Numbers 33: Record of the Journey

The Israelites visited and camped at numerous locations over the course of their journey. More than 40 places are listed in Numbers 33.


Photocredit: Williamson
Numbers 33 gives an account of all the places at which the Israelites camped from the time they departed from Egypt until they began the conquest of Canaan. I think the inclusion of the list was to remind the Israelites how far God had brought them and how long He had stuck with them. In total, there are over 40 places mentioned.

Driving Out the Canaanites

The Israelites were commanded to drive out all of the Canaanites to prevent what happened at Baalpeor from happening again. God knows that we are easily swayed to do wrong by those we love, trust, and/or admire. He also knows that it Allowing the Canaanites to stay meant allowing paganism to thrive in their midst. God knew they would get tangled up in idolatry if they did not remove the Canaanites, and all their symbols of the false gods.

Relating to Today

The issue of coexistence is one we deal with today. In order to accommodate those of differing faiths, God has been removed from public places. Not only does that allow the government to pass laws that are against God's law (such as the recognition of same-sex marriages) and place followers of God's law at in troublesome positions (such as bakers being sued for refusal to create same-sex wedding cakes), it also effects the education of children. God has been removed from the school, instead children sent to public schools are taught ideas that are contrary to God's law. We are taught from our earliest public education that all religions are equal, as though everyone is worshipping the same God we are. See my post entitled "Everyone Is Right?" for more information on why the previous inference is false.

In today's society, we are presented with interesting and fun activities we don't recognize as pagan, which is another side-effect of coexistence. Yoga is one such example; yoga is directly tied to eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism and the first sign of yoga is in Shamanism. It draws it's origins from the same religious texts Hinduism draws its inspiration.[1][3] However, in our collective and diverse society, traditions such as these as are offered at the local gym to strengthen the mind and flexibility without any disclaimers about the religious nature of the activity. Some even assert that it isn't religious, despite clear evidence that is. How is bowing to a god (per the definition of "namaste") not religious?[2]

Another example is food. There are cheeses made with pork enzymes, which is not only deceptive, (who would think cheese had meat products in it?) but is also against God's dietary laws. Similarly, the meat we buy in the grocery store is not devoid of blood and most restaurants do not drain the blood from the meat they serve. So, despite thinking you are eating a clean meat such as chicken or beef, you are still consuming blood and in violation of Acts 15:20.

If we lived in a nation that answered to God first, as Israel was to be, we wouldn't have to worry about these problems. Everyone would be brought up following God's law and God's law would be the nation's law. Unfortunately, just as it was in Jesus' day with the Pharisees, in today's society Christian's can't agree on the proper interpretation of God's law. Which denomination's version of the law would prevail? Likely we would be in even more trouble than Israel was in during Jesus' ministry.

Before Jesus it was necessary to build a nation solely answering to God's law, not just to prepare and announce Jesus' arrival, but because the resources needed to understand and follow the law were not available to everyone. God needed His word to catch fire and spread around the world. Had the Israelites fallen to idolatry, Jesus would have had no one to preach to and would not have been a threat to Rome. Today, the Word of God has spread accross the globe. We have access to histories, books, scholarly interpretations, and the Bible in our common tongue. Everyone is permitted to read and the Bible is not considered banned reading. Now that His Words have been immortalized, we are free to make decisions on our own. We can easily discover pagan origins of activities and traditions. In fact, our interactions with those from different religions today can actually help us to identify (and purge) pagan traditions that have crept into Christianity. In short, the preservation of His Word was the most important task.


  1. Levy, Danielle. "Yoga History". University of Florida Interactive Media Lab. 2005
  2. Lawson, Jill. "Yoga in America: Where Bowing to God Is Not Religious". Huffington Post. November 2013
  3. Burgin, Timothy. "History of Yoga". Yoga Basics. 2011

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