Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Little Sticks Story

By: Rob Peralta

Perhaps one of the most dramatic and lesson-filled stories in God's word occurred in the book of Numbers. I call it "The Little Sticks Story." It has important truths and lessons we can learn. God has it there FOR A REASON. It is the observant, humble, learning servant that will gain wisdom when he studies this story. God places truths like little gold nuggets, and if we dig a little we'll find them and be joyful to know His word and truth. Let us look at this BIG AND IMPORTANT LESSON.

Our story begins in Numbers 15:22 to 15:31. The Lord tell His people through Moses and Aaron that if they sin (break His Commandments) there shall be two ways to deal with it: the "ignorant" sin would be forgiven with atonement. The "Blatant" or "Presumptuous" sin would not be forgiven, these people boldly decide to break His Law and therefore should be "cut off."

We must stop here for a moment and reassess what the situation was with these people (in their relationship with God). God had performed GREAT feats and wonders IN THEIR EYESIGHT, they saw Him in action. He left little doubt as to His closeness to them. The cloud during the day, the fire during the night. He now wanted "accountability" from them. So He made sure they KNEW just what sin meant. He was in effect warning them by basically saying "I AM YOUR GOD, THE GREAT I AM, PLEASE LISTEN TO ME."

To continue, we read in Numbers 15:32-34, "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron and unto all the congregation. And they put him in a ward because it was not declared what should be done to him." Let's look at this part more in depth.

We know that the Lord had previously declared that His Laws were holy and to be obeyed. They were not the "10 suggestions." He declared "presumptuous" sin was very serious and the offender must be "cut off." So the Lord left ALL without excuse. This man no doubt had a family and being in the desert (cold nights) probably was running low on firewood and wanted to provide for his family. But here is the big issue. This man's thinking and lack of fear of God, led him to think, "The Lord will understand, He knows we will suffer tonight if I don't get these sticks. He is compassionate." How many are thinking along THESE SAME LINES TODAY? The Lord will let this or that slide. He'll understand my circumstances. I can break these Commandments under the right circumstances.

Stop and think about something for a moment. Why do you think the Lord is so concerned that we keep His Sabbath Holy? I think there is a clear answer in His word. We, being HIS PEOPLE, are sanctified by keeping His Sabbath! (Exodus 31:13) "..My Sabbaths you shall keep (holy), for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that YOU MAY KNOW that I am the Lord WHO SANCTIFIES YOU." Each Sabbath we keep we get a little holier!

Then the story ends with the Lord declaring the man must die. Like I said it's a dramatic story but a important lesson to learn. In (Malachi 3:6) we read "For I am the Lord, I change not." That means He's the same as when this story took place. His Laws remain just that --His Laws.

So let's learn the lesson here. Our "little sticks" can do us real harm if we think we can be presumptuous and think that our Lord doesn't mean what He says and say what He means. Be strong my brothers and sisters, He wants NOTHING MORE than to embrace you and call you His own in His kingdom. But there is a requirement. In Christ's love, Rob


  1. Wow, Rob...very solemn warning for us.

  2. Yes, bro. In these end times, many errors must be corrected. Let us keep solemn watch.

  3. Here's Ellen White's account of this story, it's very helpful. :-)

    "Soon after the return into the wilderness, an instance of Sabbath violation occurred, under circumstances that rendered it a case of peculiar guilt. The Lord's announcement that He would disinherit Israel had roused a spirit of rebellion. One of the people, angry at being excluded from Canaan, and determined to show his defiance of God's law, ventured upon the open transgression of the fourth commandment by going out to gather sticks upon the Sabbath. During the sojourn in the wilderness the kindling of fires upon the seventh day had been strictly prohibited. The prohibition was not to extend to the land of Canaan, where the severity of the climate would often render fires a necessity; but in the wilderness, fire was not needed for warmth. The act of this man was a willful and deliberate violation of the fourth commandment--a sin, not of thoughtlessness or ignorance, but of presumption.

    He was taken in the act and brought before Moses. It had already been declared that Sabbathbreaking should be punished with death, but it had not yet been revealed how the penalty was to be inflicted. The case was brought by Moses before the Lord, and the direction was given, "The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp." Numbers 15:35. The sins of blasphemy and willful Sabbathbreaking received the same punishment, being equally an expression of contempt for the authority of God.

    In our day there are many who reject the creation Sabbath as a Jewish institution and urge that if it is to be kept, the penalty of death must be inflicted for its violation; but we see that blasphemy received the same punishment as did Sabbathbreaking. Shall we therefore conclude that the third commandment also is to be set aside as applicable only to the Jews? Yet the argument drawn from the death penalty applies to the third, the fifth, and indeed to nearly all the ten precepts, equally with the fourth. Though God may not now punish the transgression of His law with temporal penalties, yet His word declares that the wages of sin is death; and in the final execution of the judgment it will be found that death is the portion of those who violate His sacred precepts." - PP p.408-409

  4. Very informative! I am SO THANKFUL God blessed us with dear Ellen, her writings so much bless me! Thanks Brother ps. looks like we have alittle disagreemenet with the man's motive, lol.

  5. Thank you for the thought provoking story. Just want to clarify that "each Sabbath we keep we get a little holier" is only true if we are trusting in Jesus. Sabbath keeping didn't help those who crucified Christ, but according to Hebrews 4 it does help us if we are living by faith.

  6. Very good points and yes you are correct( if trusting in Jesus). When I said "each Sabbath we get alittle holier" I meant it in the following way-- I am assuming we are keeping the other nine. If one does not keep the others and thinks he can keep Sabbath holy, and please God , he is being deceived. When we DO keep the other nine and ALSO keep the Sabbath holy, I think we DO get a little more sanctified, a re-charging of soul as it were. Those who crucified Christ mostly were NOT keeping Sabbath (as meant by Christ) and He fought with them many times about this, as scripture points out.