Today we begin chapter one of the Book of Numbers.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“Take a census of the entire assembly of the people of Israel, by clans and families. Record the names of all the men twenty years old and over who are subject to military service in Israel. You and Aharon are to enumerate them company by company.”-Numbers 1:2
As of chapter one of the Book of Numbers, it has only been about 13 months since the Israelites left Egypt.
And it has only been one month since the the ordination of the Levitical Priesthood and the construction of the Wilderness Tabernacle.
Right off the bat, the Lord orders a census be taken of all the people.
It is because of this census that the misleading name “Numbers” was given to this book.
This is unfortunate because this title leads people into thinking they’re about to be bombarded with a bunch of mind-numbing lists of population figures etcetera when the opposite is true.
The Hebrew title is B’MIDBAR meaning “In the Wilderness” and it much more accurately reflects what this book is all about.
In other words, B’MIDBAR is a collection of Israel’s many adventures they had in the wilderness, a journey every believer will experience after being saved.
So why does God want a census to be taken?
The answer is given to us in verses 2-3:
“Record the names of all the men twenty years old and over who are subject to military service in Israel. You and Aharon are to enumerate them company by company.”
The purpose of the census was to organize an army for the upcoming war to take the Promised Land.
Usually a census was taken before and after a battle to determine exactly how much life had been lost.
We’re told the minimum age for military service is 20 years old.
However, it’s interesting that today in modern Israel, the conscription age is anybody of good health over the age of 18 (same as the United States).
Why didn’t modern Israel go by the Torah precedent set down here?
What’s also interesting is that there is no upper age limit set.
What we can determine from this is that all men were expected to contribute to the war effort in some way even if it wasn’t in the capacity as a fighting soldier.
There’s another important piece of information I want you to know.
Look at verse one.
“Adonai spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month of the second year after they had left the land of Egypt.”
During Bible times, the first day of each month was considered to be a day off when the leadership gathered to make decisions that would later be communicated to the rest of the community.
This was also considered to be the day when censuses in preparation for war were also taken.
The first day of each month was also called a New Moon or ROSH HODESH in Hebrew.
Now the biggest takeaway I want you to get from today’s post is that although the Bible has for the most part been promoted as a book of love and peace, it is also a book of war.
It is a war manual to prepare the believer to be victorious in his walk with the Lord in a world hostile to his faith.
I think a lot of believers forget that or mistakenly assume that after being saved their journey to the Promised Land is going to be a cakewalk.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Once you’ve been saved, you’ve just been conscripted into the army of God.
Remember the TORAH establishes the pattern and path that pretty much all believers will go through on their faith journey.
After God rescued Israel from Egypt, did Israel just sit around on a bed of roses all day singing worship songs?
As we can see, barely a year has passed and the Lord is already preparing His people for war.
Let’s not forget that God’s plan is still in the process of unfolding and that we are still AT WAR with the enemy.
And I’ve got news for you, you’re not going to succeed as a soldier of God without diligent study and application of the war manual He has prepared for you, His Torah.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“All scripture is given
by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness.”
-2 Timothy 3:16
“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.”
-2 Timothy 4:7
“Put on the full armor of God,
so that you will be able to stand firm
against the schemes of the devil.”
Published in Jerusalem, Israel on Monday, August 14th, 2017 at Ben Ami Cafe