Numbers 15, Psalm 51, Isaiah 5, Hebrews 12

Numbers 15:29-31

After the events of Numbers 14, as I begin chapter 15, it seems the flow of thought and events is disjointed.  But it is not, God tells the Israelites, even though there are those who will not enter the promised land, the nation of Israel will. He promised it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He keeps His promise. 

The LORD restates the manner in which the people are to bring their offerings, whether native or stranger when He brings them into the land.  He then makes the distinction between unintentional and "high hand" sin.  Numbers 15:30-31 says anyone who does anything with a high hand reviles or blasphemes the LORD by despising His Word and breaking His commandment. 

He places this discussion of high-handed and unintentional sin between two specific examples of high-handedness.  At the end of Numbers 14, after being told the LORD would not be with them, the Israelites "presumed to go" to take the land for themselves without the ark of the LORD or Moses going with them.  Their action was an intentional rejection of God's instruction.  Additionally, in Numbers 15:32-36, the man willfully disobeyed God's command about the Sabbath and was utterly cut off.

Hebrews 10:26-29 addresses high-handed, willful, intentional, presumptuous sin.  "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."  Hebrews 12:14-17, after telling us to strive for holiness because without it no one will see God, describes Esau as "unholy."  When he impulsively sold his birthright, even though he later changed his mind, found no opportunity or place to repent. 

In Isaiah 5 is filled with the consequences of willful sin but verses 18-19 give a vivid example.  The NLT says "What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!  They even mock God and say 'Hurry up and do something!  We want to see what you can do. '"

So it seems the inevitable thought is "OH NO!  I have willfully gone against what I know God's word says for what I wanted to do rather than what He instructs.  Is that the sin being described as high-handed, willful, intentional and presumptuous?" 

Thank You, Lord, for your complete instruction.  May Your Word direct my explanation of "high-handed" sin.  Please, Holy Spirit, I know my words are not Yours, but please direct my thoughts and words to accomplish Your will.

Reading 2 Samuel 11-12, David willfully sent for Bathsheba and willfully sent the message to Joab dictating her husband, Uriah's, fate.  So is this intentional sin a high-handed sin?  2 Samuel 12 describes the LORD's action when He sent Nathan to confront David concerning his sin and David's response.  We are also blessed to have Psalm 32 and 51 to understand David's response.  Psalm 32 describes David's physical and emotional state before his confession of sin and after.  Psalm 51 continues David's confession and declaration of what God wants from those who rebel against Him. 

The LORD is not looking for a sin offering or a burnt offering even though the Law of Moses required them.  It is obvious from Israel's state described in Isaiah 5 all the sin offerings and burnt offerings had not changed the people's heart.  In Psalm 51:16-17, David describes true repentance, what God desires from those who rebel against Him, as a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.  It's evident; God did grant David's request for a clean heart and a right spirit.  Therefore, we can say all high-handed sin is intentional, but all intentional sin is not a high hand.

LORD God, You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but You will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.  LORD Jesus, You alone are the reason my iniquity, transgression, and sin, even intentional, is not justly accounted to me.  How could I ever be thankful enough?  May my life be a pleasing aroma of the sacrifice of a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.