The Value of the Book of Numbers

I remember teaching a Wednesday night class years ago. It wasn’t very big—15, many 20 people—mostly 30-somethings in age. I don’t remember what the class was about, but we got off on a tangent about how the church of the previous generation didn’t know grace like we did. The discussion went on for a little whileContinue reading “The Value of the Book of Numbers”

The law, the land, and the Lord

Land is of monumental importance in the Scripture. God chose to make man from the earth, so we have an innate relationship with the land. It is literally in our bones! He placed him not just anywhere, but on a special plot of land to take care of it and when he rebelled his banishment from thatContinue reading “The law, the land, and the Lord”

Something You Can Always Ask For

Israel is in the process of unraveling in Numbers 13. After being marvelously responsive to God during their time at Sinai (post golden calf incident), they began to break down. The hardships of their circumstances was wearing on them. They became bored with their blessings (read: manna) and began to complain. It started on theContinue reading “Something You Can Always Ask For”

Prayer and Humility

Before there was an internet with an Amazon Wish List and other wish list sites, there was the Sears-Roebuck catalog. For people growing up in my time, this functioned as our wish list. (In fact, I think the Christmas catalog was even called The Wish Book). My father was an engineer—a man given to practicality.Continue reading “Prayer and Humility”

Numbers and Organized Religion

It wouldn’t have occurred to a Jewish person to think there was anything other than organized religion! And for the enlightened follower of Yahweh, that such a structure was oppressive wouldn’t even have moved the needle for them (I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’Continue reading “Numbers and Organized Religion”

Hearing the Message of Numbers

I watched a little bit of a show recently called Major League Fishing. It follows a professional fishing circuit of the same name and this particular show featured a tournament at Lake Fork Reservoir in Texas. In the few minutes I watched, they caught one big fish after another! No one went more than a fewContinue reading “Hearing the Message of Numbers”

Falling Forward

The story in Numbers 13-14 looms over the biblical witness like a dark storm cloud. Its presence is especially felt in the Pentateuch, where it empties its rain and washes away a generation of people. It is a mountain top moment for Israel—essentially everything before had led to the men spying out the land, andContinue reading “Falling Forward”

Dealing with the Detested

They detested the manna. That’s what Israel told God in Numbers 21:5. You remember they had been given the food in response to their grumbling (Exodus 16). After a while, they became bored with the blessing (Numbers 11), and then they reached the point of detesting it. As with all ungrateful people, they didn’t realizeContinue reading “Dealing with the Detested”

Counting on God

A name like Numbers scares a lot of people off. To them, it is suggestive of repetitive lists, irrelevant facts, and boring details. That’s too bad, because the book of Numbers, though not without its challenges, is as enriching as it is enlightening. Numbers is a critical part of the Pentateuch narrative. It picks up the storyContinue reading “Counting on God”

Bored with their Blessings

The first ten chapters of Numbers present a placid picture of Israel in the wilderness under the guidance of Yahweh. After going off the rails in the golden calf incident, the nation settled down and built the tabernacle (Exodus 35-40), conducted a census (Numbers 1), organized their camp around the tabernacle (chapter 2), performed dutiesContinue reading “Bored with their Blessings”