It’s time for a crash course in “How to say all those really hard names in the Bible.” Ready? Pencil and paper out? Here you go: “with confidence.”
Pop quiz: Read Numbers 1-3.
Finding a point of reflection and application in these chapters can be challenging, but not impossible. There is some great stuff here! And it all centers on the fact that there is only one LORD; that is God.
- God organizes His People. He is the center and everyone has a place.
- God prepares His People. He promised them their own land and they are being moved into position to claim it.
- God commissions His people. He is the basis on which obedience is expected.
- God provides for His People. Worship and community exist because of Him.
The first chapter is a census—boring stuff, right? I think part of the reason for this is that God is giving Israel an opportunity to see how big they have become as a nation, but how small they really are in comparison with other nations. The beauty is that God spoke to Moses directly from the tent of meeting, the tabernacle. The word came from the LORD to count, arrange, organize and this is what Moses did. God was directing Israel . . . directly. They got a chance to respond to His Lordship through listening to and obeying His Word. They already found that God had to provide the perfect sacrifice because they could not (and note, we are nowhere near the NT!). Now that God has made the way open through shed blood, at great expense to both Him and man, fellowship can be enjoyable!
The thing is, the nation had to get used to this idea. The day would come when God Himself would become flesh and dwell among us in Christ Jesus in order that all who accept Him and His completed work through His death on the cross and glorious resurrection are by faith forgiven their sin, set free from the power of sin and are able to look forward to the day when there will be ultimate deliverance from the presence of sin. The sad thing is that it is the sin of Adam passed down through all mankind that called for this to happen. Remember Genesis 3:15?
I love the last verse of Numbers 1: “Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the Lord had commanded Moses, so they did.” Do you know why? Because these people were not always so orderly. Remember Exodus 32:7-8? “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” There were once impure and out of order. Now they are organizing themselves around God. They had once made a god for their own understanding, but now came to understand that He is so unlike any other—and it was this God they built their houses around.
Build your life around God in Christ Jesus our LORD.