The Israelites have seen the cloud lift from over the sanctuary and have begun to move out in obedience and prophetic order toward the Promised Land in complete trust of the Lord.
As the Ark of the Covenant sets forward, Moses, full of joy and confidence of faith, shouts aloud words of prayer and praise, words that not only mark every forward move of the Church but are prophetic of the Lord Jesus Christ as well: “Arise, O LORD!, Let your enemies be scattered! Let them that hate you flee before you.”
Key Truth: Moses wrote Numbers 10:33-36 to teach Israel to follow the Lord in complete trust, and in prayer and praise.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what the Bible says about how we should follow the Lord.
Sermon Points: We are called to follow Him . . .
1. In Complete Trust (Numbers 10:33-34)
2. In Prayer & Praise (Numbers 10:35-36)
Exposition: Note well,
We are called to follow Him
1. IN COMPLETE TRUST (Numbers 10:33-34)
a. The people of Israel knew generally where God was taking them, but they did not know where they would find rest each day. The cloud and the Ark of the Covenant went before the people. The Ark was a symbol to Israel of God’s Covenant with them. It had the Ten Commandments inside it. It symbolized God’s Presence with them and His protection of them as they moved forward. As they started out, Israel had complete trust in the Lord, His protection, His provision, and His presence to lead and guide them.
b. ILLUSTRATION: Israel trusted the Lord completely to take care of their families, to provide food and water, to give relief from the heat, to find a safe place to camp and rest.
c. 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
d. APPLICATION: How about you? Are you trusting the Lord completely in your business? With your children? Have you trusted Him to provide for that huge financial responsibility that looms on your horizon? Do you have complete trust in Him about your health? Have you chosen to trust Him completely in your major or the new school where you’re headed? Do you completely trust Him for your family despite the rumors you hear of layoffs at work?
e. God calls us as a people, as a body of Christ, to trust Him completely. As a church, are we following Him in complete trust? Are we giving Him the reins? Do we have our own minds made up without regard to Him?
We are called to follow Him
2. IN PRAYER & PRAISE (Numbers 10:35-36)
a. Moses prays a prophetic prayer that points directly to Jesus Christ. Here’s how: The word Arise is the same word for resurrection! Moses is prophesying the resurrection of Jesus Christ that His enemies may be scattered. And in Christ’s resurrection, his enemies, even the last enemy, death, was defeated.
b. Note also that the text mentions that the ark traveled three days before Moses prophesies to the Lord to arise. Notice that the Ark of the Covenant, i.e., the Presence of the Lord, was seeking a place of rest for the people of God.
c. Hebrews 4:9, 11, 3: 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest,
d. John Gill: “at the death of Christ all the spiritual enemies of his people were defeated, scattered, confounded, and conquered; Satan and his principalities were spoiled, sin was made an end of, death was abolished, and the world overcome.”
e. Colossians 2:13b-15: He forgave us all our sins 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
f. On verse 36: John Gill writes, “Perhaps Moses, under a spirit of prophecy, might have a further view, even to the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, when they shall return and seek the true Messiah, and be turned to him, and when all Israel shall be saved.”
g. We have learned that the best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself. It explains itself. Two Psalms have the same line as verse 35. In Psalm 68:1, we see Moses’ words explained. And in this psalm is a clear prophecy of Jesus Christ’s ascension in Psalm 68:18: “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious – that you O Lord God, might dwell there.” And verse 19 prophesies Jesus as Savior: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
h. In Psalm 132:8 we find the same declaration of Moses: “Arise O Lord, let your enemies be scattered.” Here the arising is connected with the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7). See verse 11: “The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: ‘One of your own descendants I will place on your throne . . . for ever and ever.” And verse 17 connects David and the Messiah: “here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.”
i. APPLICATION: Moses prayed and praised God in Jesus Christ at the departing and the resting of the Ark. So how is your prayer life? Do you find your heart singing praise to the Lord during the day? Do you pray when you depart in the morning and when you come to rest at night? Have you learned to worship the Lord on your own? That is the mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ. The strength of your prayer life is a strong indication of your maturity as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Is it time to make a fresh commitment to prayer, asking the Lord to teach you to pray and enjoy His Presence?
Moses’ prayer and praise of the Lord was directed to Jesus Christ. Moses recognized the importance of the Messiah’s resurrection. Do you? Have you recognized in your own life the importance of receiving the powerful life of Jesus Christ and giving Him your own? Israel’s complete trust and Moses’ prayer and praise are marks of a growing disciple of Jesus Christ. Do you need to make a commitment to trusting Him, perhaps for the first time today? Won’t you do that now?
ISRAEL'S ORDER OF MARCH
ARK OF COVENANT