Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Numbers 1-2 Marching orders

From Numbers 1-2

Nu 1.1-16 Story; The LORD commands a census of all the congregation
Nu 1.17-46 Story; The resulting numbers counted from the census
Nu 1.47-54 Story; The Levites are exempted from the census so they could perform Priestly duties
Nu 2.1-2 Story; Instructions for how to camp and how to move as a group
Nu 2.3-9 Story; The group on the east side - Judah, Issachar, Zebulun. They set out first.
Nu 2.10-16 Story; The group on the south side - Reuben, Simeon, Gad. They set out second.
Nu 2.17 Story; The Tent of Meeting with the Levites in the midst of the camp. They set out next.
Nu 2.18-24 Story; The group on the west side (the original 'Westies') - Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin. They set out third.
Nu 2.25-31 Story; The group on the north - Dan, Asher, Naphtali. They set out last.
Nu 2.32-34 Story; Summary statement mentioning the Levites in the group.

Passage and Comments
One thing that strikes me as distinctive about the Hebrews is that they like to keep records and they like to be included in lists. Check this passage out.

[32] These are the people of Israel as listed by their fathers' houses. All those listed in the camps by their companies were 603,550. [33] But the Levites were not listed among the people of Israel, as the LORD commanded Moses. [34] Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his fathers' house. (Nu 2:32-34)

What I found encouraging was the last reference to the Levite tribe. While they were not exactly numbered in the census, the recorders anxious to included them kept referring to them anyhow. The two chapters note a few times how Israel followed the LORD's commands. Its helpful to note their obedience when it happens. It doesn't happen often.

Story of Israel
Genealogies are important to the Hebrews . Sometimes they are lists of people the Hebrews wanted to be part of (e.g. Entering the promised land; Num 26.4-51, returning from exile; Neh 7.5). At other times they became sources of contention (1 Tim 1.4).

Story of Jesus
The gospels of Matthew and Luke both list the genealogies Jesus is part of. It was important to Paul to mention Jesus was a descendent of King David (2 Tim 2.8; Rom 1.3). It infers that Jesus is the Christ.