A New Order

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:11, Numbers 1:2-3, Leviticus 10:1-11
Date: 10/03/2009 
Lesson: 1
After their liberation from Egypt, God organized His people into an army and a priesthood as they got ready to enter the Promised Land.
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Good morning, everybody. Happy Sabbath to you all. And welcome to "central study hour" at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church almost set in sunny California. We've actually had some rain in the night, but the sun is still shining when Jesus is in our hearts. Can you say amen? In a second, we're going to sing number 338 "redeemed," first, one, two and third verse.

But before we do, I'd like to say that this song is dedicated to the following folks who wrote in. Got gordon in Canada, Christopher in the cayman islands, numsa in england, jim, dianne, jamie, buffy in florida, ariel in France, will in Georgia, donna in Illinois, barkley in india, sharon in Iowa, James in Mississippi, brian in Montana, harry, zachary who's 11 years old--zachary, glad you can be with us today-- they're up in New York. Gary and marianne in new zealand, aidan in Nevada, mike in Oregon, aidan and joy in trinidad and tobago and cheryl in Virginia. So, this song is especially for you and hopefully to the glory of God, depending how we sing it. Number 338, all three verses, "redeemed.

" [Music] Amen. Are you redeemed? Do you know that? Do you have the assurance? You know, we sometimes feel that, "oh, I don't know if I can really say I'm saved." You should know if you're saved. You should have that assurance. Beware, you could lose it tomorrow. So, you have to keep your guard up.

But you need to know right now that you have that assurance through Jesus. Can you say amen? Good, we have another song here. And this one is--if you want to turn to 422 "marching to Zion," one, second and foutth verse. And this is dedicated to zoe in Alaska, zevara in burundi, margie and ajee, years old in Canada. Glad you can be with us too.

Ferris in england, jared in florida, bob, Paul and sabrina in Idaho, bret in Kansas, ryan in Louisiana, janice in mauritius, samantha in Missouri, joey in Nevada, ashley in New York, Christopher in Ohio, juanita in south africa, wakios in turks and caicos islands, Paulton in Utah and zolan in the yemen. Alright, first, second and fourth verse, "marching to Zion." Now, let's sing this like we mean it, okay, as though we're really Marching to the heavenly kingdom. [Music] Can you say amen? You were sounding like you were Marching, folks. Praise the Lord. Well, we need to kind of settle down a little bit now.

I want to thank you all for joining us this morning in our song service. And before we have Pastor Doug come and present the lesson, let us just bow our heads and invite the Lord's presence. Gracious, wonderful, kind, loving Heavenly Father, it just gladdens our hearts and lifts our spirits to sing these songs of praise to you this morning for you are most worthy. And we're glad today that we can come here into this house, which is called by your name to open your sacred word and to understand with our heads but also to experience with our hearts the precious truth that you have prepared for us. So, Father in Heaven, we ask this morning that you would anoint Pastor Doug as he brings us the lesson study.

We pray that you would use him to inspire us and instruct us. So, come close now and touch every heart. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen. Well, God bless you all.

Have a great Sabbath. And Pastor Doug, wherever you are? I'm here. By faith, I knew it. Make an appearance, Pastor Doug, thank you. It's all yours.

Pastor mike was going to look around and say, "well, he's not here, I guess I'll have to teach today." Thank you, pastor mike and marion and jessica and our musicians sounded good, all those instruments and you singing. We're glad to have the afcoe students from this afcoe session up at weimar here worshipping with us at central today. And want to welcome our friends that are studying with us through television or the internet or listening on the radio. This is a special day for a couple of reasons. We're dealing with a brand new subject in our study guide.

We're talking about the book of Numbers for the next quarter. And this lesson is titled "people on the move, the book of Numbers." If you don't have a copy of this, those who are regular members here at central church, we have some back there at the tape room. And also, if you call your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church, I'm sure they'll be happy to give you one so you can study along with us. We hope you do that. As a matter of fact, they've even got the lessons online if you just type in "Sabbath school lesson.

" I think it's the first thing that pops up on yahoo! Or Google. And so, you can study the lesson online. By the way, that's how I do it at home. I just bring this one here with me sort of as a prop for you. But I get all of my study done through my computer online.

We have a free offer that we'd be happy to share with you that goes along with our study this quarter at least for the next few weeks, and it's called "the Holy Spirit, the need." And that's offer number 723. It's a book on the Holy Spirit. We'll be happy to share with you. All you have to do is ask for it. That's offer 723.

Call the number, 866-788-3966. That adds up to 866-study-more. That's what we want you to do. And it's actually good that we were just singing "marching to Zion" because that really goes along with our lesson today, talking about this "people on the move" and dealing with the book of Numbers. Now some of you, if you are like me, when you first hear that we're going to be talking about the book of Numbers, you might be thinking, "we're going to study Numbers?" That's actually a very interesting book.

So, it's not just all arithmetic. But I'll say more about that in just a second. Before we get into the lesson, we're on lesson number one, which is called "a new order." Lesson one, "a new order," and we have a memory verse. Memory verse is from Corinthians 10:11, I've used this verse a lot in the last few weeks here at central church because we're talking about Jesus and all the Bible. Corinthians 10:11, kind of a key verse to help understand how to study the Bible.

You ready? Say this with me, "now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come." The things we read about, and Paul especially cites the history of Israel, the things we read about in the old testament in the history of Israel are written as examples for us because the history that you're going to study in the book of Numbers of what the children of Israel experienced is repeated more than you think by modern Israel, God's church. So, it's not just what happened to them back then or in the old testament. This is very relevant for what happens to God's people in our day and age. And so, we're going to be talking about the book of Numbers. Now before we leave, the word "Numbers" as a matter of fact in the Greek septuagint, I think that one of the words that's used is "arithmoi.

" That's where you get the word "arithmetic," the book of Numbers. And it's really--it's not an accurate title of the book though there is a census in the book. The book is not just a lot of Numbers. As a matter of fact, when it was first written, there weren't even chapters and verses. There is a census in the Bible and it adds up the different tribes, but the bulk of the book is stories.

The book of Numbers covers about years of history out of the 40 years that they wandered in the wilderness. Very important book so if someone says, "well I'm going to skip the book of Numbers," you're going to lose a lot of history of the children of Israel and their experiences as they went through the wilderness. It does tell about a nation on the move, a nation that was growing on the move. Now, you've heard the expression before, "a rolling stone gathers no moss." Well, that's not always entirely true. If you've ever gone on a cross-country trip, you'll find out that when you arrive you sometimes have more junk than you started with.

There are nations that grow as they move. You know, one that's very interesting to me is alexander the great. That empire of greece really grew because their army was almost perpetually on the move for 12 years. When alexander left greece on his initial campaigns against persia, he basically never looked back. And as he made his way around the former roman empire, he covered, listen to this, in that 12 years they tromped, that army, 22,000 miles, no jeeps or humvees, on foot and horse.

From greece, they made their way to the khyber pass, virtually they Marched off the map you might say, back then. Went down into india and Egypt and the middle east. And alexander's empire grew as he was on the move. As a matter of fact, he died years later in Babylon. And at that point then, they had become a world empire.

And it all happened while they were on the move. The nation of Israel grew on the move. It's very interesting and it may come up later in some of our studies that while they were on the move, they continued to grow and to prosper. Their shoes didn't wear out. Now, some people are very interested in Numbers.

In our family, Karen does the checkbook. I praise the Lord that she has that gift and she's interested in Numbers. And she gets real excited. Like a couple of days ago, you know what the date was? It was 9/09/09. And she just got so excited about that.

And I thought, "yeah dear, that happens every year." There's a calendar, something different happens. Next year, there's going to be a 10/010/010. I guess then we'll have to wait after that for--well no, it'll keep going until 12, right? /012/012 And then after that, you have to wait 100 years for it to start doing that again. But, Karen actually parked her car one time when her odometer got to 9999 and took a picture of it. She just revels in Numbers, you know, that do interesting things.

She does the checkbook and she really likes when it adds up. I like when it adds up too. But Numbers means something in the Bible. And I've got a study that I've collected, and we actually put it online. By the way, there is a new website called "Bibleprophecytruth," I think you can get there .

com or .org, "Bibleprophecytruth." And this, what I'm sharing with you now will be up there. It's a really good Bible study website for Bible prophecy and other interesting things. 'Cause in Bible prophecy, Numbers often have a symbolic meaning and they've got--certain Numbers continue to appear. There are about a dozen, maybe Numbers, in the Bible that appear in an unusually high proportion. You've got the number 1, , 3, 3 and a half, 4, , 6, 7, 10, 12, 40, 50 and 70.

Then, you can say 144 appears a few times, which is of course a combination of 12s. But these Numbers all have meaning attached to them in the Bible. It's unusual how often they appear. Count your 12s and 7s in the book of Revelation and you find it amazing. So for instance, the number three, I'm not going to read all of these 'cause you can see them online there.

Oh by the way, any of you ever wonder about that 153 fish that were caught at the end of the Gospel of John. Why does it bother to say that they counted the fish and then it gives the tally? There's a reason for that, and there's a study that--I've seen a very interesting study on what that number means and why it's there. But I'm not going to share that with you right now. Anyway, three represents, for instance, the Godhead. And God often--deliverance comes after 3 days in the Bible.

You'll frequently see that. Three and a half represents a time of rejection and apostasy. Jesus taught 3 and a half years, and it was a time of rejection, apostasy and there was a great trial at the end of that. At the end of 3 and a half years, the apostles taught, time of rejection, apostasy. They were persecuted.

Stephen was stoned. Jesus was crucified. At the end of 3 and a half years of famine, when Elijah was hiding out, then he had to run for his life from jezebel. And you'll see this pattern through the Bible. You'll also find at the end of three and a half, the two witnesses of God are slain in Revelation.

So, three and a half has that meaning. It's a half or it is the dissection of seven. Seven is the perfect number in the Bible, the number of completeness. Forty represents a generation or a time of testing and trial. It rained 40 days and 40 nights.

Jesus is in the wilderness fasting where he's tempted days. You'll find that generation a time of testing. Children of Israel, during their years in the book of Numbers, this is a time of testing. They're wandering because they had lost faith at the borders of the promised land. Twelve, of course, is a number representing the church.

And 50 is the time of celebration like the jubilee. Seventy represents human leadership. Moses had the 70 elders. Jesus had the 70 disciples he chose. And you've got 70 times 7.

Anyway, so this is just a quick overview. If you want to know more about that, you can go to "Bibleprophecytruth" and see that there. Getting back into our study on the book of Numbers, one of the greatest migrations in history also happened in North America. During the gold rush, here we are in Sacramento where, you know, not far away from here is where it all happened. As a matter of fact, it happened all around us.

This became the springboard for the gold rush. One of the greatest migrations in history happened in 1849 to as people not only came from the east coast to the west, but they came from all over the world looking for the promised land. And what you have with the children of Israel is a nation of slaves and a mixed multitude crossing the desert looking for this promised land flowing with milk and honey. You and I are on our way, God willing, to a promised land and there is a trial. So, we're growing during this migration.

Now, why do they have this army being numbered? First of all, is there anything wrong with counting? How many went on field trips when you were a kid with your school? What do the teachers do just before you leave on the bus? Count everybody. At the end of the day when they're going back home, what do they do when you load back up? They count everybody, right? And so, here they're beginning a journey across the desert and God counts everybody. And so, it's sort of like a big field trip. Alright, we're going to read now Genesis 13:16 please. "I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.

" When God told Abraham that the children of Israel would be as the dust of the earth, now think about how much dust there is. Was that a literal or a figurative statement? It's figurative. And then he also said, "I'll make them like the stars of heaven." Are you and I going to believe there's exactly the same number of dusts as there are stars? It's obviously a figure. By the way, stars and the dust are numberless. But God was saying that especially compared to the other nations of the world that they would be a great army.

Once they got into millions in the Bible, they figured it was numberless. Just their soldiers were upward of 900,000. Keep in mind when they numbered them there, they only numbered those 20 years old and upward. Do you know there are some countries in the world today where more than half the population is under 15? Can you imagine that? And so when they're numbering just those 20 and above, it's not even all the people. Didn't necessarily count the women in the army there too.

Now later on when we get to the levites, they counted them from 1-month-old and upward when they counted the levites. So, and I'll get to that when we get to that. But anyway, so is it wrong to count? Maybe. Now by the way, I want to read the first--Numbers 1:2-3, "take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' house, according to the number of names, every male," not even counting the females, "individually from 20 years old and above who are able to go to war in Israel. You and aaron shall number them by their armies.

" So before we go any farther, what as the primary purpose of this census? Just to know how many people there are or how many soldiers there are? They're going to number how many soldiers there are. Why? Up to this point, Israel, had they been an army or had they been tribes of shepherds? They were shepherds. They weren't really soldiers. Now, they could be but I'll get to that in a second. Alright, please read for me Chronicles 21:1-2.

"Now satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So, David said to joab and the leaders of the people, 'go, number Israel from beersheba to dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.'" Satan moved David, and by the way, some people get confused about this 'cause you'll see in 2 Samuel where it uses the same story. It says the Lord told David or moved him. And it's really saying that God was revealing to David what was in his heart. This is one of the difficult truths in the Bible is sometimes, for instance in the story of job, which we're going to talk about in our sermon today.

Job thought the Lord sent this calamity. We know by pulling aside the veil who was behind the calamity. It was the devil. Was it wrong for David to take a census of his army? It was that time. Why? Was David numbering them so they wouldn't lose anyone along the way in the desert? Or was David numbering them because he said, "I've been winning battle after battle, boy I've got a big army, I wonder how big my army is"? Was it moved by just the logic of needing the number or care for his sheep or was it pride? When it says satan who is the prince of pride moves David to number his army, David's wanting to say, "my army's bigger than your army.

" Why did a plague come on Israel when David numbered Israel? Well, because it was his pride. How many times did it matter how big the army was for Israel in order to win? Never. It never mattered to God how big the army was. As a matter of fact, they never won a battle because their army was big enough. Sometimes, they lost battles because their army was too big.

When they went out to find ai, they said, "we don't even need all the army. Don't trouble everybody. Just they're a small city, we can whip 'em." And they lost 'cause they were trusting in their Numbers. But when gideon went out to fight, God said, "gideon, your army's too big. You're going to trust the number of your army.

" And he had to keep chopping 'em down to a small ridiculous number so then they'd give God the glory. So finally by the time jonathan comes along, he says to his armor bearer, "let's you and I take on the philistines for there is no restraint with the Lord to deliver by few or many." And Moses had told the children of Israel, "one of you will chase a thousand." And that's indeed what David did. So, David above all people, when he killed the giant and as soon as the philistines saw David chopping off Goliath's head, the whole army ran. Right? They turned and ran. And so, David should've known better that his strength was not going to be in the size of his army.

But this is different now when Israel is being told by the Lord to count their soldiers. They are going to be organizing them as they go into battle against the various tribes in the promised land, the different nations there. They were going to be arranged in order around the sanctuary. It was for organizational purposes, and there's nothing wrong with counting if you're doing it for practical reasons. Somebody read for me, now I didn't give this to anyone so I need a volunteer, Luke 15:4.

"What man of you having 100 sheep if he loses one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost until he find it?" Alright, it's talking about a shepherd and how many sheep does he have? How many does he have? A hundred. Well, it turns into 99. How does he know how many he has? Do you think he just looks at that patch of wool up on the hillside and say, "that looks like 100 to me"? Or did they run them through a sheep gate so you can only get one at a time through and they count them? And that's how we go to sleep at night, counting sheep, right? Is there anything wrong with counting sheep? If you're a shepherd, what good shepherd doesn't count his sheep? What good pastor doesn't know when someone's missing? If you don't know, you say, "yeah, I got a blob of people coming from week to week." "How many?" "I don't know." "How many members do you have?" "I have no idea." As a matter of fact, you got to watch it as your church grows and pastors say, "how many members do you have?" "Oh, how many do you have?" That we're not doing like David's doing, "well, I got more than you got." That's not the right reason to count sheep. You want to count 'em 'cause you don't want any to be missing 'cause you love 'em. But there's nothing--when you have a baptism, is it wrong to count how many are baptized? Did they do it at pentecost? How many were baptized at pentecost? Three-thousand, first time, ,000 later.

How do you know? Somebody counted 'em. So, it's not wrong to count. Just make sure that you're not doing it from pride. Even in the story of gideon when God wittled down the army, it gives the number of the army every time, doesn't it? And they get reduced, I forget, they get reduced down to 32,000 and then they get reduced from there down to 300. And so, you know, there's nothing wrong with counting.

You just don't want to be counting the way David was from pride. So, some people think that it's a sin to take a census. Do countries take censuses? Not very accurate, but they try and they can get an educated guess of how many people are in the country. Right now, we're at over million in North America. I remember when we were 230 million.

So, we're growing. Alright, where was i? Alright, let's go on down here. So, they were not a nation of soldiers. I've got another verse here. They had fought before.

Genesis 14:14, who did we give that to? Got the microphone over here. "Now when Abraham heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his 318 trained servants who were born in his own house and went in pursuit as far as dan." How big was Abraham's army, or 318? How do we know it's 318? Someone counted 'em. Were they just shepherds that were kind of a ragtag and he said, "look, tell you what, give me that shepherd's staff, here's a sword, see if you can figure out how to use this"? Or does it say they were trained? So even Abraham had sort of an honor guard, now it's a small army but keep in mind this is back when the nations were smaller too. Back in the days of Abraham when everybody was sort of migrating away from mesopotamia, the nations were not as big yet just because the generations had not gone by. So, they all had these little armies.

And he got his 318 together with other sheiks and they combined their forces to fight against the Kings from damascus, and that was 5 Kings, Kings of small armies. So, the armies were smaller back then. It's not until you get to the time of the Kings of Israel do you finally see an army that has about a million, and that was the army of Ethiopia. About a million came against, I think it was king asa. And up until that point, you know, they were glorified tribes.

But I don't know how he trained 'em. They were probably trained with sword and shield and bow and rocks and sticks and slings, probably everything. Alright, so they did have soldiers. But by the time the children of Israel had been in Egypt for several generations, do you think the Egyptians let the Israelites train in war? Why did the Egyptians start throwing baby boys in the river? Do you remember the reason, the logic behind that? They said, "if there's a war and they decide to side with our enemies." You think the Egyptian taskmasters wanted the Israelites to get anywhere near weapons? Do you think they wanted them to have any training at all in battle? They wanted them to be as ignorant as possible when it came to warfare, and so you've got a couple of generations of Israelites that know nothing about war. But then, you track their history.

By the time Joshua dies, they are crack-seasoned troops. Because when they crossed over into the promised land, they just went from month to month, from battle to battle to battle. They become a very efficient, effective army, still only victorious when trusting in God. Now, I want to stop there and talk about that. How important is training? How important is education? Very important.

Are we saved by training and education? No, but they're extremely important. Did David kill Goliath because of weapons or because of faith? But did he have a weapon? Did he know how to use it? I think David probably, when he did target practices, I mean I would've gotten pretty bored watching sheep all day long. For entertainment, he probably was knocking leaves off trees with his sling. He trained. He knew how to use it.

He knew how to pick those stones out of the creek. He picked 'em carefully. And so, there was training there. But he went forward with trust. Soldiers should be trained, but they also need to have faith and be trusting in the Lord when they go into battle.

You and I should get as much education and training in evangelism as we can. But ultimately, it's the Lord that gives victory, right? Alright, so maybe we've talked enough about that. Let me see. Oh by the way, one more thing while I'm talking about soldiers. Right now, we live in North America.

This is broadcast from North America, a relatively new country. When the Americans had to take on the british, you had basically farmers and pilgrims and tradesmiths that were taking on, at that time, the most formidable army in the world. I mean they defeated napoleon was the british army. And in the first few battles after the revolutionary war began, nothing personal to pastor mike, but the british really massacred the American troops because they were untrained. They had never really--weren't soldiers, they were farmers.

They were, you know, printers and tradesmen. But what they did is, over time, they started watching how the indians fought using the terrain. They used the rocks and the trees to their advantage in the valleys whereas the british armies, they were used to fighting on these big battlefields in europe where everybody, you know, napoleon, waterloo, they all lined up in these big fields and they just Marched the troops out and they signaled with the trumpets. And they stood just face to face and blasted each other in formation with these cannons and rifles. You've seen this before.

They all got the right color uniform on. The last thing they did is they'd finally say, "charge!" And they went out with their horses and they pulled their swords out. But the british came and finally, the Americans said, "we can't fight using their tactics." We've got to fight using the tactics of this terrain, and this country is very different. And so, they began to get the upper hand when the minutemen started shooting from behind the trees like the indians did and behind the rocks. And that's when things finally turned.

The first few battles when they just lined up like the british did, they mowed 'em down. It was massacre. And so, they had a change in tactics. The children of Israel, they started using some interesting tactics too, you'll see, in their battles with the amalekites and the different forces as they went along the way. Anyway, alright, well enough about that, so they numbered the army.

Why did God give them victory? Deuteronomy 9:5, where could they trust the victory? Got a hand right here, Deuteronomy 9:5. "It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go into possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you and that he may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." So God said, "look, I'm not giving you the victory because of your goodness, but because of their badness." As a matter of fact, sometimes God even used pagan nations to chastise his people. And America has not won every battle of world war I and ii, you know. I'd like to say that we did. The civil war where we fought each other was something of a chastisement of God upon the country for slavery.

And so, sometimes God even used pagan nations. God was going to use Israel and give them victory because these other nations, they were ripe for judgment. Now, you can read, for instance, in Genesis and this is in your lesson. Genesis 15:14-16, God speaking to Abraham, "and also the nation whom they serve I will judge," speaking about when the children of Israel were in Egypt, God would judge the Egyptians. "Afterward, they will come out with great possessions," which they did.

This is a prophecy hundreds of years in advance. "Now as for you, you'll go to your fathers in peace. You'll be buried in a good old age." I wish God would tell me that just so I can know now and get it over with. "But in the fourth generation, they'll return here for the inequity of the amorites is not yet complete." Now the amorites, there were still some good, righteous people among them. But God was going to bring the descendants of Abraham back and they were going to fight against the amorites.

At that time, they'd be ripe for judgment. Now, that tells us a very important lesson. First of all, God is patient. You know, before the Lord destroyed sodom and gomorrah, he saved sodom and gomorrah. When they were carried off by the chedorlaomer and the people of the north, God then sent Abraham to deliver them.

A few years later, they were ripe for judgment. Angels came and destroyed them. So, God is very patient. And just because the Lord may bless us from time to time doesn't mean that we're doing everything right. It just means that God is very loving and very patient.

And so, we should take that as a warning that ultimately a nation and a world, a whole creation groans and travails together, can reach a point of ripeness for judgment. And when you look at what's happening in the world today, when the laws of God are being sent aside and these bizarre, sick, perverted manmade laws are being made, that's how you know when a nation is getting ripe for judgment. And that ought to make us tremble. So, the amorites would be ripe at that time. E.

g. White said in the book "selected messages," book one, page 122, "we have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world." As you trace the history of God's people in the book of Numbers, do we find that the other armies on the outside were the biggest threat or did the threats continue to come from the inside? You know, when you read through Numbers, you're going to find out that they were their own biggest enemy. What causes the greatest Marketing problem for the Christian religion? Is it the wicked on the outside or is it hypocrites on the inside? When people say, "I don't think I want to be a Christian," is it because of what the people in the world are telling them or what they observe in the church? Typically, I remember in my family, they said, "oh doug, man, look, I know so many Christians that are such hypocrites. And I look at the tv and all the people, those televangelists.

" And now I are one, isn't that sad? "Look, they're just begging for money and they're--it's so pathetic, so ridiculous. And they become a byword, and the scandals in the church and the hypocrisy in the church and the Lukewarmness of the church." And the world looks at that, and that often becomes the greatest hindrance to the Gospel. When the church is pure and when we love each other, Christ promises then we're going to go forth and conquer for him. And the church will explode with growth. We need to be consistent and pure.

There needs to be revival. And he says, "when we all love each other, the world will then know that we are his by our love for one another." Alright, so that's when we're the most successful as an army. You know, one of the things that makes soldiers successful and victorious is when they get where they are sacrificial for one another, they depend on one another, there's a camaraderie for one another. And they learn to obey and trust leadership. And when they've got good leaders and they can obey and trust leaderships and they're not afraid to March off for these people into battle, the reason alexander the great had such great victory is his soldiers loved him and they would lay down their lives for him and they weren't afraid.

And when we trust our master and we're not afraid, then we're going to start seeing victories like that again. Alright Monday, the presence of the Lord, I've got just a few minutes left to get through the rest of the week here. If you read in the book of Numbers 1:50-53, let me read that for you, "but you shall appoint the levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they will carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle. And when the tabernacle is to go forward, the levites will take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be set up, the levites will set it up. The outsider who comes near shall be put to death.

The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone on his own side of the camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies; but the levites shall camp around the tabernacle." Well, I'll get to the standards in just a minute here. Why did God pick the levites? Is this discrimination? Yes, it is discrimination. I mean what would you think if the Seventh-day Adventist Church said, "only those of german descent can be pastors"? How many would think that's discrimination? You're basically saying one tribe is qualified, isn't that right? It's not what we think of in terms of discrimination today. First of all, not all discrimination is bad. We're afraid to use that word in its proper sense.

If you're parents and you've got a daughter and she's a teenager and she comes home and she introduces a boy, you are going to use discrimination, I promise you. And you're going to size him up and down. You're going to look at what he's wearing and how he walks and you're going to be very discriminating if you understand what I'm saying. But this is almost like a--it's being discriminated based upon their race, you could say. You had to be a certain tribe.

Why? Well, it was because of faithfulness that they had demonstrated. Alright, now read for me, you thought I forgot about you, read for me Exodus 32:26. "Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp and said, 'whoever is on the Lord's side, come to me.' And all The Sons of levi gathered themselves together to him." You remember back during the golden calf experience when the people had apostatized? The children of Israel had shown themself unfaithful. Even though aaron was involved in that, generally speaking the levites did not participate. They said, "this is not right.

We've made a promise to the Lord. And we believe Moses is coming back." Some of it was because of their loyalty to Moses, a levite. And so, as they're getting ready to execute judgment on the ringleaders of this rebellion, Moses proclaims, and everybody's hearing, "who's on the Lord's side?" And all the levites came filing out of the ranks and they came and stood by Moses. It's kind of like he drew a line in the sand and he said, "who's on the Lord's side? Do you still trust the Lord? And you didn't participate in this." The levites took a stand at that point. And they, then, were given swords.

They went and executed the ringleaders of this rebellion. From that point on, God said, "look, because you stood up for me, I want the levites to be the priests." And so, that's the main reason that you're going to find that he chose them as a nation. So, there was a practical reason. It wasn't just because of their dna. As a nation, they had taken a stand for him.

They were then going to be honored as a nation. Alright, and there's nothing wrong with doing things that way. Well, I was going to read something else to you. Deuteronomy 30:11, Moses said in the end of his wanderings, "for this commandment that I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It's not in heaven that you should say--" "I'm going to send the space shuttle up to get it," that's my paraphrase.

"'Who will ascend into heaven and bring the Word of God to us that we might hear it and do it?' Nor is it beyond the sea that you should say, 'who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near to you. It's in your mouth and in your heart that you might do it." God and His Word are synonymous. God was very close to them. They could see his presence in the camp. The word was just underneath his presence in the ark, both in the pocket and in the Ten Commandments in the writings of Moses and the testimony.

So, the word was very close. God was saying, "look, I'm very close to you that you can obey me." Now, talking about the nearness of God, read for us Isaiah 57:15 please. "For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy, 'I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has contrite and humble spirit to revive the Spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.'" How many of you want God close to you? Your body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. He's to dwell within us. How close can you get? Can you get any closer than being in your mind and your heart? What hearts and minds does he say he wants to be in and with? Those that are humble and contrite.

He's close to them. Someone said, "you're never more like the devil than when you're proud." And it's also true you're never more like Jesus than when you're meek. Jesus says, "I want to yoke up with you." You don't get any closer than being yoked with somebody. He said, "I am meek and lowly." And so, we want to be matched with him and serve him who is also meek and lowly. So the Lord, he wants to be close to us.

And right here in the midst of the camp, they had the presence of God all around the camp. The levites were there and the standards all around the camp of the various tribes. And we're going to talk about that. Numbers 2:34, "and the children of Israel did according to all the Lord commanded Moses. So they camped by their standards.

And so they broke camp, each one by his family, according to their fathers' house." Now, when they came out of Egypt, I imagine that--think about the chaos of what it must have looked like when that last plague hit. God has no time at this point to really organize them. And he basically says, "get your shoes, grab your staff, put your dough in its kneading bowls, strap it to you back, get all the gold and silver the Egyptians are going to give you, grab your kids, get your cattle, head out of town fast." Can you imagine what a motley crew they must've looked like? All of the dust and all of the commotion, and it must've looked like a parade of confusion and chaos when they first left. But you know, God will take you when you come to him however you come to him. And when we come to him, we come to him disorganized.

We come to him with our chaos. But after they crossed over, God--i ought to read this to you, 1 Corinthians 14:40. Now, before I read this verse, let me tell you something, friends. Before I became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I worshipped with lovely Christian people mostly in charismatic churches. And a lot of good, loving people in these churches, but I'll tell you what, sometimes their services were the most chaotic thing you could ever imagine.

Between the speaking in tongues out loud and the drums and the sometimes dancing in the Spirit and the noise and bedlam, sometimes it seemed like a hootenanny. And they would often quote Corinthians 14 to talk about speaking in tongues and what they did, but they wouldn't quote this verse. This verse says, verse 40, "let all things be done decently and in order." When we worship God, there should be an order to it. And I'll say, you know, sometimes we can err on the side of order. Our services can get so formal and structured that, you know, you can lose the spontaneity of the Spirit.

And you don't want to go that far to that extreme. But at the same time, people say, "Pastor Doug, I don't want to be part of any organized religion." How many of you have heard someone say that before? "I'm a Christian, but I'm not part of any organized religion." They make it sound like it's a virtue. "I'm spiritual, I don't need an organization." Well, if you're not part of any organized religion, you know what you're really saying? "I am part of the greater disorganized religion." Is God organized? When the children of Israel finally caught their breath and they got out there in the desert, one of the first things God did is he got them organized. He got them to camp in order. He organized them right down to how they would be breaking camp, how they would pitch camp, where they would be located in reference to the sanctuary, about sanitation, about where the water was going to flow, about how they would collect the bread and when they would collect the bread and when they would eat the bread and when they wouldn't collect the bread.

I mean God got them organized. And for a while there, Moses was trying to judge everybody and jethro came along and said, "you need to organize better. You need to delegate." By the time they got through the wilderness, they were very orderly and organized. And even balaam, when he got up to curse Israel, you know one of the things that he was impressed with? He beheld them in their ranks, in their order. And it was a wonderful thing.

They were not just scattered like, you know--i just saw an aerial photograph. Some of you heard about the pathfinder camporee they had at oshkosh, ,000 participants. That was really something. I wish I could've been there. And someone took an aerial photograph.

I saw it in I think the "review" magazine. And it was really interesting. You saw them all lined up in their order. You can't have 35,000 kids from, you know, 10 to 16 unless you've got organization. Can you say amen? And God couldn't do it with the children of Israel either.

And so, they all camped under their standards. Now, I'm going to run out of time but I need to just say a word about standards. When we say "Christian standards," what do you think of? You typically don't think of the flag that goes up in front of a cavalry or the flag that the children of Israel had for each of the tribes, had their insignia, their flag, their standard, and they would rally around their standard. But that's where we get the word "standard." It represented that this was a particular tribe that had particular responsibilities and idiosyncrasies and if you're Christian, you should have standards. You ought to stand for something.

And when someone says, "you're Christian, well, what do you believe?" "Oh, I just sort of believe the Bible." Well no, you ought to know more specifically what you believe and you ought to have a belief system that is clear to you that you are rooted in that you can defend. How can you defend your beliefs if you don't know what they are? And that if you're tempted by the devil to violate them, then you'd understand that would be sin and you will stand for those things. When you put on the armor of God, do you know what it says three times there in Ephesians chapter 6? "Put on the armor and stand, stand ye therefore, stand." It's telling us to stand for something. And that's connected, of course, to the word "standards." Don't ever be ashamed if you have standards. "Standards" is not a dirty word for a Christian.

It's a beautiful thing. Standard means that there's an order to your beliefs, and that you're going to stick to them. If you're beliefs are very obscure and nebulous and they're floating, you're going to get into trouble because you're not going to know where you stand. And if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. You've got to know what your standards are.

And so, God had the people camping under certain standards. Now, the reason that there are various denominations, what separates the denominations? Various standards. It's a system of beliefs. That's where you get the word "denomination." They are named by these distinguishing differences in their beliefs. And so, that's important to be aware of.

One more thing about order and organization, when Jesus rose from the dead, I'm always impressed by the truth that John believed that Jesus rose because he looked inside the tomb and he saw the grave cloth that had been wrapped around Christ folded. If the body had been evicted by roman soldiers or if it had been stolen, they wouldn't have taken the time to fold the grave clothes. But Jesus would have. And that was one of the things that convinced John. Was Jesus organized? Was he orderly? And you know, we as his children ought to be that way as well.

Anyway, there's a couple more sections left and maybe I can bite into some of these next week. Sometimes I might be able to back up and cover some of the things that we didn't get to. I want to remind our friends that are watching. If you're interested in the Bible Numbers and what their meaning is, you can take a look at Bibleprophecytruth.com, a new prophecy study website. We have a free offer, offer number 723, "the Holy Spirit, the need.

" And you just call 866-788-3966, we'll be happy to send that to you. God bless you, friends. Until next Sabbath, keep studying the word. Virtually everyone on the earth, regardless of religion or nationality, recognize that there is some form of battle raging in the world around us between the forces of good and evil; a colossal struggle between light and darkness, truth and error, oppression and freedom, right and wrong and ultimately life and death. Journey back through time to the center of the universe, discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the arch villain, the birth of evil, a rebellion in heaven, a mutiny that moved to earth.

Behold the creation of a beautiful, new planet and the first humans. Witness the temptation in eden. Discover God's amazing plan to save his children. This is a story that involves every life on earth, every life. "The cosmic conflict," if God is good, if God is all powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong?

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