The Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers
The title comes from the two times they 'numbered' Israel in this book (chapters 1-4 and 26).
The Hebrew title is "In the Wilderness". Having received the law at Sinai, they were led to the southern boundary of the promised land. Instead of entering and trusting God they check it out by sending the spies (ch. 13). The spies return with an evil report saying there are giants in the land and WE can't defeat them. This is probably a true statement, but they should have realized that God, who defeated Egypt so easily for the, could just a easily defeat giants. The people were so disheartened by the report that they chose leaders to lead them back to Egypt! The writer of Hebrews succinctly states they did not enter because of unbelief. The penalty for such unbelief was the wandering in the wilderness until that generation all died.
During this wandering we are told of their many grumblings. I have suggested that the book might be more aptly titled "The Book of Grumbling". The book records seven such episodes:
Num. 11:1; 11:4; 14:2; 16:1; 16:41; 17:12; 20:2–3; 21:5. They complained about their misfortunes (11:1); their food (11:4); their vulnerability (14:2); Moses's leadership (16:1); God's punishment of those who rebelled (16:41); about Moses (17:12); lack of water (20:2-3); and the manna (21:5). All of these things were provided by God and were sufficient for their needs. Their grumbling came from a lack of thankfulness and contentment.
As you read these accounts of their murmurings, take note that such was followed by punishment. There are consequences to our actions, even such 'light' things as complaining about God's provisions and ways. Sometimes they complained about THAT. They were a stubborn and rebellious generation.
As was suggested in reading Exodus, so it would be good to read 1 Cor. 10:1-14 as you read through Numbers. They were rescued from Egypt but God was not pleased with most of them. In the middle of a list of indictments against them stands is that they grumbled and were destroyed by the Destroyer (vs. 10). Twice we are told that these things took place and were written as examples for us to learn NOT to be like them (vs. 6 and 11). We must learn to be thankful for what we have and to be content with God's provisions. They are sufficient.