August 29, 2021 – Numbers 27 – 34

Lesson Date: August 29, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Numbers 27:12-23; 32:1-5, 16-23; 33:50-56; 34:13-15

AIM: To lead students to discover some of the things God did to get the ancient Israelites ready to enter the Promised Land, and to examine themselves to see if they are ready for the most important journey they will ever make.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Numbers 26 – 36 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write “Getting Ready” on the marker board or chalkboard. Bring some objects to class that you might need when getting ready for a trip. Creativity and originality will be rewarded with increased interest from your students. Bring a map, a checklist, travel brochures, a suitcase, or a gas can (empty and not smelling of gas). The objects will spark interest and help this morning’s class session be a little different.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “What are some things you do to get ready for a trip?” As members respond, show whatever objects you have brought and tell why they are important when getting ready for a trip. An alternate question would be, “What are some things you do to get ready to move to a new home?” Some different objects would be needed for that question (such as packing boxes and packing tape), but either question will get the students thinking about getting ready to go from one place to another – either on a short-term trip or a permanent move.

Remind the students that ever since the book of Exodus the ancient Israelites have been on a journey. Using the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan, remind them of the following:

  • God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and led them southward through the Sinai Peninsula to Mount Sinai. There He gave them His Law and directed them to build the Tabernacle and establish a system of worship.
  • Later God led them from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea, where they rebelled.
  • God sent them back out into the wilderness to wander for forty years, until the older generation all died. During that time the people often murmured, complained, and rebelled.
  • Eventually, God led the people around the east side of the Dead Sea to a point where they camped in the plains of Moab near the Jordan River opposite Jericho. While camped there God did several things to get the Israelites ready to enter the Promised Land.

Direct the class’ attention to the lesson title written on the board and tell them that today’s lesson from Numbers 27 – 34 is about Getting Ready. Tell them we will discover some of the things God did to get the ancient Israelites ready to enter the Promised Land, and examine ourselves to see if we are ready for the most important journey we will ever make.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Balaam’s evil influence on the Israelites).
    • Ask: “What kind of influence have you had on others this week?”
  2. A New Leader for a New Generation.
    • Explain the following:
      • In chapter 26 God told Moses to count the people again, just as he had done 39 years earlier at Mount Sinai (Num. 1).
      • Numbers 26:63-65 makes it clear that not one of the men counted at Mount Sinai was still alive, except Joshua and Caleb.
      • The older generation was dead, so it was time for God to get the new generation ready to enter the Promised Land.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Numbers 27:12-14.
    • Explain that God told Moses to go up on a mountain and look over the Jordan River at the Promised Land. God said after seeing the Promised Land Moses would die.
    • Ask: “Why was Moses not allowed to enter the Promised Land?” (because of his disobedience when God told him to speak to the rock and he struck it instead – see Num. 20:7-13).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Numbers 27:15-17.
    • Ask: “Did Moses complain when God told him he would die before entering the Promised Land?” (no).
    • Ask: “Why not?” (God had already told Moses this and he had already seen his brother Aaron die – see Num. 20:12 and 20:28; in addition, by this time Moses knew it was useless to complain at God).
    • Ask: “When told he would die, what was Moses’ greatest concern?” (that God would appoint a new leader for Israel).
    • Read Numbers 27:18, 22-23.
    • Tell the class that God chose Joshua to be Israel’s new leader. Moses publicly charged and commissioned Joshua for his new role.
    • Summarize: To get ready to enter the Promised Land, God gave the Israelites a new leader for the new generation.
  3. New Responsibilities.
    • Explain the following:
      • In chapters 28 – 29 God reminded the Israelites about all the regular offerings they were to bring to Him.
      • In chapter 30 He gave them rules concerning vows.
      • In chapter 31 God led the Israelites to fight and defeat the Midianites (the false prophet Balaam was killed during this warfare – Num. 31:8).
    • Read Numbers 32:1-2, 5.
    • Ask: “What does verse 1 say the people of Reuben and Gad possessed?” (lots of cattle).
    • Ask: “What did they recognize about the land east of the Jordan River that the Israelites had already conquered?” (it was good grazing land for cattle).
    • Ask: “What did they ask Moses in verse 5?” (to be allowed to settle there rather than receive an inheritance of land in the Promised Land west of the Jordan River).
    • Tell the students Moses was skeptical at first because he thought the men of Reuben and Gad would not help the other Israelites conquer the Promised Land.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Numbers 32:16-23.
    • Ask: “What did the men of Reuben and Gad promise to do?” (leave their families and cattle there while they went over Jordan and helped the other Israelites conquer the land).
    • Tell the class Moses said if they kept their word in this matter they would be guiltless before the Lord and would be allowed to possess the land east of the Jordan River.
    • Ask: “According to verse 23, what did Moses say would happen if they did not keep their word?” (their sin would find them out: they would be guilty before the Lord).
    • Explain the following:
      • Prior to this point the Israelites did not have land, houses, or cities.
      • Now they were learning new responsibilities.
      • They had a new responsibility to care for and protect their land, families, and cattle.
      • They had a new responsibility to help their fellow Israelites conquer the land.
    • Summarize: To get ready to enter the Promised Land, God taught the Israelites about their new responsibilities to their families and to each other.
  4. Instructions for Taking the Land.
    • Tell the students that chapter 33 contains a summary of Israel’s travels from Egypt to the Promised Land. The final verses of that chapter contain very specific instructions for taking the land.
    • Read Numbers 33:50-56.
    • Ask: “What did God tell the Israelites to do to the inhabitants of the Promised Land?” (drive them all out of the land).
    • Ask: “What were they to do to the idols and places of idol worship left behind?” (utterly demolish them all).
    • Ask: “According to verses 55-56, what did God warn would happen if the Israelites failed to obey these instructions?” (any inhabitants of the land they did not drive out would be constant irritants and enemies to them; if they failed to obey, God would eventually drive the Israelites out of the land).
    • Stress the fact that if the Israelites had fully obeyed God’s instructions there would be no strife between Israel and the Palestinians today.
    • Summarize: To get ready to enter the Promised Land, God gave the Israelites specific instructions for how to deal with the people who lived in the land.
  5. Instructions for Dividing the Land.
    • Tell the class that Chapter 34 describes the borders of the Promised Land.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Numbers 34:13-15.
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, what method were they to use to divide the Promised Land among the tribes?” (casting lots).
    • Explain the following:
      • These instructions applied only to the nine-and-a-half tribes that would receive territory in the Promised Land of Canaan west of the Jordan River.
      • The other two-and-a-half tribes (Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh) had already claimed land east of the Jordan River.
      • In chapter 35 God ordained certain cities to be given to the Levites, since they would not receive any land on which to settle.
      • He also established cities of refuge where anyone who accidentally killed another person could find safety.
      • Chapter 36 tells that the land was not to be transferred from tribe to tribe.
    • Summarize: To get ready to enter the Promised Land, God told the Israelites how to divide the land among the tribes.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Read the lesson title written on the board and remind the students that there are some things we must do to get ready for a trip (or a move to a new home). Direct the class’ attention to some of the objects you used during the introductory step.

Tell the students that God did several things in the closing chapters of the book of Numbers to get the ancient Israelites ready to possess their new land. He appointed new leaders, reminded them of their regular offerings, gave them instructions about conquering the land, and told them how to divide the land among the tribes.

Ask: “Are any of you going on a trip anytime soon?” Tell the students that regardless of whether any of us have travel plans in the near future, we are all going on a journey someday – the journey commonly called death. One day each of us will leave the place where we currently live and move to a new place. Ask: “Are you ready for that final journey?”

Explain that the only way to truly be ready for that final trip is to place our trust for eternity in Jesus Christ. All of us are sinners and we all deserve to go to hell (Rom. 3:23), but Jesus died on the cross so we can be right with God and go to heaven when we die (Rom. 5:8; 6:23). That’s the only way anyone can go to heaven (John 14:6).

Tell the students to be truly ready for our final journey we must confess and turn away from our sin, placing our faith in Jesus Christ – and nothing else – to save us. If we trust in our good works, our church membership, our good family, or anything else we cannot be saved.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask: “Are you ready to face death? Have you ever truly confessed and turned away from your sin, and placed your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation? If you have never done that, would you do it right now?” Allow a moment for silent, private prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.

Tell the students if any of them have just trusted Jesus Christ for salvation you would love to talk with them after class or after the morning worship service.

 

CONCLUSION: Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the Fall quarter. Tell them next week we will begin six-month study of the Gospel of Matthew. Ask them to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide in their new quarterly tomorrow.

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