As we continue on this journey through the Bible with today’s study of Numbers, may we remember to ask God to show us what He wants us to learn? Psalm 19:14; “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Audience: The people of Israel
Date Written: 1450-1420 B.C.
Length: 36 Chapters
Key Word: Bemidbar – meaning “in the desert.” Unbelief.
Key Verse: “Not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious present and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again the have tested me by refusing to listen to my voices. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it” (14:22, 23)
Key People: Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Elazar, Korah, Balaam
The Pattern of Number
The name of this book of the Bible comes from the census that was mentioned in the first chapter of Numbers. And, within its pages, we visit the thirty-eight years the Israelites wandered in the desert. During those years, Numbers highlights the murmurings and rebellion of God’s people. But, ultimately, we see how their unbelief leads to God’s judgment upon them. A pattern is formed within the first four books of the Old Testament;
- In Genesis – man enters into a covenant relationship with God.
- In Exodus – God delivers His people out of bondage.
- In Leviticus – man learns to worship God.
- In Numbers – God punishes His people for their sin.
God’s Character Revealed
We also see God’s character revealed throughout the book of Numbers. They are as follows with the verses referenced:
- God is long-suffering – 14:18
- God is merciful – 14:18
- God is provident – 26:65
- God is true – 23:19
- God is wrathful – 11:1, 33; 12:9-10; 14:37, 40-45; 16:31, 35; 21:6; 25:9; 32:14
The Complainants in Numbers
We also see the seven murmurings that caused God to bar the Israelites from entering the promised land. The complained about:
- The way they traveled in 11:1-3
- The food or lack of in 11:4-6
- The giants found by the spies in 13:33-14:2
- The leadership in 16:3
- The judgment of God in 16:41
- The desert in 20:2-5
- The manna in 21:5
Are we any different in our complainants today?
We also see the foreshadowing of Christ within the book of Numbers. For example, the Apostle John tells us that the story of Moses lifting up the serpent in the desert and everyone who looked upon it was healed as the picture of Christ’s crucifixion. Another example is the manna sent from heaven to sustain the people of God shows us how Christ is our bread of life. Finally, Paul uses the scene of water coming forth from the rock in the desert to describe how Jesus is our rock and from Him springs living waters.
The Book of Numbers leaves us with an important message that is still relevant for us today. Even though we see God’s wrath on full display, we see grace renewed and learn that God’s redeeming of His people will not be thwarted. Thus, there is still hope for us today.
Studying the Bible
Each book of the Bible contains lessons for us to learn as well as historical information. We need to study God’s Word to see what to do and what not to do in life. Paul reminds all of us of the importance of the words within the text in 2 Timothy 3.
“14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Heavenly Father, guide our thoughts as we study your Word. Please show us how to apply these principles to our daily walk with You. Thank you for the many blessings we find within the pages of the Bible. In Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.
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Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”