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Numbers 26-30


A Devotional Journey
   led by Dr. Gene Pearson   
Thru the Bible in a Year

            This is the section of the book from which its name is taken. The census of Israel is a major event in the formation of the nation. It is the second time the Israelites have been counted. The first occurred about 38 years earlier as they were preparing to invade the Promised Land, but instead, doubting Godƒ­s ability to support and protect them, turned away.
            Now the previous generation of men twenty years old or older is mostly gone. The purpose of the census is to determine how many can be enlisted to fight in the coming military campaign of conquest. Only those twenty years old or older who can serve in the army are numbered. Most of the tribes will show an increase in size since the first census, although Reuben shows a decline (perhaps a result of the rebellion mentioned in 26:9).
            Several issues are discussed and decided in these chapters:  1) the property rights of a man named Zelophehad who had only daughters; 2) the succession of Moses by Joshua; 3) various issues regarding offerings; 4) a description of the festivals to be celebrated by the entire community; and 5) the nature of vows.
            We learn from these chapters that some knowledge of our strength is important. As will be abundantly clear throughout Godƒ­s dealings with the People of Israel, our strength is not the decisive issue, but rather Godƒ­s support. None the less, it is important to know going in what we are facing and then to be sure we can rely on God for whatever we lack.
            God’s provision for the female children of Zelophehad is unique in the ancient world where women were usually seen as little more than property. The preservation of an inheritance through the family line is one of the most important concerns in the Israelite Community.
            The importance of worship and the gathering of all members of the community is stressed (and reconfirmed in the New Testament church in passages such as Hebrews 10:25). Worship is never haphazard or merely for the benefit of worshipers, but always focuses on God and what He has done in the lives of His followers.
            What is you greatest strength?  Where do you especially need Godƒ­s help. Make a commitment to use your strength for Him and find the extra help you need from Him this week.
            Also, examine your own view of worship (or going to church). Is your focus on God and what you can do to thank, praise and honor Him as you celebrate His greatness and love, or is it on what you can get from Him?
            The most amazing thing about God is that we never out-give Him, never honor Him without receiving a blessings. Even before we ask, He sees what we need and provides, but always in His own time and in His own way. It is good to worship God ƒ² it is also desirable.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011