These two books of the Bible seem to the reader to be some of the most repetitious, detailed, and wearing to read of all the books of all the Old Testament.
Many readers of them see no modern application that can be applied. It seems like history and history only. However these two books teach an incredible truth that is easy to miss because of the seeming repetition.
Israel had refused to enter the promised land, after all they had suffered getting that far. They refused to go the “last mile” with God and Moses. Their just punishment would play out over approximately the next 40 years confined to the wilderness
However, God was still with them. Even though they had refused to accept their deliverance.
However, during those 40 years by God’s strict discipline, their decedents learned an object lesson so severe that the next generation were willing to cross over in God’s promised land.
But of what value are these two rather long and detailed books for the modern Christian?
Justice demands a price - or there can be no justice. Jesus could not use Paul until Jesus got his attention first. Jesus made him “just” by what He had already done on the cross. For the Israelites, they observed firsthand how the holy God is. They learned that God demands perfect obedience, and when violated there are automatic consequences. During those years, Israel also found that there is forgiveness after the penalty has been paid. This was accomplished through rigorous, detailed, and wearisome efforts by those who violated God’s perfect justice.
They eventually learned the value of obedience...through the agony of disobedience.
An object lesson for all humanity. And especially believing Christians.
That time in the wilderness pictures to us today the need for a Savior…an Intercessor, an Advocate who has already paid the price for all the strictness, suffering, and condemnation we would incur without Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross. However, through His death on the cross He paid for all our failures through sin. The price was extremely high. So high that His death on the cross substitutes for all our just punishment forever.
But perhaps the greatest lesson for all, that includes modern Christians, is the realization seen through these two books (all well as others) how God looks at sin. The Israelites paid dearly for their refusal to trust God. Since they sinned by not trusting God all the way, they suffered the automatic consequences of their lack of trust. They paid the penalty of a holy and just God.
By the experiences of those Israelites, we learn the value of justice and obedience.
In these two books - although difficult to keep focused on the what and why - shows how desperately we need a Savior…an advocate, one who can forgive, cancel the automatic results of sin and careless disobedience that cuts us off from a good relationship with God. These two books in the Old Testament pictures over 40 years all that Jesus suffered so long, and all the striving of those Israelites that pictures the price Jesus paid for you and me.
“Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].” - 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (AMP)
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