This is an quick easy read. If you do the audio, it is only 10 mins.
I should have put this in the overview last night, but here is our outline:
I. The old generation (Sinai to Kadesh) chs. 1—14
A. The numbering 1—4
B. The instructions 5—9
C. The journey 10—14
II. The transition era (wandering in the wilderness) 15—20
III. The new generation (Kadesh to Moab) 21—34
A. The new journey 21—25
B. The new number 26—27
C. The new instructions 28—34
My hope is that when you read these chapters they actually make sense. Verses 1-15, you should say “I totally know who these guys are, and why Levi was not counted, AND how without Levi we still have 12!”. If you are just jumping in and you don’t know, please ask!
The purpose for counting the adult males 20 years of age and older was to identify those who would serve in battle when Israel entered the land. Entrance into the land should have been only a few weeks from the taking of this census (not 40 years). The twelve tribes—excluding the Levites—camped in four groups of three tribes each, a different group on each of the tabernacle’s four sides. The priests and the three clans of Levites camped on the four sides of the tabernacle, but closer to the sanctuary than the other tribes. This arrangement placed God at the center of the nation— geographically—and reminded the Israelites that His rightful place was at the center of their life—nationally and personally.
So if you were to draw the census (adding in woman and children) , you would see between 2 and 3 million people. Now picture it from God’s point of view and tell me what you see.
If you would like to have the first picture as a handout, click here.