Friday, July 06, 2007

Numbers Summary

I get the impression that a lot of people tend to skip over the book of Numbers, or just skim through it, when they’re reading through the Bible. Based on the name, I think they assume that it’s full of censuses (censii?), and, as it turns out, a lot of the material that isn’t related to a census is related to laws, which most of us find pretty boring.

However, there’s a lot of other stuff that happens as well: the Israelites finally make it to the border of the Promised Land, only to chicken out and refuse to go in; Korah leads a rebellion against Moses, and the LORD puts it down harshly; Moses and Aaron are told they won’t be allowed to enter the Promised Land; Balak summons Balaam to curse the Israelites, and Balaam’s donkey tries to talk some sense into him—all of these stories are in the book of Numbers.

If you’re worried about long lists of names, because the book is named “Numbers,” there are actually only two: one census, near the beginning of the book, lists the Israelites who could have entered the Promised Land, if only they’d had faith in God; the second census, near the end of the book, lists the next generation of Israelites, who would enter the Promised Land.

And if you’re worried about having to slog through chapters and chapters of rules, regulations, and laws, all I can say is that if you’re trying to be more like the LORD, reading His commandments to the Israelites is a great way to get to know His character.

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