READ : Numbers 1–3
One purpose of Genesis is to show us how God’s people arrived in Egypt. Exodus tells us the story of God’s people journeying from Egypt to Mount Sinai. Leviticus takes place at Mount Sinai, and Numbers tells the story from Mount Sinai to the borders of the Promised Land.
The book is called “Numbers” because it begins with God commanding a census to be taken. The census was of men of fighting age, and they numbered 603,550. When one adds men too old or too young to fight, women, girls and the Levites, the total number of people must have been over two million. It was surely difficult to control such a large group in the middle of the desert. Therefore there had to be organization, just as any such group today would need.
The Levites were a special tribe, assigned to the care of the tabernacle. The place of worshiping God was so important that it was given this kind of attention and personnel. The idea that the firstborn of each family belonged to God in a special way was a reminder that all belongs to God. All of God’s people were to worship, but it was impractical that all should spend their full time at it. So payment was made that the Levites might take their place. The lesson for us is that we all belong to God and should spend time worshiping him and serving him. We too have been redeemed, but at a far greater price—the blood of Christ.
Father, help us dedicate ourselves to you. Through Christ. Amen.