Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Numbers 1:1-3 (NIV)
The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to count according to their divisions all the men in Israel who are twenty years old or more and able to serve in the army.”
Numbers 1:1-3 (MSG)
God spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai at the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month in the second year after they had left Egypt. He said, “Number the congregation of the People of Israel by clans and families, writing down the names of every male. You and Aaron are to register, company by company, every man who is twenty years and older who is able to fight in the army.”
“The Lord spoke [by special revelation] to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) on the first day of the second month in the second year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, [b]head by head from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go out to war. You and Aaron shall number them, army by army.” -AMPLIFIED
We move on to the book of Numbers; so named because it was during the period when God instructed Moses to number the people. We find within the very first verses the purpose for this census; it was to count and register all the men who were twenty years of age and older to find who was able to fight and serve in the Lord’s army.
God was preparing the people to march to Canaan and take the land that He had promised them. In order to do this, this people that had lived all their lives as slaves, would now have to be trained and conditioned into a lean, mean, fighting machine; God’s army.
Let us notice something from the very first verse in Numbers, “Nearly two years after they had left Egypt, the Israelites were still in the wild desert area of Sinai. But on the first day of the second month, the Eternal One spoke to Moses in the tent of congregation.” -Numbers 1:1 (Voice) The trip to the Promise Land that should have only taken them just a few weeks to travel, had already turned into a much longer trip because of their grumbling, complaining and unfaithfulness to God.
Finally, the people are ready to begin their move toward the land promised to them by God. God has Moses organizing this enormous multitude and numbering them. “Add up exactly how many Israelites there are, but don’t merely count them. Identify all the people by their clans and families, right down to the individual name of every male. Furthermore, those who are 20 years old or older shall be considered potential soldiers. Aaron can help you organize them into groups and record them as armies.” -Numbers 1:2-3 (VOICE)
The message in the book of Numbers to remember is this: we are constantly in a spiritual battle that affects our very lives. “We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12 (VOICE)
We find the people of Israel finally leaving the foot of the mountain, Sinai, and setting out with God as their leader. They set out as a conquering army, but sadly that soon changed because once again their eyes were focused on their circumstances and not on their God. If only we as a people could keep our eyes focused on our leader and not on the circumstances that surround us; half the battle would be won. Remember, we are all continually doing battle, it is a spiritual battle, and God’s reminder to us is this, “It is by faith that you stand firm.” -1 Corinthians 1:24b (NIV)
God Almighty, help me to keep my eyes focused on you as you lead me through this journey called Life. Help me to not become discouraged and overwhelmed, but fill me with your strength, power and peace as together we fight the spiritual battles that come my way. I have read the end of the Book. I know who will be triumphant in the end, Jesus! Hallelujah! Help me in faith stand firm to the very end, Lord Jesus.