Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions

Lessons from the Wilderness

Title: Lessons from the Wilderness 
Reading for February 11th: Numbers 1-2

The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year, after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, "Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel..."
Numbers 1:1-2

Why is the book of Numbers in the Bible?

The book of Numbers explains why it took forty years for Israel to get to the Promised Land after they left Egypt. God promised Abraham that he would make of him a great nation (fulfilled in Exodus) and give them the land where he was a sojourner. But that doesn't happen in this book because of the people's lack of faith.

However, God's promise will not fail. In spite of Israel's faithlessness, God remains faithful (and this theme runs throughout the Bible). Israel grumbles and complains throughout the book, but God still leads them to the Promised Land (although the first generation who came out of Egypt was condemned to die in the wilderness). Even when a pagan prophet is summoned to curse the people (Balaam), he ends up blessing them instead (Num 22-24).

It becomes tiresome to read of Israel's constant bickering, complaining, and outright disobedience against God. Though this book is not a pleasant read, it is critical that we learn the lesson God is trying to teach us through it. Their disobedience and God's punishment of his people is a lesson for us (1 Cor 10:1-13; Heb 3:7-13).

Yet even in this dark and depressing book there is a bright light that shines through. God's patience and compassion are on display to give us confidence that in spite of our failings His faithful, covenant love for us is sure and steadfast (Neh 9:16-21; Psa 78:14-39; 106:24-33, 44-46).

Father God, reading about Israel in this book is like looking in a mirror. Forgive us of our stubborn and rebellious ways. Patiently and lovingly lead us on to the Promised Land.