After the boredom of Leviticus, I was excited to move on to a new book with (hopefully) more action and less laws. Numbers starts out with a lot of counting and I was starting to think I'd need a few strong doses of coffee to get through this book when all of a sudden they finished counting and the cool stuff started to happen. Here are a few of the passages that stuck out to me as I was trying to find some design inspiration:
- Fire and Clouds (chapter 9) – When the Israelites were camped out they had a special "tabernacle" area where they stored all the holy stuff and where God and Moses hung out. During the day, a pillar of clouds was above it and at night, a pillar of fire. Clouds during the day is sorta cool, I guess. But you usually see clouds during the day, so it's not like it's super awesome. But a floating pillar of fire at night? AWESOME. I'd love to hook that up on my house. It would make giving directions super easy. "Yeah, just hang a left on Main St. and look for the house with a pillar of fire floating over it."
- Mutant Giants! (chapter 13) – You may remember hearing about these dudes in Genesis. Some fallen angels procreated with humans and their offspring are some kind of mutant giants called Nephilim. Here's a word of advice: If you are ever telling a story to someone and they seem like they're losing interest, throw in some mutant giants. Instant attention grabber.
- Hungry Earth Theory (chapter 16) – I never remember reading this as a kid, but there's a passage where some dudes and their families are confronted by Moses because they did something wrong and then the ground opens up and swallows them. It actually describes it this way: They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community (16:33).Awww yeah! God got all Michael Bay on them!
- Snake on a Pole! (chapter 21) – The Israelites start whining and God decides to give them something to grumble about and sends poisonous snakes to attack them (heck, that's what I do with people who complain too much). Then the Israelites are like, "Oh wait, we didn't mean it! We're happy now! Don't let the snakes kill us!" God has Moses put a bronze snake on a pole and hold it up so whoever sees it doesn't die (again, exactly how I do it).
- You Sound Like An Ass (chapter 22) – This may take the cake for weirdest story in the Bible. God talks to a guy named Balaam through the mouth of a donkey. I love how the Bible tells the story because there's no hint of how weird it is. God talks to Balaam through the donkey and Balaam just answers it back – as if a talking donkey is no big deal. Now that's how I like my Old Testament. Unapologetically crazy.
Throughout all this stuff, it really is cool to see God continue to work with these people. They are constantly complaining and grumbling, never seem to appreciate all he has done for them, yet he still works with them. Whoa, is it just me or did that observation hit close to home?
While I really liked all those stories, I decided to circle back and go with the overall theme of Numbers... which is numbers.