Rev Hugh Price preached from Numbers 22 concerning the wayward prophet Balaam who had to be restrained from doing evil by his own donkey whom God enabled to speak.
The text of Numbers 21 concerns the snakes that bit the people of Israel after they grumbled against Moses and the Lord. In an act that would foreshadow the salvation that Jesus would bring, Moses lifted up a bronze snake upon a pole and all who looked to it were healed and kept from certain death. Jesus spoke of this in John 3:15-18 and said that He would be lifted up (on the cross) and all who look to Him in faith will be saved.
Faith is a concept that both unbelievers and believers can struggle with. This part of the book of James tackles the question of faith head on, showing that genuine faith will be seen and shown by deeds. No deeds will mean that there is no faith present or even that we have the faith of demons (whose belief in God leads them to do no more than quake in their boots!). So how do faith and deeds sit together? James points to the examples of Abraham and Rahab so that we might know!
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Following on from James’ practical warnings about showing favouritism (2:1-7) comes this Scriptural foundation. While we may think that showing favouritism ‘hardly’ breaks God’s law, James reminds us that in God’s sight sin is sin and all sin deserves His judgement, yet (thankfully) that He also acts mercifully to those who show mercy. By these James challenges those who claim to love God and keep His law, if we would pass His test.
Numbers 17 relates the important story of Aaron’s rod that budded, proving that he was the one chosen by God to be the High Priest of Israel. While mankind hates the notion of needing to be saved by another, God has made it clear that salvation can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in any other. Aaron’s budding rod also reminds us that (as Jesus taught in John 15) that it is only those who are ‘connected’ to Him who produce fruit.
The text of Numbers 16 concerns the rebellion of Korah and his friends against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Korah fell for the dangers of thinking too highly of himself, influencing others the wrong way and refusing to humble himself before the Lord. His tragic end was a warning to the rest of the Israelites, but sadly they did not heed the lesson. The New Testament speaks of ‘Korah’s rebellion’ and urges us to heed the lesson that ‘a man reaps what he sows’ – something that the people of Israel failed to grasp.