Numbers 1:2-4,16-19,45-50,54 “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe... These are the chosen leaders of the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.” So Moses and Aaron called together these chosen leaders, and they assembled the whole community of Israel on that very day. All the people were registered according to their ancestry by their clans and families. The men of Israel who were twenty years old or older were listed one by one, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So Moses recorded their names in the wilderness of Sinai... They were registered by families—all the men of Israel who were twenty years old or older and able to go to war. The total number was 603,550. But this total did not include the Levites. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Do not include the tribe of Levi in the registration; do not count them with the rest of the Israelites. Put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with all its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings as you travel, and they must take care of it and camp around it... So the Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Theocracy is the rule by people in positions of political authority all of whom share the same religious beliefs and preferences. Theocracy may manifest in a form of government in which a state is understood as governed by immediate divine guidance provided to ruling clergy or other ruling officials (Credit - Wikipedia).
As the fleeing Israelites are being shepherded by God into their own land, it seems God is raising a nation. How is that relevant to us today?
One of the first thoughts we might get when we read Numbers 1 is God's strategy for His people. He chose, freed, led, corrected, instructed and now collected them together as part of a bigger plan.
There were more than 2 million people who were led in the exodus out of Egypt and these were people who lived in slavery for 400 years.
They were a changed people with new value systems, ideologies and a way of life and in 40 years were transformed from slaves to what is to become conquerors.
According to research, marching ten abreast, and without counting livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.
Worse still, there was nothing in the desert they could live by and clearly the only way for this whole exodus movement to be made possible is if God led and provided for them as accounted in the Bible.
When we look at the specificity of each person's role, we can begin to appreciate how only God could have orchestrated this exodus.
God chose the leaders of each tribe rather than let them figure it out, chose the number of soldiers in each tribe by age and ability, organized them to live and travel together in their tribes to bind them in unity and avoid conflicts and directed them through Moses and their leaders towards the goal of establishing them into the nation.
God also chose a tribe to manage the tabernacle and to be the priesthood for all His people and gave specific instructions on who was to do what and when. Nothing was left to chance.
This ragtag bunch of people were now a powerful force under the kingship of God led by God's right-hand man, Moses.
In today's world, there is no political system that has succeeded and the whole world seems to be at odds with each other. Theocracies have failed the world and God's own are called to love, not fight.
While man tries to exercise might and power to control the direction of the world, God uses love evidenced by His only son Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to direct us towards perfect hope.
My learning from today's chapter is that when we permit God complete control of our lives, He orchestrates it for His glory with absolute perfection. The big challenge is to let go of the controls and submit to His leading.
Are you compelled to fight the battle blind and alone or are you willing to permit God to take the helm and direct you because He can see the beginning from the end and orchestrates life to a glorious end?
In His Loving Service,
1 John 4:15-17 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.