66 in 52 Challenge

Numbers – Week 4 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 4 - Numbers

Numbers in One Sentence:

“God brings us through the wilderness to prepare us for what’s next.” – From NewSpring Church’s “Everything You Need to Know about Numbers” article

The Big Picture:

The title for this book comes from the two censuses taken in the book, numbering God’s people at that time. In Hebrew the actual title would be translated “In the Wliderness”. This is more descriptive of the narrative as God’s people leave Mount Sinai and make their way to the edge of the land God promised to them. Because of their disobedience the current generation would not get to enter and God had them wander around in the wilderness for forty years. At the end of the book we see a new generation preparing to enter the Land and are being reminded of the laws and guidelines God set out for them so they would find blessing and success when they entered.

Some Key Themes in Numbers:

  • God forgives our sins. There are also consequences in this world for our mistakes. (Numbers 14:20-23; 20:12, 21:4-9)
  • Grumbling never makes anything better. (Numbers 11)
  • “Every number has a name, every name has a story, every story matters to God.” (From “Everything You Need to know about Numbers“; Numbers 1, 26)
  • God is faithful even when we are not.
  • God really does go to any lengths to communicate with us… sometimes animals even talk. (Numbers 22)

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of Leviticus you want! These are just some ideas.

  •  “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
    REFLECTION:  This blessing has been prayed over God’s people for thousands of years and still is used in many churches today. What does this blessing mean to you? Who might you be able to pray this over today?
  • God is not a human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

    REFLECTION:  God, what human characteristics might I be placing on you unfairly? What do you want me to know about you as GOD today?

  • “But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24)
    REFLECTION:  Caleb and Joshua went against probably over a million people who didn’t trust God was able to help them take over the land. Where in your life right now are you feeling like you’re being called to be different for the glory of God, perhaps even in the face of great opposition?
  • The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love…” Numbers 14:18
    REFLECTION: Where have you seen this to be true in your relationship with God? In what areas of life might God be calling you to reflect His nature by also being slow to anger or abounding in love?

God’s Grace in Numbers:

The clearest picture of God’s grace in this book is found in the verse just mentioned above. The way the story goes, God has asked Moses to send some people into Canaan to scout it out. The ideas was to find out what land is good or to figure out what they were up against. It was not about deciding whether to go in or not, but rather preparation. However 10 of the spies found themselves afraid at what they found and convinced the entire nation not to follow God’s command to be courageous and enter the land. Only two spies, Caleb and Joshua, got excited about what they saw. They tried to rally the masses saying, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” (13:30)

But the people refused and even threatened to stone Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua. This made God mad. He had this huge gift waiting for them and all they wanted was to go back to slavery in Egypt?!? God was ready to destroy them with a plague but Moses petitioning to the gracious character of God saying, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion. … Please pardon the iniquity of the people, in keeping with the greatness of your faithful love, just as you have forgiven them from Egypt until now.” (Numbers 14:18-19)

God did pardon them. There were consequences, but also great grace.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Leviticus – Week 3 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 3 - Leviticus

Fun Fact about Leviticus:

The word “holy” is mentioned more time in this book than any other book of the Bible

The Big Picture:

Leviticus was written by Moses and seems to take place around Mt. Sinai. It seems, as the fact above could attest, that one purpose God has in this book is to remind us, and his people then, of His holiness. It is filled with lots of guidelines and instructions which at times can be overwhelming to read or even lead to a sense of despair realizing we could never live up to such standards. I wonder if that’s kind of the point as it leads us to discover our desperate need for God’s grace and salvation.

Some Key Events/Themes in Leviticus:

  • Leviticus 1-7 – Outlines the laws for various offerings and sacrifices
  • Leviticus 8-10 – The Consecration of Aaron and His sons as priests
  • Leviticus 11-15 – Teachings about clean vs. unclean
  • Leviticus 16 – Institution of The Day of Atonement
  • Leviticus 17-27 – Various Laws, celebrations, and guidelines for the people

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of Leviticus you want! These are just some ideas.

  • Leviticus 5:6 – “And, as a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement fro them for their sin.”
    REFLECTION: What does it mean to you that Jesus became the Ultimate Sacrifice for our sin, once and for all? How does Hebrews 10 help us understand Leviticus?
  • Leviticus 5:7 – “Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin–one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.”
    REFLECTION: This is just one example, but where else do you see God’s grace and mercy in this book that feels so overwhelmingly filled with Law?
  • Leviticus 17:11 – “For the life of a creation is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
    REFLECTION: How do the things we read about in Leviticus connect with what Christ did for us in the New Testament?
  • Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
    REFLECTION: Jesus, show me who I need to forgive this week and help me begin that process.

God’s Grace in Leviticus:

To be honest, God’s grace feels a lot harder to find in a book known for it’s focus on laws, guidelines, and rules. When we read things like “anyone who does ____ should be killed”, it’s difficult to even keep reading. However, I believe fully that God’s grace is all over this book. One specific place is in the outlines God gives for the offerings and sacrifices. Our God knew that we can never live up to a perfect, holy standard that is necessary to be in relationship with Him. Yet, He LONGS for us to be in relationship with Him (that’s one main reason He created us in the first place!) The sacrifices and offerings in this book aren’t meant to feel as just one more religious duty they were forced to comply with. No, this was the very way that God could continue in relationship with his people.

A penalty was needed; blood must be shed… God remained just while also being gracious in allowing sacrifices to be made to atone for the sin of the people. We can praise God even more now today that Jesus has come as the perfect Lamb of God, a blameless sacrifice that does not require repeating the rituals day after day, year after year. God’s grace in Leviticus is actually highlighted in Hebrews:

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.  If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.  For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  That is why, when Christ came into the world… for God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” – Hebrews 10:1-5, 10

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!