Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Numbers, chapters 8 through 10, where Israel departs from Sinai to begin their sojourn in the wilderness. Some impressions from the text:
- Reading the vague description of the lampstand in Numbers 8:1-4 evokes curiosity. What did something like that actually look like? What did “the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses” look like? What did this artistic expression reveal about the God who commissioned it? Then we remember, if we want to see artistic expressions of who God is, look in the mirror. Look around. His work is everywhere.
- As Israel was chosen to be God’s and separated from the surrounding nations, so too were the Levites separated from their Israelite brethren. This echoes the separations within the tabernacle itself, distinguishing between holy and most holy. This may allude to the process of sanctification. Levites had to cleanse themselves to serve in the tent of meeting. We too actively work to cleanse ourselves, to sanctify ourselves, so that we may draw closer to God.
- In Numbers 9:14, we once again note that sojourners among the Israelites could choose to keep the Passover. Although Israel was God’s chosen people, his salvation was not for them only. That become a point of contention many times throughout Jewish and Christian history.
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have something in our lives like the cloud which covered the tabernacle, a sign from God which told us when we should set out and when we should camp? That kind of explicit direction would be a relief, or at least seems like it would be at times. We may not have a divine cloud guiding us. But we do have the Word, and it signals much regarding how we should behave.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
The book of Numbers lives up to its name. – Numbers 1-2
Tests and tributes. – Numbers 5-6