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Old Testament - Lesson 15

Lesson 15 –  “Look to God and Live”
Taught by Jeff Stone April 18, 2010

Introduction:
This lesson is quite a bit different from past lessons. It’s mostly just straight history with only one small section about doctrine, but it’s a beautiful doctrine nonetheless . . . “Look to God and Live!

Scriptures Covered in This Lesson:

Extra Resources for this lesson:
Please take the time to read the scriptures and look at the extra material below. This lesson has so many wonderful stories. It would be a shame if you missed out on it. Please take some time to study this material.

Short Historical Recap and Summary:

There are many great lessons to be learned from the above history. We must learn to be grateful for what we have rather than envious of what we don’t have (bullet points 1, 2 and 4 above). We must beware of giving up future blessings for instant gratification. We must understand that although we have the right for personal revelation and stewardship revelation, only the prophet has the right to revelation for the entire church  (bullet points 5 & 6 above). Think of the dangers and damage done to ourselves, family, friends, children, etc. when we criticize church leaders (bullets4-6, 17-20).

James E. FaustElder James E. Faust said: The prophets, seers, and revelators have had and still have the responsibility and privilege of receiving and declaring the word of God for the world.

Individual members, parents, and leaders have the right to receive revelation for their own responsibility but have no duty nor right to declare the word of God beyond the limits of their own responsibility (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 9; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 8).

Gordon B. HinckleyPresident Gordon B. Hinckley said: Ten of the spies were victims of their own doubts and fears. They gave a negative report of the numbers and stature of the Canaanites . . . They compared themselves as grasshoppers to the giants they had seen in the land . . .

We see some around us who are indifferent concerning the future of this work, who are apathetic, who speak of limitations, who express fears, who spend their time digging out and writing about what they regard to be weaknesses which really are of no consequence. With doubt concerning its past, they have no vision concerning its future (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 93–94; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 71).

There is no place in this work for those who believe only in the gospel of doom and gloom. The gospel is good news. It is a message of triumph. It is a cause to be embraced with enthusiasm. The Lord never said that there would not be troubles. Our people have known afflictions of every sort as those who have opposed this work have come upon them. But faith has shown through all their sorrows.

This work has consistently moved forward and has never taken a backward step since its inception . . . This is an age of pessimism. Ours is a mission of faith. To my brethren and sisters everywhere, I call upon you to reaffirm your faith, to move this work forward across the world. You can make it stronger by the manner in which you live (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 94–95; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 71–72).

Look To God and Live
We now come to the major doctrinal point of this lesson. In order to best look at this, I’ve copied the scriptures (Numbers 21:1–9) below.

Scripture (Exodus 21) Comments
1 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.

2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.

3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Canaanites are Defeated By Israel
4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Because the people of Edom would not allow passage they had to “compass” or go around the land of Edom . . . and thus begins the murmuring. Even though they knew that their parents were punished for their murmurings and died.
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. . . . and thus the punishment . . .
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The merely had to look to be healed, but so many chose not to look, and therefore were not healed.

Why did they not look? Nephi and Alma had some insight into this:

Do we look? Or do we harden our hearts and look away because of the “simpleness” of the task? Look to God and Live! Of course the brass serpent was a representation of the Savior (John 3:14–16; Helaman 8:13–14). Alma further teaches that just as the way to be healed was easy (look at the brass serpent), so is the way to eternal life (Alma 37:46). Look to God and Live.

Carlos E. AsayElder Carlos E. Asay said: We, like Israel of old, must rivet our eyes and minds upon . . . Christ if we hope to gain eternal life . . .

Our looks must not be allowed to wander across the way or to become fixed upon the perishable things of the world. The eye . . . must be trained to look upward. We must look to God and live! (in Conference Report, Oct. 1978, 81; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 54).

While preparing for this lesson, I came across this quote by brother Cleon Skousen: “People who live with miracles often come to take them for granted.” That is an excellent reminder to us all . . . we live with miracles. Are we taking them for granted?

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  1. Israel complains and are consumed by fire for their lack of faith (Numbers 11)
  2. The complain again wanting meat instead of manna
  3. 70 others are giving the same gift as Moses and essentially become prophets to lighten his load
  4. Quail is sent to Israel, and many of those who eat are stricken with a plague for their lack of faith
  5. Miriam and Aaron feel as though they should be in charge and take Moses’s job (Numbers 12)
  6. Miriam is cursed with leprosy for a week
  7. Israel (after a year and a half) near the borders of the Canaan, the promised land
  8. 1 spy from each of the 12 tribes is sent to scope the territory (Numbers 13; Numbers 14)
  9. They return in 40 days reporting a bountiful land with fruit and plenty of resources
  10. 10 of the 12 spies, however, feel that it is impossible to take on the current occupants
  11. Caleb and Joshua (the other 2), however, had faith and new it was possible
  12. Based on the report of the 10 Israel complains and longs for Egypt
  13. They seek new leaders to take them back
  14. Caleb and Joshua are stoned for trying to talk sense into Israel
  15. The Lord appears in a cloud to kill those who are unfaithful
  16. Moses pleads for them and the Lord spares their lives
  17. Their unfaithful attitude, however, landed them 38 more years in the wilderness
  18. All people over the age of 20 were not allowed to enter the promised land (except Joshua and Caleb)
  19. Israel panics and attacks Canaan and Israel is slaughtered
  20. Many die over the next 38 years until eventually only those under 20 remain (16,000 deaths per year)
  21. Miriam Dies
  22. Moses and Aaron are chastised for a moment of arrogance and are told that they will not enter the promised land
  23. Israel is commanded to enter the promised land on the North East side rather than the west
  24. They try to pass through Edom, but the King does not allow it
  25. Thus Israel must go south and around traveling east, then north
  26. Aaron dies
  27. Canaanites attack . . . they are eventually defeated once Israel is in the promised land
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