Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mill stream in Quimperle, France

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 22, Num 26-27

Today's readings are Num 26-27.

God commands another census (Num 26:2). The first one was prior to Israel leaving Sinai (Num 1:2). The new census shows a total of 601,730 men capable of waging war (Num 26:51). Once again Israel is being prepared for battle!

That first census, nearly 38 years prior, counted 603,550 (Num 1:46). Interestingly enough, there are only two men who remain from the first census: Joshua and Caleb. This is because God decreed that none who were counted in that census would remain after Israel refused to go in and take Canaan, even though God had promised them victory.

So the census accomplishes more than one goal. It shows the strength of the army of Israel, but it also counts the cost of rebelling against God. After seeing multiplication, time and time again, in Israel's short history, for this period of time in the wilderness, they have stopped growing. It's a sobering example of one of the consequences of disobedience to the Father -- stunted growth! His children never lose their status as belonging to Him. But, they do slow their pace of growth, even bringing it to a halt.

The daughters of Zelophedad come forward in Num 27:1. They have no brothers. Therefore they have no inheritance. They come asking for a portion of land. Unlike those who died in the wilderness, these women are eager to receive the gift of the Promised Land. God makes provision for them to inherit their father's portion, a privilege unheard of in ancient times and a sign that the land God promises stays with those to whom He promises it forever. It's also an indicator that God's high view of women and how they are to be treated does not always line up with the culture.

Arrangements are made for Joshua to lead God's people when Moses dies, showing that God provides for His children through His faithfulness, not through any one particular man (Num 27:12-23). We also see, in these chapters that God chooses leaders, sets them up and brings them down. 

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