Summary: An old testament overview of the book of numbers
Made to Count
When you study the book of Numbers there are many interesting interactions between God, His leader and His people. God placed His people on a path to really be spiritual victors for the kingdom. God wanted His people to know that victory was assured and He wanted them to know that every life lived for Him is not in vain.
Today He still wants that for His people. He wants us to know that we are made to count. I’m sure everyone wants to live a life that makes a difference but will that life make a difference for the kingdom.
But how can we make a difference for the kingdom? We need to evaluate who we really are. In the book Made to Count, Bob Reccord says, “We should evaluate both our strengths and our weaknesses with a focus on God, not on us.”
Ultimately the Bible teaches and the book of Numbers teaches that what we can or cannot do is of little consequence because God can do all things. God has hardwired into all of us abilities that we can use for His glory. But He has also given us those abilities to make a difference in the lives of others.
I want to add value and significance in the lives of my family and in the lives of God’s church family. I want to help young people called by Him get started in the ministry and help all people find the ministry they can use for God. I don’t want to impact the world. I want to let God impact the world through me. I want to my life to be count and I want your life to count.
Here in Numbers we see the children of Israel on the verge of going into the Promised Land. As we have already studied God had promised that land to them and set their lives up to possess all that God had for them. However, they just like Christians today, got caught in the vicious cycle of relying on God, then disobeying God and then the punishment of God. It is a cycle of faith.
“When Mohandas Gandhi was the spiritual leader of India, a missionary asked him what he thought was the biggest obstacle to Christian missions in India, and Gandhi replied, ‘Christians.’” (Be Counted, W.W. pg.21) We may not like his answer, but we do need to face the fact too often God’s people get in the way of God’s work.
If you and I are going to live lives that are made to count then we must do what God says to do. We must obey him, follow Him and love Him in order to stay in His will as we serve Him. So let’s look at the cycle of faith and where we need to be in order to be Made to Count.
I. Obedience (1:1-9:14) Here we see the first stop on this cycle and it is the stop we are to continue in. Someone said you can take the entire Bible and break it down into two words; trust and obey.
Too often in our world, and especially here in the United States, we tend to view almost everything as optional—an either/or situation. But there are some things in life that are not optional. Our obedience to God is not optional.
These first nine chapters really is God outlining the spiritual authority He has placed over our lives. He lists them here and throughout the Bible in a 3-fold manner:
A. God’s Authority—He has the right to do with us and through us anything He sees fit. He is our ultimate authority. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:24-25, “The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”(NIV)
B. Priest’s authority—just like the book of Leviticus God spells us in these chapters that He has given the priest His authority to serve God through the spiritual leadership of the people. The Bible says in Numbers 13:39 that God put the tassels on the garments of the priests so the people would remember to obey the commandments of the Lord.
The Bible also says in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (NIV)
C. Husband’s authority—Here in Numbers God makes it clear that the husband is the head of the household. This Biblical principle is consistent throughout scripture. Ephesians 5:23-24 says, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.