A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
The current name of this book comes from the census it reports
. However, the original name in Hebrew (all the names of the first five books were taken from their opening word) means in the desert
and is a little more accurate. The book of Numbers is about the Israelites as they wandered through the desert in consequence of the rebellion against God on the verge of entry into the Promised Land.
The book begins with a census in anticipation of establishing an army
and conquering the Promised Land in what is known as Canaan (roughly modern day Israel). The tribes are grouped into units which can serve as an army and move in a united fashion through the days of battle ahead. The Levites are set aside for the service of God
and the oversight and maintenance of the portable worship center known as the Tabernacle.
The tribes are grouped around the Tabernacle
which symbolizes the fact that God must always be at the center of the lives and their plans. 603,550 are numbered along with 8,580 Levites. It is fascinating to look back over so many years and consider how many people there were and how impossible it would have been without God=s help to preserve them all in the desert.
The task of managing such a group
had been particularly improved through the advice of Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18. The challenge still remained: food, shelter, clothing, campsites, healthcare, worship. It must have seemed an impossible responsibility to Moses at times. Yet God provides, the people survive
(and in some ways thrive), and everything seems to be moving towards the ri ght point: the conquest of the Promised Land!
Have you ever done an inventory or your own potential
: the knowledge you've acquired; the skills you=ve learned; the personality style you've developed; the personal support system you have (in your family or among your friends, for instance); not to mention the material resources at your disposal?
There is always more to work with than we imagine
. The Israelites will learn this the hard way as they have their first encounter with real opposition since the Egyptian army was pursuing them. God will later win battles over thousands with a handful, but because the people in Numbers can't accept that as a possibility, they never even try, and their failure is unavoidable.
When we give in to the odds before we've listened in to God's voice
, we always lose. He can do more than we can imagine and he uses everything in our lives to accomplish His purpose. So after you take your potential inventory, ask God what He thinks. Then just sit quietly for a few minutes and see if He doesn't give you some new ideas.
It isn't just our strength, ability or resources that will determine the outcome
of our lives, but the accuracy of our judgment that God wants what we do. When He does, it will happen!
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011