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N umbers 15

Additional Offerings, Unintentional Sin, and Tassels


Numbers 15:1-41
I. Context
Who are the main characters in the passage? What do we know about them?

Moses:

When and where does this passage take place?


When: As with last week, It is u ncertain how mu ch time has passed since the Israelites left Sinai and the beginning of
this passage. Nu mbers 10:11-12 tells u s that the Israelites set ou t from Sinai on the 20th day of the 2nd month of the
2nd year and then traveled for 3 days to Kibroth Hattaavah (10:33, 11:35). After the qu ail incident at the end of
Nu mbers 11, we're told they traveled to Hazeroth, bu t it is not given how long they traveled to get there. Also, at the
end of Nu mbers 12, we're told that they left Hazeroth and camped in the Desert of Paran, bu t again it is not given how
long they traveled to get there. This passage continu es from last week's passage, which began after the spies retu rn
from exploring the Promised Land for 40 days and gave their report.

Where: Ju st like last week, this week's lesson takes place at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran (13:26),

What is going on? (Summary of Events)


The Lord outlines the supplementary sacrifices to Moses. (Numbers 15:1-21)

The Lord addresses unintentional sin vs. deliberate sin (Numbers 15:22-36)

The Lord instructs Moses to have the people add tassels to their garments as reminders of the law
(Numbers 15:37-41)

II. Interpretation
What principles are illu strated in this passage? What wou ld you consider the theme of this passage?

What do we learn of God's character from this passage? Does this passage point u s toward or connect with Christ? If so,
how?

How important is it that both the Israelites and "foreigners living among you " were placed on a level playing field with each
other?

Discu ss u nintentional sin vs. deliberate sin. How does one "u nintentionally sin?" How is this different from the "popu lar
definition" of sin?

Do you think, based on this passage, that are people held accou ntable for sin they're u naware of? Does this reality have
implications for being "saved by grace throu gh faith?"

III. Application

Sin is u navoidable. This is the message of Scriptu re. There are some today who see the path to heaven as "being a good
person" or "doing enou gh good things." Yet the qu estions that follow are, "How mu ch is enou gh? How good mu st one be?
How many good things mu st a person do?" Perhaps the most important fu nction of the law (and by connection, the system of
sacrifice for forgiveness) was to illu minate man's depravity. Yet sin, as we are reminded of here, is possible even if the person
does not mean to sin. What an argu ment for total dependence u pon grace!!