God called Moses to count the people. I guess that’s why this book is called Numbers. We are going to see a LOT of them here!
Numbers isn’t the only place we view these numbers. We saw how many able bodied men came out of Egypt in Exodus 12:37 gives us a rough number of 600,000 men walking out and Exodus 38:26 gives us the same number we encounter today. This isn’t counting males under 20, males too old to fight, or women at all.
So why didn’t God count everyone? God only numbered the fighting forces. He didn’t count anyone who He didn’t have a reason to count. He didn’t even count the Levites. They were not going to be on the battlefield. I believe He numbered His forces for their own sake. Seeing a number this high probably gave them confidence. Seeing the size of their numbers was only part of it though. They needed to also have faith that God could make those numbers go farther than anyone else with whatever numbers they faced.
God did miracles with Israel’s fighting men WHEN they were in right relationship with Him. When they would win they could see His hand in the victory. When they lost they immediately recognized it was because of some sin in the camp. Never did they come back from a defeat and question their battle strategy. It was always “What have we done that angered God?” They searched out the sin and addressed it before heading back into battle again. No matter the size of the forces or the cost of the sin, they KNEW they couldn’t win unless God was on their side.
But even knowing God was on their side didn’t always give them total confidence. If it had they wouldn’t have been crying about the “giants” in the land. They would have never had to wander all those years. I’m curious what the number of fighting men was at the end of their wandering. The original generation had to die out before God brought them into the Promised Land. They had too much doubt. We will probably find that number too in this book.
I’m curious how God chose the representatives of each tribe in our reading. Was it a specific lineage decision as in first born all the way down or was it based on their heart condition? Why one over the other? It certainly was not left up to Moses to choose or the people to vote on it. God identified the person and Moses called the roll.
Were these the names of the original elders while they were in Egypt? Were these men serving under Moses as Jethro had instructed him to appoint elders? Were they proven in their role or were they now taking on a new one? Did any of them have any “battle experience” or tactical understanding? Did they have to rely on God for the battle plan? They had been slaves all their lives. They would probably have had more experience in submission than in aggression.
But God was able to use them in spite of their inexperience. He took what they had and turned it into His own weapon. As long as they kept themselves in line with His words they had nothing to fear. I wonder if they even had any casualties when they were in step with Him. I’m pretty certain that they were minimal at worst EXCEPT when they were in sin.
Father God, I have no “battle experience” in many areas of life. Fortunately most of those areas You haven’t called me to walk in. But the areas You have called me to walk in I was usually lacking too. But You gave me what I needed every step of the way. You don’t call the qualified, You qualify the called.
Thank You that I can be CERTAIN that whatever You call me to do, that I can rely on You for instruction. Thank You that I can trust You with my future. Thank You that when I do mess up I can come back to You and You will again put me back on Your path in the right direction. Keep me walking in the path You have prepared for me. I wonder what You have in store for me this year. Lead on Holy Spirit!