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Lesson 12: The Second Generation: Admonitions *

Introduction: How do the lives of your parents affect your life? Some children blame their parents for their faults and repeat the parents' mistakes. Others look at the good and bad in their parents, and determine to do better when it comes to the bad. Moses stands as a parent figure to both the first and second generation. How did Israel do when it came to the second generation? How did Moses do in dealing with his mistakes and theirs? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. New Generation, New Opportunities

    1. Numbers 26 recounts the census taken by Moses and Eleazar. Read Numbers 26:63-65. Who was not counted? (Those who were adults and who refused to enter Canaan the first time.)

      1. Is this sad? Do we get just one chance in life to be successful? (Just to be clear, we are not talking about salvation. However, important, life-altering decisions are often made when we are young. These decisions can affect the entire course of our life.)

    2. Read Numbers 26:51-56. Is casting lots an appropriate way to divide the land? Why not give the best land to the best fighters? Why not give the best to those who are brave?

      1. How would you describe the system being used? (It is pragmatic. It keeps families together and turns on the number of people needing land.)

      2. Read Acts 1:23-26. Do you think this is pure chance?

      3. Read Joshua 15:13-17. Is Caleb's portion the result of chance? What kind of method did Caleb use to encourage bravery? (Caleb was promised the land occupied by giants because he wanted that land. He chose his son-in-law by bravery. The allocation was not pure chance.)

    3. What spiritual lesson do you find in God's system of apportionment of the land? (In some situations we find a merit system, in others a pragmatic system.)

    4. What important fact does this apportionment decision assume? (That the second generation were going to succeed where the first generation did not.)

  2. Equal Opportunity God

    1. Read Numbers 27:1-4. What is the historic answer to the question posed in Numbers 27:4? (You will be surprised. Read 1 Chronicles 2:34-36. We find here that the inheritance passed through the daughter. This took place before the time of Moses. Unfortunately, even in modern times there are countries which deny women the right to own property.)

      1. Were these early advocates of women's liberation? Where did they get such ideas? (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary tells us that in Egypt the inheritance passed through mothers.)

    2. Read Numbers 27:5-7. What is God's answer? (God agrees with the women. They should be able to inherit their father's land.)

    3. Read Numbers 27:8-11. As a result of these women standing up for their property rights, what happened? (They set a precedent! From that point on daughters would inherit before any more distant relative.)

  3. The Beginning of the Transition

    1. Read Numbers 27:12-14. How would you react to this if you were Moses? God shows you the goal of your lifetime, and then says "You can't go because of your sin."

      1. Would you have excuses? Arguments that God should not be so harsh?

      2. What spiritual lesson do we find here? Is God being harsh? (We know that Moses went to heaven (Matthew 17:3), so God gave him the ultimate promised land. But, we should not forget that God is both our Father and our Judge. He has high standards for us.)

    2. Read Numbers 27:15-17. What kind of reaction does Moses have? (He is simply looking out for the people. Note these are the same people that provoked him and caused him to enter into the sin which barred him from the promised land.)

      1. How great a man is Moses?

    3. Read Numbers 27:18-20. Why was Joshua chosen? ("A man in whom is the Spirit." Even in Old Testament times being Spirit-filled is essential to leadership.)

    4. Read Numbers 27:21-23. Does Joshua have the same status as Moses? What do you notice that is different? (God spoke directly to Moses. But, Joshua is to learn of God's opinion through Eleazar, the High Priest, who will obtain them from the Urim.)

      1. What is the "Urim?" (Read Leviticus 8:8. The Bible never clearly tells us what are the Urim and Thummim. It is commonly believed that they are stones on the breastplate of the High Priest which would in some way signal God's decision in a matter. However they worked, no one is now having a conversation with God.)

  4. Oaths

    1. Read Numbers 30:1-2. How many times has the leader of your church asked you to pledge something before God? Have you been asked to raise your hand or stand up with everyone else?

      1. If so, how serious is this pledge? Does it depend on how the request is worded? (I recall our pastor asking people to pledge to read the Bible all the way through in the next year. If you have never read the Bible, you absolutely should do it.)

      2. Why would someone be tempted to break a vow to God? (God will not sue you? Somehow we think of our obligations to God and the church as less pressing than our obligation to make our house and car payments.)

  5. Still Reluctant?

    1. Read Numbers 32:1-5. What motivated these two tribes to want to stay on the desert side of the Jordan? (The land was suitable for livestock and they did not want to take them across the river.)

      1. Can you think of any other reasons they might not want to cross the river? (They had conquered the people on their side of the Jordan, but not on the other side!)

    2. Read Numbers 32:6-8. How did Moses react to this plan?

      1. What is his historical concern? (That forty years ago their ancestors did not want to cross the Jordan and that led to forty years of wandering! They should not make the same mistake.)

      2. Is this second generation like the one who refused to enter Canaan? (Several Bible commentaries report that this is very good land - better than some on the other side of the Jordan.

    3. Read Numbers 32:14-15. Does it seem inconsistent that Moses was saying that to these people, even when he knew he was not entering Canaan? (Notice that Moses is taking not just about their welfare, but the welfare of all. As a leader, that is his job. He is not being hypocritical.)

    4. Read Numbers 32:16-19. Is this a reasonable counter-offer? Does it cure the objections raised by Moses?

      1. Do you think that the Reubenites and Gadites had this in mind when they made their first proposal? (I suspect they were hoping to just stay on their side of the Jordan.)

    5. Read Numbers 32:20-24. What about the land selection by lot system that we discussed at the beginning of this lesson? (It was apparently subject to modification. Moses saw that they were not being cowards, they were not distrusting God, and that they really wanted this land. So, he agreed to allow them to keep this land based on the conditions stated.)

      1. Notice again Numbers 32:21. Who is doing the fighting? ("The Lord ... has driven His enemies out before Him." God is the one is who doing the heavy lifting.)

    6. Read Numbers 32:28-30. What is the most important aspect of our service for God? (To show up ready to work. So many people talk, but not so many actually do anything.)

    1. Friend, whatever life your parents led, do you take your obligations to God seriously? If you do, God is willing to fight your battles and reward you generously!

  1. Next week: Cities of Refuge.

* Copr. 2009, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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