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THE PRAYER OF MOSES

"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. And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. 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. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel."  Numbers 10:33-36

 

 A Preacher in his Study

LESSON 1:

David, in Psalm 23, plainly says of our God: "He LEADETH me!"

Another Psalmist, Asaph, describing God's very character, assures us of that fact too!  "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that LEADEST Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth."  Psalm 80:1

And historically the whole Old Testament gives illustration after illustration of God's leadership and care of Israel, His people.

For example, when Moses and the Jewish nation were leaving Sinai and heading for the Promised Land Scripture records:  "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."  Numbers 10:33

The verb "departed" ("nasa") means to "pull up," especially tent pegs it seems! It is a word picture for starting a journey.

The "mount of the Lord" is Sinai, the place God gave the Law to Israel.

But notice What is leading them!

The "Ark of the Covenant."

Now, as you all know, that little piece of precious furniture was a Type of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It, being made of acacia wood, typifies Jesus' perfect humanity.  This is a wood that grew in the desert.  Jesus sprang as "a root out of dry ground" according to Isaiah 53:2.  This is wood that would not rot!  It was durable!  And Jesus is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" according to Hebrews 13:8.   This is fragrant word and Jesus smells heavenly!  He is a "sweet savour" to His Father!  And this is wood that grew thorns too!  So did Jesus wear thorns on Calvary, bearing our curse!

The wood of the Ark was overlaid with gold as well!  Gold, a picture of Deity, symbolizes Jesus ... God the Son ... Who came to earth as a Man ... to die for sinners!  Wood = humanity yet gold = Deity! 

Inside that Ark were three things!  A pot of manna, an emblem of Jesus as The Bread of Life!  (John 6:35)  Aaron's dead almond limb that budded, a clear picture of our Lord's Resurrection!  Plus it contained the Law of God, the very tables of stone!  In the "heart" of the Ark was the Word of God!  Need I say any more?  Jesus internalized the Word of God!  In fact, He IS the living Word of God!

On top of that Ark was a Mercy Seat, made of pure beaten gold!  This is the Place the blood of atonement was sprinkled year after year, covering the sins of Israel!  Jesus, God in flesh, was beaten on Calvary!  He too was Blood spattered and stained, dying for you and me! 

And attached to the Mercy Seat were two golden angels, cherubim!  They are looking at the Mercy Seat!  And, yes, for all eternity the angels of God will be gathered around Jesus ... worshipping and adoring Him Who redeemed His people!

By the way, the very size of the Ark is amazing!  It was to be 2 1/2 cubits long and 1 1/2 cubit wide!  Also the height was 1 1/2 cubit!   Why this unusual size? Most everything else in the Tabernacle was an even number of cubits in dimension! I'll tell you one reason.  Jesus, of Whom this Ark speaks, cannot be described by one, although lovely, piece of furniture!  It can only inform us of maybe half His Glory!  The "half has never been told," folks!  It's like the Queen of Sheba told Solomon:  "Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard."  1st Kings 10:7

All I am saying is that, when Israel set forth on their journey to Canaan, the ARK led the way!  Again, "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."  Numbers 10:33

Don't you also see the "three days' journey" phrase too?  It "sounds" like Resurrection ground to me!  Jesus promised, then performed this miracle: "The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."  Luke 24:7

I am glad to announce today that the One Who leads us is a Living Saviour! Alive forevermore!

And what is that Ark doing?  Why is It leading?  For what is It searching?  "A resting place!"

To "search" (in Hebrew = "tur") means "to spy," or to find that which is hard to locate!  Jesus can find "rest" in hard situations!  Remember Matthew 11:28, where our Lord said:  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  One Hebrew Lexicon suggests that "tur" means "to meander" along the path, looking for something!  I am again thinking of Psalm 23!

And the "time" sense of "tur" is that of constant action!  Jesus is always providing His Own with Rest!  He is the good Shephered!

Lastly today, "resting place" translates "manuchah" which means a quiet settled location!  Genesis 49:15, the first time our word here is used in Scripture, says "rest is good!"  Once in the King James Version of Scripture "manuchah" is rendered "ease!"  Once again it is "comfortable!"  Solomon, in 1st Chronicles 22:9, is called "a man of REST!" 

By the way, our Lord today is resting at the right Hand of God!  Even the Tabernacle was called that!  "Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building."  1st Chronicles 28:2

And in Psalm 23:2 ..."manuchah" is worded this way:  "still" as in still waters! "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."

What a journey Moses and the Israelites began in Numbers 10:33.  "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."

And even more so ... what a journey we New Testament Believers walk day by day!  With Jesus as our Saviour and the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and the Bible as our Textbook and God the Father as our Provider and Protector ... how blessed we are!

Praise His Name!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, walk with Him today!

Galatians 5:16 clearly promises: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." 

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

It was called "the cloud of the Lord."  It was often a pillar shaped cloud and at night it glowed with fire!

The Cloud virtually led Israel from the Red Sea to the land of Canaan!

Numbers 10:34 tells us:  "And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp."

This miraculous Cloud was an emblem of the Presence of the Holy Spirit of God.   It also was a visible manifestation of the "shekinah" Glory of God!  The noun for "cloud" is "anan" and of its 87 appearances in the Bible it always is translated as "cloud" (81 times) or "cloudy" (6 times).  It seems to have no secondary meaning.

The little preposition "upon" (in Hebrew = "al") means above or beside or towards as well as upon.  The Presence of the Lord was all around them!

Even when Israel traveled, the Cloud accompanied them.  No, I worded that wrongly.  The Cloud LED them!  They did NOT travel without It moving first!  The verb "went out" is "nasa" in Hebrew and means "to depart or to journey or to set forth." 

The noun for "camp" ("machaneh") actually means an army settlement!  We are talking in battlefield terms!  "Onward Christian soldiers!"

From the paragraph which comprises the context for Numbers 10:34, it is apparent that the Cloud moved first, the Ark followed, then the whole host of Israel fell into place and the journey began!  They followed until the Cloud stopped and the Ark rested!  Now that's letting the Lord direct your steps!  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23

Let me mention a few things about that Cloud.

1. The Cloud was not given to the people of God until they had shed the Blood of the lamb and eaten the Passover Meal in Egypt!  The applied Blood is a picture of salvation! Until one is saved by the Grace of God, he or she has no lasting personal relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

2. The Cloud was God's idea, not man's!  So with the Holy Spirit too!  Man just isn't that smart!

3. The Cloud was a Gift of God!  No price was exacted before its arrival!

4. The Cloud then, as does the Holy Spirit today, guided them through the wilderness of life!  Read Exodus 13:21.  "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way."

5. The Cloud covered and protected Israel from the hot desert sun!  Psalm 105:39 tells us:  "He spread a cloud for a covering."  The Holy Spirit in our lives yet protects us, not from sun-strokes necessarily, but from sin-strokes!

6. Then at night, when the air got cold, the Pillar of Cloud was a Pillar of fire to warm them!  Of course It also gave them light!  "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night."  Exodus 13:21 again! 

7. God spoke to Israel from the Cloud!  He still communicates to us through His Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit!  Psalm 99:7 says:  "He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar."

8. The same Cloud that was light to the Israelites was darkness to the Egyptians!  Here the Cloud is protecting God's people from their enemies!  The Lord yet does that today!  Exodus 14:20 reminds us:  "And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night."

9. The Cloud, once given, was never taken away from Israel all the years of their journeying!   So is the Holy Spirit a permanent Gift for this Church Age of Grace!  "Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go."  And the precious Holy Spirit is given to us ... for ever!  Jesus prayed:  "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever."

10. And, apparently, during the Millennium, the Cloud will again be physically visible on the dwellings of Israel!  Isaiah tells us:  "And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence."

These ten points about the Cloud have been gleaned from the writings of a preacher of yesteryear, A. W. Pink.  That man loved the Word of God!

Believing friend, thank God today for your relationship with the Holy Spirit!

Yes, it's permissible to talk like that.  Paul, in 2nd Corinthians 13:14, talks about the "communion" of the Holy Ghost!

And the Apostle John repeatedly cautions us to "HEAR what the Spirit saith!"  Seven times he uses that clause in the Book of Revelation!

We today do not have a visible manifestation of the Spirit leading us!  No, we have something far better!  We have the Holy Spirit personally abiding IN each of us who is truly saved!  The Holy Spirit was "upon" those Old testament saints.  He is "IN" the New Testament saint!  He could come and go from them! He abides within us continually!  Thank God we live on the "after" side of the Cross!

Praise be to God!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

It is a prayer.

Apparently Moses prayed it often!

Scripturally speaking, one could just call it "the prayer of Moses."

He seems to have prayed it unselfishly ... for the people of Israel.

Furthermore, it appears that he asked this of the Lord in the mornings.

Yes, it is a morning prayer.

The Israelites had several of these.  One of them, Psalm 63, begins with these words:  "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary."  The implication is that "seeking" the Lord is the first order of the day!

Moses' morning prayer is revealed in Numbers 10:35.  Here it is word for word: "Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee."

The full verse reads:  "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."

The "ark" (Hebrew = "aron") of the Covenant moved each morning when the Cloud of Glory set forth on a new day's journey.

At this crucial beginning point of each segment of the trip from Egypt to Canaan Moses prayed!

Each of us too must begin our days with prayer.  It's a good idea to begin every trip that way too, even a drive to the grocery store.

The Ark is said to "set forward."  This verb, "nasa," literally means "to pull up!" That's exactly what happened!  The Cloud lifted and began to move!  Then the Ark was reverently hoisted upon the shoulders of the Men of God who were ordained to carry it, the Israelites followed tribe by tribe ... and the trip for the day had begun!

The verb "said" (Hebrew = "amar") is framed in such a way that it indicates ongoing action, incomplete action.  The prayer was repeated often!  This was a daily habit of Moses.

Now to study the precise prayer: 

"Rise up," in Hebrew "qum," means "to stand up."  To "come upon the scene." Even "to establish or impose!"  Here it is an imperative!  Often Old Testament prayers are framed this way!  As if Moses were telling God what to do!  (Such a thought would be extremely irreverent if God had not taught His people to pray in such a manner!  "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me."  Isaiah 45:11) I have electronically found 9 times in the Psalms where God is asked "to rise up!"  (Psalms 3:8 and 7:6 and 9:19 and 10:12 and 17:13 and 35:2 where it is "stand up!"  Also Psalms 74:22 and 82:8 and 132:8.

God's "enemies," in Hebrew "oyeb," mean those to "hate" the Lord!  Yes, the Lord has enemies!  By the way, if you are saved and loving the Lord, in all likelihood His enemies are your enemies too!  That hate you because you love the Lord!

Moses' petition to God is that those enemies "be scattered!"  This Qal imperfect verb, "putzs," means to be "dispersed" or even to be "shattered" or "broken to pieces!"  It's "imperfect" quality teaches us that the goal Moses had is not a one-time scattering here ... but a constant one!  Each day Lord, scatter those who hate Thee and Thy work!  Do not prosper them!  The first time this verb is used in the Bible, Genesis 10:18, it is translated "spread abroad!"

Those wicked men who built the Tower of Babel had one goal:  not to be "scattered!"  Genesis 11:4 tells us:  "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."  But, God "scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city" anyway!  Genesis 11:8

Three times in the Psalms this word picture appears, one apparently being a direct reference to Moses' prayer here in Numbers 10. 

Psalm 18:14 --- "Yea, he (the Lord God) sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them."

Psalm 68:1 --- "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him."

And Psalm 144:6 --- "Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them."

Then the prayer draws a parallelism, further emphasizing its lone request:  "and let them that hate thee flee before thee."

Those who "hate" God (in Hebrew = "sane," pronounced saw-nay)  do so violently!  This verb is in the Piel stem and depicts intensive action!  It means "to hold in aversion."  To despise!

They are asked to be made "to flee" before the Lord and His now marching, approaching people ... the Israelites!  About 2,000,000 of them it seems! A crowd like that ... with women and children and infants and elderly folks too ... would have been an "easy" target.

"Flee" ("nus") means to depart, to disappear, or even to hide!  Its first use, Genesis 14:10 twice has the enemy retreating from a godly advancing army!

The ending words, "before Thee," refer of course to God.  They say literally "before Thy Face!"  God's Face often portrays His powerful Presence!

The Face of God drives away the enemy!

Paul puts it this way in Romans 8:31 --- "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Amen!

Folks, I've been thinking today ... why can't we pray this prayer of Moses each morning too?

God is still able to "scatter" those who hate His Name!

Can't we live days of enemy-free life too?

Why not pray the "enemies" away from your wife ... or husband today?

Or your whole family, especially that weaker son or daughter?

Include those precious Grandchildren too!

Again, Moses' very words, his exact prayer:  "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."

Try it!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The Bible is a Book filled with prayers!

Both Old and New Testaments!

Even Moses, the Lawgiver, was a mighty man of prayer.

Often do we see him interceding before the Lord.

For example, every morning ... or at least every morning that the "Pillar of the Cloud" lifted and led the Israelites forward toward the Promised Land ... Moses prayed these words:  "Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." 

Then in the evenings, when the Cloud and the Ark of the Covenant stopped ... signaling "rest" time ... Moses prayed again!

One could almost call these brief prayers by two titles, Moses' morning prayer and Moses' evening prayer.

And I am suggesting to you today they still make great prayers for us to use in the 21st century!

How powerful this petition would be before Almighty God:  "Lord, first thing this morning I would ask of Thee to scatter the enemies that would today hinder and detain us from loving and serving Thee!  Worldwide I ask that Thou wouldest put to flight all those who hate Thy Name.  That dope dealer who wants to ruin the life of my grandchild,  that evolutionist who wishes to destroy believing faith in the Creator, the Judge who actively seeks the removal of every vestige of Christianity from our once great nation, the liberal preacher who fights the Word of God ... scatter them all!  Thy Kingdom come!  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven!  Deliver us from evil!  In Jesus' Name, Amen"

And then, for the evening prayer ... Moses' additionally asked:  "Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel."

The exact verse reads:  "And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel."  Numbers 10:36

The "it" has reference to the Ark of the Covenant. This special Item, God's earthly seat in Old Testament times and the place where the Blood of the lamb was sprinkled every Day of Atonement, moved (carried by specially appointed men of God) when the Cloud of Glory lifted and began the daily journey.

The verb "rested" is spelled "nuach" and means to "let down" or "to settle" in place.

The verb "said," indicating Moses' praying habit, is framed so as to indicate "incomplete" action.  Moses did not just pray this once and quit!  He prayed it every evening when the day's travel was declared finished by the Lord.

"He said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel."  Numbers 10:36

The verb "return" translates "shub" and means "to restore" or "to turn again." In  other words ... "Lord, gather around Thy children again this evening please!" It is a request for the glorious Presence of Almighty God! 

And for whom is Moses praying?

"The many thousands of Israel!"

We earlier learned that the total population of Israel at that time included 603,550 young men of fighting age, the army!  That does not count women and children and elderly men either!  See Numbers 1:46.

I would call that "many thousands!"

"Lord," asked Moses each night, "snuggle close by us again tonight!  We need Thy Presence!  Be close to each of the multitude Thou hast called Thy people, Israel!"

That's just like us praying each evening:  "Lord, we are going to bed now. Overshadow our family, all _____ of them (put the number here), with thy Power and guard us through the darkness!  We trust Thee for protection, including the salvation of our yet unsaved members.  In Jesus' Name, Amen"

Now ...

What have we done this Saturday, the last day of the year?

We've just let the Old Testament in general and Moses in particular be our "ensamples" on how to live ... and pray ... in our regular daily (and nightly) lives!

Do remember what Paul said:  "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written (in the Old Testament) for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."  1st Corinthians 10:11

Amen!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

OUR PRAYER IS THAT THIS BRIEF BIBLE STUDY HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF BLESSING TO YOU.  IT IS THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD THAT WE GROW IN GRACE AND INCREASE OUR FAITH!

 

 

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