Good Morning, Dear Brethren,
After doing my Bible reading for the week, I am reminded of how rich and important the book of Numbers is to understanding the difficulties the children of Israel faced as they made their way to the land of Canaan. In chapters 13 and 14, we see why God sentenced every Israelite (20 years and up) to wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and never reaching the Promised Land. An entire generation (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua), would die in the wilderness because they lacked faith and trust in God.
After reading Numbers 11-14 and 23 already this week, it occurred to me that many of the chapters in between contain critical information that we don’t need to overlook. When putting this schedule together, I tried to make it very doable and convenient for us all. Reading one chapter a day five days a week should not be very hard to do.
That being said, before you read Numbers 23 on Friday, I want to ask you to please read some additional chapters this week. This will take an additional few minutes to do each day, but I promise you, you won’t regret it. These additional chapters are critical to the story of Israel’s journey to Canaan. The additional chapters are as follows:
- Numbers 16 – Here you will find the narrative of Korah’s rebellion. Korah was someone who felt Moses and Aaron had too much authority over the nation. God put down this rebellion by having Korah and those who followed him (along with their families) swallowed in the ground!
- Numbers 17 – This chapter contains the famous episode of Aaron’s rod budding. This sign was confirmation from God that He approved of the Aaronic priesthood. This should have stopped all of the murmuring that was going on against God’s priesthood.
- Numbers 19 – Due to God’s continual judgments brought against Israel, death became a regular part of the people’s daily lives as they wandered in wilderness. Over a million people died in almost forty years! That being the case, instructions were given from God on how to become ceremonially pure following contact with the dead. As you read this chapter, notice how specific God is with His instructions. If Israel was going to be clean and holy before the Lord after contacting the dead, they were going to have to do exactly what He said.
- Numbers 20 – In addition to the deaths of Miriam and Aaron, this chapter shows us why Moses was also not allowed to enter into Canaan. There was an occasion when God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would come forth for the nation to drink. Moses disobeyed God and struck the rock. Water still came forth, but God was angry that Moses had not obeyed and treated Him holy. A key lesson from this is that the ends do not always justify the means!
- Numbers 21 – As the children of Israel marched around Edom, they began to get discouraged and grumble. The Lord sent fiery serpents in to their camp to punish them. Many of these serpents bit and killed the people. The people then went to Moses and confessed their sins. Moses prayed to God and God provided a way in which they could be healed. He commanded that Moses make a brass serpent and place it in the middle of the camp. Whoever looked upon the serpent would survive their snakebite. Due to the people eventually making this serpent into an idol, Hezekiah had it destroyed in 2 Kings 18:4. Jesus also alludes to this bronze serpent in John 3:14-15.
- Numbers 22 – In this chapter we are introduced to the prophet Balaam. He was not a prophet of God, but seemed to be familiar with Him. His heart was not right with God though. Balaam was a man who loved money and was willing to do ungodly things to acquire it. After the children of Israel had defeated many of the Canaanite kings, Balak (the king of Moab) became afraid that he would become the next victim. He went to Balaam and offered him money to curse Israel. God told Balaam not to do this. While Balaam was traveling to meet with Balak, an angel of the Lord met him on the road to kill him. The donkey on which Balaam rode saw the angel and saved his life. The donkey also spoke to him! Once Balaam was able to see the angel, he acknowledged his rebellion against God. He then went to Balak and vowed to only speak what the Lord commanded.