September 18-22


The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, – Numbers 15:1 (ESV)

When God Speaks We Must Listen
In his book Directions, author James Hamilton shares this insight about listening to God: Before refrigerators, people used icehouses to preserve their food. Icehouses had thick walls, no windows and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the icehouses and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer.

One man lost a valuable watch while working in an icehouse. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn't find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the icehouse during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. "I closed the door," the boy replied, "lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking."

God is often easier to hear when we are still. On three different occasions, Numbers 15 tells us, “The Lord spoke to Moses.” Israel had a history of not listening to God. However, God had not, and would not give up on Israel. The question has always been, “Will Israel listen and obey?”

Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are still enough and quiet enough to hear. Do you follow the instructions of Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God?"

Find a quiet place to be still today and give God a chance to speak to your heart. What types of things come to your mind? Thank God for wanting to speak to you and ask Him to help you obey what you hear


The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you,” – Numbers 15:1-2 (ESV)

When God Commands, We Must Obey
E. Stanley Jones tells of a missionary who got lost in an African jungle surrounded by nothing but bush and patchy clearings. He came upon a native and asked if he could guide him out. The native said he could. "All right," said the missionary, "show me the way." The native said, "Walk," so they walked and hacked their way through unmarked jungle for more than an hour.
The missionary grew concerned.  "Are you quite sure this is the way?  Where is the path?"
The native said, "Bwana, in this place, there is no path. I am the path."

In Numbers 15, God would be the path to the land God was going to give Israel. In Numbers 15:2, we see man's responsibility balanced with God's provision. “You come into” is man's responsibility to obey God.  “I am giving” is God's gracious, sovereign provision. It was a gift and the life they lived there was also a gift.

Why do you think it’s easy, on occasion, to hear a clear word from God in a sermon or Bible study and to quickly forget or disobey what God said?

Thank God for the promise Jesus made to us in John 14:6, when He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Confess your desire to follow Jesus’ today wherever He wants to lead you.


Of the first of your dough you shall present a loaf as a contribution; like a contribution from the threshing floor, so shall you present it. Some of the first of your dough you shall give to the Lord as a contribution throughout your generations. – Numbers 15:20-21 (ESV)

Give God the First Dime of Every Dollar
“Get to know two things about a man. How he earns his money and how he spends it. You will then have the clue to his character. You will have a searchlight that shows up the inmost recesses of his soul. You know all you need to know about his standards, his motives, his driving desires, his real religion.” (Robert J. McCracken)

The first thing Israel did with their resources was a reflection of who or what was most important in their lives. By giving God 1/10th of the best and first of their increase, Israel was asking and allowing God to bless the rest.

In Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, ““For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What does how you earn your money and how you spend your money say about you and your priorities?

Tell God how valuable you think He is, in your prayer time. Thank God for the ways He has blessed you financially. Ask God to show you how He wants you to trust and obey Him with your finances.


While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. – Numbers 15:32 (ESV)

Give God the First Day of Every Week
I once heard of an agnostic farmer who wrote to the editor of his local newspaper, who was a Christian. He said, “In defiance of your God I plowed my fields this year on Sunday, I disked and fertilized them on Sunday, I planted them on a Sunday, I cultivated them on Sunday, and I reaped them on Sunday. This October I had the biggest crop I have ever had. How do you explain that?" The editor replied: “God does not always settle his accounts in October.” (Lou Nicholes)

In Numbers 15, the penalty for violating the Sabbath was death by stoning. The principle of the Sabbath reflects the sanctity of time in God’s economy. After God finished Creation, He rested on the seventh day. Giving God one day a week is one of the areas of obedience that reflects the belief that all your days belong to God. After the resurrection of Jesus, the New Testament church began to give God the first day of the week as a time of rest and worship. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law but the principles of what God values remained the same.

Why do you think Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday? Do you believe you can trust God to take care of your needs and that He would honor you taking Sundays off for Him?

Praise God for the gift of rest. Praise Jesus for fulfilling the requirements of the Sabbath law. Ask God to show you when and how He wants you to give you the first day of your week.


And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. – Numbers 15:39 (ESV)

When God Leads, We Must Follow
As I sat on my assigned snowmobile listening to the instructor's briefing, I noticed that something was missing.  My machine didn't have a rearview mirror. As I looked around at the other students, I didn't see one on any of their machines, either.  In fact, the only snowmobile equipped with side rearview mirrors was the instructors.  When I asked the instructor the reason for this, he explained that the outfitter didn't want us to be distracted by what was behind us, but to keep our eyes on the leader. (Mitchell Dillon)

God didn’t want Israel to be distracted by their own hearts and own eyes when they followed Him. God told Israel to put a cord with blue tassels on their garments to remind them to follow God and not their hearts. John Currid has an interesting note on “follow.” He writes, “There is a subtle reference in verse 39 to the account of the spies in Numbers 13–14. The text says that the Israelites should not ‘follow’ after their own hearts and eyes. This verb is the main one used in the episode of the spies, and it means ‘to scout’, ‘spy out’, or ‘explore’ (Nu 13:2, 16, 17). The scouts’ ‘spying out’ (Nu 14:34) led to their ‘playing the harlot’ (Nu 14:33). The tassels and cords are to remind Israel not to act like the scouts—that is, according to their own inclinations. Israel would then have to bear the same consequences.”

When has God asked you to do something that you doubted because of what you felt or saw? Is there anything you believe God is asking you to do now that you are disobeying?

Praise God for being a trustworthy leader. Ask God to help you keep you heart and your eyes fixed on Him so you can faithfully follow Him