Highlights In Today's Reading:
After the miraculous deliverance and preservation of the Israelites by Almighty God, the New Testament reveals why today's two chapters are so important to us. Read how God organized the people in preparation for their inheritance of the promised land. Over 85 times we read of the Lord speaking to Moses, and just as important: Moses did as the Lord commanded (20:27).
The people were numbered three times in the wilderness. They were first numbered for the purpose of collecting atonement money from every male twenty years old and upward (Ex. 30:11-16; 38:25-26). About six months later, there was a military numbering. As the Lord commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai (Num. 1:19). Thirty-eight years later the new generation was numbered before entering the promised land (chapter 26).
The purpose of the second numbering was to organize an army (1:3). God had promised to give the children of Israel the land of Canaan, but the Israelites must fight to conquer innumerable enemies to possess the promised land. This numbering was exactly one month after the setting up of the Tabernacle (Ex. 40:2,17; Num. 1:1,18-19) and about eleven months from the time of their arrival in the desert of Sinai. Nearly a year had elapsed (Ex. 19:1, Num. 1:1;10:11).
With so great a destiny as the promised land, it seems pitiful to read that this first generation wasted their lives and died in the desert because of their lack of faith to follow God (14:26-35).
In this we have a fearful illustration of some Christians' lives. Years pass, opportunities to serve the Lord are put off for a more convenient time, and life hastens toward its close. Little progress is made in transforming their character and so little work of eternal value is accomplished. The wasted years are evidence that much of the old nature is not yet buried and we fail to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). Let us recognize our desert experiences and, like Paul, who once persecuted Christians, say: Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14), and then be available to our Lord to prepare us for His spiritual service.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).
Thought for Today:
God can use the young and the old to serve Him. The only person God can't use is the one who will not obey His Word.
By Moses as he led the people (Num. 1:54). Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep. . . . My sheep hear My voice . . . and they follow Me (John 10:14,27).
1:2 take ye the sum =take the census; by their polls =number each male individually; 1:16 renowned =elected national representative; 1:17 expressed =designated; 1:18 pedigrees =ancestry; 1:44 princes =leaders; 1:53 charge =responsibility; 2:2 pitch =set up, camp; standard =flag; ensign =tribal emblem or flag; 2:24 rank =group
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Dean Bell • Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Government Official: Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) • Country: Bangladesh (125.7 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Bangla and English • Present religious freedom may become limited • 86.6% Muslim; 12.1% Hindu; .6% Buddhist; .3% Christian; .4% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord, for He promises to answer you (Zech. 13:9).
Optional Reading: Mark 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:7-8