NUMBERS

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  Numbers 1:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
Num 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;
Num 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
Num 1:4 And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.

The first thing I thought of when reading these passages about numbering the men who were to be part of this great army was that this numbering was a commandment by God as opposed to King David deciding to number his people without God's sanction and commission.

It sort of reminds us about how serious God is about doing things in His timing and in His order.

Under the dispensation of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, all who believe in Christ have access to individual infilling of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We do not have to go about trying to live for God and do God's will without any direction whatsoever.

We can be always filled with the Holy Spirit and seek the will of God in all things. The Holy Spirit is a greater teacher than the most educated of mankind could ever be. We can be led of the spirit.

So one might ask, why do we need the written word we call the bible? That answer of course is simple.

There are many spirits in the world, some evil and some try to counterfeit the Holy Spirit.

We have the written word to compare what we may think the Holy Spirit is leading us in to. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the written word in any way. If He does, we may either be listening to the wrong spirit or we may be misunderstanding a passage of scripture.

I remember reading about how a group of men that started the Church of God in Cleveland TN would spend days and hours in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give them proper understanding of scripture. If we do this and look to God for answers He will not fail to give us understanding.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

God wants us to ask and receive good things that He gives. So many today are seeking material things from God and having little "bless me" clubs instead of seeking God for things that will help them win the lost to Jesus Christ.

I've been in church all my life. I don't like talking too much about the past but I remember when the prayer requests began to change from "Please pray for my son to be saved, " to "Please pray that I will get that house we are trying to buy." There are times when we need material things and it is not wrong to ask for them but our prayers should be focused on the will of God and how we can be partaker of His will rather than what God can do for us in the material realm.

Why David sinned by numbering the people is interpreted different by many. It is really unclear except that it may have been some form of pride. Pride goes before a fall. Perhaps it is simply that God didn't command it or ordain it and David was supposed to be a king that represented God.

His name was associated with God and all that he did would reflect on God who was considered the God of Israel.

Once we name the name of Christ, all that we do either will bring reproach upon that name if our actions are evil or bring glory to Him if our actions are good.

Num 1:5 And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.
Num 1:6 Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
Num 1:7 Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
Num 1:8 Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
Num 1:9 Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon.
Num 1:10 Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim; Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh; Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
Num 1:11 Of Benjamin; Abidan the son of Gideoni.
Num 1:12 Of Dan; Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
Num 1:13 Of Asher; Pagiel the son of Ocran.
Num 1:14 Of Gad; Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
Num 1:15 Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan.
Num 1:16 These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.
Num 1:17 And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
Num 1:18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.
Num 1:19 As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

Notice that the army was to be of men. God never ordained that women serve in combat. This isn't being sexist though. This shows a God of mercy, kindness and love. He knows that a woman's body isn't usually strong enough to be able to fight in battle. Women have a certain time every month when they should be at home and not out on a battle field. Women carry babies in the womb and could lose the baby prematurely if she fights in a war. Also men are supposed to protect and care for women. If they are concerned with the safety of the women on the battlefield, they could not fight a battle very well. That involves concentration.

I realize that there are tomboys that can fight as well as men but those are exceptions to the rule. If we encourage women to be in the army, in certain situations they would eventually be drafted. This would cause more unqualified women to be forced into something their bodies are not able to deal with.

God know better what is good for us if we listen. I'm not speaking here of heaven vs hell commandments but I see that if we obey God in all things, we wouldn't get in as much trouble.

He also ordained that only those men above 20 are numbered. Some kids are stronger than others so we see a merciful God who realizes that many under twenty would not be mature enough and many times not strong enough to endure the rigors of war and fighting. I see in all of this the mercy and grace of God in all His law. God is so good, I find no fault with Him. 

Num 1:20 And the children of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:21 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.
Num 1:22 Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:23 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.
Num 1:24 Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:25 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.
Num 1:26 Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:27 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.
Num 1:28 Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:29 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.
Num 1:30 Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:31 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.

Num 1:32 Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:33 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.
Num 1:34 Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:35 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.
Num 1:36 Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:37 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.
Num 1:38 Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:39 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.
Num 1:40 Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:41 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.
Num 1:42 Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
Num 1:43 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
Num 1:44 These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers.
Num 1:45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;
Num 1:46 Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.


I see also from these things that the Lord is showing them that they must be prepared and not go to battle without knowing what they had to work with and what their purpose was.

Num 1:47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.
Num 1:48 For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying,
Num 1:49 Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:
Num 1:50 But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.
Num 1:51 And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
Num 1:52 And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.
Num 1:53 But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.
Num 1:54 And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.


The Levites were the first tribe to stand by Moses after the rebellion and worship of the golden calf spoken of in the book of Exodus. Moses was from the tribe of Levi as was the priests. They were set apart for the service of the tabernacle and were not to be numbered as part of the army to fight in battle.

This has a great significance. It tells me that even in times of war, the worship of God has great importance and was not to be laid aside until the war is over. They had to minister at the altar and do the service of the tabernacle even in times of war. They were not to leave that service to fight.

They also had to guard the tabernacle to keep strangers or those that were not ordained for the service of the tabernacle to go near to it and end up dying in the process. The presence of God abode in the tabernacle and only those ordain for service and went through the cleansing explained in detail in the book of Leviticus could minister at the tabernacle. The Levites could not leave this holy calling even in time of war.

We see from this that God has to ordain all things to bring salvation to mankind. They could not do anything on their own.

We cannot save ourselves from sin by our own works and our own plans. There is only one way. The whole Old Testament teaches us that one way is God's way. All these things lead us to Christ the only way to God.

Had a Jew been able to live from Abraham to the time of Christ, he would have seen the process from the promise of Abraham to the giving of the law showing the holiness of God and the weakness of man to keep the law. This pointed to God providing a better way in order for man to keep the spirit of the law in His heart and not have to depend on ordinances and services of an earthly priesthood.

Through Christ, there is given power that comes within us when we simply believe in the one that God sent to us to save us from sin. This power that we call new birth, living water, the Holy Spirit, comes to abide within us and teach us a new and living way. Even after we come to Christ and are born again by the Holy Spirit we are to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and constantly filled with the Spirit that abides within us. There is more than one filling of the Spirit. It is not just a one time experience. We can be filled with the spirit every time we seek God. The disciples were constantly being filled with or renewed in the Holy Spirit.

Act 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Even with the new and living way brought to us through Jesus Christ, when we have to work in the secular world around us and be involved in other things that are not considered spiritual, just like the pattern in the wilderness that we see portrayed here, the presence of God and the worship of God should never be set aside just because we have to take care of the business of this world.

Numbers 2
 
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