Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Monday, 3 January 2011
In the Hebrew Bible, the name for the book of Numbers is 'in the wilderness'. This reminds us that the book is about Israel's journey through the wilderness to the land. One of the important contrasts in the Bible is the contrast of wilderness and garden. Wilderness is a place of death and drought and also a place of testing and temptation. In Numbers and the following books, Israel moves through the wilderness to the garden-like land.
But the English name for this book is a good title too since twice in the book the fighting men of Israel are counted (Numbers 1 and 26), and these two censuses are the 'bookends' that hold the book of Numbers together. The numbers in the first counting show that God has fulfilled His promise to Abraham. God promises Abraham that he will have a seed like the sand on the seashore. When Moses counts, he find that the fighting men are 600,000, and that means that there are perhaps as many as two million if you include women and children. Even though Pharaoh has tried to kill of all the Israelites, Israel has been fruitful in Egypt. God is not only keeping His promise to Abraham. These numbers also show us that Israel is doing what Adam was told to do: being fruitful and multiplying (Genesis 1:26-28) (p102, A House for My Name)