Several days ago, my daughter asked me, “What is the purpose of the book of Numbers?”
Then, eating lunch after church, some good friends had questions about the Old Testament. So many of us have these questions. We struggle through Bible reading schedules, meet the daily requirement… maybe… and often don’t miss the days we miss in the reading plan. I answered my daughter’s question and our friends’ questions and I saw that special light in their eyes. Suddenly, the Bible was interesting. Not because I had the right words but because the Holy Spirit awakened their hearts and I got to be a tool in the process. To the right on this BLOG site, I will post the PBJ – Prayer, Bible, Journal – reading schedule for The Road @ Chapel Hills. Each week in this BLOG, I will talk about where we are in the Bible.
For the next two years, we are reading every Chapter in the Bible in Chronological order. We are following a Scarlet thread of people, history, events, and prophecy from Genesis to Revelation… From Creation across first coming of Jesus to his future second coming. Note: I’m using F. Legard Smith’s Chronological Bible that lays out every chapter in chronological order and we will average two chapters per day. Because so many at church have asked questions about the Bible as we work this reading plan, I will post a BLOG every week based on where we are in God’s word. Y’all hold me to that. Please!
Last thought before we look big picture at the first five books. Most of us grew up in an age of Causality. In other words, if this, then that. Few people understand the technology or processes, but things have shifted. I call it pedestrian magic because we use it every day but don’t understand it. Our cell phones are the best examples. These devices in our pockets and hands contain multiple Artificial Intelligence packages and software applications that tell us about the weather, remind us of events, lay out directions based on orbital positioning satellites, surf the web… And let us see awesome videos of our kids and grandkids. Pedestrian magic. Our Cell phones are just surface proof that we are in an age of correlation. No longer causality. In other words, our lives and the information we access correlate as opposed to riding a linear time line. It’s Asymmetric, not Symmetric. This is important because for 6,000 years, God’s word comes to us from beyond the limitations of space – time. In our own lives, prayer and God’s word shapes our lives and thoughts from beyond time. My prayer is that all of you join The Road in exploring God’s word from a linear perspective of time and history… With Imagination and Innovation framed in revelation so that we can be like the sons of Issachar, discerning the times.
In other words, understanding God’s word gives us the awesome and timeless ability to correlate his word to our lives with perspectives and knowledge from beyond space – time.
Into the Word…
To answer my daughter’s question and our friends’ questions, I quickly laid out a framework for the first five books. Genesis is the book of beginnings. Exodus begins 430 years after the last events at the end of Genesis. It details how God got Israel out of Egypt and made them a nation. Leviticus is the book of law. It lays out the Old Testament practices and laws of Israel. Yes, I fell asleep trudging through chapters and that reminded me… When you hit something that seems boring, it’s often worth another look. Numbers seems every bit as much of a slog. In the first chapter of Numbers, God ordered a census of all fighting men over the age of twenty. These were the men who walked out of Egypt with their families. In Numbers chapter 26, God ordered a second census of all fighting men over the age of twenty. These were the men and families that walked in the wilderness forty years. In between, the fighting men of the first census died in the wilderness. Recall the spies and whining failure of faith. In other words, between Numbers chapter 1 and chapter 26, forty years passed. While Exodus is the story of how God got Israel out of Egypt, Numbers is about the forty years God used to get Egypt out of Israel. Deuteronomy is Moses’ last sermon to Israel. Two million people did not show up in an Arena mega church for Moses to preach. In my mind, I see Moses over the course of several weeks striding across the camp of Israel, poised at the Jordan before entering the Land, and preaching these lessons. Some seem to repeat each other but in the Ancient Eastern way, each sermon was looking at God and his law but from different views and perspectives. We see the same thing in the book of Revelation where John wrote about the last days from multiple different perspectives. And in the four Gospels – different perspectives intended for different, wide audiences ranging from the Jewish people to the Greeks to the Romans to the Church.
I’ve already written too much and will do more later this week. Today, we are in the last chapters of Deuteronomy. Keep reading! This is a true adventure as relevant today as thousands of years ago when the words were inspired into the hearts of men to write about a creator God who saves us from beyond the limitations of Space – Time.
Watching the sunrise light up Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains on a glorious Colorado Blue Sky Day.