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10 Life Lessons from the Book of Numbers

Faith, Art, writing and learning are Tim’s passions. Tim loves working in education. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.


The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible. It is also the fourth of the five books of the Jewish Torah. As the name suggests the Book of Numbers is a census of the people, tribes and other aspects of the nation of Israel.

Numbers takes place from when the Israelites are camped out at Mt, Sinai where they received the Ten Commandments till their arrival at the plains of Jordan. Numbers tells of the Israelites murmurings and unbelief for which they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years. At the end of the book after Aaron has passed the Lord’s comes one of the humorous stories in the Bible, Balaam and his donkey.

A lot people who read the Bible avoid the book of Numbers because they fear it is not a book filled with advice for their everyday lives. The truth is like all books of the Bible there is much wisdom which can be gleaned from Numbers. Here are ten of the many lessons found there.

1. When you’re told to do something, learn to listen and don’t complain.

Numbers 1:54, “Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses.”

We always want to be in control of our own destiny so when inclination is to argue people tells us to do something many times our first inclination is to complain. The people of Israel were the same they complained about everything it seemed, food, water, the journey is to rough. Once in a while though, they stop complaining and learned to listen to God. In all you do the most important thing to remember is to listen first it will rid you of a lot of complaining.

2. No matter what you do, it is important work.

Numbers 4:15, “ And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, as the camp sets out, after that sons of Kohath shall come to carry these, but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die.These are the things of the tent of meeting that the sons of Kohath are to carry.”

This verse deals with the duties of the Aaron and his sons and also Kohath and his sons. Each group of sons had specific tasks they needed

3. You’re not to young or to old to do God‘s work.

Numbers 4:30, “From thirty years old up to fifty years old, you shall list them, everyone who can come on duty, to do the service of the tent of meeting.”

It seems there are always people who no matter what happens good or bad they grumble about their circumstances. Instead in life you need to try to live with a grateful heart cherishing the time you are given.

4. Always know a wrong can be made right.

Numbers 5:6b- 8, “and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.”

This life lesson is simple when you do something wrong to someone you have to confess your wrongs to the Lord and the person you’ve wronged and then seek to make restitution to those you’ve wronged.

5. Get your head out of the crowds.

Numbers 3:5, “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him.”

In order to serve the Lord to the best of your abilities you must seek to take yourself out of the crowd. You are set apart to date God’s work which means you need to do what you are called to do by God. This means separating yourself from the crowd of people and minister to those to whom God directs you.

Numbers 22:35, “ “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.”

We are to speak the words of God adding nothing more while speaking the truth.

6. Be careful what you say about those who are in charge of ministering to the church.

Numbers 12:1-3, “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek.”

Some saw Moses as a meek leader just because of whom he married so they bad mouthed him. The lesson here is you’ve got to be careful about bad mouthing those in charge because it says more about where your heart is placed then it does about their leadership. Think about it before you speak out.

7. Keep your head out of the clouds.

Numbers 14:1-2, “ Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people iwept that night. And all the people of Israel jgrumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!”

Don’t live wistfully, rather live in the present or you may miss out on what is happening around you. Life is about gazing forward and keeping your heart firmly rooted as you live for God.

8. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

Numbers 16:3, “They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, ”You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. As leaders You sometimes feel like you can do it all but you can’t. Learn to assign tasks to others so you can stay refreshed and ready for when you may be called upon to do more.

9. Make sure to call them as they are.

Numbers 20:11, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.”

God told Moses to strike the rock and bring forth water in His name instead Moses declared before he struck the rock, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock.“ he took credit for the Lord’s work which kept him out of the promised land. In life you need to always be aware of giving credit to whom credit is do and not take credit for something which was not yours to take credit for.

10. Keep your hands and heart busy for the Lord.

Numbers 3:6-8, ““Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him. They shall keep guard over him and over the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, ias they minister at the tabernacle. They shall guard all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and keep guard over the people of Israel as they minister at the tabernacle.”

In the book of Numbers certain tribes like Levi are given specific tasks for the Lord. In this way they will always have their hearts and hands busy for the Lord. It is the same for anyone who calls themselves a follower of God. Doing God’s work keeps the heart and mind on God. It also keeps the soul cheerful.

© 2022 Timothy Whitt

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