Numbers Part 3: On the Road to the Promised Land with God Leading the Way

It’s been 2 years since God freed the Israelites from captivity in Egypt and it’s time to move on to the Promised Land. However, In Numbers 9, we have one more memoir from Moses, as a reminder to always celebrate the Passover the same time each year. I’ll let you read that on your own here.

Back in my tour guide days, I once had a group of 28 tourists in Caracas, Venezuela. We were downtown and it was time to get in the vans to go to our next destination. I instructed them that they were to gather in the plaza at the designated time. Each time I took a headcount, I’d be missing 2. I’d go and find them and 2 more would wander off. It was like herding cats! I surely could have used one of the silver trumpets Aaron had to gather the troops back then! Let’s dig in…

Numbers 9 – The Fiery Cloud

God in a cloud leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Image by Moody Publishers from FreeBibleImages.org
Image by Moody Publishers from FreeBibleImages.org

15 On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. 16 This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18 In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord. 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.

Numbers 9:15-23 NLT

Obediently Following God

Who do you follow? Jesus, I hope! However, do you follow obediently? That’s the crucial point here. In reality, the Israelites had a 2 week trip of direct walking from Egypt to the Promised Land. Nevertheless, God’s plan was to spend 2 years preparing them with the law and teaching them how to trust, follow and worship. Once they were off, it should have taken them about 2 weeks. Unfortunately, as we will discover later on in Numbers, the short trip would end up taking 40 years.

Here’s a thought — if you followed Jesus obediently, would you get where you want to go quicker? Probably. Especially if you are actively seeking God’s Will in all you do. Jesus told us…

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:33 NLT

Continuing…

Numbers 10

The Silver Trumpets

Now the Lord said to Moses, “Make two trumpets of hammered silver for calling the community to assemble and for signaling the breaking of camp. When both trumpets are blown, everyone must gather before you at the entrance of the Tabernacle. But if only one trumpet is blown, then only the leaders—the heads of the clans of Israel—must present themselves to you.

“When you sound the signal to move on, the tribes camped on the east side of the Tabernacle must break camp and move forward. When you sound the signal a second time, the tribes camped on the south will follow. You must sound short blasts as the signal for moving on. But when you call the people to an assembly, blow the trumpets with a different signal. Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, are allowed to blow the trumpets. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation.

“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. 10 Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the Lord your God.”

Numbers 10:1-10 NLT

God’s Timing is Perfect!

I knew I was doing Numbers 10 today, and I hadn’t read it yet when I sat down to continue reading Amir Tsarfati’s book, Israel and the Church (available on his website.) In it, there’s a chapter called, “Two Trumpets are Better than One” where he referenced Numbers 10:3. I jumped to get my Bible and read it. Then read his chapter again. He explained about the use of trumpets in biblical times. The trumpet blasts were used to…

  • get people’s attention
  • call a gathering of the people
  • announce the arrival of a dignitary
  • direct people in warfare or during a journey

It made me think of all the sounds used to get people’s attention in historical and modern times…

  • herald angels
  • Army buglers who had a different song for each order
  • car horns
  • church bells calling people to come and worship
  • sirens
  • train whistle
  • fog horn
  • Muslim call to prayer

The one I’m looking forward to is the trumpet call of God…

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT

I described what this might be like in my own fictional “Left Behind” Series which you can read here.

The Israelites Leave Sinai

11 In the second year after Israel’s departure from Egypt—on the twentieth day of the second month—the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle of the Covenant. 12 So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran.

13 When the people set out for the first time, following the instructions the Lord had given through Moses, 14 Judah’s troops led the way. They marched behind their banner, and their leader was Nahshon son of Amminadab….

Numbers 10:11-14 NLT

Why was Judah leading the way? Wasn’t Reuben the oldest? Yes, but the Messiah would be born out of the tribe of Judah. Hence, God showed them favor. The rest were lined up like this…

  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
  • the Gershonite and Merarite clans of the Levites, who took the Tabernacle down and carried it.
  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Gad
  • the Kohathite clan of the Levites with the sacred objects from the Tabernacle, which would be already set up by the time they got to the next destination.
  • Ephraim
  • Manasseh
  • Benjamin
  • Dan
  • Asher
  • Naphtali
The Ark of the Covenant led the Israelite procession through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org,
(CC BY-SA 3.0)

28 This was the order in which the Israelites marched, division by division.

29 One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”

30 But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”

31 “Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide. 32 If you do, we’ll share with you all the blessings the Lord gives us.”

33 They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the Lord, with the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest. 34 As they moved on each day, the cloud of the Lord hovered over them. 35 And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!” 36 And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”

Numbers 10:28-36 NLT

Are You Following Jesus?

Today, Christians are called to follow Jesus. God provides training for us in the form of His Word in the Bible

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105 NLT

The Holy Spirit in the hearts of born-again believers helps us to obey Him by convicting us when we stray. The Holy Spirit helps us follow Jesus and stay on the narrow path…

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.

Colossians 2:15-23 NLT

Are YOU going in the right direction?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

The Days of Elijah


Top image by Moody Publishers from FreeBibleImages.org

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