Skip to main content

Count ‘em again: Numbers 26

With Advent behind us, we progress forward with our Through the Whole Bible Project. Also, I’m thinking of adopting the bold-labeled sections as the template for the rest of this project. Tell me in the comments what you think, please.
In Summary: The book of Numbers opens with a census of the people of Israel. Guess how it finishes? With a census of the people of Israel. Rather than try and tease out some great meaning in the names or deal with the interconnectedness, I’ll go here and stop with it: when you compare the numbers of Numbers, family for family, the wilderness wanderings have not cost the nation any strength.
None. God has raised up a replacement for every person lost due to unfaithfulness. Every one of them.
So quit whining about the lost generation and get to work being the generation God has placed here and now.
A Portion in Focus: Numbers 26:53-56 is the focal point in this passage. In-depth study of names and meanings exceeds what I think we need here, but this summary is valuable. We learn about the distribution of the land to the people. What can we learn?
In background, we need to remember that in agrarian economies, land equals work, work equals survival, therefore land equals survival. The allocation of land was critical for the survival of the people, because everyone participated in agriculture for survival. Even the bulk of the religious leaders did so—though eventually a specialized economy developed.
There, are, though, three keys to understanding this:
  1. There is faith in God’s words. How so? The people are not in the land yet, so any discussion of how to divide assumes the surety that God will deliver.
  2. There is provision for needs. Some of the families had grown more than others, some started out bigger, but there would be no dividing the land simply by blocks. Instead, bigger groups got larger allotments to even out the provision of need. What they did with it as time went by mattered to their wealth, but the starting point was as equalized as possible.
  3. There is protection from fraud. Lots, which were seen as revealing God’s will, were used to allocate land. Every family would receive enough, but they would not get to pick their own. Instead, they would have the opportunity to work with whatever the lot provided, and have to make it happen.
For us to do: How does this become practical for us?
  1. We have faith in God’s Words. God has stated things very plainly in the Bible, and we trust in those words. Has He promised His presence? Then we do not seek to “feel” God near, we trust that He is. We trust, though we do not always see. We trust, even though years stand between now and fulfillment.
  2. We do the work necessary to provide for our needs. There is usually something ahead of us that we can do which provides for us. It may be something we do out of obedience to God that feels unrelated, but it’s there. Do what you have in front of you.
  3. We do what is necessary to provide for others. Not to empower laziness, but to generate the opportunities for others to walk in obedience as well. Perhaps you are able to create a business that can provide meaningful work for others. Perhaps there are other ways. You have to seek that yourself—under how God is leading you.
Any thoughts?

Comments

  1. I like the divisions. It flows well and reads easily.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…