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10 Reasons Numbers Is Not a Boring Book of the Bible

10 Reasons Numbers Is Not a Boring Book of the Bible

Numbers has earned a false reputation for being a "boring" book of the Bible. Let's take a look at all the ways we can enjoy this riveting read, and learn more about God's love and plan in action.

First of all, what is the Book of Numbers?

The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible and belongs to a collection of five books known as the Pentateuch (or the Law, or Torah). Moses wrote all five books of the Torah. The book, in all, contains 36 chapters. The Book of Leviticus precedes the Book of Numbers, and the Book of Deuteronomy follows. Sadly, the Book of Numbers often ranks among the least favorite of readers of the Bible.

Numbers is one of the less popular books for Bible studies and sermon series, and this is unfortunate. With battle, spy activity, revolt, a talking donkey, and even more, Numbers is a very engaging book. Here are ten reasons why the book of Numbers is not boring.

Numbers 23:19: "God is not a human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

Photo credit: ©Sparrowstock


1. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Glimpse into Ancient Israelite Life

Calling all history nerds. If you want to see what Ancient Israel looked like in action, take a look at Numbers. Numbers provides a glimpse of Israel during their desert years. For those not familiar with these, because of Israel’s sin, God postponed their arrival in the Promised Land after they escaped 400 years of slavery in Egypt.

Although 40 years may not sound like a long time, we have to keep in perspective that in Ancient times, people were lucky to make it to 50. In fact, anyone older than a certain age died before Israel reached the Promised Land, thanks to Israel’s disobedience and grumbling.

2. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Spies!

You can't make this stuff up. Once the Israelites reached the Promised Land, they run into a problem right away: an enemy has currently occupied the land that God has promised them. So they send in a dozen spies. They scope out the land and come back with a report.

Numbers 13:27-28: They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.”

In other words, either the people were tall or literal giants (likely the latter with the Anak mention).

Because of their doubt, with the exception of two spies (Caleb and Joshua), and rebellion (we’ll discuss this in a moment) the people earn the 40 years in the desert.

Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Kasey McCoy

3. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: National Rebellion

If we know anything about Israel throughout the Old Testament, they knew how to rebel. And we see no exception when it comes to the Book of Numbers. Of course, it may baffle our minds that they would continue to misplace their trust, doubt God, and grumble. After all, God split the Red Sea, performed a series of supernatural plagues in Egypt, and led them away from the land of slavery via a pillar of fire.

They form a rebellion right after the spies scope out the Promised Land, and God is less than pleased.

But if we put ourselves in the Israelites’ position, can we say we’d fare any better? Think of how impatient we get over minor inconveniences, let alone trekking in a hot desert with no food, water, or ETA for our destination.

4. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Battle!

Israel, in the Old Testament, had a history of getting on the bad side of its neighbors. Not through provoking them, but simply because the enemy either didn’t like that they had passed through their land, or they’d caught wind about Yahweh’s acts in Egypt and didn’t want to taste the same thing.

Some of these enemies in Numbers include Canaanites, Amorites, Moabites, and Midianites, just to name a few. You’ll have to take a look at Numbers to see how they fare in the various battles with God on their side.

5. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Another Rebellion + Mass Execution

You may have a familiarity with the Sons of Korah who penned many of the Psalms. But believe me, they had a family name to live down rather than up to.

Once again, the Israelites get a little cabin fever (or desert fever) and they believe that God made a mistake by appointing Moses. So a man named Korah decides to take matters into his own hands.

Numbers 16:2: “(Korah) rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.

God doesn’t stand for this rebellion and the ground literally splits open and swallows those associated with the Korah rebellion.

Water crashing against rocks

6. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Moses’ Punishment

Although Moses faithfully followed God throughout the events of Exodus through Numbers, he runs out of steam toward the end. Although Paul didn’t exist until centuries later, Moses could’ve used a tip or two about finishing the race strong.

Moses served as a mediator between the people and God. He would often deliver them messages from the Lord and go to God with the complaints of the people.

But Moses had gotten pretty fed-up and frustrated. At one point, when God asks him to speak to a rock to get water to pour out of it, Moses strikes it with a staff instead. An act of rebellion. As we’ve witnessed before, God doesn’t take those lightly.

So because of his disobedience, Moses does not get to enter the Promised Land with Israel.

7. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Balaam’s Donkey

Shrek alone proves that we can be mightily entertained by talking donkeys. When a king commissions a seer to speak against the people of God, God has other plans. He places an angel of death in the pathway of the seer Balaam. Balaam the seer ironically doesn’t see the angel, but his donkey does.

When he tries to get his donkey to proceed onward, his donkey protests. Literally. He speaks to Balaam.

In the end, Balaam ends up blessing God’s people rather than cursing them. But don’t think he gets let off the hook. He still hatches a sinister plot to take Israel down from the inside out.

Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Cole Patrick

8. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: God’s Faithfulness on Display

Even though the people of God rebel time and time again, God doesn’t abandon them in Numbers. Instead, he provides for their needs, helps them to win battles, and prepares them for entering the Promised Land.

Once again, if we place ourselves in Israel’s shoes, due to our sinful nature, we likely wouldn’t have fared better. At the very least, we would’ve complained about all the sand and lack of food in the desert. But this shows that God has remained faithful to his people from the very beginning.

9. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: Revenge against Midian

Remember Balaam? He makes a comeback, and he gets the people of Midian to seduce Israel away from God and after their foreign gods. As one can imagine, God does not approve of this.

So God has Moses assemble an army of 12,000 people. Let’s take a look at what happens next.

Numbers 31:7-8: They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beorwith the sword.”

The Midianite men don’t survive, and neither does Balaam.

10. Reasons to Read the Book of Numbers: God’s Relationship with Moses

Although God and Moses leave things on a somewhat sour note, with Moses rebelling against God and all, this doesn’t capture the majority of what we see in their relationship. God speaks to Moses a great deal in Numbers and shows that he desires to have a close relationship with his people.

Because of sin, a separation exists between God’s holiness and man’s corrupt nature. But Numbers gives us a glimpse of the relationship God yearned for and was willing to die for centuries later.

Related: Listen to our podcast, How to Study the Bible! Available at Listen to the first episode here:

Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author 21+ books. More than 1400 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.

This article is part of our Books of the Bible Series featuring lessons, prayers, and facts about each book. We have compiled these articles to help you study the writings inspired by the Holy Spirit. May the information you learn strengthen your faith and encourage your soul.

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