In July 1969, when astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin set foot on the Moon, the second person to walk on its desolate surface, he did something unusual—he took communion. After he partook of the elements from the communion kit the pastor of his church in Texas gave him, he read Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).
This month in Today in the Word we’ll read about a journey in another desolate place, this one lasting forty years—“in the Desert of Sinai . . . after the Israelites came out of Egypt” (Num. 1:1). The book of Numbers tells us about Israel’s cycles between obedience and disobedience, trust in God and unbelief, worship and idolatry. We’ll see how God urged His people to find their identity in Him, and gave them instructions for their worship and obedience. And we’ll note how Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness remind us of the seriousness of sin.
As we read about their faithlessness in the desert, we’ll see God’s faithfulness to His people. We’ll remember Christ’s sacrifice who fulfilled the perfect Law of God. He, the Vine, gave us the ability to follow Him, to be faithful, and to reach the Promised Land. Truly, apart from Him we can do nothing!
—Elena Mafter, Senior Editor