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Remembering The Way We Were Led (Numbers 33)

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CHAPTER 33 Apr. 14 
The Itinerary of Israel’s Journeys
These are the journeys of the children of Israel, when they went forth out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of Yahweh, and these are their journeys according to their goings out. 3They travelled from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians, 4while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom Yahweh had struck among them. On their gods also Yahweh executed judgments. 5The children of Israel travelled from Rameses, and encamped in Succoth. 6They travelled from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. 7They travelled from Etham, and turned back to Pihahiroth, which is before Baal Zephon: and they encamped before Migdol. 8They travelled from before Hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness; and they went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and encamped in Marah. 9They travelled from Marah, and came to Elim. In Elim were twelve springs of water, and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there. 10They travelled from Elim, and encamped by the Red Sea. 11They travelled from the Red Sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin. 12They travelled from the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah. 13They travelled from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush. 14They travelled from Alush, and encamped in Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15They travelled from Rephidim, and encamped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16They travelled from the wilderness of Sinai, and encamped in Kibroth Hattaavah. 17They travelled from Kibroth Hattaavah, and encamped in Hazeroth. 18They travelled from Hazeroth, and encamped in Rithmah. 19They travelled from Rithmah, and encamped in Rimmon Perez. 20They travelled from Rimmon Perez, and encamped in Libnah. 21They travelled from Libnah, and encamped in Rissah. 22They travelled from Rissah, and encamped in Kehelathah. 23They travelled from Kehelathah, and encamped in Mount Shepher. 24They travelled from Mount Shepher, and encamped in Haradah. 25They travelled from Haradah, and encamped in Makheloth. 26They travelled from Makheloth, and encamped in Tahath. 27They travelled from Tahath, and encamped in Terah. 28They travelled from Terah, and encamped in Mithkah. 29They travelled from Mithkah, and encamped in Hashmonah. 30They travelled from Hashmonah, and encamped in Moseroth. 31They travelled from Moseroth, and encamped in Bene Jaakan. 32They travelled from Bene Jaakan, and encamped in Hor Haggidgad. 33They travelled from Hor Haggidgad, and encamped in Jotbathah. 34They travelled from Jotbathah, and encamped in Abronah. 35They travelled from Abronah, and encamped in Ezion Geber. 36They travelled from Ezion Geber, and encamped in the wilderness of Zin (the same is Kadesh). 37They travelled from Kadesh, and encamped in Mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. 38Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of Yahweh and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month. 39Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died in Mount Hor. 40The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41They travelled from Mount Hor and encamped in Zalmonah. 42They travelled from Zalmonah, and encamped in Punon. 43They travelled from Punon, and encamped in Oboth. 44They travelled from Oboth, and encamped in Iye Abarim, in the border of Moab. 45They travelled from Iyim, and encamped in Dibon Gad. 46They travelled from Dibon Gad, and encamped in Almon Diblathaim. 47They travelled from Almon Diblathaim, and encamped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48They travelled from the mountains of Abarim, and encamped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. 49They encamped by the Jordan, from Beth Jeshimoth even to Abel Shittim in the plains of Moab. 
Another Appeal to Destroy Canaanite Idols
50Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 51Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their stone idols, destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places. 53You shall take possession of the land and dwell therein; for I have given the land to you to possess it. 54You shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the more you shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you shall give the less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those you let remain of them will be as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you dwell. 56It shall happen that as I thought to do to them, so will I do to you.


33:2 Moses kept this record of their journeys in the spirit of how God commanded His people to each one remember the way by which God had brought them out from Egypt to Canaan (Dt. 8:2). We need to keep at least a mental diary of how God has led us in our lives, to look back with feelings of gratitude and grace as we see how He has led us, how life for us is no mere succession of chance events, but has a definite direction and end point in entering the Kingdom.
Their goings out- The Hebrew word is used about the entire ‘going out’ of Israel from Egypt to the promised land. Our total journey from the world through the Red Sea of baptism to the Kingdom of God involves much wandering, backwards and forwards (32:13). But it’s all under God’s control and part of our total exodus from Egypt to the Kingdom. Although humanly the journey was a zig-zag and circular route, it is described in Ps. 107:7 as a “right” or ‘straight’ way- from God’s perspective. 
33:4 on their gods also Yahweh executed judgments- Each of the plagues targeted a specific Egyptian god, and it seems that on Passover night something dramatic happened to all the gods- maybe the idols to them fell over or were destroyed. Yet Israel still took the gods of Egypt with them through the Red Sea and worshipped them on the wilderness journey (Ez. 20:7; Acts 7:43). The pull of idolatry is against all reason, and yet there is such a strong tendency within us not to devote ourselves to only one God.
33:8 Their dramatic passage through the Red Sea is described in the same way as any other stage on their journey; our baptism into Christ is our Red Sea crossing (1 Cor. 10:1,2), but the other stages of our journey are no less led by God and part of our final deliverance into His Kingdom.
33:55 What can appear mere harmless associations with the world can in the end destroy us. Whilst we are to be in this world in the same sense as the Lord Jesus was, mixing and identifying with them to bring them too to God, the basic principle of separation from unbelievers must never be forgotten.
33:56 As I thought to do to them, so will I do to you- That is, drive them out of the land. And this is what happened to Israel. There is a theme in the Bible that the judgments of this world will come upon the unfaithful amongst the children of God; there’s a need to be radically different from this world or else we will share this world’s condemnation (1 Cor. 11:32; Rev. 18:4).