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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Numbers 32:23

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Intro. Men from the tribe of Reuben and Gad have come to Moses declaring that they are very satisfied not to inherit the land across Jordan. They were very happy to dwell in the land they had conquered East of the Jordan River, for they were cattle men and it was good cattle country. Moses feared that their not going with the rest of the tribes would cause others to defect and they would have a repeat of what happened 40 years earlier. They promised that the men of war would go over and help conquer the land and would remain until the land was completely conquered, then they wished to return back to their families. Moses consented to their proposal but he warned them:
NUM 32:20 If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,
NUM 32:21 And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,
NUM 32:22 And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
NUM 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
A. Moses knew this by the scriptures.
1. First sin in the Bible was committed by Adam and Eve, when they ate the forbidden fruit.
a. They tried to hide from God.
b. There is no hiding form God.
c. Where can I flee from your Spirit?
d. God asked Eve, "What have you done?"
2. The second sin was Cain's hatred of his brother Abel that led to his murdering his brother.
a. God asked Cain, where is your brother?
b. Cain denied any knowledge, asking, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
c. God asked him, "What have you done?"
d. This seems to be a common question that God asks the sinner. "What you have done?"
e. People do not seem to realize what they have done when they choose to disobey God.
f. They do not seem to consider the tragic consequences of sin.
3. Moses knew it by personal experience.
a. When he saw the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave we read that he looked this way and that way and seeing no man, he killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand.
b. Moses thought that no one saw or knew.
c. The next day as he was breaking up a fight between two Israeli's they asked are you going to kill us like you did that Egyptian yesterday?
d. He suddenly realized that his sin was found out.
e. In Psalm 90 he wrote:
PSA 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret [sins] in the light of thy countenance.
B. There are ample examples throughout the scriptures where a person thought they had gotten by with their sin, only to realize that though they might have been successful in hiding it from man, they could not hide it from God.
1. David is certainly the classic example in his sin with Bathsheba.
a. He sinned by committing adultery with her. He probably thought that was the end of it. Just a one night stand.
b. He then got a note from her that she was pregnant.
c. He brought her husband home from the battlefield on a phony pretext, thinking that he would surely go home and sleep with his wife and would think nothing of it when he found out that she was pregnant.
d. However her husband felt it would be dishonorable to go home and spend the night with her while all of his comrades were experiencing the discomforts of the battlefield.
e. David then plotted his murder, instructing the general to put him in the heaviest part of the battle line, and then withdraw from him leaving him to be killed by the enemy.
f. He then added Bathsheba to his harem, and all of the people looked on him as a hero, for taking the pregnant widow.
g. He then added Bathsheba to his harem, and all of the widows of one of his soldiers as his wife.
h. He thought that he had gotten by with his sin, but he was mistaken for God saw what he had done.
i. The prophet Nathan was sent to him by God to face David with the enormity of his guilt.
j. It is after the encounter with the prophet that David wrote the psalm that we read this morning.
PSA 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
PSA 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Before I admitted my sin there was this constant inner turmoil. I could feel the hand of God crushing me, inwardly, I was as dry as on a hot summer day.
k. David also wrote: Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. You know my thoughts before I ever think them. You are acquainted with all of my ways. You know ever word that I have ever uttered. You are in front of me and behind me, and Your hand is on me. Where could I hide from your Spirit? Where could I escape from Your presence. If I should come up to heaven; you are there. If I descend to hell, you are there. If I say surely the darkness will hide me, for the night is as bright as the day. The darkness and light are the same to You.
2. God spoke through the prophet Hosea saying:
Hsa 7:2 And they consider not in their hearts [that] I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have surrounded them; they are before my face.
A. The brothers of Joseph, because of their jealousy of him, sold him to slave traders. They took the special coat his father had given him and killed a little goat and put the blood on the coat and showed it to their father and said, "We found this coat, do you recognize it?" and Jacob was deceived and assumed that a wild beast had killed his son Joseph.
1. Seventeen years have passed and they all kept the secret, and no doubt thought they had gotten by with their dastardly deed.
2. Now seventeen years later they are forced, because of the famine to go to Egypt to buy grain.
3. Little did they know that the ruler of Egypt from whom they were buying their grain was their brother Joseph. He recognized them but they did not recognize him.
4. He treated them rather roughly accusing them of being spies.
5. When he put them under great pressure by putting them in prison and steadfastly asserting that they were spies, he heard them talking among themselves in Hebrew, which of course, he could understand and they were saying:
GEN 42:21 We [are] truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he was pleading with us, and we would not pay any attention to him; therefore is this distress come upon us.
6. This is seventeen years later, but it is still embedded in their mind. His pleadings, his dismay, his tears. They could not blot it out of their conscience.
7. The IRS has what they term the "Conscience Fund," where the money is placed that people send in anonymously for back taxes they have cheated the government out of.
8. We have counseled women who had an abortion 30 years ago that is still plaguing their conscience.
9. According to psychologists, many times the neurotic behavior patterns of a person can be traced to a guilty conscience, and the neurosis is subconsciously designed to bring punishment, which a person feels that they need to expiate their guilt.
B. Sin will find you out in your face.
1. God put a mark on Cain, after he killed his brother. Just what mark was we are not told.
2. It is interesting how that sin leaves its mark on a person's face.
3. Take a person who has given his life over to sin, it begins to leave its mark.
4. When you are young, it is barely recognizable, but the older you get, the more obvious the marks become.
C. Sin will find you out before the judgment seat of God.
1. It is possible that you may have committed the perfect crime. There is absolutely no way it can be traced to you.
2. At this point you feel that you have gotten by with it. It is a secret that only you know, it has never been shared. You may die keeping that secret.
3. The Bible tells us that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgment.
4. We are told that all of the dead small and great will stand before God in that day, and the people will be judged for the things that are written in the books.
HEB 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
PSA 44:20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
PSA 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
LUK 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
LUK 12:3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
5. Like the hard drive on a computer, every access to the internet has been stored, and a person with a little computer knowledge can retrieve it.
6. In the books, everything has been recorded, and you will have to answerto God for it.
D. Have I ever got good news for you! God has made provision to erase your ledger.
1. God said to the nation of Israel, "Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, you can be as white as snow, though they be red as crimson you can be as white as wool.
2. The Bible tells us that if we will confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Sermon Notes for Numbers 32:23 ← Prior Section
Sermon Notes for Numbers 33:50-56 Next Section →
Sermon Notes for Leviticus 1-8 ← Prior Book
Sermon Notes for Deuteronomy 1:6 Next Book →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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