The Book of Numbers “In the Wilderness”
The Book of Numbers In Hebrew this book is called Bemidbar, which means “In the wilderness.”
Why is it called the book of “Numbers”? • Numbers 1:2 • Census #1: • Israel is about to go to war (to fight their way into the promised land). How many potential warriors do we have? • Numbers 3:11-13 • Census #2: • How many Levites are there? • They are to become the substitutes for each of the firstborn sons of all Israelite families.
The Setting Israel has been at Sinai for 11 months. They are about to leave toward the promised land. Numbers covers about 40 years of history.
Numbers 1-10. Preparations to leave Sinai and instructions about how to move the tabernacle, how to march, and how to camp. Numbers 10-36. A record of their journey through the wilderness to the borders of the Promised Land.
Numbers 3 Numbers 3:11-13. The ransoming of the Firstborn. The Levites are substitutes for the firstborn in all Israel.
Numbers 5 • Commandments regarding the purity of the people. • Purity of the camp (vs. 1-4) • Personal purity through repentance (vs. 6-8) • Purity within marriage (vs. 12-31)
Numbers 6 • Numbers 6:1-6 • The Vow of the Nazarite • Nazarite comes from the Hebrew nazir which means “consecrated or devoted.” • A voluntary (temporary) higher commitment of separation and consecration to the Lord. • Diet (vs. 3-4). Abstain from these foods • Appearance (vs. 5). Don’t shave your head • Associations(vs. 6). Don’t touch dead bodies
Numbers 11 • Numbers 11-36 contains many relevant lessons for us today as we journey toward the promised land of the Celestial Kingdom. • Note: Most of these lessons will be learned by “sad experience.”
The Book of Numbers: A Wilderness Survival Guide for Your Journey to the Promised Land
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1
Numbers 11:1 Who got burnt? Main Camp
Lesson #1 Stay in the main camp of the church. Main Camp
“Please do not put too much stock in some of the current views and vagaries that are afloat, but rather, turn to the revealed word, get a sound understanding of the doctrines, and keep yourselves in the mainstream of the Church…. “The proper course for all of us is to stay in the mainstream of the Church.” Bruce R. McConkie Quorum of the Twelve (Brigham Young University, March 1982)
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6
Lesson #2 Be Content with God’s daily gifts The Lord blesses us with what we need, not always with what we want. Craving more while failing to appreciate what we have is dangerous.
“Being content means acceptance without self-pity…. “Thus, within our allotments we see how the saintly display kindness even within barbed-wire circumstances, yet others have barbed attitudes even within opulence. Meanwhile, the discontented continue to build their own pools of self-pity, some Olympic size.” Neal A. Maxwell Quorum of the Twelve (Ensign, May 2000)
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6 Lesson #3. Numbers 11:18-20, 31-34
Lesson #3 Educate your desires!
Alma 29:4 • “I know that [God] grantethunto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men … according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.” • Jacob 4:14 • “… God hath taken away his plainness from [the Jews], and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.”
Lesson #3 Educate your desires! Avoid the “if only” game “If only we had some quail, then we would be happy!” If only I had _______, then I would be happy.
President Joseph F. Smith declared, “the education then of our desires is one of far-reaching importance to our happiness in life.” Such education can lead to sanctification until, said President Brigham Young, “holy desires produce corresponding outward works.” Only by educating and training our desires can they become our allies instead of our enemies! Neal A. Maxwell Quorum of the Twelve (Ensign, November 1996, 21)
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6 Lesson #3. Numbers 11:18-20, 31-34 Lesson #4. Numbers 11:14-17, 24-29
Lesson #4 Become a prophet! • Revelation 19:10 • “… the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
“The Prophet Joseph Smith has declared that every man who has come into this Church; and every woman, for that matter, who has received the testimony of the Spirit of the Lord, is a prophet or a prophetess; that every man should be a prophet, because every man in the Church should have the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy; and he should declare the truth, teach the principles of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, call upon the people to repent of their sins, and instruct them in the things of the kingdom.” Joseph F. Smith President (CR, April 1918, 159)
“What will protect you from the sin and evil around you? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety…. It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.” Thomas S. Monson President (Ensign, May 2011)
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6 Lesson #3. Numbers 11:18-20, 31-34 Lesson #4. Numbers 11:14-17, 24-29 Lesson #5. Numbers 12, 16
Lesson #5 Never speak evil of the Lord’s anointed
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” Joseph Smith President (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 156–57)
“I repented of my unbelief, and that too, very suddenly; I repented about as quickly as I committed the error. It was not for me to question whether Joseph was dictated by the Lord at all times and under all circumstances or not…. He was called of God; God dictated him, and if He had a mind to leave him to himself and let him commit an error, that was no business of mine. ... “It was not my prerogative to call him in question with regard to any act of his life. He was God's servant, and not mine.” Brigham Young President (Journal of Discourses, 4:297-298)
“[T]he officers of this Church … are responsible to God. God chose and nominated [them], and it is for him to straighten [them] out if [they] do wrong.” George Q. Cannon Quorum of the Twelve (Deseret Weekly, May 21, 1898, p. 708; “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, p.33)
An example of God • correcting His prophet • Numbers 20:3-12; 27:12-14
At a place called Meribah, one of the greatest ever, Moses, was fatigued by people clamoring for water. Momentarily, Moses “spake unadvisedly,” saying, “Must we fetch you water?” (Ps. 106:33; Num. 20:10; see also Deut. 4:21). The Lord mentored remarkable Moses through the pronoun problem and further magnified him. Neal A. Maxwell Quorum of the Twelve (Ensign, May 2002)
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6 Lesson #3. Numbers 11:18-20, 31-34 Lesson #4. Numbers 11:14-17, 24-29 Lesson #5. Numbers 12, 16 Lesson #6. Numbers 13-14
The Spies’ Report They all agree that the land is amazing! They all agree that the children of Anak are humongous! But 10react with fearand only 2react with faith.
Numbers 14:36-37. How did the Lord react to the 10 fearful spies? Numbers 14:29-33. How did the Lord handle the murmuring masses? Numbers 32:10-12. How did he respond to faithful Joshua and Caleb? Holy lands are for those who “wholly follow the Lord.” Can you hear the echoes of Jackson Country, Missouri (see D&C 101:1-8)?
Lesson #6 The Lord rewards faith and despises fear. As you look toward your future, respond with faith, not paralyzing fear.
Numbers 19 The offering of the red heifer was introduced as an ordinance for cleansing an area. The ash of the completely burnt red heifer is to be used to cleans the area.
Wilderness Survival Guide Lesson #1. Numbers 11:1 Lesson #2. Numbers 11:4-6 Lesson #3. Numbers 11:18-20, 31-34 Lesson #4. Numbers 11:14-17, 24-29 Lesson #5. Numbers 12, 16 Lesson #6. Numbers 13-14 Lesson #7. Numbers 21
Text Negev Numbers 21:1-3