Archive for November 10th, 2014

Numbers 33

Numbers 33 contains the entire route from leaving Egypt to their arrival just outside the Promised Land.  “Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord”.  Moses recorded the 42 stages in their journey, and while the map is more or less the best guess at what the journey looked like, most of the maps I reviewed were similar in their look.  We do know the journey was 40 years from the time they had their run in with God, so it was a long haul.

It was only a short journey from Egypt to Canaan by the most direct route. A great highway ran up the coast through the country of the Philistines and the distance was not over 250 miles, or about a month’s journey.  But that wasn’t the route God had in mind, as He sent them on a much longer route because of their lack of faith.  Disobedience turned a rather short trip into a 40 plus year marathon.

Commentaries indicate they didn’t spend the entire time traveling, and that most of it was spent just across the Jordan from their final stop.  The route they took was the longest and most difficult of those available.  Now, as Moses reviews that trip, he prepares the people for their entry into the Promised Land.  God never really intended for them to take the land by war.  It was to be taken by faith, but their disobedience put a different reality on that plan.

God tells Moses to prepare the people to “drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places”.  God wants the idols removed.  They were to “take possession of the land and settle in it….inherit the land by lot according to your clans”. The requirement is clear – they have to drive the people out – and the warning strong that failing to do so will mean they will have trouble as they dwell there.  God has a very specific plan for how they are to take the Promised Land.

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