I admit it. There are some books of the Bible I enjoy reading and studying more than others. Yes, I play favorites with God’s Word.
In a general sense, I enjoy the books that read like a story more than their “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” relatives. That goes for both the Old and New Testaments.
The Book of Numbers is no exception. To the uninitiated, the title seems foreboding – a warning that dusty census records, cumbersome rules and step-by-step job descriptions await – certainly that is true to some point. But those who patiently wade into the text and persevere through 36 chapters will find memorable treasures and interesting tidbits that make it one of my favorites.
Here are some highlights:
- Chapters 2&3 recount how God arranged the tribes of Israel when camping and traveling. This was not some unorganized mob!
- Chapter 5 includes the test for an adulterous wife.
- In chapter 12, Miriam and Aaron conspire against their brother, Moses.
- Chapters 13 & 14 include the well-known story of the 12 spies in the Promised Land and how Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who remained faithful. This is also where God declares 40 years of wandering in the desert as punishment.
- In 15:32-36 we learn just how serious God is about keeping the Sabbath.
- Could the earth actually swallow people or fire consume them? Check-out chapter 16.
- Chapter 17: God doesn’t just chooses a leader. He does it with style!
- Why couldn’t Moses enter the Promised Land? Find out in chapter 20.
- Medical personnel and hospitals are often adorned with an image of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff. This is called a “caduceus,” introduced in chapter 21.
- A talking donkey is featured in chapter 22.
- Chapter 27: God appoints Joshua to succeed Moses.
- God establishes the rules around vows and the circumstances under which they can be broken in chapter 30.
- Chapter 32: Some of the Israelites settled on the east side of the Jordan River.
- Have you ever tried to track progress on a long car trip using a map? Chapter 33 traces each step of the Israelites’ 40 year journey to the Promised Land!
- The Promised Land’s boundary lines are established in chapter 34.
- Chapter 35 establishes cities of refuge where someone who kills another person accidentally can expect a fair trial and protection from revenge.
Make it a point to study this gem – the Book of Numbers!