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Sabbath School Lessons on Numbers
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- New Generation, New Opportunities
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- How would you describe the system being used? (It is
pragmatic. It keeps families together and turns on
the number of people needing land.)
- Read Acts 1:23-26. Do you think this is pure chance?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- What important fact does this apportionment decision
assume? (That the second generation were going to succeed
where the first generation did not.)
- Equal Opportunity God
- 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
- 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.)
- Read Numbers 27:5-7. What is God's answer? (God agrees
with the women. They should be able to inherit their
- 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.)
- The Beginning of the Transition
- 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."
- Would you have excuses? Arguments that God should
not be so harsh?
- 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.)
- 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
- How great a man is Moses?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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
- Still Reluctant?
- 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.)
- 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
- Read Numbers 32:6-8. How did Moses react to this plan?
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- Read Numbers 32:16-19. Is this a reasonable counter-offer? Does it cure the objections raised by Moses?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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.