Recently I was in New Mexico on a contract job. On Thursday evening I found myself in Alamogordo. I had some free time before bed, so I asked God for direction in my Bible reading. His response surprised me, “Do a study of Numbers. There are things in Numbers that you are soon going to need.”
I started reading. At the end of chapter six, I paused to consider the many things I had already seen with fresh eyes. No doubt, this was going to be a very interesting and productive study.
That Saturday as I drove back to Albuquerque, I had the impression I should be studying 1 and 2 Peter along with Numbers. Over the previous month a memory had popped up several times.
The memory came from 1971 when I was working with a church group in South Vietnam. In 1971 a number of young believers were prompted by the Holy Spirit to study 1 Peter. Only later would I understand that God was preparing them for life under Communism which would begin with the North Vietnamese capture of South Vietnam in 1975.
With that prompting, I made a mental note to study Numbers first; then to tackle 1 and 2 Peter.
On Sunday I visited a church in Albuquerque which I picked more or less at random. The pastor–as it turns out–is teaching through 1 and 2 Peter! And in an even stranger ‘coincidence’, he invited everyone to come to their Wednesday evening Bible study where he is teaching through the Book of Numbers! As he put it, “Numbers has things in it that we are going to need soon.”
On Monday a friend called me from New Jersey. He had been listening to Christian radio. The speaker said, “You should be reading 1 and 2 Peter and Numbers. They are important.”
On Friday I talked by phone with a friend in Colorado. He reported that the senior pastor of the 7000 member church he attends is teaching through 1 Peter–and last Sunday mentioned something about studying Numbers.
In central New Mexico there is a science center on a 7000 foot plateau that points 27 eighty-foot wide radio telescopes (the Very Large Array) at distant spots in the universe. These radio telescopes ‘listen’ to the full energy spectrum (apart from light) to ‘photograph’ what neither human eyes nor visual light telescopes can see.
A single massive dish can ‘see’ huge amounts of matter and energy otherwise invisible to us. But even a single dish is limited in how much it can ‘hear’ of the extremely faint signals from billions of light years away.
Together, however, multiple dishes can ‘photograph’ in deep space what otherwise cannot be ‘seen’. And when all 27 dishes together focus on a single tiny spot in the sky, they form a ‘radio eye’ equivalent to a 220 mile wide ‘human eye’!
As I thought about the sudden appearance of 1 and 2 Peter and Numbers in the New Mexico desert, I concluded that at least four ‘discernment dishes’ are picking up the same signal from deep space.
Namely, that God wants to speak to His People through His Word in 1 and 2 Peter and Numbers to prepare us for life and ministry in the dark and evil age that is dawning in America and much of our world.
I’m going for Numbers first.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share with you observations, thoughts and questions that come out of the reading of Numbers. Hopefully you’ll join me in reading Numbers. Hopefully God will together give us eyes to ‘see’ and ears to ‘hear’ what He wants to show us and say to us through this commonly neglected corner of Scripture.