On the Plains of Moab Blog
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July 21, 2012, 2:22 PM


How many sermons have you heard from the book of Numbers?  I bet you haven't heard very many!  But, guess what?  It's in the Bible!  It's in there!  Now you have probably heard Aaron's benediction many times (not as a sermon); and Balaam and the talking donkey thing is pretty cool and gets thrown in for good measure some times.  Of course, the whole spy vs. spy and the blown opportunity to enter into the Land without all the wandering in the wilderness bummer gets a few mentions in churches that aren't afraid to violate Robert Schuller's counsel that there are certain texts in the Bible that shouldn't be preached because they are real downers.  But, oh my, that grape cluster must have been humongous!

You should know by now that I do not approach Old Testament stories with the prime aim of presenting them as mere morality tales or unconnected puff pieces.  My aim is always to connect the books with the larger narrative.  To magnify Jesus Christ.  To follow God's continuing narrative -- the so-called "scarlet thread of redemption."  And so we will do in Numbers.

As we begin this series, you will find that the wilderness generation has much in common with us today.  Their redemption came through a literal Red Sea.  Their wilderness was a literal wilderness and the place they were going towards was as well, a literal Promised Land.  For you and me today, we look back to Jesus Christ and see in his death and resurrection a Red Sea-sized deliverance from the bondage of sin and death.  We recognize in his ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit a beginning of our own wilderness journey through this world, as we look for his return to gain the "Promised Land" of the new heavens and the new earth -- the New Jerusalem.

The journey begins tomorrow!

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