Numbers - original size 100-120 cm
This painting represents the journey of the people of Israel, as described in the Bible book of Numbers, seen from God's perspective.
God looks down and sees the big picture.
He liberated the people from slavery (bottom left of the fetters and chains).
He brought them from Egypt and promised them the land of milk and honey (top right).
He oversees everything: past, present and future.
He sees them wherever they are, wrestling through the desert. That's why I painted feet, and no footprints.
He not only sees the masses (some say that there are two, three million
people were). He sees both the whole of Israel and the individual. He knows them by name. There are painted only a few feet, to show that God cares for each person.
The journey through the desert is not just a journey from Egypt to Canaan, from west to east, it is
also a spiritual journey. The feet go up, to a higher place.
God wants to draw Israel to himself, through all difficulties. He wants to refine them, they are a Holy people to make. For that reason I used gold paint to represent purification.
But God does not just look down, he is also in their midst (the Menorah).
He provides for each distress: water and bread (the two jugs), and He heals them (the fiery serpent).
And He is their light like them through dark places.
He gives them his blessings when they are faithful to Him: it is the blessing from Numbers written in Hebrew.
The words are not very sharp, because the people of Israel could not properly recognize God's blessings.
They were - as it were - hidden under a layer of sand. The struggle of the wilderness took away
the view of those blessings. They could only see the dark side of everything; they were not able to see God's mercy.
But there is also another side to this caring and loving God.
He is holy and can not accept disobedience.
If Israel was unfaithful, He punished them (the fire on the left).
Yahweh expected obedience. In Exodus they receive the ten commandments, in Numbers God gives them even more rules and judgments.
He wants them to not only listen to Him ('Shema Israel'), but also to do it.
"Shema Israel" are the famous words from Deuteronomy. But in fact God speaks these words during the entire desert trip.
Despite the struggles, the drought (perhaps also mentally), they have to obey going further (the feet), by praising Him and offering Him sacrifices (the hands that are lifted upwards).
God wants them to know their place. God himself put each tribe in a specific place near the tabernacle. The identity derives a person not only from his tribe, but also from his (or her) place in relation to the tabernacle. This specific place is represented by the hand that
holds the banner.
And God also wanted them to fight their enemies (the hand holding a knife / sword). It is not their fight, but God's fight.
And finally there are the tassels that they had to attach to the corners of their clothing and in which they had to weave a blue thread. This is to remind them that they had to obey the commandments of God and live holy before God.
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