Week 10 – Chronological Bible Reading, 2014
|Week 10 – 2014||March|
NUMBERS – Date: 1450-1410 B.C. Author-Moses
This account covers the period between Israel’s departure from Egypt and her arrival in Canaan, including the winding, thirty-nine year’s journey from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea, through various places in the wilderness, and finally to the plains of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho.
The principal lesson is that God’s people must walk by faith, trusting His promises, if they are to move forward. To reinforce this theme, the book recounts the unbelief and discontent of the people in general (11:1) and of Miriam and Aaron (12:1) and the people’s refusal at Kadesh Barnea to enter the Promised Land.
Numbers is characterized by the Israelites’ rebellion. The justice and judgment of Yahweh is a key revelation of the book. Israel’s failure to obey Yahweh is emphasized in the distinction of Numbers. In the four centuries from Jacob to the Exodus, the number of men alone grew from 70 to 255,550. But in the four decades in the desert, the number dropped to 624,730.
But Yahweh did not limit His actions to judgment during that time; He also acted in salvation. Every judgment dealt only with the core of the rebellion; the majority of the people were not destroyed. The only judgment that affected all Israel was the forty years of wandering and death in the wilderness. But even here the nation survived, and a new generation stood ready to enter the land. Furthermore, Yahweh led His people to victories over Arad, Heshbon, and Bashan (chapter21), turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing (22-24), and gave Israel vengeance against the Midianites (31).
God’s presence to judge and to save is emphasized again by the dominance of the name Yahweh. Most of the other names and titles are found in Balaam’s oracles.