By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ‘ol book. Here is a recap of the previous parts of the series:
Part 1 | Genesis – Sin comes into this world, and no matter what mankind does, we do not have the power to control or stop it. We need a Savior, and the prophecy of the One who will crush the serpent’s head begins to unravel in this Book of the Bible. This prophecy begins with the forming of Israel.
Part 2 | Exodus – Exodus is a beautiful image of bondage under sin and God’s merciful deliverance from that bondage. The Israelites are in bondage under the Egyptians, and they desperately need a savior, and that savior is Moses.
Part 3 | Leviticus – This Book is a strong testament to the holiness of God and the importance of offering and worship. It focuses on the Israelites and how they should utilize the tabernacle.
Part 4.1 | Numbers 1-8 – At the beginning of numbers we saw the formation of the army and further description of the law and the tabernacle. Most notably, we learned about the Levitical priesthood. On a side note: chronologically, there seems to be a jump to events in the past in some of the beginning chapters of Numbers, but Chapter 9 returns back to chronological order.
Now, let’s continue our study of Numbers!
NUMBERS – In Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, we saw the formation, salvation, and sanctification of the Israelites, and in Numbers the Israelites begin their journey from Mount Sinai, where they received the law, to the land that was promised to them. In order to make it there and to conquer the land, the Israelites needed two things: faithfulness to Him through the law and strength from Him to conquer.
- Numbers 9 | The first passover after bondage and the cloud over the tabernacle: The children of Israel celebrate the passover as instructed by the Lord, and descriptions regarding statutes for those that were defiled and those that were strangers are given in this chapter. Additionally, we again see the cloud over the tabernacle that was formed on the day the tabernacle was erected. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud was still, they made camp.
17 Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. Numbers 9:17
- Numbers 10 | The silver trumpets, the departure from Sinai, Raguel (Moses’ brother in law) stays with the Israelites upon request : At the beginning of Numbers 10 we see the instruction for the silver trumpets, which were used for the “calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.” The trumpets were used for assembling, journeying, war, and even during burnt offerings. The second part of Numbers 10 describes the first movement of the cloud on the 20th day of the second month of the second year. The children of Israel follow the cloud out of the wilderness of Sinai into the wilderness of Paran. Also in this half, Moses requests his brother in law, Raguel the Midianite, to stay with the Israelites promising him the same good reserved for Israel.
- Numbers 11 | The children of Israel complain for meat, so the Lord gives them quails, Moses complains of the burden, so the Lord empowers others to assist: This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible! It is almost comical. The children of Israel, two years after their grand departure from Egypt, begin to forget and complain. They actually long to be back in Egypt…They beg for meat instead of the daily manna, and the Lord sends an unimaginable amount of quails for them. They greedily gather bushels and bushels, and the Lord punishes them for their sin and unfaithfulness. Moses also complains because the burden he has in having to deal with the Israelites, but we see the Lord bless him with help by empowering elders rather than punishment. Read more here.
- Numbers 12 | Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses, and the Lord rebukes them: This chapter is so interesting. Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Lord calls them to the tabernacle, comes down form the cloud, and rebukes them for speaking against Moses, and He even goes on to exalt Moses above others. The Lord says that he speaks to Moses “mouth to mouth”, not in dreams or visions like others. When the Lord departs, Miriam is struck with leprosy, but Moses intercedes for her and she is healed. It seems like Miriam faces the brunt of the punishment because she was the primary accuser.
- Numbers 13 – Numbers 14 | The 12 spies, the 40 year curse, and the promise to Joshua and Caleb : These chapters depict the what happens as they arrive at Canaan, the promised land. 12 spies are sent to scout the land, but of the 12 spies, only 2 come back with a good report, Joshua and Caleb. The 10 spies cause the children of Israel to “murmur”, and the Lord reacts by almost “disinheriting them”.
11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? Numbers 14:11
However, Moses intercedes, and the Lord punishes them instead by cursing them to wander for 40 years in the wilderness and by cursing those over 20 years to never enter the promised land. The 10 spies with the bad report “died by the plague before the Lord”, but Joshua and Caleb remained alive and were guaranteed to enter the promised land. Caleb was specifically promised by Moses that he would possess “the land into which he went”.
- Numbers 15 | Israelites will still enter the land (20 and below), breaking the sabbath, and the ribband of blue: Numbers 15 begins by clearly stating that the Israelites will still enter the land rather than being “disinherited” completely. The beginning half of the chapter describes the offerings required once coming into the land. The second half of the chapter describes the punishment of stoning for those who break the sabbath(work on the day of rest) and the ribband of blue which is placed on the fringes of their garments as a reminder to do His commandments.
- Numbers 16 | The rebellion of Korah, and the murmuring of the people: Korah, Levi’s great grandson (a priest), rose up and gathered men against Moses claiming, in what seems like jealousy, that Moses lifted himself above the congregations. Korah said that they were all holy and chosen, not just him! Although Moses and Aaron tried to intercede, Lord punished Korah and the men that chose to follow him by opening up the earth and swallowing them in a pit and by consuming some in fire. After all that happened in front of the tabernacle, the children of Israel still murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying that they were responsible for killing the Lord’s people. The Lord responded by striking them with a deadly plague, but Aaron quickly interceded in almost Christ like fashion.
48 He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. Numbers 16:48
- Numbers 17 – Numbers 19 | Aaron proved as an appointed servant, Priests to protect the sanctuary, and cleansing the unclean: In chapter 17 the Lord makes it clear that Aaron is appointed by gathering one rod from every tribe. The rods are placed in the tabernacle for a time, and the Lord instructs Moses to tell the people that the rod of the man that the Lord chooses will blossom! Sure enough, Aaron’s rod blossoms and yields almonds proving that he is in fact chosen and set apart for the Lord. Those other than the chosen priests that entered the tabernacle would be put to death. So as a continuation, chapter 18 describes the duty of the priests to keep charge of the sanctuary to protect it from any stranger, and it continues to reward the priests and the Levites for their service. In chapter 19, the cleansing of the unclean (those who touch the dead) is described. I haven’t yet grasped the significance of chapter 19’s placement in this part of the Bible, but I am working on deciphering that!
Numbers is proving to be a book ripe with depictions of the strong need of our Savior. Although the children of Israel witnessed such marvelous things by the hand of God, it took them only a few years to rebel, murmur, and lose faith! How similar they are to me! How often do I forget the marvelous things that the Lord is doing in my life! How often do I ignore the amazing faithfulness of my God!
Again, this post is getting quite long because of the wealth of information in Numbers(it’s starting to become one of my favorite books in the Bible), but hopefully we will finish up our journey through Numbers in the next post!