God Ordered a Census [Numbers 26]

 1Then it came about after the plague, that the LORD spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,

 2"Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' households, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel."

64But among these there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.

 65For the LORD had said of them, "They shall surely die in the wilderness " And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun

One of the frustrating things about reading the Bible is having to figure out how to get through the seemingly endless and boring lists of families sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments. It has taken years for me to get to the place that I am willing to take my time to read these lists (with much prayer!). In fact, now that  I am familiar with the different names that often reoccur in God's story, I enjoy reading them and even find fresh insights along the way!

The gems I found buried in Numbers 26 this time were several. For example, the two verses above demonstrated God's Sovereign will. He said what He was going to do about the unbelieving first generation out of Egypt and here is the fulfillment of God's words. I find a lot of security in knowing that God does what He says He is going to do, even when it means difficult consequences.

It was also fun to note that there were names of women presented in this male dominated list. God cares about women and they are vital to His family. The role of the man was to lead, protect and provide for their wives and daughters and we will see that when there is no man in the family to do that, God does it for us. He is the husband of the husbandless.

33Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but only daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.

46The name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.

59The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and she bore to Amram: Aaron and
 Moses and their sister Miriam.

The third and last insight I gleaned from this journey through Numbers 26 concerned the way God divided up the land among the families. He gave more land to the larger families and all of the land was given out by lots like drawing names out of a hat. In other words, God enabled for the people to be treated equally. Every family got the same amount of space for each person in the family and no family got to choose the better land. God does not play favorites among His children when it comes to His inheritance.

We praise You, God, because You do what You say You will do, that you care about families and provide for women in Your family and that you make Your grace available equally to all of us. Cause us to trust You in these things and to grow in receiving the abundant grace You have freely given to every one of Your children through Jesus.



Beth Warlick, 8/4/2010