Numbers 2: Each in His Appointed Place

Numbers: A Book of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:35
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Introduction

We talked about BeMidbar chapter 3 already when we talked about he Levites. But I have skipped chapter 2 I want to go back today and look at that.

Numbers 2:1-34

Numbers 2:1–2 LEB
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “The Israelites will encamp each with his standard, with a banner according to their families; they will encamp around the tent of assembly.
Numbers 2:34 LEB
34 And the Israelites did everything that Yahweh commanded Moses. They encamped according to their standards, and they set out each one according to their clans among their families.

The Order of Encampment

For those who like order this is actually a fun set of verses. God’s people were ordered. The Tribe of Judah, which name means “praise,” led the armies of god in the wilderness, and thus encamped to the east of the Tabernacle.
As you read this you will not that the head of these armies (a captain over each tribe) are listed in Numbers 1:5-16. These leaders were chosen by God, and not appointed by Lot or Moses.
It is clear that Israel’s advancement, there journey to the Promised Land, was laid down by God. He laid out how you were to travel and to camp.
It is also clear that they were drawn up in battle array. They were to be God’s instruments of judgment against the heathen nations of Canaan, who had filled up their cup of wrath to the brim, having lived lives of such degradation that they were fit for nothing but judgment.
This is the real meaning of the wars of Israel in the Promised Land.
They were wars of judgment: Israel was the rod of God’s anger against the wickedness of the Canaanite civilization just as, much later, He raised up the Assyrian hosts, and Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, to be the instruments of His chastisement against His own sinning people.

The camp

They are going to move as one unit to the promised land.
Can you imagine looking down at this camp?
1. Judah’s Camp-Total 186,400
Judah-74,600
Issachar-54,400
Zebulum-57,400
2. Reuben’s Camp-Total 151,450
Reuben-46,500
Simeon-59,300
Gad-45,650
3. Ephraim’s Camp-Total 108,100
Ephraim-40,500
Manasseh-32,200
Benjamin-35,400
4. Dan’s Camp-Total 157,600
Dan-62,700
Asher-41,500
Naphtali-53,400

The Tent of Testimonies

All of it centered around the tabernacle. The Tent of God’s presence. The Tent of Testimonies.
What is your testimony? Is the blessed Trinity at the the center of it?
Yahweh’s voice came from inside the internal tent structure of the tabernacle proper—the most holy place (holy of holies) where the ark of the covenant was kept (Exod 25:22; Num 7:89). The tent was essentially a portable Sinai, where Moses and God conversed in private. Aside from Moses, only the high priest (Aaron at this time) could enter the most holy place, and could only do so once per year (Lev 16).

A Vital Picture

The whole pattern presents a vital picture:
Here are the people of God on the move, with the ark of the covenant in their midst, the Word of the living God at the heart of everything, as it were, directing all the operations and sending forth its influence in grace and power.
A church with the Word of God at the heart of its life is a church that will advance purposefully, because it is one that has life and influence.
It is certainly no accident that, later in the ongoing story of Israel (Josh. 2:10–11), when the Canaanite tribes heard of the advancing host of Israel, their strength was turned to water within them because they knew that in the midst of these Israelites was a real and living God, a mighty God who did exploits for His people.
The concept of a church advancing with a living power at its heart is one that is sorely needed today.
It can hardly be doubted, from all available evidence, that it is the presence of the living Word among the people of God that gives meaning, direction, and purpose to their corporate life.
If there is anything calculated to encourage and hearten in the church situation of our time, it is the steady recovery of the Word in power and authority in more and more churches and gatherings.
This is the message of the chapter.
When God and His Word are in the midst of the church that it moves forward like a mighty army.
Plant the Word of God in the heart of the church’s life, and once again it will move forward to some purpose.
Life for Israel was to be related to the ark and submissive to its principles.
The ark was to be protected and reverence shown it.
The divine institutions were to be honored and the divine order maintained, according to the pattern shown in the mount.
God’s warfare was to be fought in God’s way. It was because Israel later became disobedient that she failed to go forward. The lesson for today’s Christian church is surely clear and plain.
Each person in its proper place
Do you know your spiritual Gifts?
Stronger together if we work together. One cannot do it all.

Next Steps

Have you lost sight of the word of God?
Is its power lost to you?
Have you failed to hear God speaking to you?

Bibliography

Got Questions Ministries. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered.
Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013.Gary H. Everett, The Book of Numbers, Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures (Gary Everett, 2011)
Allen, Ronald B. “Introduction to Numbers” In The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Volume 2. 655-700. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, © 1990.
Harris, W. Hall, III, Elliot Ritzema, Rick Brannan, Douglas Mangum, John Dunham, Jeffrey A. Reimer, and Micah Wierenga, eds. The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012.
Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Philip, James, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Numbers. Vol. 4. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987.
Heiser, Michael S. “Large Numbers in the Exodus and Wilderness Journey.” Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Everett, Gary H. The Book of Numbers. Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. Gary Everett, 2011.
https://www.elisabblah.com/2019/06/24/the-2-censuses-in-the-book-of-numbers/
https://thescripturesays.org/2017/02/11/bible-art-numbers-1-2-take-a-census-of-all-the-congregation-of-the-people-of-israel/
Noordtzij, A. Bible Students Commentary: Numbers, Zondervan, 1983
Martin Noth, Numbers: A Commentary, Old Testament Library (London: SCM Press, 1968)
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