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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 20

Verses 1-29

  1. INTRO:
    1. Next Wed Night we will be having our kids Musical “Pirates of the I Don’t Care-ibbean” in the main sanctuary. (It’s Faith & treasure) Their 1st performance tonight/Oceanside.
    2. Ladies Night Out - Tomorrow! June 11th at 7:00 pm. - Guest Speaker is Jeannette Walls from Calvary Chapel Upland and Shannon Quinntana will be leading worship.
      1. A great night of fellowship and teaching!
    3. Do you lead anything? - a ministry; your family; a small group; a Sunday School class, day Care, small business, coach a team?
    4. Tonight we’ll learn some great life lessons on leadership; reasons for controlling anger; death; things that just won’t go your way; & being replaced.
    5. We also advance to the 40th year of the wanderings!
      1. We don’t have very many details between the 2nd & the 40th year.
  2. WATERLESS PLACES!
    1. ​​​​​​​LEADERS ARE OFTEN DISCOURAGED! (1-6)
    2. Sometimes leaders go through one trial after another.
      1. 1st Miriam died & Moses & Aaron mourn their only sister.
      2. Then, the people complain again, for Egypt was still in their hearts.
    3. Boy, all the memories when a loved one dies. The good, the bad & the ugly.
    4. I wonder how many times Moses older sis Miriam, told Moses the story of that fateful day on the Nile?
      1. When his mom Jochebed placed him in a basket & hid it among the reeds.
      2. How his sis persuaded Pharaoh’s daughter to have Jochebed nurse the child.
      3. Later, how after Moses sang with the congregation that great song of deliverance from Pharaoh & his army; then Miriam kicked in with the ladies singing a response with a timbrel in her hand.
      4. When Miriam challenged Moses leadership(ch.12) & she became leprous for her rebellion & Moses had to plead for her life & health.
    5. (2-5) Israel needed water, wished they were dead, hated the desert, & wished they were back in Egypt.
    6. (3) In the will of God no place is an “evil place”; but when your inner desires are not spiritual, no place is a good place - except Egypt! (Warren Wiersbe; With The Word; pg.98)
    7. (6) Facing the threat of a mutiny(again), Moses & Aaron ran to the Lord in prayer(again).
    8. LEADERS SOMETIMES DISOBEY GOD! (7-11)
    9. Moses was not to touch the rock or speak to the people.
      1. He did both! - He used the opportunity to scold the people, & he also hit the rock with his staff in anger.
      2. God still miraculously provided water. He is faithful even when we’re not.
    10. Even the strongest leaders have weaknesses:
      1. David committed adultery; Peter briefly drifted into legalism; Moses? He got angry! Why was anger so severely dealt with? (wow, one infraction?)
        1. His anger was from unbelief, a failure to trust God for what He promised.
          1. They usurped God’s authority...trusting in themselves more than they did in God. (arrogance)
          2. Moses was a leader & with position comes great responsibility.
            1. Lk.12:48 to whom much is given, from him much will be required; & to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
      2. If Moses had spoken to the rock, then the miracle would have pointed to God’s power & provision. (they didn’t honor Him as Holy!)
        1. Instead he rebuked the Hebrews & brought attention to Himself (Must we bring water...). He distracted the people from the Lord.
    11. Read Ps.106:32,33 –
    12. Spiritual analogy: Christ is the rock(1 Cor.10:4); the Holy Spirit is represented as the Living water(Jn.7:38,39).
      1. In Ex.17 God told Moses to smite the rock, picturing our Lord’s death on the cross. But here, He told him to speak to the rock, for Jesus Christ died but once. All we need do now is ask, and He will give of His Holy Spirit.
    13. LEADERS ARE DISCIPLINED BY GOD! (12,13)
    14. Leaders are disciplined by God, for with privilege goes responsibility.
    15. Neither Moses nor Aaron was permitted to enter the Promised Land.
    16. LEADERS ARE SOMETIMES DISAPPOINTED! (14-21)
    17. Edom would not permit Israel to pass through the land despite the promises Moses gave.
      1. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau (Jacob’s brother) & were therefore blood relatives to Israel; but they did not act like brethren.
      2. You’ve seen 9-11 bumper stickers “Never Forget”! - This act by the Edomites was never forgotten!
        1. Amos 1:11 Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.
    18. LEADERS ARE SOMETIMES REPLACED! (22-29)
    19. Moses is commanded to take Aaron and Eleazar (Aaron’s son) up on Mount Hor.
      1. There transfer the clothing (& office) of Israel’s high priest from father to son.
      2. Eleazar now becomes Israel’s 2nd high priest.
    20. Though they didn’t make it into the earthly promise land, they did make it into the heavenly Promised Land!
      1. From grumbling to Glory, from wandering to rest!
    21. IT IS NOT EASY TO BE A LEADER!
    22. We must pray for those whom God has made leaders in His service.
    23. Heb.13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
    24. What’s most amazing to me is after Moses was forbidden to go in to the Promise Land, he didn’t rebel like the other Israelites, he didn’t pout, he didn’t become a chronic complainer like so many; instead he led, instructed, & prepared the next generation, w/o hope of sharing their success.
      1. His renewed faith helped him complete his divinely assigned leadership task.
      2. Maybe your life hasn’t been exactly as you would have written the script. So what! Hallow your God; give honor to Him & His name; complete your God given task even if your husband or wife isn’t on board; even if you’re handicapped by money, even if your disadvantaged by debt, even if your deprived of your health, or disenfranchised & don’t feel worthy.
        1. Like our brother Moses, Complete your God given task!!!
        2. Failure is not the final word when God is so gracious! :)
    25. Y. Cautions:
      1. ​​​​​​​A momentary loss of self-control can yield serious consequences & adversely affect our walk with God.
      2. Q: What area in your life do you have the most trouble in losing your cool?
      3. Q: What consequences did you suffer.
      4. Q: Does this diminish your witness for the Lord?
      5. Q: What can you do differently?
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Numbers 20". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/numbers-20.html. 2017.