Numbers 20

  1. Notice Moses’ and Aaron’s reaction to the people’s discontent (verse 6).
    What did God desire to achieve through this incident?
    See verses 6, 8, 12. How did Moses and Aaron fail, and in what terms is their failure described?
    See verses 10, 12, 24; cf. 27:14; Deut. 32:51.
  2. God’s anger with Moses and Aaron may at first seem to us out of proportion to the extent of their failure. What ought we to learn from this?
    What ought we also to learn from the fact that ‘rash words’ (Ps. 106:33) came from ‘humble’ (12:3)Moses’ lips?

Numbers 21

  1. Israel’s reaction to adversity gets a little monotonous (verse 5), and it is easy to say, ‘Why cannot they learn to trust God?’
    But are not we often as unbelieving?
    Notice how Jesus uses this story (verses 6-9) as a ‘type’ in John 3:14; 15.
    What parallels are there in the condition of the afflicted and in the means of salvation in each case?
    Why a serpent on the pole? Cf. 2.Cor.5:21.
  2. It is worth tracing Israel’s journey on a map from 20:1 onwards. Notice how circuitous it was.
    What evidence is there, as against 20:2, 3 and 21:4, 5, that Israel was learning trust and obedience through discipline?
    What discipline? Cf. Deut. 8:2.