In the wilderness

The first reading from Numbers and the thirty-fourth reading the from “Bible Study in a year” begins with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai. We think of this as simply a census, but as Christians we need to understand that this is the counting of the birth of the church that we teach isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament! This is our example of being one community and one body! This is the model that we are to look like under the headship of our High Priest! This is the key to fixing ourselves first, then our households, communities and country and changing the future of our children’s generation!

The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Pentateuch (also the name of the first reading) is “In the wilderness” or in Hebrew Bamidbar- (במדבר). It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, “Then the LORD (translated from “YHVH”) spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai” (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is “Numbers,” which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Pentateuch. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israel’s trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generation’s triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

Pentateuch Outline

  • Numbers 1:1 | The First Census of Israel
  • Numbers 2:1 | The Order of Encampment and Marching
  • Numbers 3:1 | The Sons of Aaron
  • Numbers 3:5 | The Duties of the Levites
  • Numbers 3:14 | A Census of the Levites
  • Numbers 3:40 | The Redemption of the Firstborn
  • Numbers 4:1 | The Kohathites

Prophets Outline

  • Hos 2:2 | Israel’s Infidelity, Punishment, and Redemption

Writings Outline

  • 2 Kings 17 | The 12 Tribes are divided and dispersed

Gospels Outline

  • Luke 16:1-17:10, Matthew 3:1-2, Mark 1:8| Baptism in the wilderness

Acts Outline

  • Acts 17 | Paul discusses with Agrippa regarding the 12 Tribes’ promises

Letters Outline

  • Romans 9-11 | The instructions are also for those grafted in to the 12 Tribes

Revelation Outline

  • Revelation 7, 12, 14 | Commandments of God + Faith in Jesus

Old Testament resources for kids

For deeper learning

Descriptive Images for This Week’s Bible Study

Questions: Why are only the men counted? Why are the Levites counted separately? Why are the tribes listed and grouped together in this way? Why is the total number repeated?