Day 6: Numbers 16 – end

These chapters continue to recount the journey made by the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt until they are on the point of entering the Promised Land.

We should appreciate that not all of them had suffered hardship in Egypt. Whilst many had laboured on Pharaoh’s ambitious building projects others had prospered and gained the respect of Egyptian people. They started their journey loaded with gifts and with large herds and increased in numbers and prosperity on their travels. What they had all resented about slavery was subjection based solely on their racial origins. Some continued to resent any element of subjection.

The passage starts with a protest about Moses and those around him assuming that they had a right to govern both the secular and religious lives of people who were longing to exercise total personal freedom. That is a natural human desire which many have in our culture and which most of us have to a greater or lesser extent. Being governed is not always welcome even when the government is benign. It feels too much like subjection for some people.

No individual can have complete freedom without infringing the freedom of others. We each need to become willing to respect boundaries of social, moral and religious behaviour if we wish to have our choices respected. Before entering the Promised Land the Hebrew people had to become the Israelite nation. This meant learning to honour their leaders.

It is good for us today to reflect on our willingness to honour those in leadership positions whether secular or spiritual. Is “followership” as much a spiritual gift as leadership.

Brian Anker


Read the Bible on line at Bible Study Tools. Today’s passage (NRSV) is here:


8 Responses

  1. Hmmm, ‘Followership’! Now that really is something worthy of some serious consideration.

  2. 2 students from Ridley Hall in Cambridge wish to say hello. We are enjoying and complaining about the challenge we have undertaken, but the enjoyment is bigger than the complaint 🙂 We are appreciating the opportunity to read the Bible as a whole. The hard times and passages are rewarding especially when spurred on by each other and other students here. On easter saturday we are going to meet at Ely Cathedral to complete the final leg of the challenge. It would be a blessing to meet up with others on that day. Please leave a comment and let us know if you can make it. God bless Charlotte and Lesley-ann.

    • What time are you planning to be at Ely Cathedral? It would be great to have a really big gathering to celebrate the conclusion of this event and, depending on when you’ll be there, I’ll try to join you.

      Perhaps Bishop David might have some thoughts about this?

      • I’d be very happy to meet up with RTB40ers on Holy Saturday. I don’t imagine we’d be a big crowd as many will be busy preparing for something the next day. As the cathedral will be on flux itself it would be best perhaps to ‘book’ a chapel at a definite time? Some sort of choral reading + prayers and s song (Jan?). The radio might like to come back too. Can others add comments please? David

  3. I think it would be lovely to read the final section together in Ely Cathedral, even if we actually only speak out chorally the final Chapter of Revelation. I am sure a song/prayer ought to be possible.

    I’ve had a quick look at the Cathedral diary and it appears to be free all day on Holy Saturday, save for the usual, daily acts of worship. If our Ridley colleagues can say when they are thinking of being in Ely, I could certainly try to book somewhere for the RTB40ers to gather – such as are left and can get there.

    Let me know Bishop David if you wish me to do so, depending on responses from others. Given people might not look at the daily comments regularly, is it worth posting something more specific on the blog somewhere to see if others would be interested?

    I’ll wait to hear more. Jan

  4. Lovely idea. I too would welcome the chance to complete the challenge corporately in Ely Cathedral that day – subject to timing and other parish demands that day (i.e. preparation for Sunday services).

  5. Hello from Charlotte and Lesley-ann. Wow what a momentum is building in the challenge:-) we always read aloud in public places and have had a few people dip in to listen! We have had to split the reading into 2 or even 3 chunks during the day as it is taking us 2 -2 and a half hours. We shall be skyping each other over the holiday period so that we encourage one another in faith and coffee! We can be at Ely Cathedral when ever others want to meet. We are very pleased that we can join together on that day. Blessings sent from Ridley xx

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