OT Lesson 15 Study Notes: Numbers 11-14; 21:1-9

Besides the chapters of Numbers assigned for this lesson, I also recommend chapters 16, 17, and 20.

It is unfortunate that we have no lessons from Leviticus. Though it is not immediately obvious how we should understand those scriptures and apply them to ourselves, the exercise of doing so can be very beneficial.

I have depended on study notes prepared by my friend, Art Bassett, several years ago. But I’ve edited and expanded them since then—more than once—so I am no longer sure who wrote what. So I take responsibility for what you see here, though I’m not sure how much credit I can take.

God’s Wrath

It is “common knowledge” that the God of the Old Testament is a god of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a loving God—though each is the same God. Part of this confusion may stem our not understanding the subtleties of love and what it means for God. Or we may be guilty of over-simplification, assuming that we already understand what anger is, since we have experienced it so often in our own lives. Therefore when God shows anger, we think of him as being vindictive and cruel at times. But, following Paul’s lead (found in his teachings on sorrow; see 2 Corinthians 7: 10), just as there are two types of sorrow: godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world, there might also be two types of anger: godly anger and the kind we commonly experience in our own lives. The second kind most of us know well. The first may be entirely foreign to our nature and understanding. Its foreignness would require that we come to scriptures that speak of God’s wrath with a prayerful heart in an honest attempt to learn.

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