Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Be One in a Million

O. T. #302  "Be One in a Million"
June 4, 2014
Numbers 1-Part 1
Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one.  Numbers 1:2 NIV


Do you remember standing at the chalkboard with others, adding several five-digit numbers? I do. Sometimes we would race to see who could come up with the correct total. I doubt if I ever won, but it was fun to do with my classmates. Today, we have to use the same mathematical skill, only the total is already provided. Are you curious?

Before we get further into this chapter, there are two questions I want to answer.

What time is it?
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
There was a break of just one month between the erecting of the tabernacle, at the end of Exodus and the start of Numbers. The book of Leviticus comes in this brief space of time. It was one year and two weeks since the Exodus from Egypt and ten and a half months since their arrival in Sinai. the commencement of a new month was generally decided by observation of the new moon.
What's going on?
One month after the Tabernacle was set up (Ex. 40:2,17), God gave an order.
It involved:
  • taking a census of the whole community of the children of Israel, (excluded the Levites)
  • by their clans and families,
  • listing every man by name, one by one. (verse 2)
  • Moses and Aaron were to number by their divisions all the men in Israel 20 years old or more who were able to serve in the army, a roster of fighting men.  (verse 3)
  • One man from each tribe, each the head of his family was to help them. (verse 3)
The purpose was to determine the ransom money for the service of the tabernacle. The heads of tribes brought gifts to the tabernacle (chapter 7).

Keep in mind, this is the first of three censuses taken in the Old Testament. The others are found in chapter 2 and 2 Samuel 24.


There was a systematic manner in which this census was taken. Moses and Aaron organized the people in tribes, clans, and families. All the congregation was assembled together. A leader of each of the twelve tribes was chosen and responsible for the count in their tribe.

The tribal order follows the pattern of Jacob's wives:
  1. sons of Leah,
  2. sons of Rachel,
  3. sons of the maids, except Gad (born of Leah's maid), who replaced Levi in the third-born position.  (MacArthur)
I spent time writing the number of men in each tribe that were given in verses 17-46. However, I am not going to do it here. Go ahead if you choose to do so. The grand total of the men age 20 and up at this specified time was 603,550. We can concluded that God took care of over 2 million people (including women and children) for 40 years as they wandered in the wilderness.

Tampering with the number is tampering with God's purpose for these numbers-to show His power in behalf of Israel.  (MacArthur)

Here is some information that might be of interest to you, according to Liberty Bible Commentary:
  • It has been estimated that it would require nearly 50 railway cars of manna per day to feed the people. (Thousands of animals needing food was not included.)
  • The water needs would be require some 12 million gallons per day.
  • The land needed for camping at night would exceed 100 square miles.
I never really thought about what it took for God to provide for His children. What a loving heavenly Father we have!
Each and every man was important. They were so important that they were counted in the census. Do you sometimes feel you are insignificant? What does your life matter? Dear one, you do count to God. He made you and has a plan for your life. You have a purpose to accomplish here on Earth, or else you would not be alive now.
Remember, Jesus loves you, forever and always.


I count and so do you in the overall scope of things. Whether on my country road or your paved neighborhood, we are going to carry out God's purposes today, if we choose to do so.

Be willing to carry out God's will.

Be one in a million that serves God for the rest of their life.

Share God's love with someone today.

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