03 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 1-10

Since we have finished the books of Exodus and Leviticus, now we’re moving on to Numbers. The book truly is about numbers, as we will see how God numbers and organizes the Israelites in this week’s lesson. All of this shows how God is a personal God who cares about every detail of every person’s life.

Numbers begins with a census. All Israelite men age 20 and older are counted in the census to determine the number of men able to fight in the Israelite army. The Levites are not counted because God chooses them to assist Aaron and his priests and be the spiritual leaders for the nation. They are charged with taking care of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.

The Tabernacle is placed in the center of the Israelites’ camp because God dwells in the Tabernacle. The Levites encamp around the Tabernacle. The other tribes are arranged around the Levites and the Tabernacle.

God also directs the order the tribes will leave when the people move at His command. God is orderly and organized. He doesn’t like chaos. God wants us to be orderly and organized, too!

Next, God again instructs the Israelites to remain pure. He tells them to send out from the camp anyone who is ceremonially unclean. He also tells the people to make restitution for their wrongs. And he protects women by providing a test for an unfaithful wife.

Since the Israelites are one year removed from their time in Egypt, they celebrate the second Passover. People who are unclean and should not celebrate the festival beg Moses to allow them to celebrate. Moses approaches God, and God extends His grace to these people, allowing them to celebrate Passover one month later. God never changes His standards or the regulations for Passover but allows the people to celebrate later.

This passage ends with another description of the cloud God used to instruct the people to move and stay. When the cloud moves, the people move. And when the cloud settles, the people settle. The Israelites are focused on God and obey the cloud’s movements.

Things to Think About

  • How is my life centered around God? Is He at the center of everything I do and every decision I make?
  • The Israelites focused on the Tabernacle in the center of their camp and then on the cloud. What are my eyes focused on?