My goal this year is to read through the Bible chronologically. As with many, over the years the goal to read through Scripture often gets bogged down once the last half of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy appear on the reading schedule. Lots of information God provides on issues such as how He wanted sacrifices to be offered, details on the building of the tabernacle, and in Numbers….well, there is lots of counting going on.
It is quite easy to become a speed reader as your encounter these books suddenly. I admit it; I have tried to race through how many people belonged to the tribe of Dan and Naphtali and where God wanted all the tribes to position themselves once they made camp. After all, is that really salvation issue related material?
I am a firm believer that everything in Scripture is included for a reason. Nothing is unimportant. Our study of how many fighting men were counted for the tribe of Reuben will not impact our eternal standing with the Father. With that said, if we avoid the books and passages of Scripture we might feel as boring or unimportant, we are going to miss the details that form the greater message of what YHVH is showing us in His Word.
If we take the nothing is unimportant approach to a book such as Numbers, we can note that God is involved in the details of His people. Numbers and counting represent specifics. We are often presented by some with the idea that YHVH created everything, set it into motion, and then kicked up His “heels” and let it ride, chips falling where they might. In Numbers, we find YHVH intimately involved in providing instructions on how He desires the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael (sons of Israel) to be positioned around the tabernacle.
The reason why He desired the counting to take place is an entirely different discussion and one worthy of study. At this point, I simply want to encourage you to read through all of Scripture. Do not avoid the familiar portions because you think you have read them a thousand times and there is nothing left to glean. Furthermore, do not avoid the more difficult or so-called unimportant sections, thinking you they are the realm of the “theologian/scholar, ” or they are not relevant.
Constantly remind yourself of the truth of 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; 17 thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.”
Yes, that includes the book of Numbers so if you are currently starting that book as part of your yearly reading plan, avoid the temptation to speed read. Slow down, read what the Father has provided us, and meditate on every word. You will not regret reading, studying, and meditating on the fact, there were 53,400 counted from the tribe of Naphtali.