Three Men Went Up, But Only Two Came Down (Numbers 18-20)

Scripture Reading – Numbers 18-20

What difference does it make?

You may be wondering if Old Testament passages that state laws and guidelines for sacrifices have any relevance for New Testament believers.  Unfortunately, there are some preachers who foolishly assert the Old Testament scriptures have no application for the Church.  They could not be further from the Truth!

Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:12), His death satisfying the penalty of our sins, we no longer observe the laws and guidelines for sacrifices. However, the Old Testament scriptures give us eternal principles that we find reflected in New Testament doctrine.

For example, unlike the other tribes that would be assigned an inheritance in the Promised Land, the tribe of Levi would have no inheritance of land (18:20-21).  The LORD’S will was for His ministers to be wholly dedicated to the LORD. Provision for the priests, Levites, and their families came from the tithes and sacrifices offered to the LORD by the people (Numbers 18:8-19, 23-24).

The laws directing the people to support the high priest, priests, and Levites through their sacrifices is reflected in the New Testament principle that a faithful minister of the Gospel is to honored and rewarded for his labor (1 Timothy 5:17-18).

Numbers 19 gives us ceremonial laws for cleansing should a priest come in contact with a corpse, whether beast or man. Modern science has revealed what ancient Israel may not have known…the ever-present danger of disease and contamination.

The Deaths of Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 20)

Several events are recorded in Numbers 20 that give us pause to consider the ever-present consequence of sin…Death.  Miriam, the sister of Moses dies (20:1) and near the close of the chapter Aaron, Moses’ brother dies (20:28).

Returning to a sin that has been their pattern, the people began to chide Moses and Aaron when there was no water (20:2-5). The LORD mercifully commanded Moses to take up his rod, speak before all the people, and water would come forth from the rock (20:7-8).

Frustrated and angry, Moses disobeyed the LORD and spoke harshly to the people. Striking the rock with his rod, water came gushing forth, supplying water for the people and their beasts (20:9-11).

Moses’ actions met the desires and needs of the people; however, the consequence of his sin was tragic for himself and his brother Aaron. We read, Numbers 20:12 – 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Our devotional ends with a dramatic ceremony that took place at Mount Hor. Remembering Aaron would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land (20:23-24), Moses was told to strip his brother of his priestly robes and place them on his son and heir, Eleazar (20:25-26).

Moses, Aaron, and his son Eleazar ascended Mount Hor; however, only Moses and Eleazar “came down from the mount (20:28).

Numbers 20:29 – 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith