ALLOW GOD to ‘DIRECT’ our STEPS DAILY: Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: "Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above--all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies." (Num. 1:1-3)
Each of the books of the Pentateuch shows the people of God differently. The book of Genesis pictures God’s people as pilgrims and strangers looking for their inheritance, starting with Abraham in chapter 12. The books of Exodus and Leviticus depict Israel as a holy nation of priests, worshiping the Lord. However, the book of Numbers emphasizes God’s people as warriors, who were supposed to overcome their enemy and claim their inheritance, the Promised Land of Canaan. The book of Numbers continues the account of the Mosaic period, which began with the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. This book received its name because the people are numbered twice (chaps. 1, 26).
More than a year had passed since the exodus from Egypt (1:1), most of the time being spent in the vicinity of Mount Sinai. The Israelites arrived at Sinai three months after God had delivered them from Pharaoh (see Ex. 19:1, 2). Now, ten months later, the time had come to move on to Canaan, the Promised Land that God had promised Abraham. The logistics of organizing and leading two million ex-slaves, who had probably settled at Sinai in a disorderly fashion, was enormous. It was essential that they be arranged as orderly marching armies, and for this purpose God commanded Moses and Aaron to take a census of the people by tribe, clan, and family. The census would include all men twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war, which clearly indicates its military purpose (1:3).
That the Lord spoke to and through Moses is stated over 150 times (in more than 20 different ways) in Numbers, which testifies to the fact that God was directing the steps of the Israelite journey very closely. God has been speaking during every phase of ‘saving history’ (Gen. 1:3; Lev. 1:1). God has revealed His purposes audibly at various times, and here He spoke “in the tabernacle of meeting”, as in Leviticus He spoke “out of the tabernacle”. God spoke to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” in the tabernacle of the congregation (Ex. 33:11), and this is also where the law of the book of Leviticus was given (Lev. 1:1).
Today, God speaks to us through the Bible, His recorded revelation for people of all ages. Though its words were written down by humans in a period of over 1500 years, they are words that God has spoken for His people: "Knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:20-21)
The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: are we reading and obeying what God has spoken in His Word? Let’s hear what God is speaking to us today: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him." (Psalms 32:8-10)