“These are the people of Israel as listed by their fathers’ houses. All those listed in the camps by their companies were 603,550.” Numbers 2:32
If you are ever in the mood for some interesting reading, avoid censuses at all costs. There are few things more redundant than counting people and listing the results–which is exactly how the book of Numbers begins. God tells Moses to take a census of each of the tribes and record their numbers. Without any context for the book, Numbers could win the prize for most boring book in the Bible. There is list after list of people and clans and tribes and there doesn’t seem to be any spiritual food hiding, just a list of names, important historically, but without spiritual consequence. However, I think there is a reason God wanted Moses to list the peoples and have a record of the nation of Israel. In Genesis 12, God calls Abram, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Almost 600 years before, there was only a man, called by God’s divine election and given a promise of a great nation. Despite the unlikelihood of Abraham having any offspring, Abraham believed that God would make good on His promise. The book of Numbers is the proof for the world that God made good on the promise he made to Abraham. Within 600 years of the Abrahamic Covenant, a nation of over 600,000 people exists. The moment this dawned on me I was so humbled by the power of God’s word and his nature manifest in the Pentateuch. God is a God who keeps his promises! Believers, God may seem distant at times, our lives seem unbearable, our hearts faint within us, but we have no reason to fear. God keeps his promises and He has promised us a place in heaven with him, he has promised new bodies and new minds, he has promised crowns of righteousness and eternity in the joy of His presence. And though we may not see it now, His promise will be kept.
Lord Jesus, we praise you for the promises you made and the promises you will keep! Thank you for the blessed assurance of your word!