Old Testament
Lesson 15
“Look to God and Live”

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will encourage us to overcome worldly desires and fears and look to the Savior and his prophets for guidance.

Scripture references for study:  Numbers 11–14; Numbers 21:1–9
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 15 Handout (PDF)

The Book Of Numbers

"The book of Numbers recounts a great national tragedy. Within just a few months of their deliverance from Egypt, the children of Israel had an opportunity to inherit the promised land. But this inheritance was delayed for forty years because of their contentions, divisions, and lack of faith. By the time Israel finally showed enough faith to be able to enter the promised land, most of this faltering generation had died." (1989 Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, p13)

Source of the name Numbers:

Contents of the book:

The Census:

The Camp of Israel begins its migration following the census and after receiving instructions, including the organization of the camp.

Moses, The Spirit of Prophecy, Israel Tires of Manna

READ NUMBERS 11:4-10.  Israel tires of manna and complains again.

READ NUMBERS 11:11, 14. Moses is unable to carry the burden alone.

When Joshua saw these men speaking the words of prophecy he said, "My lord Moses, forbid them" (Numbers 11:28:).

READ NUMBERS 11:31-34. The Lord sends quail and a plague.

The Complaint of Miriam and Aaron

READ NUMBERS 12:1-2. Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses.

The Lord's response (see Numbers 12:5-14): Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses as their presiding authority, pointing out that they too had received revelation. (v2) WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHURCH MEMBERS THINK OR SPEAK NEGATIVELY, AS DID MIRIAM AND AARON, ABOUT THE LORD'S PROPHET AND OTHER LEADERS THE LORD HAS CALLED TO SERVE IN HIS KINGDOM? Hopefully Miriam and Aaron came to appreciate, in a dramatic way, that which President Harold B. Lee stated:  "One is not truly converted until he sees the power of God resting upon the leaders of this Church, and until it goes down into his heart like fire." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p63)

Spies and The Land of Canaan

Israel approaches the land of Canaan (see Numbers 13-14).

One of the twelve spies, Caleb of the tribe of Judah, reported, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." (Numbers 13:30) READ NUMBERS 14:2-4. The response of the Israelites to the report of the spies.

READ NUMBERS 14:6-9. Joshua and Caleb stand up for the Lord.

READ NUMBERS 14:11-12. The Lord irritated with Israel. "The Israelites had been led out of the power of the greatest empire in the world. They had been personal witnesses to plagues that afflicted the Egyptians but left Israel untouched. They had with their own hands smeared blood on the doorways of their homes and then heard the cries of the Egyptians as their firstborn fell. They had walked between towering walls of water that divided at the command of Moses, then watches as those walls collapsed on the armies of the pharaoh. They ate bread that miraculously appeared each morning, drank water gushing from a rock, felt Sinai quake, and saw it glow with fire. What people in all history had greater witness that God was with them and would use his unsurpassable power in their behalf? They had so much and were promised so much more. Then came the choice. In one foolish, blind, faithless choice this generation of Israel lost it all." (Old Testament Student Manual, p205)

The time for modern Israel to possess Zion has been postponed.

Moses & The Brass Serpent

READ NUMBERS 21:4-5. The people complain again.

READ NUMBERS 21:8-9. How the people could save themselves. Just as the children of Israel needed to look at the brass serpent to live, we need to look to Jesus Christ to receive eternal life.

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

We see in this lesson the consequences of turning away from the will of the Lord and seeking to do the things of the world. The children of Israel lacked faith in the Lord and seemed to long for Egypt and the security it seemed to provide. These people had tremendous opportunities placed before them and yet they did not have the faith to go forward.

Record your thoughts on these ancient Israelites. How does it make you feel when you consider their lack of faith? What can you do to avoid falling into the same traps?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Conference Reports (CR).

Deposition of a Disciple by Neal A. Maxwell.


Journal of Discourses (JD).

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, 1989.

Old Testament Student Manual - Religion 301.

Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.

Studies In Scripture, Volume 3, edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet.

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.

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Changes last made on:  07 January 2018