The Book of Numbers – The Last Men Standing

Num 26:1-2After the plague the Lord said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families—all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Israel.” 

God instructed Moses to take a second census. We looked at the first census in Numbers 1, just as we feel like we have come a long way through the book of Numbers so have the people of Israel. An entire generation has passed.

Through this chapter we see a list of hard to pronounce names and some numbers. This may not be the most interesting chapter for us to read, but this chapter gives details of the size and names of the clans, a people who belong to God as they were stepping into the promised land, and it gives us a fuller picture of how their numbers reflect God’s discipline, judgement, grace and blessings with all that transpired during their time in the wilderness. 

To give you a sense of this chapter let’s look at verses 5-7 The descendants of Reuben, the firstborn son of Israel, were:” through Hanok, the Hanokite clan; through Pallu, the Palluite clan; through Hezron, the Hezronite clan; through Karmi, the Karmite clan. These were the clans of Reuben; those numbered were 43,730.”

In this census, the prominent clans of each tribe are listed. The numbers of most of the tribes increase except for Reuben, the reduction possibly brought on by the judgement on their numbers during the rebellion of Korah. The tribe of Simeon sees the greatest decrease, as the census was taken right after the plague that affected when the people worshipped Baal and participated in their pagan ritual, as it was Zimri, the leader of the Simeonite family who brough the Moabite woman in front of everyone into his tent. And so, it is possible that the 24,000 who died from the plague could have been mainly from this tribe.

The total number after the census was 601,730 (verse 51). Forty years later and the total number has dropped only by 1,820 (total number from first census was 603,550).

Despite their complaining, grumbling and rebellion, God preserved his people and His promise. Sin has consequences and we see that when the first generation were destined to die in the wilderness and not enter the promised land. But God did not forsake his people and His plan and purposes sustained through the faithlessness of the previous generation and was being fulfilled through this generation.

For us: This gives us hope, even though we falter, we can turn to God and trust Him to restore, uplift and continue working in and through us. This does not mean we take his grace and forgiveness for granted but it reassures us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The enemy may whisper lies and try to keep us from feeling worthy of God’s love and grace, but may we remember that it is not our worthiness that merits his grace but his goodness.

Num 26:52-55The Lord said to Moses, “The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one; each is to receive its inheritance according to the number of those listed. What each group inherits will be according to the names for its ancestral tribe.”

We get to understand here the importance of taking this census.  The promised land was to be divided among the tribes according to what is recorded in the census. We get to understand the significance of the numbers and names for the Israelites now as this determined their inheritance of the land. The actual apportioning of land within a territory would be done by casting lots, it was an impartial and unbiased way of making decisions, with the idea that God guided the whole process, as we read in Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

Faith and Perseverance

The chapter ends with a very stark reminder of the people who were in the first census.

“For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” (verse 65)

Caleb and Joshua showed faith and perseverance amongst a generation who were faithless. Their faith sustained through trials, was not weakened by the doubters and grumblers and persevered to not only start well but to finish well too. 

Caleb and Joshua show us that persevering in faith is a journey of not conforming to the pattern of this world, it was to keep on resisting sin and living in faith. It is a process that brings us into the fullness of our heavenly inheritance.

There are two aspects to perseverance, we as believers are to pursue God, trust Him through trails and challenges and remember to not allow our trials to weaken our faith. We are called to “Fight the good fight.” as 1 Timothy 6:12 says. And the other aspect is that as believers we do not carry the entire responsibility of sustaining our faith through all seasons of life. The God of all grace and mercy will equip, enable and sustain us, as Jude 1:24 reminds us, “He will keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”

Lord, as believers our deepest desire is to be faithful to your word. Help us walk faithfully through all seasons of our lives, leaning on your word and the spirit to sustain us when we feel weak in our faith. Thank you Lord that we do not have to persevere in our own strength but can come to you and receive the strength that is needed to walk through our valley. May our eyes stay focused on you and may we grow in our faith bringing you glory and honour in all that we do. Amen.

God Bless.  

15 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – The Last Men Standing

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  1. Thank you, Manu so much for sharing your study on The Book of Numbers with Us!! You’ve made it quite enjoyable🤣Numbers can seem tedious and tiresome, but sometimes going back to Numbers can answer many questions.

    Let [the tribe of] Reuben live and not die out, but let his men be few. (Deut 33:6)
    This quote is from the Amplified Bible Re: Reuben, and many of the commentaries suggest that Reuben’s tribal numbers are fewer, because he lost his birthright to Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), after Reuben slept with Jacob’s concubine.
    Jacob also cursed Simeon as well.
    Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob and  4scatter them in Israel. (Gen 49:7)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Manu. I enjoyed reading this and thank you for sharing about the two aspects of our faith. It is a reminder that when God calls us to live a certain way (by faith), He will also equip us and help us to carry it out. Thanks also for the beautiful prayer. Have a wonderful weekend. 💕

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  3. Lovely post, Manu! Something that strikes me about Caleb and Joshua is thay the people they were standing against in their decision to want to enter the promised land were the same people that had seen the same miracles and believed in the same God. I think this stands out to me more than anything because we see churches dividing over issues nowadays that shouldn’t even be issues within the church. We see churches getting away from what the Bible says. May God help us to be like Joshua and Caleb I’m these present times!

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    1. That is so true. They saw and experienced the very same miracles and provision by God and they responded so differently. Yes, may God help us to be like them in these present times.
      God bless you Colleen 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Manu, We are called to persevere and “fight the good fight.” We need to pursue and follow God; and trust Him and His promises.
    A lovely prayer. Have a great week!❤️💐🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Caleb and Joshua are such front runners and were men ahead of their times. It was their faith that allowed them to see what others couldn’t grasp. Always good to learnt about things like census and to understand God’s purpose for them. I remember when David wrongly took a census not ordered by God and the consequence was disastrous. Bless you. 🙏🏾💗

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    1. Absolutely Anneta. Their faith gave them a different perspective to the situation. And I forgot about the census that David took wrongly. Glad you brought that to my attention. What a good point to remember of stepping out of God’s direction and leading.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen! Your post encouraged me so much today. I am scheduling a quote on my Quote of the Week for 6/14/23.
    “The enemy may whisper lies and try to keep us from feeling worthy of God’s love and grace, but may we remember that it is not our worthiness that merits his grace but his goodness.” That is an important reminder. that we often lose sight of. Blessings, Manu!

    Liked by 1 person

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