Summary: Even though Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised Land he spent the closing weeks of his life preparing the new generation to enter Canaan and claim the land God promised to give them.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Even though Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised Land he spent the closing weeks of his life preparing the new generation to enter Canaan and claim the land God promised to give them. In this portion of Scripture a new census was taken in anticipation of assigning land to the families of the tribes, a new leader was identified in Joshua, and the law of God concerning offerings was brought into focus. But the primary purpose of the numbering was to ascertain how the land of Canaan would be allotted to the different tribes. Thirty-eight years had passed since the first great census. During this time every Israelite man and woman over 20 years of age, except Joshua, Caleb and Moses, had died and yet God’s laws and spiritual character of the nation were still intact.
The first census (1:1-2:33) counted the Hebrews who left Egypt. But when the old generation died in the wilderness another census was needed to count the Hebrews ready to enter the Promised Land. The first census revealed a total of 603,550 soldiers were available (1:45-46). This new census revealed that although over 600,000 men (not counting women and children) had died in the wilderness the male population of Israel now numbered 606,730 (v. 51). When you consider that every man had now been replaced who had died during the previous thirty-eight years except for only 1,820 men, this total is quite remarkable. Just as God had multiplied His people during their years of suffering in Egypt (Ex.1:7, 12), so He made them fruitful during their years in traveling in the wilderness.
Some people think Numbers is rather boring but it records some dramatic miracles. All of this is a quiet but powerful miracle that is easy to be overlooked. Just think, a whole nation moved from one land to another, lost its entire adult population, yet managed to maintain its spiritual direction.
Sometimes it may seem like God isn’t doing much in my life but I must remember that God is still in the miracle business and works in quiet ways to bring about his long range purposes.