after miracle after miracle, haven’t they? And yet, here they come upon the very borders of the Promise Land; the land of milk and honey; the land that God said He would use hornets, as well as other means, to drive out the Canaanites, and He says, “All you have to do is occupy it.” Now He says, “I won’t drive them all out at once where you can’t keep up, because then the wild animals might take over before you got there.” But He said, “I’ll drive them out just fast enough so that you can occupy the homes that they’ve built, use the wells that they’ve dug, tend the vineyards that they’ve planted. It’s all yours. All you have to do is take it.” But as I pointed out several weeks ago, go ahead to Deuteronomy because you have to see this from Scripture or you might not take my word for it. Deuteronomy Chapter 1, and Moses, of course is kind of rehearsing here, everything that has gone on before. And so after the fact, he is now writing a synopsis of it you might say, and you come down to Chapter 1, Verse 19 where Moses writes:
“And when we departed from Horeb, (that’s Mount Sinai. After that Tabernacle had been constructed, taken down, and the Cloud moved them.) we went through all that great and terrible wilderness,…”
And the Sinai Peninsula is just exactly that. It is the most awesome geographical area that you can imagine. It’s not flat desert. It’s just tremendous mountains and canyons. How God kept track of between 3 to 7 million people and all their livestock, I don’t know. That, in itself, was a miracle. But nevertheless, Moses writes:
“…we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. (that’s on the border. The Promised Land is just ahead.) And I said unto you, `ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth give unto us. (now is there any hint of problem in there? No, but it’s there.) Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee; go up and (spy it out? No:) possess it…'”
What I like to emphasize and I think a lot of people miss. Did God intend those twelve spies to go into Israel? No. God intended for the nation of Israel to go right on in by faith. Knowing that He would take care of the inhabitants, because He said He would. He said that He would drive them out. Now, how did they cross the Red Sea? By faith. Now you say,“Yes, but that was on dry ground.” But you wait a minute, they knew that water was walled up somewhere. I don’t think it was like Cecil B. De Mille’s movie, just a narrow cavern. I don’t think the people really knew where that wall of water was. I think it must have been a wide area. But nevertheless, it was there. Now, would you have liked to just glibly walk though? So how did they do it? By faith. Here they come to the same kind of a situation. Granted, they don’t know what to expect. But God has told them that He would have everything ready for them. He would drive out their enemies and all they would have to do is occupy. Now this is what I want you to understand, that the sending in of the twelve spies was not God’s idea. It was that weakness of the flesh. And Israel said, “But, oh, we don’t know. Can’t we send in spies?” And God, in His goodness and graciousness, what did He do? He said, “Alright, I’ll let you send in spies.” But that was not His intention. So, verse 21:
“…go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged. (now read the next verse. But what happened?) And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, `We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.'”
What are they really doing? They are saying, “Now listen Moses, we don’t really believe that God is going to do what He says He’s going to do. But let us send in men that can confirm, and they can tell us what to do.” Isn’t that awful? That’s literally awful. You see, they were taking things out of God’s hands and putting it into the hands of mere mortals. Had those twelve spies come back and said, “We can take it.” Then what would they have done? They would have said, “Okay, we’ll go.” But when the twelve spies came back – let’s go back over again to Numbers Chapter 14. And like I’ve already said, it was a sad, sad setting. Here the land of milk and honey was sitting there in front of them. Everything was ready, and they could have had it all, without one ounce of work. Of course, the picture here is that Israel could have entered into what the Bible calls; what’s the word? His rest. See, they wouldn’t have had to labor, they wouldn’t have had to dig the wells and so forth. They could have just walked in and it was ready for them. That’s why He called it “The land of milk and honey, the place of God’s rest.” But here they are. They’re crying and murmuring:
“And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey?…”
What a hypocrisy. Is that who they were really worried about? No, these guys were scared to death of the giants that might be up there in the Promised Land. You know, it’s almost amusing and yet it isn’t because it was such serious business. Go to verse 28:
“Say unto them, `As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness (now remember, they could have had the Promised Land); and all that were numbered of you,…'”
See, we skipped all that. They were all counted and from those numbers is where I get the number that there were anywhere from 3 to 7 million of them. All you’ve got to do is a little computing, because all together there were over 600,000 men of war. That’s young men, unmarried, and then you compute all their relatives and families, and you can easily get 5 million people. That’s why I make it a round figure of 3 to 7 million. I can’t imagine it, and I’ve used the analogy more than once. The whole megaplex of Dallas and Ft. Worth, Dallas and Tarrent County together is a little over 3 million. Can you imagine Dallas and Fort Worth, out there in the wilderness of Sinai? See, most of us have got a few hundred or a few thousand at the most. Listen, there’s millions of them and that in itself is miraculous. Now finishing 29:
“…according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” Remember that I’m always saying that one of the most important words in Scripture is b-u-t, and what does it say here.
“But your little ones (all the ones that they were so concerned would die in the wilderness. God comes back and almost like a comedy of errors, tells them), which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.”
Isn’t that something? I always have to tie this in to today. Isn’t that exactly where the human race is today? Everything that God has put out there for the human race, what do they say? For one reason or another, they’ve got a million excuses, “I don’t what any part of it. I don’t want it.” And yet look what they’re missing. That which God has promised and has made available, they have despised it. We’re no different. We can’t look down our nose at the Jew and say, “Well, you know we would have done things different.” No we wouldn’t. The human race is the same from start to finish. Come back to Numbers 14, verse 4:
“And they said one to another, `Let us make a captain, and let us (what?) return into Egypt.'”
Now, that’s a short memory, isn’t it? You remember what the conditions were in Egypt? What were they belly aching about? They would say, “Oh our task masters, they’re cruel.”And they were. They worked from sun-up to dark and they got just enough compensation to keep them alive to work the next day from sun-up to dark. And yet, when they are on the very threshold of the land of milk and honey, they look back and think Egypt was heaven on earth. And again, aren’t people the same way today? Sure they are. I mean it’s stark; what’s the word: unbelief. That’s all their problem was. Now, we’ve used it before, but I’m great on repetition. Go to Hebrews Chapter 3. In fact, we used it just a few weeks ago, but I’m going to use it again because I think it’s just so appropriate for you and I right now, today, at this present time. Remember, when Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, he was writing primarily to Jewish believers. And, consequently, he’s going to use an awful lot of the Old Testament contact and experiences in order to make his point. Here he is in verse 7, and he’s going to be quoting from the book of Psalms:
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted [or tested] me , proved me, and saw my works forty years…)”
Do you see the setting? Paul is making reference to that forty years wilderness experience that followed their rejection of going in at Kadesh-barnea.
“Wherefore I was grieved with that generation,(the generation that said, `Oh we’re going to lose all our women and children’) and said, `They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So (God’s speaking now), I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into (here’s the words) my rest. (they could have had it) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you (remember, this is for us as well) an evil heart of (covetousness? No. Immorality? No. Anything else ? No, but what’s the word?) unbelief…”
Turn with me a couple of pages to Hebrews Chapter 11; to what I call one of the two absolutes that we have to confront. You cannot detour around them and you cannot compromise them. They are absolute. Now there are a lot of things in Scripture that I will tell people I don’t get all shook up if you don’t agree with me because there is room for disagreement. But there are some areas that there is no room for disagreement. And here’s one of them:
“But without (what’s the word?) faith it is impossible (that means exactly what it says. That’s why I say you can’t compromise this; you can’t skirt around it) to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe (see, that’s faith. You’ve got to believe) that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I said that there were two, so I might as well hit the other one while we are here in Hebrews. And that would have to be back in Chapter 9, verse 22. Now you know, there are liberal circles that don’t have very kind words about the blood bought way of salvation. They comment about it. And a lot of denominations over the past 10 years have taken every song out of their song book that has any reference to the blood, whether you know it or not. Some of our major denominations have removed all of the hymns with any reference to the blood. Well, the reason is that they don’t like it. But look what the The Book says. Here again is an absolute that you cannot compromise:
“And almost all things are by the law (going back again to the Old Testament) purged with blood (but here’s the part of the verse that applies to every human being today); and without the shedding of blood is no remission.”
There is no forgiveness. Again go back to the Tabernacle, what did the High Priest have to do every year? He had to present the blood. It was the only way for man to approach God. There is no other way. There is no approach to God other than the blood-sprinkled way. So without faith we can’t please Him. Without the shedding of blood we can’t please Him.Back to Hebrews Chapter 3 then, it all rests on their lack of faith. They could have had the very rest of God. The could have had the land of promise. But they turned because of their unbelief. Now down to verse 13:
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day (while we still have this kind of an opportunity); lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Always stop and think. How do we recognize sin, and how do we deal with sin? I want it in only one word. Faith. Because, unless we can believe what God says about certain activities or certain acts, we don’t know that it’s sin. But when God says it and we believe it, then we know what it is. Our whole daily walk is prompted by faith in God’s Word. Think about it. When Romans 3:23 says that “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” I always said that’s the first step to salvation, to believe that I am what The Book says that I am. And that is, short of the glory of God. It’s taking God at His Word concerning myself, concerning you. So faith is that which guides us not only into salvation, but all through our Christian experience. It’s all based on what The Book says. Not what someone else says. People have told me and I appreciate it, “You know, you don’t condemn this and you don’t condemn that. Do you notice that?” I don’t have to. I don’t have to tell people, “Stop doing this and stop doing that” because as soon as they get into The Book and see what The Book says, by faith, then they’re going to take appropriate action. I still maintain that if you get people into The Book, you get them to believe in what God says, and all those things that a lot of people scream about; they’ll take care of themselves. So then verse 14:
“For we are made partakers of Christ (now remember, it’s His righteousness and it’s on that basis that He justifies us), if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;”
I know that a lot of people jump on that and say, “See, it says `if, and that’s conditional.” Well, in spite of the word “if” in this case, I’m still going to maintain that we are going to partake, we are going to remain steadfast. And then Verse 15:
“While it is said, `To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
And remember, how many escaped? Joshua, Caleb, Moses and Aaron. But for the most part, that nation that was old enough to respond was totally in unbelief. This is hard to comprehend. Only a few survived that judgment in their unbelief.
“But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?”
Again, I always remind people of this. It was only a few months previous to this that they had that horrible, immoral setting around that pagan, golden calf. But is that what God is concerned about? No. Because why did they worship and why did they dance at the golden calf? Unbelief! Had they believed in the God that Moses was dealing with up there in the mountains, would they have asked for an idol? No. Had they believed in the Holy and Righteous God, would they have had lascivious dancing? No. See what I’m saying? Okay, but what was their problem?
“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that (what?) believed not.” And you know that’s the problem today, just as much as it was then. People will not, and for some reason, cannot believe the Word of God. Oh the intellectual community will try to argue it away from their highly educated position. But they just can’t bring themselves to say, “But this is what God says.”
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”