Radical Experiment | Numbers

Genesis was pretty easy; it's a narrative. Job, on the other hand, took some endurance. The first two chapters-easy. The last few chapters, awesome. However, Job's friends were just some punks.

Exodus was astounding. The way it lined up with Pastor John's tabernacle explanation was nothing more than the Holy Spirit underlining how to interpret the OT through the lens of Jesus. Israel lived in slavery in Egypt for 430 years (which God told Abraham was going to happen--Ahhhsum). The story of Exodus is all of our stories in Jesus. We were in bondage to some wicked task masters. God allowed us to cry out and he rose up for us a deliverer. All of life now, in Jesus, is one of being led no longer by the pillar of cloud, but by the Spirit within.

Leviticus, too, was a little difficult. Some of you noticed that while Israel was in the wilderness God wanted them to get the following two things: "I am the Lord" and "Be holy as I am holy." Leviticus, though tedious, shows us how to worship a holy God. Remember what happened to those guys who didn't treat God as holy? Again, everything is explained in Jesus.

Today, if you're up to speed, we turn the page to Numbers. Rather than leave you to yourselves, I thought it might be helpful if you had some context clues along the way with Numbers. When I first became a Christian, I would always give up on my one year Bible reading either in Leviticus and Numbers or when I got to some of the minor prophets. Endure! Be chiseled by the word.

1. WHEN -

If you go back to Exodus 40:17 and then look at Numbers 1:1-2, you'll notice that it has been one month between the close of Exodus and the beginning of Numbers. Leviticus only covers the period of one month in Israel's wilderness journey to the promise land.

2. WHERE -

Since it is only one month, at the end of Exodus Israel is at Sinai. All of Levitcus, then, takes place on at the Mountain. The first division of Numbers takes place at Sinai, but the other divisions take place throughout the wilderness.

3. DIVISIONS -

Numbers is divided into three different segments according to three different journeys and camp out spots of the children of Israel. In Numbers 1-10:10 they're at Sinai. Numbers 10:11-21:35 they're journeying all throughout the wilderness for 39 years. In Numbers 22, they're directly across the Jordan from Jericho, which is in the promised land, in Moab.

Section one is the most tedious to get through. The other two segments are overwhelmingly relevant to our souls. Just note how all of life for Israel revolves around the tabernacle. All of your life, child of God, is an act of worship because of what Jesus has accomplished for you.

4. KEY WORDS -

Ya'll know how marking helps you pay attention to the key things within the text. I know, some guys think it is a little weird, but it helps me process the word so much. Yes, it will add about ten minutes or so to your reading. However, it will help you process what is going on in the text.

If you're interested, here are some things you might want to pay attention to:

  • time - since it is a historical book, I mark all time references like "one month" with a clock
  • geographical locations - again, since they are journeying through the wilderness, locations are key to understanding the text.
  • the Lord spoke to
  • service
  • cloud
  • wilderness
  • tent or tabernacle
  • offering
  • atonement
  • Passover
  • sin, iniquity, or transgression
  • curse
  • covenant

I usually just get a notecard, write them all down and mark them the way that I am going to mark them, and then keep it in my Bible. When I finish reading, I go back and look at what I've marked and try to decipher what the main points of the text are. I usually write down the main themes in the margin.

Keep it up! Talk about it with folks... "Did you hear about what happened to Nadab and Abihu?" It's encouraging for me to read Josiah's twitter feed every day! She is taking the text and then putting a pithy reminder of what it means. Also, Holly is posting on her twitter what country we're praying for every day, which serves as a helpful reminder. I'm so encouraged to see so many of you taking this journey!!!