Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 114: Numbers 1

The book of Numbers isn't really about numbers, so it won't be as boring as you might think. Granted, there are a few chapters that deal with census numbers, but there are many more chapters telling the narrative of the next 39 years of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness. The Greek and Latin titles are both "Numbers" (arithmoi and numeri, respectively), which is why the English title is "Numbers." But the Hebrew title for this book is "in the wilderness," taken from the opening line of the first verse. So, don't let the title of this book or the first few chapters scare you; it's not all about numbers! Let's dig in and watch how God continues to develop a relationship with His people.

Numbers 1


This book opens one year and one month after the Israelites fled Egypt. God told Moses to take a census counting all the males age 20 and over, those who would be able to go out to war. God also appointed a specific man as head over each of the twelve tribes. Notice the Levites are not numbered among the fighting men, since they are dedicated to God's service in the tabernacle. Each tribe is counted and listed, with the total number of fighting men being 603,550. Based on this number of men qualified for the army, it is estimated that the population of the whole nation was somewhere between two and three million.

This chapter ends with the statement, "Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the LORD had commanded Moses, so they did." Do I obey God, even in the things that seem unimportant to me? When God is the one giving commands, it is not my place to determine whether the commands are valid or worthwhile to carry out. It is my job just to do what He says.

Father, help me to be obedient to You, even in the "little things" of life.

Please bring comfort to the hearts of those who love Bruce and are mourning their loss. We do not mourn as those who have no hope, but we do suffer great sadness at the loss of a loved one. You are a God of comfort and compassion. Let Your presence and love be felt. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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