The LORD spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one." Numbers 1:1-2
The English name for the book of Numbers comes from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and is based on the census in Chapters 1 and 26. But the contents of this book detail the thirty-eight years of Israel's wanderings in the desert. The Hebrew name for the book is beimdbar, meaning "in the desert," and better describes what it is about.
The book of Numbers shows that God is the Lord of Israel. He entered into a covenant with them and delivered them from Egypt. He calls Israel His "treasured possession" (Exodus 19:5). He gave them the law and graciously provided a way of worship. But this book also describes God's wrath when Israel ignores His instruction and promises.
We don't like to think of God's wrath, yet it is the inevitable response to His righteousness. God always says and does what is right. He is the standard. Sin not only misses the standard but also destroys the lives of His children. God's wrath regarding sin is a demonstration of His love, care, and protection. If God never demonstrated His wrath, He would not be righteous.
Father, thank You for loving and caring for us so much that You demonstrate Your wrath on sin. Thank You also for Your protection. In Jesus' name. Amen.