Seminary

Blessings, Wilderness, Testing, and Promised Land (Numbers: part 1 of 3)

A response to the question: from surveying the book of Numbers, what are some intertextual connections for the Church?

Following Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, God provides Moses with a priestly blessing, offering peace for the journey and a continuation of His divine promises for Israel (Num 6:22-27). For the church this corresponds to our deliverance from sin and salvation through faith in Christ (Rom 6:5-14). However, even after forgiveness, at times we find ourselves in our own wilderness. This is a time of testing and we are instructed not to harden our hearts or be led into rebellion against God (Heb 3.8). As Jesus and the Israelites were tested, so are His children (Matt 4:1, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1).

When Balak hires Balaam to curse the Israelites, God again provides deliverance and even converts a nonbeliever (Num 22-24). Conversion comes when Balaam is in the presence of God and turns away from selfishness and sin. In Acts (3:19-21), Paul talks about how being in the presence of God convicts us into calling out for salvation. Both stories show how Gods presence can lead us closer to Him, when we answer His call.

After receiving the Lords blessing, God tells the Israelites all that is required to conquer the wilderness and enter Promised Land (Num 7-10:10). While justice and mercy are offered to the Israelites through faithfully following Gods law, justice and mercy is offered to all through faith in Christ. Similar to God speaking with the Israelites, Jesus made a way for all of us  (John 10:27, Heb 12:11-16). Being raised with Him and living in Him offers the Church the ability to hear His voice, carrying us through the wilderness into Promised Land.

One Comment

  • Andy Brown

    Although the Jews were undoubtedly Gods “Chosen” people they were chosen as an example or model of what God wants for all of us and the tool to communicate His message to the entire human race. In the OT God reaches out to non Jews without much luck eventually having to send his Son to help clarify the message for us all.

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