Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 keys to understanding the book of numbers

used with permission by

well, as i am finishing up the book of numbers and just about to dive into the book of deuteronomy, i decided it would be a great idea to do an overview/reflection of each book of the Bible as i go through all 66 books on my cover to cover Bible reading challenge.  you like it?  just as i told you all the top 4 things about the book of leviticus, i will give you my general take on the book of numbers.

5 keys to understanding the book of numbers

1.  a sad book - as david pawson writes in his book, unlocking the Bible, numbers is a very sad book because most of it never should have been written.   a journey that could have taken only 11 days on foot ended up taking 40 years because the people listened to fear rather than believed God to be faithful to His promise.   

2.  it is all about the numbers - the book of numbers starts with a census of the people who left egypt and ends with a census of the people who enter into the promised land - hence the name of the book being numbers.  God waited til the entire generation that He delivered from egypt died off before He took their children into the promised land except for two men, joshua and caleb, who chose to believe God would be faithful to deliver the land into their hands as He had said He would. 

3.  God's faithfulness displayed - the faithfulness of God is wonderfully displayed in this often ignored book.  even though He vowed that He would wait until all but two men in a generation died in the wilderness, He still cared for them every day by supplying all their needs.  they always had enough food and water for each day and their clothes did not wear out.  He was faithful to them, though they were unfaithful to Him.  His lovingkindness did not fail them.  they missed out on the greatness of His promise for them because they refused to enter into it, but they did not miss out on His great faithfulness.  i think this quote from numbers 23:19 says it best,
God is not a man, that He should lie
nor a son of man, that He should repent; 
has He said, and will He not do it?
or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
His faithfulness has nothing to do with us, but entirely to do with Him.

4.  a prophesy of the One to come - there is a beautiful messianic prophesy (which just is a fancy way of saying a prophesy of Jesus) hidden in the book of numbers.  a diviner named balaam was hired to curse israel by balaak the king of moab, and every time he attempted to curse them all he could possibly do was bless them.  the climax of his blessings upon them was this: 
i see Him, but not now; i behold Him, but not near;
a star shall come forth from jacob,
a scepter shall rise from israel,
                        numbers 24:17a

5.  the priestly blessing - the most well known passage from the book of numbers is the priestly blessing that aaron and his sons were to bless the people with (numbers 6:24-26).  this blessing is the same prayer my husband and i pray over our 4 sons every night.    
the Lord bless you, 
and keep you; 
the Lord make His face shine on you, 
and be gracious to you;  
the Lord lift up His countenance on you, 
and give you peace.
 sound at all like a misty edwards song you may have heard her, or maybe even kim walker of Jesus culture, sing?

all in all numbers is a very good book.  there was a lot more narrative to keep my attention, and just the fact that God had to wait for the next generation to inherit His promises both fascinates and warns me.  i want all He has for me and the apostle paul said that the book of numbers was written as a warning to us of how not to live.  it is a book we are to read with a sober heart. 

are you inspired to dive on in?  what have you taken from numbers in your reading of it?  have you had promises in your life where the opposing "giants" simply seem daunting and you are tempted, like me, to doubt the faithfulness of God?  

as always, your comments, questions, and thoughts are welcome below.  this challenge has been so good for me and i am so thankful so many of you have joined me in it!  thank you so much for your accountability and encouragement!  



Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...