Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

In The Wilderness

Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first 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 sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies.’” (Numbers 1:1–3)

The book of Numbers has been called the most neglected book of the Bible. Search any bookstore for anything on Numbers and you’ll find yourself coming home empty-handed. The book, however, has so much relevant information. It is part of the “all Scripture” which is “inspired by God, and profitable….”

It was the Latin influence, then the Greek that named the book “Numbers.”  In Latin, numeri, in Greek, arithmoi, in English, Numbers. The book really isn’t so much about numbers, however, as it is about God’s work with the Israelites while they were in the wilderness. The Hebrew name for the book is Be-Midbar, taken from the first words of the book, “in the wilderness.” When the Lord speaks in the wilderness, God’s people have something to learn!

The voice of the Lord was “take a census.” This census would not be a count of every man, woman, and child, but only of the fighting men of Israel. The purpose of the census was to ready the troups for entry into the Promised Land. Sadly, “in the wilderness” the spies would later give their report, and the readied troops would never enter.

The count was “whoever is able to go out to war,” but the reality is that able and willing are not synonymous.  The count was 603,550 able-bodied men. The reality was that only two were willing. Today, don’t count ability for much. Without willingness, ability accomplishes nothing!

In His Grace,

Dr. Randy White

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