Death penalty for picking up sticks!

Numbers 15:35  And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. 

To get more of the story read Numbers 15:32-36. God has been giving the law, the penalty, and the provision of a sacrifice to get forgiveness. The sacrifices are being explained and then we have this story.

What is so hard is that a man is caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. His only crime it seems is that he was picking up sticks on a day that God had told him not to do so.

The problem was that it was a presumptuous sin. Numbers 15:30. He knew the rule and he ignored the rule. 

There are several lessons here. It is not the big sin that makes you a sinner or brings God’s wrath and judgment. It can be something as simple as picking up sticks when you have been told not to.

The rules do not have to seem that important to you or even make sense. You do not make the rules and you do not choose what is right and wrong, God does!

The penalty for that sin may seem harsh to you but you have been warned. The law or rule has been given, the punishment has been prescribed.

The problem is that when we disobey we are despising the Word of God. Numbers 15:31. How often do I decide that things aren’t as important as God says that they are? How often do I go beyond what He says and add to His law?

The really strong thought in this passage is that no one can escape. If you get in that much trouble for picking up sticks, what about other sin? Picking up sticks brought the death penalty!

We need grace, God’s grace! We are in so much trouble because even the smallest of sins bring death!

The real story in this story is that you must realize your need of salvation. We have sinned against a Holy God. We deserve judgment and death but God himself provides a way to forgiveness. 

Have you sought Him? Have your realized your sinful condition and need of forgiveness? Have you placed your faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross?

Do you see sin as a light thing? Do you often despise the Word of God deciding for yourself if something is right or wrong? Do you do what is convenient, advantageous if you think it is the right thing to do?

Maybe it is just picking up sticks but it is no light matter! 

Last thought, did you notice that the whole congregation had to get involved in the stoning of the sinner? In other words it wasn’t just that God made His judgment but that you have to stand with God against the sin and the sinner!

That makes it a lot harder to deal with. Sin is a horrible thing. It requires our death or the death of a substitute.

Thank God for Jesus who went to the cross and took my deserved punishment and death. Thank God that I can receive the free gift of God provided through Jesus and His payment for my sin!

Thank God for grace that loves me when I do not deserve it!

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