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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 23 - 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge - Numbers 1-4 - The Great Adventure A Journey Through the Bible

Day 23 

Numbers 1 -4
Bible Time Period:  Desert Wanderings 

You taught Israel to walk in faith through 40 years’ wandering in the desert:  Help me to trust in you today, O God.


Lord God, You called Your people Israel out from the nations of the earth to serve You as Your holy covenant people and Your partners in the plan for man’s salvation.  In the same way, Lord, You have called each of us to come out of the mass of humanity to make the decision to willingly place our lives in Your hands and to advance the Kingdom of Your Son. Just as the Israelites followed Your guiding presence in their exodus out of slavery in Egypt and in their forty year journey to the Promised Land, so do we make the commitment to follow You in our exodus through this earthly existence on our journey to the Promised Land of heaven.  We ask You, Lord, to bless us as we study the story of Israel’s struggles, tragedies and triumphs in the book of Numbers.  May the failures of of Old Covenant predecessors to trust and obey You when their journey became difficult be a lesson to all of us when we face discouragement and hardship on our journey to eternity.  We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  (Agape Catholic Bible Study Numbers Lesson 1)

The Book of Numbers
The book of Numbers is often treated as a separate Bible book and as one of the seventy-three books that comprise the entire canon of Sacred Scripture.  The book of Numbers is not however, a separate book but is instead one section of the five-part work of the “Book of Moses,”  known in Hebrew as the Torah, in Greek as penta teuchos, “five scrolls,” and in English, as the Pentateuch.

The period of time covered in the book of Numbers is about thirty-nine years.  The Israelites spent three months traveling from Goshen in Egypt to Mt. Sinai, arriving as the Hebrew text reads in “the third [full] moon” after leaving Egypt (Ex 19:1).

After arriving at the mountain in Exodus chapter 19, they experienced a terrifying revelation of God followed by a period of covenant formation, covenant ratification and instruction in Exodus chapters 20-39.  Then in Exodus chapter 40, the Sanctuary was completed on the first day of the first month in the second year after leaving Egypt (Ex 40:2).  After the Sanctuary was completed, a month was spent receiving divine instruction in the civil and religious law, the ordination of the priesthood and the establishment of liturgical worship in the consecrated Sanctuary (recorded in the book of Leviticus).  The book of Numbers chronologically begins with the celebration of the second Passover (fourteen days after the Sanctuary was consecrated), the census of the tribes of Israel (one month after the Sanctuary was built), and the events of Israel’s last twenty days at Mt. Sinai in Numbers chapters 1 – 9.

From their arrival on the 15th day of the third month to their departure in the second year on the 20th day of the second month (Num 10:11), the Israelites spent about ten months at Mt. Sinai.  The remainder of the narrative of the book of Numbers covers the journey to Kadesh-Barnea on the border of Canaan, the aborted attempt to take possession of the Promised Land, God’s judgment on the Exodus generation for their lack of faith, and the thirty-nine years the Israelites lived as nomads in the northeastern Sinai near Kadesh-Barnea.  The narrative concludes with the events surrounding the arrival of the new generation of Israelites on the plains of Moab in the fortieth year after leaving Egypt. (Agape Catholic Bible Study Numbers Lesson 1
Getting Israel out of Egypt and setting them up as his people was one thing.  It will be quite another to purge Egypt from their hearts.  They are children still, spiritually, and they need to learn to trust their Father and walk in faith before they are ready to possess the land that was promised them.  The book of Numbers picks up the story here and tells how they fare in the period of “Desert Wanderings.”  
The Book of Numbers gets its English name from the census God has them take at the start of the book and again at the end.  (The book’s title in Hebrew, bemidbar, means “in the desert” – which is where they will spend the next 40 years, before entering Canaan.)  The tribe of Levi is not counted in the census because they have no military role.  After the incident with the golden calf, God set them apart from the other tribes to care for the Tabernacle.  Notice their position in chapter 2 in relationship to the tabernacle and to the other tribes, which are being put into a formal marching order.
Today’s Reading 

Today’s Question 

The Tabernacle provided a way for the people to approach God. What do all these careful instructions say about him? 

Discussion Boards Day 23 
Agape Catholic Bible Study Commentary Numbers 1-2
Agape Catholic Bible Study Commentary Number 3 -4 
Part of the above 10-minute study was taken from the Great Adventure Bible Study for Catholics. 

For items devotional items related to the Catholic Church 

Back to Index 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge

Israel Encampment - Abe Goolsby

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