Israel’s repeated rebellion in the wilderness is met by God’s justice and mercy.
On their way to the promised land, Israel rebels against God again and again. God responds with short-term severity and long-term generosity that speaks to his covenant faithfulness.
After centuries of living in foreign lands, the time comes for the Israelites to return to the land God promised to Abraham. But soon after they set out for Canaan, Israel perpetually complains, sins, and even incites rebellion against Moses and Aaron in God's presence. Eleven days of travel in the wilderness become 40 years because of their unbelief, and only their children can enter the promised land. Tired and frustrated, even Moses rebels against God's command and is forbidden from entering the promised land.
Each time Israel rebels, God displays his justice and mercy together. A pagan prophet is hired to curse Israel, but he only hears words of blessing from God. Even in their rebellion, God continues to show his incredible love and provision for them. The book of Numbers becomes a warning and encouragement for us to follow God and trust his good plan for his people.
The Journey Begins
The people are sorted according to tribe with the Tabernacle at the center. God gives additional laws to help his people live by God’s holiness.
Are We There Yet?
In two separate sections, the people of Israel complain in the wilderness, bringing God’s discipline. God is faithful but allows his people to rebel and face consequences.
The Bad Report
Twelve spies enter the promised land, but ten of them stir up the people into rebellion. Moses urges God to remember his covenant with Abraham, and God declares that Israel will wander for 40 years.
The Plains of Moab
The king of Moab pays Balaam to curse Israel, but three times he blesses them. Balaam sees a vision of a king who will rule over the nations.
A New Generation
At the end of the book, Israel prepares to enter the promised land. They win several key victories, and some tribes begin to settle.
In last week’s blog, we explored Israel’s central sacrificial ritual, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). No matter what happened, Israel’s sins were covered and removed for yet another year. Now that Israel has a working tabernacle, the tribes are organized and prepared to...
Related Podcast Series
Torah Crash Course
3 Episodes •
This set of lectures was my effort to condense the first five foundational books of Jesus’s Bible because they introduce the Plot conflict and storyline that Jesus believed he was bringing to fulfillment.
Torah Crash Course Episode 1
Torah Crash Course: Genesis
This is the first of a three part series called the Torah Crash Course, exploring the book of Genesis. This important biblical book sets the basic plot line and core themes of the entire biblical storyline.
Torah Crash Course Episode 2
Torah Crash Course: Exodus
This is part two of a three part series called Torah Crash Course. This episode explores the important stories of the exodus and giving of the law at Mt. Sinai.
Torah Crash Course Episode 3
Torah Crash Course: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
This is Part three of a three part series called the Torah Crash Course. If you haven’t listened to Parts 1 and 2, I highly recommend it. We finish by exploring the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and how they develop the storyline that Jesus believed he was bringing to fulfillment.