Image source: EndoftheMatter
Why do countries count their population? Knowing the numbers of men, women, children, elderly, and foreigners helps the government to plan. Knowing the numbers of the different groups in a country determines where housing, roads, markets, schools, and hospitals are built; it also determines the size of the police and the army.
The book of Numbers is about counting and organizing Israel, while they were in the desert, in preparation for taking over the promised land of Canaan. At the start of the book, God asked Moses to count the men who were 20 years and older, and who were able to go to war (Chapter 1). This was repeated again towards the end of the book (Chapter 26). The second count took place almost forty years after the first.
As we study Numbers, we will learn about what happened between the first count and the second. We will see God fulfilling His plans. We will see the wisdom of God as He takes a disorganized group of people out of Egypt and turns them into an organized country in the desert, then leads them as an army into the promised land.
In addition to nation building, Numbers shows God keeping his promise to make Abraham the father of a mighty nation and the ancestor of Jesus (Genesis Chapters 12, 15, and 17). We will study Numbers with the mindset we applied to Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus – these books help us understand how much God invested into establishing Israel because they were the road to the messiah.
Apostle Paul said in Romans 15:4 (God’s Word Translation): “Everything written long ago was written to teach us so that we would have confidence through the endurance and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.” Think about this, God promised Adam and Eve a son to crush the head of the serpent, Abraham inherited the promise, Israel lived in the promise, and Jesus fulfilled the promise.
Great God, give us light as we study the book of Numbers together, Amen!