Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys
at the command of the Lord.
Numbers 33 is a chapter in the Bible we might pass by without reflection. It appears to be nothing more than a long list of places tracing Israel’s pilgrimage from Rameses in Egypt to their arrival in the plains of Moab. But it must be important because it is the only section in Numbers that follows with the words: “Moses wrote down . . . at the command of the Lord . . .” (v 2).
Why keep a record of this? Could it be that this list provides a framework upon which the Israelites emerging from the wilderness could retrace that forty-year journey in their thoughts and recall God’s faithfulness at each location?
I envision an Israelite father, sitting near a campfire, reminiscing with his son: “I will never forget Rephidim! I was dying of thirst, nothing but sand and sage for hundreds of miles. Then God directed Moses to take his staff and strike a rock—actually a hard slab of flint. I thought, What a futile gesture; he will never get anything out of that stone. But to my amazement water gushed out of that rock! A generous flow that satisfied the thirst of the thousands of Israelites. I will never forget that day!” (see Ps. 114:8; Ex. 17:1–7; Num. 33:14).
So why not give it a try? Reflect on your life at starting points, stage by stage—and remember all the ways God has shown you His faithful, covenant love.
Numbers 33:1–15, 36–37.
Thank You, Father, that Your faithfulness extends to all generations. In Jesus name. Amen.