In the Wilderness

The wilderness experiences are hard, but it is in these hard places we learn to listen and obey.

One Word –

The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying . . . Numbers 1:1

Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 1, 2, 3; John 17

Big Idea –

So most of us are familiar with our bibles; the first five books of the Old Testament, often referred to as the Pentateuch or Books of the Law include: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But long before we as Christians had a bible, the Jews had theirs. Much of what we think of as the Old Testament makes up the Jewish scriptures.

Yet one of the major differences between the two is the names given to the books. For example, the Jewish names of the first five books of the bible are:

  • Bereishith “The beginning…” (Genesis)
  • Shemoth “The names…” (Exodus)
  • Vayiqra “And He called…” (Leviticus)
  • Bamidbar “In the wilderness…” (Numbers)
  • Devarim “The words…” (Deuteronomy)

These names are taken from the first words of each book and give a basic theme of the book. Numbers, if we make it this far in our bible reading (it’s easy to get bogged down in Leviticus), we struggle with reading names that we find hard to pronounce and the counting of the people or census. This often means we miss the point.

Look again at the first words of Bamidbar WILDERNESS – “The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai.”  How often do we look for the ways the LORD speaks to Moses and His people as they journey through the wilderness? The story of Numbers is not about the census of the people after coming out of Egypt and a second forty years later of those who would possess the Promised Land.

No, the story of Numbers or Bamidbar WILDERNESS is something else. It’s about a journey through the wilderness and hearing the voice of God.

The generation first counted heard the voice of God, but they refused to obey. As a result they wandered in the wilderness until they died. They and their children heard God speak to them through Moses as they journeyed through the wilderness, yet again they often disobeyed. Even Moses will hear the voice of the LORD and disobey as he journeys through the wilderness; his disobedience keeps him from entering the Promised Land.

As I begin again to read the book of Numbers, I think there is one important lesson for me to learn. Time spent in the wilderness is the training ground for hearing and obeying the voice of the LORD.

Exemplify –

Rather than complain about my wilderness experiences, I need to learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and when I hear the LORD speak, I need to obey.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, I thank You that You have promised to be with me always  – even in the midst of the wilderness experiences of life. Forgive me when I complain and grumble in much the same way Israel did as they journeyed through the wilderness, and forgive me to when like them I hear but don’t obey. Holy Spirit train my ears to clearly hear Your voice as You lead me, especially through the wilderness, and empower me to faithfully obey all that You say.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

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