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When reading a book, any book, the first thing we do is try to know the story, and how it flows from one page to the other, till we get to the end of the book. Later, as we begin to think about the story in the book, we might go back and read certain parts of the book again, to understand a part of the story better, or to understand a person better. The Bible is no different. We have to read the Bible first to know the story.
However, to understand the story deeper, we have to go back often, to learn about the people (characters), and the flow (the plot) of the story. Many know the Bible stories including those who have never read it; to understand the Bible better, we have to understand the characters (including God), and the flow or the plot from Genesis to Revelation. The book study from this blog focuses on understanding one character, God, and the plot of the Bible story. Why the focus on God?
In a book with thousands of characters, with a story that happens over thousands of year, to understand the plot, follow the main character that is constant from the start to finish. In the Bible, the constant character is God. It is important then to follow what God is saying and doing from Genesis to Revelation. When you do that, the Bible stops being a confusing puzzle, instead everything becomes clear and fit nicely together.
In studying Numbers, we see that God wants the people to enter the promised land. There are many characters in the story and many problems, but the mission is to enter the promised land. Why that mission – go back to Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and listen to God’s conversation with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses – the answer of course is Jesus as books that come after Numbers make even clearer.
Now that we are done with Numbers, we will turn to the story, meaning, and power of Christmas. We will return to book study of Deuteronomy in the new year. In ancient Europe, December 25 was part of the celebration of the winter solstice, when gifts were offered to their pagan gods. How did this become a Christian festival is a long story. Stay tuned as we dig into that story during this Christmas season.
‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26) Amen!