Book of Numbers

A tragic story recently unfolded in Maine. Two hikers, rescued after getting lost in a state park, got in their car and drove away.

Num 1 Archaeological ruins in the Negev
Archaeological ruins in the Negev Dessert.

But in the foggy darkness they took a wrong turn, drove down a boat ramp, and plunged into the ocean. By the time rescuers arrived it was too late.

There’s nothing worse than taking a wrong turn, and that’s a key message in the book of Numbers.

Somehow on the way to the Promised Land, the Israelites took a wrong turn, and a one-month journey became a forty-year trek.

As you study Numbers, you can divide the book by its two numberings or censuses – one census of the Exodus generation and the other of the generation about to enter Canaan.

Num 2 Rahat Largest Bedouin City in the Negev Today
Rahat Largest Bedoin City in the Negev Today

Between these two events, an incredible story unfolds around several great themes:

  • The covenant with its regulations;
  • The land promised to Abraham and his descendants; and
  • The promises of God, which are never invalidated by human failure.

The greatest lesson in Numbers involves the crisis of faith that occurred when the Israelites believed the ten faithless spies instead of listening to Joshua and Caleb.

The nation panicked in the dessert, and their unbelieving hearts represented nothing less than rebellion against God.

Num 3 Amarna letters
Amarna Letters References to Canaanites are also found throughout the Amarna letter of Pharaoh Akenaton circa 1350 B.C.

Numbers warns us against taking the wrong turn of unbelief. We should listen to the Joshuas and Calebs in our lives and trust God’s Word even when challenges loom.

His promises are as sure as His power, and His peace is as near as His presence.

Key Thought:

There’s nothing worse than taking a wrong turn into the land of unbelief, for God wants to lead us forward by faith.

Key Verses:

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num 6:24-26).

Key Action

Trust God’s Word even when challenges loom, for His promises are as secure as His power.

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