Numbers 1 & Psalm 35

Numbers 1

    The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers. And these are the names of the men who shall assist you. From Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; from the sons of Joseph, from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud, and from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.” These were the ones chosen from the congregation, the chiefs of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.

    Moses and Aaron took these men who had been named, and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by clans, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, as the LORD commanded Moses. So he listed them in the wilderness of Sinai.

    The people of Reuben, Israel's firstborn, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.

    Of the people of Simeon, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, those of them who were listed, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.

    Of the people of Gad, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Gad were 45,650.

    Of the people of Judah, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.

    Of the people of Issachar, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.

    Of the people of Zebulun, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.

    Of the people of Joseph, namely, of the people of Ephraim, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500.

    Of the people of Manasseh, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.

    Of the people of Benjamin, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.

    Of the people of Dan, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Dan were 62,700.

    Of the people of Asher, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Asher were 41,500.

    Of the people of Naphtali, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.

    These are those who were listed, whom Moses and Aaron listed with the help of the chiefs of Israel, twelve men, each representing his fathers' house. So all those listed of the people of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war in Israel—all those listed were 603,550.

    But the Levites were not listed along with them by their ancestral tribe. For the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel. But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle. When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death. The people of Israel shall pitch their tents by their companies, each man in his own camp and each man by his own standard. But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the people of Israel. And the Levites shall keep guard over the tabernacle of the testimony.” Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.

(Numbers 1 ESV)


Psalm 35

Of David.

    Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
        fight against those who fight against me!
    Take hold of shield and buckler
        and rise for my help!
    Draw the spear and javelin
        against my pursuers!
    Say to my soul,
        “I am your salvation!”
    
    Let them be put to shame and dishonor
        who seek after my life!
    Let them be turned back and disappointed
        who devise evil against me!
    Let them be like chaff before the wind,
        with the angel of the LORD driving them away!
    Let their way be dark and slippery,
        with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!
    
    For without cause they hid their net for me;
        without cause they dug a pit for my life.
    Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
    And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
        let him fall into it—to his destruction!
    
    Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD,
        exulting in his salvation.
    All my bones shall say,
        “O LORD, who is like you,
    delivering the poor
        from him who is too strong for him,
        the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
    
    Malicious witnesses rise up;
        they ask me of things that I do not know.
    They repay me evil for good;
        my soul is bereft.
    But I, when they were sick—
        I wore sackcloth;
        I afflicted myself with fasting;
    I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
        I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
    as one who laments his mother,
        I bowed down in mourning.
    
    But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
        they gathered together against me;
    wretches whom I did not know
        tore at me without ceasing;
    like profane mockers at a feast,
        they gnash at me with their teeth.
    
    How long, O Lord, will you look on?
        Rescue me from their destruction,
        my precious life from the lions!
    I will thank you in the great congregation;
        in the mighty throng I will praise you.
    
    Let not those rejoice over me
        who are wrongfully my foes,
    and let not those wink the eye
        who hate me without cause.
    For they do not speak peace,
        but against those who are quiet in the land
        they devise words of deceit.
    They open wide their mouths against me;
        they say, “Aha, Aha!
        Our eyes have seen it!”
    
    You have seen, O LORD; be not silent!
        O Lord, be not far from me!
    Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
        for my cause, my God and my Lord!
    Vindicate me, O LORD, my God,
        according to your righteousness,
        and let them not rejoice over me!
    Let them not say in their hearts,
        “Aha, our heart's desire!”
    Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
    
    Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
        who rejoice at my calamity!
    Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
        who magnify themselves against me!
    
    Let those who delight in my righteousness
        shout for joy and be glad
        and say evermore,
    “Great is the LORD,
        who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
    Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
        and of your praise all the day long.

(Psalm 35 ESV)


Something to Consider

Numbers 1: It is only fitting that a book named Numbers would begin with a numbering of the people of Israel. After a year had passed since their exodus from Egypt, God orders Moses to "take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel... all in Israel who are able to go to war." The book of Numbers begins by documenting the Israelites' actions for preparation concerning their future war against their opposition. 

The numbering of the people served two important purposes for the people of God. It reassured them of God's promise to Abraham that his descendants would be a great nation and as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore (Genesis 22). And it was to give God's people great confidence that His provision which was proven in their numbers would inevitably lead to success in their oncoming battles. 

Battles in our future are faced with confidence when we consider God's provision in present. Battles in our future are won because of our preparations in the present. Although they had recently been set free from their battle with bondage in Egypt, God directs their focus toward their next mission. Although no apparent opposition was in their midst, they were still to make preparations for the inevitable enemy. May we prepare our heart, mind and soul daily in order that we may secure success over our oppositions and struggles that we may face in the future. 

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6)