LEAven Blog


Songs of Life

Numbers 33.  When was the last time you read this chapter of Scripture, if ever? The book of Numbers, one of the five books of Moses from the Old Testament, is easy to overlook. Within Numbers is the count of fighting men within the various tribes of Israel, additional laws and regulations from God to His people, and a few significant historical situations, such as when Moses, in his frustration, did not honor God as holy and was prevented from entering the promised land of Canaan with the rest of the Israelites.

As I was recently reading the Old Testament once more I was struck by what I found in Numbers chapter 33 and a commentary on this chapter. This chapter might read as a travelogue and geography lesson, listing all the places the Israelites traveled during the 40 years after their escape from captivity in Egypt until they reached the banks of the Jordan River as they prepared to enter Canaan. But after closer inspection, this chapter shares much more than just the details of a road trip. It highlights God’s day-by-day faithfulness to His people over the 40 years.

Places like Sukkoth, Etham, Pi Hahiroth, and Marah may mean little to us today, but they were distinct locations where God’s love and care was revealed to His people — where He provided food in the form of manna, water, and protection from their enemies. And God did not just do this once for them. He abundantly and repeatedly met their needs as they wandered and camped in the wastelands of the Sinai Peninsula. Numbers 33 is a litany of what God did for His people.

Have you ever thought about creating a similar litany? One of the blessings of aging is that the number of “places” God has led me in my life keeps growing, and His care is ever more evident through the years. The “places” I have been are not only geographic locations such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Southern California, and Colorado, but also roles and situations – working in General Electric office, youth work, and teaching in elementary and high schools. The re-telling of how God provided for me takes longer each year.

What about your students and/or youth group members? What might their litany be? Is it possible that their list of “places” is significant as they remember God’s goodness?

Perhaps a litany for your school or ministry should be constructed. What “places” has God led you to collectively? How has he met both your individual and organizational needs through the years?

For me, Numbers 33 has served as a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness through my years of wandering on this earth. We all can benefit from the encouragement and reminders of such a litany. What “song” will you create?

David Black teaches at Lutheran High School, Parker, Colo., and the director of Lights Academy, a project-based learning experience within the existing school. He is in his 33rd year as a teacher and has served Lutheran education at large as a writer, presenter, and consultant.


  1. Joyce Gierke on October 20, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    Excellent, Dave. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to write a litany of our lives.

  2. Thomas W Wrege on December 15, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    A wonderful challenge to all of us to reflect on God’s mighty provision and direction in our lives. Thanks, David!

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