God had miraculously rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and got to Mount Sinai. There Moses received the Law. Leviticus covers that first year and now the book of Numbers covers the wilderness years. The wilderness was meant to be temporary before reaching the promised Land. They blew it and stayed a generation – Numbers is about how they get there, how God deals with them in the wilderness, and how He brings them out of the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.
if you are in a wilderness time – you will probably try a 100 different ways to get out – here we see God’s plan. “The Lord spoke to Moses” occurs around 150 times in 20 different ways.
The first thing was a census – they should be just about to enter the battle for the Promised Land – the census would show how many fighting men there are. We may fail in spiritual battle because we have failed to take stock of where we are spiritually.
How are you doing spiritually? To take a dashboard analogy – what are your spiritual, physical, emotional and relational gauges doing – empty or full and which way is the needle headed? Why not take a look at your gauges and work out where you are at. Are you ready for battle? We are entering a season of evangelistic growth – are you ready to disciple new converts or are you a mess?
In all there were 603,550 potential soldiers in Israel. The tribe of Levi were not counted – they were in protected occupation – priests!
This is one of those Psalms written by David in a hard time. Note how he chooses to worship and praise God
v3 Say to my soul “I am your salvation” – As Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones said too much of the time we listen to ourselves rather than preach to ourselves!
v9 Then me soul will rejoice! Choose!
v18 “I will give you thanks in the great assembly, among throngs of people I will praise you.” Don’t give up meeting together Heb 10:25 and choose to praise your socks off!
v28 “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long” – choose what comes out of your mouth!
v4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant – whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” – stop procrastinating and waiting for every thing to be right. Go for it!
Life under the sun without God will end in judgement. v9
V4 we are saved by the love and kindness of Jesus, not because we are good but because of his mercy!
Becoming born again washes us
The Holy Spirit renews us – he is poured out at baptism in Spirit and ongoing fillings!