August 10, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Numbers 1-4
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Date: One year after arriving at Mt. Sinai
Context: Moses is instructed to conduct a census. Although to us, reading this may be boring, it is included in the Bible because it was important to the Lord. To the Israelites, each name had meaning. The census provided a two-fold purpose. First, it counted the Israelites. Second, it let each Israelite know from where they came, their family history. In chapter 2, the arrangement of the camp is described. At the center of the camp is the tabernacle. God should always be at the center of our lives. The details given as to how the camp was to be arranged shows that God pays attention to the smallest details. Each part, each person has a place in the larger picture. The Levite tribe was not included in the original census as they are set apart. They care for and maintain the Tabernacle. Chapter 3 contains a census of the Levites. Chapter 4 examines the specific jobs of members of the Levite tribe. Every man had his job and when it came time to set up camp and the Tabernacle, every man knew his job and performed his job. What may seem like a huge undertaking (imagine moving several million people!) likely took less time than it may take many of us to set up a family campsite. The Israelites were able to be so efficient because of the attention God paid to the details. Even today, God pays attention to the details of our lives and assigns us specific jobs. Are you listening?
World History: The Israelites remained at Mt. Sinai for one year, receiving the Law from God, and constructing the Tabernacle before continuing on with their journey to the Promised Land.