The opening of Numbers is pretty dull. There’s a census, and 603,350 men are counter. We have a listing of the names of the men who are the “head of his ancestral house”. More names. But when you know what the names MEAN….
Reuben sent Elizur, "My God the Rock"
Simeon sent Shelumiel, "God my Salvation."
Gad sent Eliasaph, "My God that gathers"
Judah sent Nahshon, "The Diviner"
Issachar sent Nethaneel, "God the Giver"
Zebulon sent Eliab, "My God the Father"
Ephriam sent Elishama, "My God the Hearer"
Manasseh sent Gamaliel, "My God the Rewarder"
Benjamin sent Abidan, "My Father is Judge"
Dan sent Ahiezer, "My Brother is Help"
Asher sent Pagiel, either "My Fate is God," or "My prayer-God"
Naphtali sent Ahira, "My Brother is Friend"
Beautiful names when you stop to consider that they all point to attributes of God!
The Levites were set apart as God’s own. They remained uncounted, and God tasked them with tabernacle duty. Aaron and his sons were set to do the priestly duties, and God told Moses that anyone approaching without authorization would be killed. Again we see a clear command from God as to how worship was to take place.
A census was then taken of the Levites. It was compared to the census of the men from all the other tribes. The Levites became a substitute for the firstborn of the men of all the other tribes, one-for-one. Remaining firstborns needed to pay “redemption money”. What a picture of the redemption that Christ paid for us as our High Priest. He was the redemption of the world – one-for-ALL!
When we think of the people who were unclean being sent out of the camp, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you think of how many people were traveling – if 600,000 plus MEN were there, it was a couple million when you add men who were not included in the census, women, and children – this camp was HUGE, and to be sent out meant they might have had to travel for a mile or more. This reminds me of how far I was separated from God by my sin. Once the people were made clean again, they could return to camp, and the parallel there is that once I was saved, God allows me into His family.
It’s been an eventful couple weeks in our reading. I pray that you continue reading every day, and I will see you next week.
We CAN read through the Bible in 2012 – together!