The book of Numbers opens with Israel encamped in the wilderness of Sinai, and it ends with them on the plains of Moab, preparing to enter the land of promise. Before they set off Yahweh had promised that he would be with them and that he would go with them as they travelled on the journey.
Numbers demonstrates the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his promises. Though the people constantly murmur and even openly rebel against him, he is there without fail, leading and guiding them through the wilderness, day and night, month after month and year after year. And even though a whole generation perishes in the wilderness because of their disobedience and unbelief, he faithfully raises up a new generation who will go in and inherit the land promised centuries earlier to the patriarchs.
Using his own translation from the original Hebrew, John Currid that even such details as the structure of the book and the arrangement of the Israelite encampment in the desert highlight the centrality of the worship of God in the life of his people and the reality of his presence in their midst.
The same is true for the people of God today. Jesus, the very presence of God, has come in the flesh and has delivered them from their sin. And he is always present among them, guiding them and leading them from their sin to the true promised land, to the 'inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for them'.
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