Numbers 26 (NLT) After the plague had ended, the Lord said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war”... These were the clans of Reuben. Their registered troops numbered 43,730... These were the clans of Simeon. Their registered troops numbered 22,200... These were the clans of Gad. Their registered troops numbered 40,500... These were the clans of Judah. Their registered troops numbered 76,500... These were the clans of Issachar. Their registered troops numbered 64,300... These were the clans of Zebulun. Their registered troops numbered 60,500... These were the clans of Manasseh. Their registered troops numbered 52,700... These were the clans of Ephraim... Their registered troops numbered 32,500... These were the clans of Benjamin. Their registered troops numbered 45,600... These were the Shuhamite clans of Dan. Their registered troops numbered 64,400... These were the clans of Asher. Their registered troops numbered 53,400... These were the clans of Naphtali. Their registered troops numbered 45,400... In summary, the registered troops of all Israel numbered 601,730... Then the Lord said to Moses, “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the grants of land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. The men from the Levite clans who were one month old or older numbered 23,000. But the Levites were not included in the registration of the rest of the people of Israel because they were not given an allotment of land when it was divided among the Israelites... Not one person on this list had been among those listed in the previous registration taken by Moses and Aaron in the wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, “They will all die in the wilderness.” Not one of them survived except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Like any chapter that lists genealogies, this could easily be passed by as another long list of meaningless names but nothing is mentioned without reason in the Bible and therefore we must wonder how God is able to speak to us through it.
I love the order in God's work as was again clear here. The 12 tribes of Israel were to list all men from the age of 20 upwards who were able to go to war. Each tribe had differing numbers and the total was 601,730, about a quarter of the entire population of the exodus.
Once the count was completed and written out, God asked Moses to distribute the land they had now acquired by proportion to the tribes' population and then by casting lots (Leviticus 16:8). This ensured that every tribe had as much as it could manage and protect and all together, the nation was well secured.
God also shows us in this chapter how He did not forget His promises and punishments. The Levites were to be provided for by the tithes and offerings of the nation of Israel and were not to be allotted land (Numbers 18:20). This was taken care of during the allotment.
Then note how Ephraim though older had a smaller tribe than Manasseh, his younger brother whom Jacob blessed over Ephraim (Genesis 48:14). Joseph's blessing that God upheld! Take the tribe of Reuben and we are reminded of Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:26-31), the two men who along with 250 others were punished by death for rebelling against God's choice of Moses and Aaron.
I love this chapter for the way it shows us how God sovereignly rules over His creation and works in perfection when we are submitted to Him. Jesus during His short life here on earth lived a life of total submission to His father even though He was God's only son and has power over all creation.
As I prayed this morning, I was reminded of how simple Jesus was that little children did not fear coming and sitting on His lap and on the other extreme, how all the intelligence of humanity has not been able to explain even the most basic of His creation. Greatness and simplicity all confined in one person, Jesus Christ, and He provided us the bridge to His father through His death and sacrifice.
While we take for granted the personal relationship we can share with our maker, have we understood how great that simple freedom is that our great ancestors had no access but through the priesthood and through great sacrifices?
(Jesus prayed) I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. John 17:14-19 (NLT)
In His Loving Service,
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