Numbers 4 is not a place most people flip to for encouragement. Moses is counting the Levites and assigning tabernacle jobs like carrying lampstands and tables. It's a long, detailed list. But at the end, the Scripture reads, "...they were numbered...each according to his service and according to his task..."
You are probably sitting saying, "And..."
I agreed. I had read this verse multiple times and every other time I would have been right there with you. But not this time. These men were chosen for a job and each job, whether it was carrying the ark or dragging a board through the desert, had a purpose.
You are chosen. I am chosen. We are chosen. For a job. And each job has a purpose. Your marriage. Your children. Your family obligations. How you make a living. How you serve God. You have a purpose and God has chosen you for the job He has given you. Even if it seems like your job is hauling a set of poles, those poles have a purpose that we will not be able to see until we "make camp" in heaven. There God Himself will shows us their value as part of the "righteous acts of the saints" (Revelation 19:8).
This is the blog post I sat down to write four weeks ago, "What I Learned From Numbers 4:49". But how good is our God? He gives more than we can imagine. It's exactly what we need at precisely the right moment. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sometimes when a verse arrests my attention, it feels like God put it there just for me. He is speaking directly to me, my life, and I am seeing rich, wonderful applications of His word. The depth of this passage or that detail of the story, is so amazing. . .maybe no one else has ever noticed it!
And honestly, it used to deflate me when I would have a spiritual insight and someone else had already thought the same thing. But somewhere along the way, it ceased to be disappointing and instead became even more exhilarating: there were two of us!
The omnipotent, all-knowing God of the universe Who taught me this truth in His word, taught my brother or my sister in Christ the exact same thing. Now that's an amazing God! When He speaks to us, He has a purpose: a command to follow (as Numbers 4:49 repeats twice), an attitude or thought process to change, an encouragement to give, something that sculpts us more into the image of Jesus Christ.
The riches of God's word are not a hidden or personal collection for some cellar or safe room. They are a treasure that we get to put on display for the world (Matthew 13:52).
"According to the commandment of the Lord they were numbered by the hand of Moses, each according to his service and according to his task; thus were they numbered by him, as the Lord commanded Moses." -- Numbers 4:49
That was the verse that the Holy Spirit fixed my mind on a few weeks ago. It's a "skim over" verse. A conclusion to yet another list of people and tabernacle paraphernalia. I typically read these lists quickly, and simply to check the box that says: Bible Study. I don't generally expect God to speak through them. And that's wrong.
God through Paul tells us that His entire Word is profitable -- not merely the portions that we judge to be interesting or instructive. It rests on us to approach His word correctly, assuming:
1. God intentionally included this,
2. For my edification, and
3. He is present and able to apply it to me and my life. (Even when we may not want Him to.)
Have you ever been reading the Bible and suddenly have a verse jump out at you? (I hope so because it is one of the ways I know God's Spirit is present with me.) My natural response is to shrug and say, "Oh, that's cool." and press on with my agenda to read three chapters. It has taken me too long, but I eventually learned that this is God calling me to stop reading and meditate on that verse -- regardless of where I am in my reading for the day.
Last week, I had one of those moments reading Numbers, arguably one of the driest books in the Bible (which proves God intentionally included everything in His word). Reading that verse today -- even knowing what God was pointing out to me then -- just doesn't strike me the same way.
Every time this happens to me, I am reminded about why God desires and deserves instant, first-time obedience -- it is for our good. The moment that He speaks, is the moment we are best prepared to hear. If we say, "Not right now, Lord. I just need to finish the book of Philippians in time for Sunday School" He may not instruct us again. Instead, when the Holy Spirit speaks, we need to lay down our plans, pick up a pen and say, "Speak Lord, for Your servant hears."
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.