The book of Numbers is about Israel’s epic and rebellious journey through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. God responds to Israel’s rebellion with short-term severity and long-term generosity as he leads them into the promised land.
Today, our reading comes from Numbers 1-4 as we begin our journey through the book of Numbers with God commanding the Israelites to take a census of the people.
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I appreciate seeing how many people are a part of this camp. We are spending so much time with a smaller group that we forget how massive this group is. In Numbers 2:32, it says that “all the men in the camps, by their divisions, number 603,550.” That is THE MEN! There must have been double that at least with women and children under 20.
To put this in perspective. Chandler, Gilbert, and Tempe have a combined 736,712 people in them. Can you imagine all three of these cities combined traveling together… anywhere?!
This makes God’s provision even more astounding when you consider the amount of time they spent at Mt. Sinai and how he provided food and water for them. And we will be learning even more about his provision as they walk through the desert!
I agree that the realization of just how large this group was is amazing. I also appreciate very much how organized God is! He is a God of Order and you see it so clearly in his instructions of how to set up the camp. You also see it in the job descriptions he gave the Levites for how to pack up and move. He didn’t leave anything to chance and gave clear expectations and consequences.