Numbers 11-14; 20-24: “Rebel Not Ye against the Lord, Neither Fear” (May 9-15)

Relief of Israelite Scouts Returning from Canaan, parish church in Marazhofen, Germany

In Hebrew, the book of Numbers is called Bemidbar (בְּמִדְבַּ֖ר), which means “In the Wilderness.” It tells the story of the children of Israel from the time they left Mount Sinai until they were ready to enter the promised land. Here are some of the events that appear in the book:

  • The children of Israel are counted and organized for the journey (Numbers 1 and 2). Moses counts them again years later, as they prepare to enter the promised land (Numbers 26). Note that the Hebrew word paqad (פְקַד) means not only to count but also “to visit” or “to attend to.” God “numbered” His people because He cared about each one of them, individually: “I Know My Sheep, and They Are Numbered” – 3 Nephi 18:31.
  • God sends quail when the people complain about manna. They eat and become ill (Numbers 11).
  • Moses sends twelve scouts into the land of Canaan. They return with grapes and other fruit, demonstrating that the land is prosperous. But ten of them discourage the people from entering the land, reporting that the current inhabitants are too powerful (Numbers 13 and 14).
  • Moses brings water from a rock (Numbers 20).
  • The people are healed from poisonous snakebites by looking at a brass serpent on a pole (Numbers 21).
  • The prophet Balaam prophesies that Israel will prevail (Numbers 22-24).

Here are some principles from the book of Numbers which can help us as we journey through our own wildernesses:

1. Seek for God’s light, and gather to His ensign.

2. Be diligent in doing the little things.

3. We receive God’s blessings as we move forward with faith.

4. We can each receive personalized guidance from God.

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