“On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle of the testimony; and the people of Israel moved out in stages from the Sinai Desert. The cloud stopped in the Paran Desert.”-Numbers 10:11-12
Verse 11 of Numbers 10 signifies an event of tremendous importance.
It signifies the start of Israel’s journey into the Wilderness.
We’re told the journey was to begin on the 20th day of the 2nd month of the 2nd year since Israel left Egypt.
A precise calculation would come to exactly 13 months and 20 days.
However, there is disagreement about this.
Some scholars maintain that at this point in the Scripture, it’s only been about 11 months since Israel left Egypt.
This disagreement arises from whether calculations are to be made based on a calendar that was used BEFORE Israel left Egypt or to base calculations on the exact date AFTER Israel left Egypt.
I would go with the calculation based on the length of time that passed AFTER Israel left Egypt rather than basing it on some fuzzy pre-Passover calendar.
Let’s move on.
Up until this point in time, much has happened to Israel.
They had been freed from 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
They had received the Law on Mount Sinai.
They had built their Tabernacle.
They had established their priesthood which involved two major censuses and replaced all the firstborns who had served as priests in their households.
And finally, they had just completed the construction of two Silver Trumpets, the communication instruments that would guide Israel in their battle to take the Promised Land.
Everything leading up until now was nothing less than a God-ordained preparation for war!
This was bootcamp!
Let’s next take a look at verses 13-14.
“So they set out on their first journey, in keeping with Adonai’s order through Moshe. In the lead was the banner of the camp of the descendants of Y’hudah, whose companies moved forward; over his company was Nachshon the son of ‘Amminadav.”
At the blowing of the Trumpets, the first tribe to move was Judah.
Now understand that it wasn’t just Judah who moved but also the two tribes of Issachar and Zebulun who were grouped together with Judah that also moved.
Remember, we’re talking about 3-tribe divisions here folks!
After Judah moved, the next thing that occurred was the disassembling of the Tabernacle.
We’re told that this work was done by the clans of Gershon and Merari.
They were responsible for taking apart the Tabernacle and then loading up its pieces onto the wagons.
They were to travel ahead of Kohath, the clan responsible for transporting the Ark of the Covenant as well as the other sacred furniture.
It makes good sense that Gershon and Merari went ahead of Kohath since the Tabernacle had to be set up FIRST so it could receive all of the Tabernacle furniture including the most HOLIEST object of them all, the Ark of the Covenant that the clan of Kohath was transporting.
At this juncture, allow me to remind you that the clans of Gershon, Merari and Kohath were all Levites!
Remember, ONLY the Levites were allowed to handle the HOLY objects of the sanctuary.
After the Gershonites and the Merarites completed their work of breaking down and loading up the Tabernacle, the remaining 3-tribe divisions started moving in order of their rank.
After Judah (the 1st division to move), the next division to move was Reuben followed by Ephraim and then last but not least was the division of Dan who marched behind at the tail end of the column.
Don’t you feel like all of these details concerning the preparations and the marching order of the whole procession etcetera has a very distinct military feel to it?
Well, it should, because the whole purpose of everything being done here was to create an organized and unstoppable fighting force!
God was going to order Israel to take the Land of Canaan BY FORCE!!!
Think about that folks!
All of the prayer and all of the worship and all of the rituals, all of this was mere preparation for Israel to engage in a HOLY war.
Prayer and worship were the means to achieve God’s ultimate objective, they were NOT the end.
Prayer and worship PRECEDED action, these things were NOT ends in and of themselves.
There is a huge lesson to be learned here.
In the gentile church, it is suggested that because we are now in the “advent of Christ“, all we are required to do is just sit on our butts, pray, and let God take care of everything.
Wrong thinking and the pattern being established here in Torah is quite different.
Worship and prayer are NOT substitutes for action!
They are the means to BOTH vigorous and aggressive action.
Personally, I think this is one of the main reasons why church can be so darn boring sometimes.
It’s because some churches have made prayer and worship the ends instead of the means to achieve a God-ordained vision.
Without a future vision that all of the prayers and worship are directed towards, worship is not only boring but the people will perish.