What comes to your mind when I tell you that I am reading through the Biblical book entitled Numbers? Do you think of the Old Testament (it’s the fourth book)? Did you know that it was written by Moses? You may tell me that the book opens with a census or a numbering of the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
You may then tell me that you don’t see any application for your life by reading about several clans of disgruntled Israelites as they wander through the desert with a complaining and rebellious spirit. But I promise you, there is beauty in the tapestry of every word of Scripture. With time and effort, you can see magnificence in these pages. In fact, the book of Numbers offers significant lessons with direct application for us today.
In brief, Numbers relates the story of Israel’s rebellion and God’s perfect judgment. You may know the saga: the Israelites have been freed from bondage and are now headed for the Promised Land. Yet, according to Numbers, these people who had direct contact with the living God, rebel against Him: they grumble about everything from the food God provided to the leadership of Moses. In fact, they fail to keep covenant with God and, as a result, end up wandering the Sinai desert for 40 years.
Read this carefully: an eleven day journey turned into a 40-year saga of wilderness wanderings. Thus, due to their rebellion, God punished that generation severely. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, not one of that generation entered the Promised Land.
Here’s the gist of the story: when put to the test, Israel’s faith failed.
Don’t let this story be yours!
Numbers is a tragic reminder and a warning to future generations—God will be honored by his people or they will not live to see the Promised Land. And the Promised Land for Christians today is nothing less than heaven itself.
As you read through Numbers this month, examine your own life: are you living in rebellion against God and wandering through desert territory?
Know that in Christ God has liberated you from bondage. You don’t have to waste your life in the wilderness—move on and learn to live with our Most Holy God. A God who loves you—loves you so much he died for you.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”—Ephesians 2:8–10