I was glad to be handed this project by a colleague who left – Mark was a joy to work with, was a very editable author, and great fun. I like working on Lent books – and it is a privilege to work on devotional books like this that people will journey with for a significant chunk of the year.
The book of Numbers, over the past couple of years, has moved for me from probably the book in the Old Testament I knew least about, to one that I think is one of my favourite. I’ve been working closely on editing a major commentary, preparing to edit a new Tyndale Old Testament, and working on this book, a short Lent book by Vicar and RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Crew, Mark Broadway.
Numbers might seem like an odd book for a devotional – Mark does a great job of showing us why it’s a great choice. As we say on the IVP website:
Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, which many Christians remember during Lent, echoes the story of God’s people wandering for forty years in the wilderness. The book of Numbers tells of these wanderings but can be a difficult book of the Bible to get to grips with. Delving into this book alongside the New Testament and reflecting with prayers and questions, this daily Lent devotional explores how the Israelites’ wilderness journey can speak to us in our daily struggles and challenges today.
There are a bunch of excellent commendations/endorsements on the IVP website, but this one from an American puts it particularly well, I think:
“In the wake of the personal and societal wilderness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this Lenten devotional is especially fitting for a time such as this. Mark skilfully approaches Numbers, a book whose pages are often intentionally passed over, and makes it wonderfully accessible in a way not seen often. His balance of interesting historical background, modern cultural references, and relatable personal anecdotes help illustrate and illuminate the story of God’s character and His faithfulness to His people Israel even among the trials of their wilderness wanderings on the way to the Promised Land. More importantly, throughout this devotional Mark ties the Lord’s promises to Israel with His ultimate plan for all the nations in the sending of His son Jesus Christ for the redemption of the whole world!”