May 24, 2018

After reading some comments on Numbers 33 by Pastor Iain Duguid, I would have to say that this chapter is becoming one of my favorites.

Numbers 33:1–2 (NLT) — 1 This is the route the Israelites followed as they marched out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 At the Lord’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way.

Cleo keeps a calendar every year where at the end of the day she writes down the events that happened in that day. It helps us look back to remember what we had accomplished, what the day held for us, and faithful God has been to us over the years. We often make comments like, “I can’t believe it was five years ago that we did that, it doesn’t seem like that long ago.” Or “Did you remember that we helped so and so move into their new house?” “Do you remember all the time we poured into that family to show them the love of Jesus and today they are living for the Lord?” “Remember how excited we were when we heard that Sarah Jean was pregnant with out first grandbaby to be?” So probably what seemed like boring and mundane for Cleo to do this everyday actually turned out to be some what fun and surprising.

So as you read through chapter 33 it can be mundane and boring until you realize what had been happening all those years. When the people would read this record of their travels they would be reminded of a couple of things.

The first being the Faithfulness of God. (vss:3-5)Ramses was where God did what he said he would do when he delivered Israel from being slaves to the Egyptians. It was where God, through all of the plagues, showed himself to be more powerful than any of the Egyptian gods. (vs:8) Pi-hahiroth was where God divided the Red Sea so they could cross and the Egyptian army would be drowned. (vs:9) Elim was an oasis where they found water and food. (vs:40) They defeated the King of Arad in Numbers 21.

This list of Moses’ was a wonderful way to document the Faithfulness of God. Cleo does it with a calendar, some people journal, others write notes in their bibles etc. It sure helps to strengthen one’s faith for the journey ahead to remember the Faithfulness of God.

The second being the Forgetfulness of God. You notice that where God provided for them it was written down. It wasn’t just said, ‘that they camped there’. However nothing is mentioned what happened at the places where Israel grumbled and complained and sinned against God. Places like Marah >(Exodus 15:23-24) where they grumbled that the water was bitter. Desert of Sin(Exodus 16) where they grumbled about lack of food and the God provided quail and manna. (Exodus 17) Rephidim where the grumbles were because of the lack of water. (Numbers 11:34) Kibroth-hattaavah > this is where they craved meat and some were killed. Kibroth-hattaavah means ‘graves of gluttony’. (Numbers 20:1-3) Kadesh in the Desert of Zin > again they grumbled for lack of water.

Iain Duguid, “Each of these names identifies a place where the Israelites turned their backs on the Lord. Yet strangely enough, if you didn’t already know Israel’s history of rebellion, you wouldn’t have known from this account that any of these negative things happened. Whereas the itinerary lists specific reminders of the acts of God’s faithfulness, it passes in complete and total silence over Israel’s unfaithfulness. It mentions the places cited above but not the spiritual rebellions that happened there. Even Aaron’s death, which came as a result of his sin of rebellion in Numbers 20, is here presented as a simple act of obedience to the Lord’s command (33:38).”

In verse 2 of this chapter it says, ‘at the Lord’s direction Moses wrote down the progress’. The Lord wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t forget His faithfulness and His forgetfulness. As we remember God’s faithfulness to us let us be reminded to be faithful to Him by living in obedience to His word. God’s forgetfulness should cause us to jump for joy. He passes over our sins and doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. And because of this we need to be as forgetful as God and overlook the faults of others and see them, like us, covered in the blood of Jesus. O what a wonderful God we have!

Be Inspired Hilltop!

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    We also had Psalm 78 today that reminds us of God’s faithfulness but does mention the complaining and unfaithfilness of the people.

    • Daniel Mueller says:

      What you say is true. I believe that Numbers 33 is a picture of the Christians journey from salvation to the Promised Land of heaven. Yes we sin along the way but the Lord is showing us here that the sin that has been forgiven will never be brought up again.
      Psalm 103:12 (NLT) — 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
      Jeremiah 31:34 (NLT) — 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”