At the very first glance, I know you will agree that the book of Numbers isn’t the most interesting book in the Bible. The name itself doesn’t sound appealing. However, those who will study the book will be surprised to discover the many principles and lessons. Thanks to my Community Bible Study International (CBSI) family for learning and exploring with me. CBSI helps everyone to understand the context of the book and apply it to day-to-day living. Beautiful, right? Okay, let’s go back to the topic. In this article, I will share the lessons learned from the first four chapters of the book of Numbers.
Read the first 4 chapters of the book here: Numbers 1:4
Where the book of Numbers got its name?
From the name itself, you will read a lot of numbers as the book contains statistics and census. These numbers welcome you in the first chapter. The first census was taken when the Israelites were still in the desert of Sinai (Chapters 1-2). To give a summary of the story of these Israelites, they were enslaved in Egypt for more or less 400 years. With the leadership of Moses, they were freed from slavery and moved out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Before they made it to the Promised Land, they first went through the wilderness to Mount Sinai.
Outline of the Book Numbers (First 4 Chapters)
- Chapter 1: Census of the People.
- Chapter 2: Organization of the tribes in the camp.
- Chapter 3-4: Duties of the Levites
Lessons learned from the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers
- When the sky is dark, stay put.
The first of the lessons learned from the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers is to know when to stay put. The Israelites were in the wilderness. God told them to set up their camps and set up the tabernacle when the day was still covered with clouds.
First among the lessons learned from the first four chapters is when everything is dark, and the clouds of life hang low, nothing is more beneficial than to stay put. If you insist on journeying forward in heavy rains, things can get worse. You can lose even more than the time you started. It is a lesson to embrace first the wilderness. Maybe, this is the time to reflect. Remember that many best lessons come out during the hardest times.
When the dark clouds lift, move forward.
Please know that trials won’t last forever – not for you and me and the Israelites. Eventually, a new day will come, and we will be able to move forward. Next to the lessons learned from the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers is during the darkest times, know that God is at work to make you whole. He will prepare you and equip you so that when the dark days are over, you simply move forward. That’s what He did to the Israelites.
Do what you are tasked to do.
“If it were fun, it wouldn’t be work. We complain about work because it is work.” Are these lines familiar? If yes, you will agree that we complain about almost everything. Annoyed. Dissatisfied. That’s we all are.
However, let us all learn from the Levites. The Levites are the strongest among the clans. They are even called the warrior-priests. But, God never put them in front of the army to lead (It was Judah’s tribe in front). Instead, they were given the task to take care of and protect the tabernacle. They never said, “I deserve better than this job!”. Instead, they said “I got to do this and contribute to the mission. I should obey.”.
See? Trade your own viewpoint for a positive one. Just because it doesn’t feel good, you won’t do it. Do what you are tasked to do.
Jealousy leads to chaos.
Imagine this. In a restaurant, excellent food and customer service are always a team effort. If they do not prepare the meal well, or the service is poor, or the ambiance is not good, the customers won’t enjoy the experience. Many times, the cooks think only of his team in the kitchen, or the waiters think they do more than the others, or the management believes they do the best job. But, they do not know that each task, no matter how small or big, contributes to the restaurant’s mission: to give excellent food and customer service.
Next to the lessons learned from the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers is although the Levites were equally dedicated to God, not all have equally the same work to perform. If one complains and gets jealous of the other, everything would be in chaos. The consequence of any wrongdoing in the Old Testament in death. Our God is a God of order. All of them work like a human body. They have different jobs and needs. Some are less visible. Some are more visible. But, everyone is essential.
- Fight impatience and fear with trust.
Next to the lessons learned from the first four chapters of the Book of Numbers is when life tests our patience, fear always interferes. It can tempt us to grab control of ourselves. But, please know that the test of our faith produces perseverance. Do you know what true patience can give us? It will equip us to complete our long journey and cross the end line being mature, complete and wanting nothing.
God wants to be the center of our life.
In the Old Testament, they set up the tabernacle at the center of the camp. It is a visual statement that indicates God’s presence among them.
Relating it to now, God wants to be the focal point of our lives from the moment we wake up until we’re about to sleep and everything in between. Result? Everything will be in order from how we manage ourselves to our relationship with others. Though it may not be easy to strip away all the unnecessary things, but with faith in God and prayers to achieve this, our desire and capacity to always remember Him in everything we do will grow.
I thank the Lord for all these lessons. To God be all the glory. 🙂
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littlemisadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, M.S. student in Structural Engineering and a fur mom of four-legged babies. She writes about her experiences to inspire and educate.