Today’s Bible reading is Numbers 1-2, Psalm 44, and Mark 16. Our devotional is from Numbers 1-2.
Our Bible Reading Plan, this 1st day of March 2019, bring us to the Book of Numbers. The author of Numbers is Moses and the opening verse (Numbers 1:1) gives us the exact chronological timeline for events found in its pages: “first day of the second month, in the second year after they [the Twelve Tribes of Israel] were come out of the land of Egypt” (1:1).
The Book of Numbers traces the journey of the Twelve Tribes of Israel from Egypt, through the wilderness, to the threshold of Canaan, the land God promised Abraham for an inheritance. The book derives its name from the fact it records three separate census counts of Israel during her sojourn in the wilderness. Admittedly, one can get lost in the details enumerated in Numbers 1-2; however, there is an important truth concealed in the verses: God is faithful and remembers and keeps His promises!
God charged Moses and Aaron to take a census of the men of Israel, twenty years and older; men who are identified by their tribe, father’s name and own name, and described as “able to go forth to war” (1:1-4). These are the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the offspring of the twelve sons of Jacob the Old Testament patriarch whose name God changed to Israel, who was the son of Isaac who was the son of Abraham.
The thousands numbered in these verses are a testimony God remembered His covenant with Abraham whom He called out of ancient Ur (modern-day Iraq), commanding him to leave his country and kindred and journey to a land God promised would be an inheritance for his lineage (Genesis 12:1-3). God promised Abraham would not only be father to a great people, but also “all families of the earth be blessed” through him (a promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ as our Savior Redeemer – Genesis 12:3b).
Thirteen tribes (Numbers 1:5-15) are named; however, two tribes descended from Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh – Numbers 1:10, 32-35) and the priestly tribe of Levi was excluded from the census because of their dedication and service to the LORD (1:47-54).
The LORD had set the tribe of Levi apart for Himself in lieu of the first-born from every tribe and family being set apart for the priesthood (Numbers 3:12-13). The Levites were charged with the responsibility of the tabernacle and the vessels used for worship and offering sacrifices (Numbers 1:50; 3:8). When the nation was on the move, the Levites were responsible for taking down the tabernacle and erecting it (Numbers 1:51, 53). Numbers 2 gives the organization of the encampment by tribe.
I close today’s devotional reflecting on two lessons. The first, the tabernacle was located in the center of the encampment serving as a constant reminder of not only God’s presence, but also the privilege of access the people enjoyed in worshipping, sacrificing, and serving the LORD (1:53).
The second lesson is how the people obeyed the LORD’s commands: “And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers” (2:34).
Friend, is worshipping and serving the LORD central to your life or have you relegated Him to Sundays only?
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith