Our Bible Lesson Column

Numbers 10:11‑13  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Golden Text. — “And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.
“And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai: and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.”—Num. 10:11-1311And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. 12And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran. 13And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Numbers 10:11‑13). Read Num. 10:29-3629And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel. 30And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred. 31And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes. 32And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee. 33And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them. 34And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. 35And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. 36And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel. (Numbers 10:29‑36).
Reading on the Lesson. Journeying to Canaan.
IN the third month of the first year the children of Israel came to Sinai, and on the first day of the first month of the second year the tabernacle was erected and accepted by God and filled with His glory (Ex. 19:1: 40:17, 34). Now, just fifty days later the cloud lifted, and they journeyed from Sinai to the wilderness of Paran. Whether it was the tabernacle and its erection, or the priesthood and the sacrifices, or the journeying through the wilderness, nothing was done, and no step was taken except as God commanded or guided by the pillar of cloud and fire. On the part of Moses and Israel it was simply a matter of obedience. Concerning the cloud and its guiding: and their obedience, see carefully Numbers 9:15-2315And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. 16So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. 18At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. 19And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not. 20And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. 21And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. 22Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. 23At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Numbers 9:15‑23).
30. “And he said unto him, I will not go, but I will depart to mine own land and to my kindred.” It is difficult to many believers to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the visible treasures of this world, yet Jesus and His sufferings now, with eternal glory hereafter, is the program for the Christian.
31. “Leave us not, I pray thee, forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.” It looks as if, for the moment, Moses was forgetting God and His cloud and His unerring guidance. So unstable is man, even at his best.
32. “And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us the same will we do unto thee.” Moses now talks more correctly, for we are fully authorized to offer all the riches of God’s grace and glory to all who will accept Him through Jesus Christ, but we are not authorized to seek either help or guidance from those who are not His.
33. “And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days’ journey to search out a resting-place for them.” This was infinitely better than the eyes or the wisdom of Hobab. How could Moses forget, or seem to, that God had led them out, and would surely lead them all the way?
34. “And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day when they went out of the camp.” The cloud was the visible symbol of the Lord’s presence with them, and He by it was their guide, their light, their shield, their oracle, their avenger, their covering (Ex. 13:21: 14:19, 20, 24-28: Num. 9:15-23: 10:34: 14:14)—in fact, all they needed for all their journey.
35. “And it came to pass when the ark set forward that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.” David, by the Spirit, afterward embodied this in at least two of the Psalms (68:1, 2; 132:8). In Josh. 3:1313And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. (Joshua 3:13) the ark is called “the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth,” and before it Jordan was dried up and the walls of Jericho fell down.
36. “And when it rested he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.” Thus, whether on the march or at rest, the great reality of Israel’s life was Jehovah in their midst. In proportion as they realized this and acted accordingly they prospered, but when they forgot Him they failed. It is so with us. He says, “Lo, I am with you always,” and when we believe this, and thus realize His presence (for the only way to realize anything in the spiritual life is to believe it) and count on Him, we have joy and peace and victory, but when we forget His presence we fall.