A Study guide for our current series of Bible Talks in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy
“Therefore, say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord’.” (Exodus 6v6–8)
“Now these things became our examples… Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10v6,11-12)
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15v4)
your strength”. (Deuteronomy 6v4-5)
from Egypt begin. Hence its title!
It is the year 1447 BC right through to the end of the book.
Leviticus begins and ends in the year 1446 BC, the first year of the wilderness journey.
Numbers covers the history of the Israelite people over a period of 40 years through to 1407 BC.
“…by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” (Deut 32v47)
1447 BC ⇨⇨⇨
40 years of MOMENTOUS, SIGNIFICANT & SPIRITUAL JOURNEY made by around 2 million people, led by Moses & Aaron (Numbers 1v45-47)
⇨⇨⇨ 1407 BC
Journey is all about ‘leaving & arriving’, ‘going out & coming in’. Exodus chapter 6 is an important part of this, the language is very plain in verses 6 to 8.
The 137 chapters that make up the four Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy are full of “journey language”. In historical terms they cover 40 years of the long history of the descendants of Abraham; a man who himself began a journey 650 years earlier:
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him…” (Genesis 12v1–4)
Journey is the theme of many other parts of the Bible. This journey in particular is included in at least 10 Psalms (& virtually every verse of Psalm 78). It features in around half of the verses that record Stephen’s defence in Acts 7 and in many other places.
Journey is an EVENT (over a short or long period of time), an EXPERIENCE (sometimes pleasant & maybe sometimes painful!) and an EDUCATION (our lives are often expanded and taught by journey experiences). But here in these four books, it is also an EXAMPLE.
The verses quoted above in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 15 are incredibly important if we are to benefit from our studies together in these Books. The things that happened to the Children of Israel on THEIR journey are ‘figurative’ and ‘typical’ of OUR journey with God through our Christian lives. Their experiences are in the Scripture to make a stamp, a mark, an impression on our journey experience. All of this being for our “admonition” – to put things into our minds that will teach us not to falter and fail as they did; but also, to learn positively and to have “hope” (the Greek word used in Rom 15 v 4 means to have a ‘favourable & confident expectation’) – how encouraging!
Our Church Text for 2022 is set in the heart of the whole matter of Journey – their journey, and ours too: “So God led the people…” (Exodus 13v18).
These notes are intended as a handy introduction to the sermon series entitled Journeying with God, preached at Castlefields Church on Sunday mornings from May 2022.