Daily Devotional

January 7, 2021

Daybreak: Numbers 31:1-54

“Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Numbers 31:31)

As I drove down the highway the other day, a bright florescent sign caught my attention: “Click it or ticket. Mandatory seat belt law in effect, $86 fine.” These signs are posted at regular intervals alongside our Washington State highways to remind motorists of the state seat belt law. The advertising slogan, “Click it or ticket,” prompts drivers to buckle their seat belts or face a ticket and fine.

The nation of Israel had faced severe consequences over the years for failing to obey God’s commands. They had not paid a fine, but had been punished severely for their disobedience, not the least of which was wandering about in the wilderness for forty years. Now their descendants were about to enter the Promised Land.

Moses had also learned obedience the hard way. He was about to die without entering the Promised Land due to his own disobedience years before. Yet, there was no bitterness or complaining on his part. There was no letting down from his responsibility; he was not looking back at the disappointments of life, but was pressing on to do what God had called him to do. He had purposed in his heart he was going to obey God until the day he died.

When Moses found out that Israel had brought back “spoils of war” after defeating the Midianites, he had no second thoughts about obeying God. He and Eleazar the priest oversaw the disposal of the spoils, in obedience to God’s Word, and it is recorded in our focus verse that, “Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Maybe God is calling you to a closer walk of obedience to Him. Do not look back to past defeats. Look forward in anticipation of what God is going to do in your life! As you move forward in obedience to God, you can be assured of God’s blessing.

Background

The descendents of Abraham and Keturah (the wife he took after Sarah died) were the Midianites. Their homeland was south of Canaan. As nomads, these people roamed far, and a group of them were encountered at this time by Israel.

The Children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land. The last assignment God gave them through Moses was to destroy the Midianites. The obvious reason was because of Israel’s sin at Peor. The army returned victorious, but Moses was angry when he saw they brought back impure spoils of war, including Midianite women. The chapter details the cleansing of these spoils, including the deaths of many women who had led the Israelite men into sin. The soldiers themselves also had to be cleansed.

The spoils from this battle were large — over 800,000 animals and much gold. This wealth was divided; half went to the soldiers and half to those who remained in the camp. Both groups gave some of the spoils to the Lord.

Upon their return from the battle, the officers took a head count and found that, miraculously, not one Israelite soldier had been lost. The officers brought a special offering in appreciation.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

III.    Events on the plain of Moab
    B.    The preparation for entering Canaan
        3.    The war against Midian (31:1-54)
            a.    The divine command (31:1-2)
            b.    The conflict (31:3-12)
            c.    The cleansing (31:13-24)
            d.    The spoil (31:25-47)
            e.     The offering (31:48-54)

A Closer Look

  1. Whose counsel did Moses blame for Israel’s sin at Peor? What happened to the one who gave that counsel?
     
  2. Why was obedience to God’s commands so vital to Israel, especially at this stage of their journey?
     
  3. Consider your “journey” with God at this time. What steps are you taking to ensure your obedience to what “thus saith the Lord”?

Conclusion

We can be thankful Christ set the ultimate example of obedience for us. We read in God’s Word, “Yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Praise God, we can receive the blessing every time if we utilize our faith and obey God’s Word!

Reference Materials