This book begins and ends with a census (Chapters 1 and 26). The total of the first census was 603,550. In the second census, the final count was 601,730. The book of Numbers draws the conclusion that, after forty years of struggling, the chosen people were worse off than when they started. Numbers is a chronicle of how to endure everything and go nowhere. The final message is that we must worship and obey God or be cursed with frustration, futility, and failure.
Key word    CENSUS
Key verse    "Now the people complained in the hearing of the Lord; and when He heard it His wrath flared up so that the fire of the Lord burned among them." —11:1
Command verse    "When you use these tassels, let the sight of them remind you to keep all the commandments of the Lord, without going wantonly astray after the desires of your hearts and eyes." —15:39
Promise verse    "I see Him, though not now; I behold Him, though not near: A Star shall advance from Jacob." —24:17
Difficult verse    "When Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, and taking a lance in hand, followed the Israelite into his retreat where he pierced the pair of them, the Israelite and the woman. Thus the slaughter of the Israelites was checked; but only after twenty-four thousand had died." —25:7-9
Surprise verse    "Then he shall adjure the woman, saying to her, 'If no other man has had intercourse with you, and you have not gone astray by impurity while under the authority of your husband, be immune to the curse brought by this bitter water.' " —5:19
Prayer: "Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow His Spirit on them all!" (11:29)