It’s only been twelve chapters in the book of Numbers, but it’s been close to thirty-eight years the children of Israel have been serving their sentence – one generation dying and the rest of the people wandering…all those years (Deuteronomy 2:14). When we add up the time traveling and the time spent at Mt. Sinai it’s now nearing forty years and it’s time to Number the people once again.
Numbers 26:2 (NKJV) “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel from twenty years old and above, by their fathers’ houses, all who are able to go to war in Israel.”
Amazingly the children of Israel’s numbers haven’t changed too much – God has sustained them in the wilderness all these years!
|Tribe||First Numbering||Second Numbering|
Keep in mind, this number doesn’t include the ladies, all the children below twenty years of age, the elderly who were not able to go to war and the entire tribe of Levi who in the first census totaled 22,000 (Numbers 3:39). For that reason I’ve always estimated the total population of Israel to be anywhere from two to three million people.
Warren Wiersbe, “The taking of the second census was a sign that the nation’s wanderings were soon to end. Note the people in this list who are given special attention: Dathan and Abiram, who rebelled against the Lord (Numbers 26:9–11); Nadab and Abihu, who defied the Lord (Numbers 26:61); and Joshua and Caleb, who believed the Lord (Numbers 26:65).”
Halley’s Bible Handbook, “Wilderness life must have been hard. Of the more than 600,000 males above the age of 20 that were included in the first census (chap. 1), only two survived. The younger generation, hardened by the desert, were a different class of men from what their fathers had been as slaves freshly freed from a hard but predictable life, from the “flesh pots” (kjv; niv “pots of meat,” Exodus 16:3) of Egypt.”
While Jesus is being dedicated, it just so happens that the prophetess Anna was there at that time (don’t you just love those “Divine Appointments?). Anna definitely fits the description of a godly widow in 1 Timothy 5:5, her husband had died at an early age, and after that, her husband was her Maker (Isaiah 54:5). She served God by time spent at the Temple praying and fasting, day and night; when she saw Jesus, she had that insight, she knew who He was and gave thanks to God, spreading the word that the Redeemer had arrived.
We don’t have many details on Jesus growing up other than the fact that He was raised in Nazareth (a tough town) and what we read in:
Luke 2:40 (NKJV) “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
In Luke 2:42 we fast forward to Jesus at the age of twelve, when He’s in the temple now cognizant of His calling, equipping Himself with the Word, asking and answering questions. I have no doubt that his parents were the best, but it’s funny how they left Him behind after that year’s Passover Feast in Jerusalem. This would be the last time we read of Jesus’ biological father (Luke 2:48) most teachers believe Joseph died soon after. This would lay the burden upon Jesus for the next 18 years as the man of the house, the Son of the carpenter (Matthew 13:55). But He was also the Son of God and His heavenly Father had another work for Him to do. He would spend close to two decades preparing for His other “business” to start (Luke 2:49; 3:23).
The background to this Psalm is 2 Samuel 8 when the war wasn’t going well. God went on to give Israel the victory, but it wasn’t easy.
David felt as if God had cast them off, and broken them down, that God was displeased with them; he says something interesting in:
Psalm 60:3 (NKJV) “You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.”
Yes, it’s true, God does allow us to go through hard times, there will be many times when we don’t understand, but God is NOT the author of confusion for His people (1 Corinthians 14:33). David was mistaken about that.
When we find ourselves in those trying times, may we keep praying as David did in this Psalm, standing on God’s promises (Psalm 60:6) and remembering God’s track record.
Who will give us the victory? Only God. He alone is the source of our strength, the heart of our help.
Psalm 60:11–12 (NKJV) “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. 12 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”
It has to be God – are we seeking Him? Seriously? Honestly?
If so, wow, what victory we will experience! To be “valiant” is to have courage and to persevere, especially in difficult circumstances. Therefore, to act valiantly is to show courage and perseverance. A basketball player with a sore ankle who helps win the game has played valiantly. A war hero served his country valiantly. This word “valiant” has to do with strength of character and fortitude. Acting valiantly is difficult, which is why our friends admire it and our foes despise it, it’s by this type of God given valor our foes are defeated.
Spurgeon, “We will not be ashamed of our colours, afraid of our foes, or fearful of our cause. The Lord is with us, omnipotence sustains us, and we will not hesitate, we dare not be cowards.”
In all honesty most credit is bad, and cosigning (surety) is usually worse.
Here the suffering is promised when cosigning for a stranger, someone you don’t really know. I need to say this that in the world we live in, there may be a time when you help your children out, or someone very, very close, but be so careful, for there are many warnings against cosigning in the Proverbs, and our Father knows best.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.