Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!
BETWEEN THE NUMBERS
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-I am an Oregonian born and raised and so is my wife Laura.
-When we were 17 we met working at TCBY in Gresham.
-We went to youth group together which is usually a safe and appropriate dating practice for teenagers. (Hint, hint)
-After 1 year of college, we got married and moved to Missouri where we attended Ozark Christian College.
-Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Missouri.
-Some people pronounce it “misery” and it’s not a bad place to be from…but it’s not Oregon. Not by a long shot.
-There are no mountains. There are no forests like we know them.
-They have tornadoes, flash flooding, and hail storms of biblical proportions.
-Everyone there fights about the Cards vs Royals, or the Chiefs vs Rams…and I don’t like any of those teams.
-Whenever I wore my UofO hat people asked me if I liked the University of Oklahoma. That was no place for me to be.
-So after 4 long years in misery, and the day after my last final, I loaded everything up in my station wagon, and began the long journey back to the Promised Land called Oregon.
-At this point in our Numbers series; Moses and the people of Israel had been traveling for a year through the wilderness on their way to the real Promised Land.
-There were roughly 2 million people heading through the wilderness.
-And in the year since their Exodus from Egypt they’ve spent time organizing, preparing, and setting up what would be the foundations of their new society.
-Chapter 13 details the final steps of preparation before they cross over to the land flowing with milk and honey.
13 The Lord now said to Moses, 2 “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” 3 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.
-This would have been an exciting time for God’s people.
-If you’ve ever considered moving to another town you probably visited there before you moved.
-You’d go check out some potential houses.
-Maybe visit the local schools. Check out some churches.
-See what kind of activities are available, which stores they have.
-You’d probably do some scouting before you moved, even if you just did it online.
-God was very strategic about this scouting trip.
-They didn’t want to send in too many people and be discovered, but he wanted each of the 12 tribes to have an official representative on site.
-The idea was that they would all see the same things together.
-And that together these 12 tribes would be committed and vested in this great undertaking.
-vs 5-16 lists the names of the men who were sent.
-Most of them you’ve never heard of:
Shammua, Shaphat, Caleb, Igal, Hoshea, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi and Geuel.
-If you expecting a boy there might some name ideas for you!
-vs 16 tells us that Hoshea was also known as Joshua who would become the right hand man of Moses.
-These 12 men were given the task of scoping out the land.
-They weren’t really explorers, they actually more like spies.
-They were sizing up the opposition before moving in to take over.
-And this was a massive undertaking.
-To march 2 million people out of Egypt, to organize them, train them, and lead them to take over fortified cities and towns, and start a nation…was a bigger task than any of us could imagine!
-For perspective, 2 million people is half the population of Oregon
-And they were invading a land that only 10% of the sq miles in OR
-For people in modern society it’s almost too hard to comprehend
-If I got 11 of you together and said let’s go scout out Washington County I think the Lord is going to give us the land…you’d think I was crazy. This was a really big deal!
EVERYWHERE GOD LEADS REQUIRES FAITH.
-From the very beginning everything that God did to establish Israel was done by faith. Read Hebrews 11 sometime.
-Abraham lefts his home by faith.
-By faith Isaac foretold of future blessings for his descendants.
-By faith Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons. And by faith Joseph predicted they Israelites would leave Egypt one day.
-Heb 11 says Moses led the slave revolt in Egypt by faith.
-God arranged everything for the Israelites in a manner which required faith.
-And here they are scouting out 10,000 sq miles of land to take over without tanks, machines guns, or a GPS. That’s faith!!!
-You know what? It still requires faith to go where God leads.