Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

As we continue our journey through the Old Testament we wave goodbye to Leviticus and begin Numbers. The book opens a year after the Exodus from Egypt and one month after the completion of the Tabernacle.

Numbers tells of Israel’s journey from Mount Sinai to the borders of the Promised Land, summarizing some 40 years of the nation’s history.

The theme of Numbers is the gradual fulfillment of the promises to Abraham that his descendants would be the people of God and occupy the land of Canaan. Having delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, God now shows His ongoing grace as He prepares them to conquer the land.

The book shows the reality of God’s presence with Israel in the cloud of fire over the tabernacle, but the repeated displays of unbelief by Israel delay the entry into Canaan and cost many lives.

The unfaithfulness of Israel puts God’s steadfastness to the test; but whereas the unfaithful members suffer God’s punishment, the people as a whole are preserved and shaped.

The book shows the steadfast purpose of God to fashion a people for Himself who will display His image to the world, and out of which His appointed Savior will arise.

Preeminence is given to the camp of Judah, stationed east of the tabernacle just beyond the priests. This pride of place reflects God’s promise that from Judah’s line, the Ruler would come to deliver his people from their enemies (Gen. 49:8–12).

Partially realized through David, the promise was fulfilled ultimately through the Greater Son of David, Jesus Christ, who leads us in salvation.

Israel’s encampment is now organized for a military campaign, prepared for warfare. With the tabernacle as His royal tent pitched at the center of the camp, God is portrayed as the campaigner with the companies of Israel as His hosts—the battle belongs to the Lord!

By the end of the book Israel is poised to enter the land.

Numbers serves as a reminder that we too, having been delivered out of sin and death through the new exodus of Christ’s suffering and glory, are called upon to engage in battle spiritually.

We do this by putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature and resisting temptation. In all of our spiritual struggles, our confidence is in God’s gracious purpose demonstrated in the cross of Christ.

Having died to reconcile us to God, Christ now lives to bring us into glory – into our Promised Land.

Our battle belongs to the Lord.

Until next time…keep reading…
Jim

Excerpts taken from: ESV Study Bible, Gospel Transformation Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible.

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