Qualities of Our Missional God


Qualities of Our Missional God

Study by James Dant
Commentary by Cecil Sherman

Qualities of Our Missional God Print Study $5.99

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Qualities of Our Missional God eBook $4.99

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Brief Description

It was July 3, 2002. I reclined in a chair on the beach of St. George Island, Florida, reading Numbers: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching by Dennis Olson. I would be willing to bet I was the only person on that beach—okay, any beach—reading that wonderful book. Two college-aged students meandered between the Gulf waters and me. One glanced at the cover of my book and remarked to her friend, “You’ve got to be pretty bored to read a math book at the beach.”

Hearing her comment, I replied, “Actually, it’s not a math book. It’s a Bible commentary.”

“I rest my case,” she retorted and walked away.

We rarely read this fourth book of the Old Testament. We use it even less frequently as a source for missions theology. Why? Maybe it’s the name. Numbers is not a very exciting title. The name is derived from the Latin Numeri, which is a translation of the Greek title Arithmoi (Mariottini, 622). This title was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament because a census is taken twice in the book—the people are numbered.

In the Hebrew Bible, however, the title of this book is Bemidbar, which means “in the wilderness.” This is much more provocative and descriptive of the book’s contents. In the wilderness, the community of faith—the Israelites—encountered facets of God’s character that would define and direct them for generations to come. They would come face to face with the mobility of God, the reputation of God, the mercy of God, and the promises of God. These elements of God’s nature kept the mission of Israel alive. These same elements keep the mission alive in the community of faith today.

Too often we are tempted to let “numbers” drive missions. How many churches have we built? How many dollars have we raised? How many bodies have we baptized? The book of Numbers reminds us that missions is motivated by something deeper. Missions reflects the heart and nature of God. If we can just get past the math, we can see God’s nature clearly in the book of Numbers. . .in the wilderness.

Claude F. Mariottini, “The Book of Numbers,” Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Watson E. Mills et al. (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1990).

NextSunday Resources provides adult Bible studies on a wide range of topics, all of which are useful for individual or group study. A printed Study Guide offers four, five or six lessons with in-depth commentary and Bible background material. A free, downloadable Teaching Guide features a wealth of options, questions and ideas for teaching each lesson.

Materials Included
• 4 Sessions of Learner’s Materials
• 4 Sessions of Teaching Materials
• 4 Handouts

Sessions Included
1. The Mobility of God
2. The Reputation of God
3. The Mercy of God
4. The Promises of God

Age Group


1. Numbers 10:11-28
2. Numbers 14:1-23
3. Numbers 21:1-9
4. Numbers 34

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