The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 55 of 207
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As we read these words, who among us would have the temerity to say that we are
sure that that crown and prize are ours? We do not, of course, mean to cast the slightest
doubt upon the absolutely perfect and inalienable position that every believer occupies in
grace. The passage in view is not dealing with position in grace, but with service,
running a race, fighting a good fight, finishing a course. There is as much difference
between these two things as between the rock foundation once laid, and the subsequent
erection built upon it that shall be tried by fire (I Cor. 3:). When we are dealing with
Israel in the Book of Numbers, we must remember that they are a redeemed people.
Redemption had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt, and the Red Sea flowed
between them. Moses himself was a saved man; yet he "suffered loss". The reader
would be helped in his study if he were to read Psalm 90: and 91:, noticing that
Psalm 90: speaks of those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, while Psalm 91:
speaks of those who, being under twenty years of age, were preserved for those
forty years, and led into the land under Joshua.
A beautiful spirit is manifested in the reply of Moses in Numb. 27: to the sentence
of death. He makes no complaint, he offers no excuses; he bows before the Lord, but
asks that a successor shall be appointed.
Numb. 27: deals with the request of the daughters of Zelophedad, and the Lord's
answer. The latter, together with the further enactment given in the last chapter of
Numbers, has to do with the law of the kinsman-redeemer, an important principle which
underlies the beautiful account in the book of Ruth and the teaching of Scripture in
connection with the Redeemer Himself (See the series on "Redemption", Volume XII,
page 109).  Chapters 28: and 29: restate the law regarding various offerings and
feasts. This was necessary for the guidance of the people about to enter the land, but
does not demand a detailed study here.
Chapter 30:  is devoted to the question of vows:  their fulfillment and their
cancellation. A special place is given to the woman in the matter. Her vow can be
rendered void either by her father, if she be unmarried, or by her husband, if she be
married. The words, "He shall bear her iniquity" (30: 15) give us a faint picture of the
relationship between Christ and His people. Moreover, the passage throws light upon the
true status of women. It is introduced by the words: "This is the thing which the Lord
hath commanded." A word here may perhaps be in season when the tendency of the
times, even among the Lord's people, is to throw over the restraints of Scripture in the
interests of a false "liberty" and "equality".  The treatment of the daughters of
Zelophedad, taken together with this chapter, would help to give a balanced judgment.
In chapter 31: Moses is commanded to avenge the children of Israel upon the
Midianites. This is the last command laid upon Moses: "afterward shalt thou be gathered
unto thy people." Midian is defeated. Balaam is slain. The spoils of war are purified
with fire and the water of separation. A great difference is made between the levy
imposed upon those who actually went out to the battle, and the remainder of the
congregation who stayed at home.