The Book of Numbers – Perfectly Positioned

Numbers 2:1-2 “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.”

Numbers 2:34 “So the Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each of them with their clan and family.”

At the very start of Numbers, we saw God command a meticulous count of Israelite men above the age of 20 for the purpose of forming an Israelite army. In Chapter 2 we see the nation put in structural order as they move and as they encamp while they travel to the promised land.

The Order of their Travel and Encampment

Verses 3-31 detail out the position of each tribe in relation to the tabernacle.

The tent of meeting was to be in the very centre of the camp around which the Levites at some distance laid out their camps and then everyone else took their respective positions.

On the east side were the tribe of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

On the south were the tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Gad.

On the west were the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin.

On the north were the tribes of Dan Asher and Naphtali.

God Centred Living

The tent of meeting was a representation of God’s presence and power in the heart of the camp and a powerful visual reminder to always live relative to God being the very central focus of their daily existence.

When we look at the Israelites journey through the wilderness towards the promised land, we can draw a parallel of their journey and ours through our time here on earth till we are called home to be with the Lord. And in that journey where is God? Is He right in the centre around which everything else takes its place and perspective?

As the Israelites rested and moved ahead, God’s position from the very heart of them was not to change. Do our times of rest and the times we move, always reflect God in our very core?

What does your time of rest look like? What you watch on TV, how you talk and behave on a night out with friends, what you think and do in the quiet of your mind and home. Are those times still lived out like His presence is in the very centre of your lives?

How is your movement centred around God, when you are at work, doing life, meeting people, making decisions and wherever life takes you, do we push God to the back or is He in the very centre of how we live and breathe.

The layout of the Israelites was given by God, this shows us His desire to be in the very centre of his people’s lives. That is how He wanted His people to do life. What a simple but profound reminder of the design God had for his people.

When we choose to place God at the centre of our lives, He becomes the one through whom all our thoughts, decisions and directions unfold from.

How would your journey through life look like if God is in the very centre of everything you do? Would fear dominate? Would anger linger? Would unforgiveness fester?  

To live relative to His Presence and Power is His ideal structure for us.  

Find your Tribe

This structure besides placing God in the very centre, also in detail gives us the position of each tribe. And it served a purpose, of protection of the people as they were placed according to their armies. We might not need to journey through life with a physical army for protection against invading nations, but we know that our enemy attacks our faith and when one is solitary, they are much easier to take down.

The ever-relatable Psalms, gives us moments where we get to see David express his anguish over his loneliness. In Psalm 25:16, we read, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted,” and in Psalm 142:4 he says, “Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.”

But what do we read in Psalm 68:6 “God settles the Solitary in a home.”

God created us for community, we are not meant to journey alone. Loneliness may not necessarily be something we feel when alone, but it can be something we experience even when we are surrounded by people. We have the Lord always with us to fill our hearts and comfort us when we feel no one cares but God intends for us to find our tribe, our community. He has designed us to not walk through life solitary but to reach out and belong.   

Who are the people God has placed with and around you? Find your tribe who would do life with you, help you stay accountable, pray for and with you, give you godly advice and help nudge you back on track when you deviate.

With all the tribes in their respective places and roles around the tabernacle, we also get a beautiful picture in the broader sense of the entire people of God (Church) having different roles and places but very much under God.

God had a plan for the Israelites, and He perfectly positioned each of them as He carried out His plan for them. In the same way, God has placed us somewhere, it might seem far from ideal, you might be feeling the heat of the wilderness and the uncertainty of how you will get through it is ever present. Or the mundaneness of the everyday through the wilderness seems frustrating and inconsequential.

But He has perfectly positioned you, He is right with you and wants you to keep your eyes on Him, because it is not only His presence that goes along with you but also His power, and our obedience through that mundane matters. And as Ephesians 2:19 reminds us “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Find your tribe of brothers and sisters in Christ, we do not have to journey alone. And when the enemy whispers lies to make you feel defeated, to give up or question your faith, God’s presence in the very core of our lives and those of faith in our tribe will enable us to walk faithfully and obediently.

God Bless.

42 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – Perfectly Positioned

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  1. Manu, you are so right, we need one another! This is why we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves. Yes, God is sufficient, but He ministers through His Church (Not a building – the fellowship of believers). Isolation has really hurt a lot of people in the past couple of years. We need to gather more than ever, with Jesus as the One who brings us together and makes us one. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “To live relative to His Presence and Power is His ideal structure for us.” So true! I’ve read that the structure and numbers of the tribes around the Tabernacle forms the shape of a cross…a foreshadow of the relationship we can have with God through Christ. Thanks for a great post Manu, and some important questions for us to consider!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Manu, I really love the point about keeping God in the center of our lives. No matter where we are or what we are doing – may He always be in the forefront of our minds. This will help carve us to be more like Jesus, when we are always focused on Him.
    And I also appreciate the point about finding our tribe. This is a tough one for some. Sometimes it can be difficult to form those solid relationships, for different reasons. And as you said, we might be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. But God is always with us. And He can help us in this area.
    As always, this has been a thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing with us. Blessings, dear friend 🦋

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So right Bridget, living a God centred life shapes us to be more like Him. I agree that forming those solid relationships are not the easiest. I have always been challenged on that front. But I am always better off when I put myself out there and connect with people rather than give up.
      Thank you my friend 🤗💙

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Keeping God at the center is the goal but I miss that target often. I like the visual of the Israel camp with the Lord at the center. I read Numbers earlier this year but it has never been a book I’m very excited about. Thanks for some fresh perspective. God bless you, Manu!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi, Manu! I love your post centering around Christ and how we need each other! When I read Numbers 2 I am amazed at God’s care, provision and order (would I be allowed to share a post I wrote on this?). I am noticing more and more how much life’s events want to become the center of my world rather than Christ. Your questions about who I am or how I speak around others are questions that the Holy Spirit will use to convict me. I am so thankful for you, Manu! I am thankful we are on this journey together! Lots of love, hugs and blessings!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Would love to read a post you share in this. I think it is important to always be reminded of living a God centred life. As you said everything in our culture pushes us towards have a very ‘me’ or current events centred life, driven by feelings rather than the truth.
      Thank you for your kind words Mandy
      Hugs 🤗 💐

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Manu, indeed, we are perfectly positioned when we have God at the center of our lives. I have been blessed by the people that God has led me to, the mentors, and my church community. Thank you for your insights on the book of Numbers! Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings! 💖💐🌺

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a great reminder that God had positioned us right where we are. Thank you for that, Manu. I also like what you shared about the Israelite’s positioning and how God was at the center and must be at the center of our lives. As a side note, I once heard the idea that the way the Israelites were positioned may have formed the shape of a cross. I can’t confirm that but love the idea that they were possibly pointing to Jesus’ coming and ultimate sacrifice in that means. May our lives also point to the cross as we await His second coming!

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  8. So true, Manu. God always knows what’s best for us. There’s a reason He has told us Not to forsake gathering together. There is something about human touch that is healing. The enemy knows and is very cunning. In these perilous days it’s even more imperative to obey God & not man.🙏🏼✝️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely, there is something about human touch and interaction. He works through people and that we miss entirely if we choose to keep ourselves away from forming those solid bonds.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We definitely need to keep the Lord in the center of all we do. He is not just for church on Sunday. He wants to be involved in every area of our lives. And we do need one another so we can keep each other encouraged. Thanks for your encouraging posts, I always enjoy them. You always share valuable lessons. Blessings Manu! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  10. One of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with in my walk with the Lord is depression and burnout in unison. It made it so difficult to make God the center of everything. It made it so difficult to find my rest in Him. But He has held onto me when I have struggled to hold onto Him. When depression forced me to isolate in a time when isolation was already pushing us into isolation, and I was already too isolated because of circumstances, every day and every step became such a huge push up hill.

    Even now I’m still trying to find balance, tap in and rest in the right way without taking on too much. Prioritizing and finding balance. Including God in everything without over studying and neglecting mental health. It can be a delicate balance. Too delicate to navigate and figure out on my own. I’m glad he holds onto us. Thanks for sharing God’s word that guides our every step, Manu. You use your gifts wisely by not keeping them to yourself. Blessings to you and yours. 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Manu, I have a poster of my filing cabinet…”What would your house look like if Jesus came to visit? Would you have to hide books you’re reading, put on another TV show etc.” Much like the same questions you ask. Good mind joggers of “Whom do you serve?” Happy week my friend ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Marla, I have read something similar to that poster and also if Jesus was right over your shoulder would be reading , watching or talking the same way as you usually do. Really makes one think.
      Happy week to you too my friend 💙

      Like

  12. This really ministered to me! This is a lovely read to understand how God strategically placed each tribe. One thing that I learned recently is from an ariel view, the tents of the tribes formed a cross. This truly gives a picture of our Messiah. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

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