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Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 31 - 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge - Numbers 33 - 36 - The Great Adventure A Journey Through the Bible

Day 31 

Numbers 33 - 36

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, we marvel at Your faithfulness to the children of Your servant Abraham.  Despite their many failures, You never abandoned them but persevered to bring them to repentance and salvation.  We are thankful that You show the same mercies to us, the children of our holy mother, Mary, and the servants of Your Son.  We know that there are times when we stumble and fall, but we also know, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that You are always willing to accept our plea of repentance and our desire for restoration to fellowship with You.  Help us to learn from each confessed failure, Lord, so that like a soldier who grows more knowledgeable and skilled with each battle, we will be able to go forth to conquer evil with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our battle cry, the good works we offer in His name as our banner, and the Sacraments Your Son gave us as our shield.  We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  (Agape Catholic Bible Study, Number Lesson 13

Numbers gives us only highlights of the long journey, the stories that impart key lessons.  First, Numbers is a meditation on God’s working through history to form his people and to teach them obedience through difficult and arduous trials.  He displays his love and concern for them in many ways, most notably by guiding them across the wilderness with the pillar of cloud and fire (Num 9:15-23), feeding them with both food and drink (11:4-9, 31 – 35; 20:2-9), and saving them from the evil magic of their enemies by transforming curses to blessings (22:1-24:25).

In return, the Israelites proved ungrateful.  They complained throughout the journey (11:1; 21:4-5) and they demanded meat instead of manna (11:4 -6).  Above all, the Israelites looked back longingly to their days in Egypt and often wished to go back to the land of their enslavement (11:5, 18, 20; 14:3-4; 20:5; 21:5).

Because of this doubt and criticism, the Israelites are punished in order to give them proper discipline (11:1, 18-20; 12:9-10; 16:31-35, 41-50; 20:12; 21:4-6; 25:1-9).

The apostasy of the Israelites was so severe that an entire generation was condemned to die in the wilderness without reaching the Promised Land (14:20-25).  What should have been a brief journey was stretched out over decades so the penalty could be paid through the deaths of the disinherited generation.  Only after a second generation was born and had grown to adulthood were the Israelites permitted to enter the land of Canaan (33:50-56).

The New Testament is Hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New
Numbers is rich in typology and lessons for the Christian life.  The bronze serpent that was raised as a sign of salvation serves as a type for the Crucifixion of Jesus by which Christ was raised upon the Cross as a seal of salvation to believers (Num 21:4-9; John 3:14-15).

The rock that gave water to the Israelites in the desert (Num 20:10-11; 1Cor 10:1-4) and the manna that fell from heaven (Num 11:7-9; John 6:31-35) anticipated the Eucharist.

The failings of the Israelites at Kadesh and Moab serve as a caution for believers not to fall into the same sins of idolatry and immorality that were such plagues to the Israelites (Num 14:1-12, 25:1-9; 1Cor 10:6-11). 

Finally, the journey through the wilderness foreshadows the earthly pilgrimage of the Church as it moves toward the inheritance of the heavenly Promised Land (Num 10:33, 33:50-54; Heb 4:1-10, 11:13-16). (Catholic Bible Dictionary, Scott Hahn General Editor, p. 656)

Today's Reading 
Numbers 33 - 36

Discussion Boards Day 31
Agape Catholic Bible Study Commentary Numbers 33 - 36
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

Moses Views the Promised Land - Illustration from 1890 Holman Bible

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