Monday, April 25, 2011

Numbers 26 - Recounting Israel

LINK: Numbers 26

BACKGROUND


The census is repeated because almost 40 years had passed since the last one. Of those counted every man and woman over 20 years - except Caleb and Joshua - had died. Therefore, a new generation would be fighting the wars during the conquest of the Promised Land. More than 38,000 people (16:49; 25:9) had been killed by God's judgments. You can see that the clan of Pallu is singled out in 26:8-10 as those who had rebelled during Korah's rebellion (16:1). Despite the losses due to judgments, the total number was 601,730! That is a miracle. :)

Following the recounting, they cast lots to determine where the different tribes would settle in Canaan. This was done so that no tribe would grumble about the quality of their land. This was probably by the Urim and Thummin of the high priest (Exodus 28:30).

The Levites had no territory. This is why they were not numbered in the census.

REFLECTION


Moses and Eleazar took a census in Numbers 26, and we will read that David numbered Israel in 1 Chronicles 21. God told Moses and Eleazar to do it, but Satan moved David to number Israel.

Outwardly, they were both doing the exact same thing: taking a census of Israel. Inwardly, there were different things going on. David was doing it because of the security he put in his wealth and power and Satan capitalized on David's pride. Moses and Eleazar were doing it because it was part of God's plan for the future, and God told them to do it.

There is a key, simple principle here: If the Lord tells you to do something, by all means, do it! If He does not tell you to do something, do not do it; even if it seems good and beneficial on the outside and for the Kingdom! God knows your inside motives. He also knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

I have seen, over and over again, people do good things for God or try to build ministries in the flesh versus having God direct them toward doing it. This includes me! I have learned the hard way that a course of action may be good, but if God does not direct it, it is not His best plan, and He will not bless it. In fact, it may result in His discipline.

How do we know God's best plan? This requires cultivating a heart that is in tune and listening to the Lord's direction and whispers on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis.

My desire above all else is to be so in tune with God that I hear His voice and respond in obedience to it and learn to discern between God's voice and the voice of the enemy. In 1 Chronicles 21:1, Satan moved David's heart. How much he wants to foil the plans of those who God wants to use for His glory! So, along with that desire to hear God's voice is an awareness when you have that desire, you become a target of the enemy. So, putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-19) should be a part of our daily devotion!

APPLICATION


Is it your desire to cultivate a listening heart to the Lord's direction for your life? It takes time, but it is time well spent. Do not forget to "armor up" in the process too.

Spend some dedicated time, with pen and paper in hand, listening to the Lord. 

PRAYER


I have already had this hymn as a prayer, but I love it so much. "Take time to be Holy" talks of that communion with God. I give it to you for your prayerful meditation.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
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