Bible studies for writers

Bible studies for writers | Numbers 3

The formation of the Israelites continues with God adding some intricate details regarding the position of the Levites. It’s easy to get lost in the text. It’s like reading a story math problem! So, if you were never any good at those or didn’t like them, you might struggle a bit with reading numbers. Completely understandable! Story problems weren’t my favorite either. I like the diagram in my NLT Life Application Study Bible published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (NLT-2015).

It helps a lot, right??? Sometimes us word nerds need a little diagram to go with our well-written instructions. We can admit that! 🙂

Besides the gorgeous organization of thousands of people, I also was noticing the organization of the text itself. This text was part of the message God gave to Moses to record on Mt. Sinai. It says so in the first paragraph. But by the time Moses actually recorded it for us to read here, a few tragedies had occurred, namely the deaths of Aaron’s oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu. Remember they used the wrong kind of fire in the Tabernacle, and God struck them down right then and there. Moses had to make some amendments to God’s original text to document that tragic teaching moment. He made the amendments at the beginning, as a preface, to the rules that would apply to generations of men. I feel like he’s kind of saying, “We need to let everyone know a couple things before we begin this one: 1) Aaron had two sons who should be acknowledged. 2) They messed up big time and paid the consequences, and this also should be acknowledged, but more importantly, well heeded.” It’s also important to note that this amendment made it past the “Managing Editor” (God’s new title for this post) to the final copy of what we read today. In other words, it’s important, and it shows that life keeps happening despite tragedy.

The other thing I noticed, and I meant to point out yesterday, is the reference in verse 38 regarding the position of the Tabernacle: the front will point east toward the sunrise. In Chapter 2, verses 3 and 4, we see a similar reference regarding the position of the tribes of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. We’ve talked about religious similarities in post posts, and 10 years ago the reference to the east wouldn’t have even blipped on my radar, but living in SE Asia has thankfully broadened my knowledge base about world religions. It’s extremely common, particularly in Muslim countries, to see markers in hotel rooms denoting which way is east. I stayed in a room once that had a large sticker in the shape of an arrow on the ceiling with the words “EAST” printed on it. I checked my Google maps to make sure it wasn’t lying, and sure enough, that arrow pointed due east. It took me a few minutes to realize why the arrow was there, but after it dawned on me, duh, I started noticing similar symbols in different hotel rooms in different regions of the world. I’m not going to go into the significance of facing east in the Muslim religion because I’m certainly no expert on that, but I would suggest you do some Googling about it to learn more. Fascinating parallels to the Old Testament and even modern Christianity! If you’re hesitant to learn about other religions, don’t be. I have found in my older years that learning more about other religions has helped ground me in the faith I have in my own. Go forth. Learn. Love.

Writing prompt: organization

We covered a lot in this chapter, and I’m having a hard time narrowing down a writing prompt, so organization it is! I felt like this chapter highlights some of the intricate details, or final touches, God placed inside the Israel camp regarding their formation as a people. It’s so well organized and well thought out. How organized are you? How well do you think things through? Write about something you wished you would have planned a little better, or write about a project/trip/activity that you planned and went well. Try to organize your text also!

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