Census

File:Book of Numbers Chapter 21-1 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media).jpg  - Wikimedia Commons

The book of Numbers, along with Leviticus, is a very difficult to read through. The beginning starts off immediately with the census of Israel. Many people see the names of tribes and their numbers, and get stuck there. The book in our current Bible is called “Numbers”, but the original Hebrew title was called “In the wilderness”.



The book of Numbers starts 1 year after the end of the book of Leviticus. The Israelites learned how to “live with a Holy God” in Leviticus, and had been living accordingly for 1 year. Finally the time has come to go into the Promised Land!


After the census is taken to confirm the accurate number of people, they head towards the land of Canaan. It is only a 2 week walk, but it will take them much longer to enter the Promised land.


People full of Complaints

File:Book of Numbers Chapter 13-7 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media).jpg  - Wikimedia Commons

Even though the people of Israel lived according to the commandments of God, we see that they start complaining shortly after their travel starts. Even Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses, betrays Moses and rallies the people to overthrow Moses.


RTB Bible Study: Numbers Worksheet ~ Numbers, Chapter 13

When the people were close to the Promised land, Moses sends out the 12 people to spy out the land(1 person from each tribe). They spy out the land for 40 days, and bring back wonderful news about the abundance of their land. However, at the same time, they told about the people that live in that land, and also of the descendants of Anak(giants who were feared by people), and 10 out of the 12 spies try to make the people give up on going into the Promised land.

Even Moses, maybe because of frustration in leading the people, disobeyed God. God was probably about to lose his patience.


God’s punishment & blessing

The people of Israel continued to rebel against Moses and God, but God remembered the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If the people had obeyed God, they would have entered the promised land in 2 weeks, but in the end they wander around the wilderness for 40 years.


When the people of Israel moved to the land of the Moabs, a strange thing happened. Balak, king of Moab, was afraid of Israel and hired Balaam, who was a diviner, to curse the people of Israel..


We see an interesting scene where Balaam is arguing with a donkey he is riding on. He arrives at the place overlooking the people of Israel and was about to curse them, strangely he could only utter blessings instead of curses. He tries several times, but end up blessing the Israelites many times. God only allowed Balaam to speak words of blessings!


Summary

At the end of the book of Numbers, the Israelites are about to cross over the Jordan river into the Promised land. The census is re-taken. The people of Israel had complained to God time after time, but God continued to love and bless them throughout this book!


Next : Deuteronomy


#Bible #Numbers #聖書 #民数記


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