In Case You Missed It -- Numbers 26-27, Psalm 90
Israel takes a census twice in the book of Numbers: the first, to prepare Israel for battle, and this second, to give fair allotment in Israel’s promised land (Numbers 26:52-56). Interestingly, the population of men above twenty years of age has hardly changed. There were 603,550 before, and now there are 601,730. The names of the leaders of Israel, however, have changed quite a bit. Only Joshua and Caleb still remain as leaders of the tribes. In spite of plagues and disaster, Israel has a new generation God is preparing to bring into their promised land. Moses will not lead Israel into this land, but God will lead Israel through Joshua, a man whose name means “YHWH is salvation” and who is said to have “the spirit of leadership” (Numbers 27:18). Aaron has been replaced by Eleazar, whose faithfulness to God has been confirmed. Israel has a new generation of leaders, but God is still the one leading His people to accomplish YHWH’s promises. But how will this new generation respond to God’s call on their lives? Every generation must answer that question afresh. May our generation be spurred by this reading to approach with both joy and reverence the unique opportunity to live in obedience to God in our day.