The book of Numbers traces the history of Israel as they make their way through the wilderness – but the end of the book brings Israel to the edge of the promised land. This means that the purpose of Numbers is to show future generations of God’s people how they may endure hardship and avoid unfaithfulness that they may enter God’s rest. Through this series we will discover how we can find rest when we feel like we are in the wilderness.
The book of Numbers takes place during a time of significant shift in the journey of God’s people. It shifts the word from Leviticus to Deuteronomy. It shifts geographically. It shifts from one generation to the next. This shifting makes Numbers an important book for our lives.
Numbers 1, 26
The two census list in chapter 1 and 26 seem to be irrelevant and uninteresting. However when we capture the emotion behind the list we see why these lists are so important.
Numbers 2, 34
The set-up of the camp of the Israelites is specifically designed to make sure God is in the centre – when God is not in the centre the wilderness becomes a place of brokenness.
Numbers 3, 4 & 25
The Levites are set apart by God with the responsibility to transport, and minister in, the tabernacle. Their ministry is to remind us that, when we are in the wilderness, we need to keep the Word of God central.
The vows, and calling, of the Nazirites are introduced for the first time in Scripture. These vows are the strictest which any Israelite can make, even stricter than that required by High Priest, yet the wilderness is the place where even the best fail. The wilderness is not the place to rely on myself. The wilderness is the place to rely on God.
Numbers 7, 9, 10, 31
Just prior to setting off from Sinai to Canaan the Israelites are reminded to look back on their offering, their redemption, and the promise of victory. As they go through the wilderness they will keep needing to look back so that they can look forward to the victory trumpet sound.
Numbers 9:15-23, 10:11-36, 33
As we make our way through the wilderness we need to trust that what may seem chaotic, disorderly, frantic and a place of brokenness is actually God’s perfectly timed and perfectly ordered will to fully bring you through the journey.
Numbers 11 & 12
In our walk with God it can become easy to have an attitude of ingratitude – where we forget all that God has done for us. It can be an attitude which brings us into the wilderness.
When the Israelites get to the promised land, and the spys go out, the nation is faced with the greatest battle in book of Numbers – but they don’t even lift a weapon!
The refusal of the Israelites to trust that God was going to give them the promised land was the greatest act of rebellion in their history. In response to this rebellion God demonstrates His strength.
God’s plan for his people was for them to look up in faith to His way of salvation. Only when we look up in faith will we be taken out of slavery.
To watch The Story of Blondin video shown during sermon click here
God uses Balaam’s donkey to remind Balaam that he has completely lost spiritual focus. This message raises the question, “Who are the donkeys in your life?”
Despite being paid to bring curses upon Israel, God uses Balaam to constantly bless the people of God, these blessings continue to be a part of our journey with God.
By the end of Numbers the Israelites are just opposite Jericho, ready to enter the promised land. However they do not enter because the Israelites need to understand that, even when we arrive, we are still on a journey.