NUMBERING FOR WARFARE AND FOR PURIFICATION
"As Jehovah commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai" Num. 1:19
The Book of Numbers records the wilderness experiences of the people of God. It resolves itself into the account of a LONG DISCIPLINE DUE TO DISOBEDIENCE. In the Divine program, these people should now have gone up and possessed the land promised to them. Their entry was, postponed for FORTY YEARS THROUGH THEIR FAILURE, and this Book is occupied largely with matters pertaining to that period. It records TWO NUMBERING'S OF THE PEOPLE, one of the beginning, and the other at the close at the forty years. This first numbering was that of the MEN OF WAR, and it was undertaken at the direct command of God. Those to be enrolled were the MEN OF TWENTY YEARS AND UPWARD. The numbering yielded an army of 603,550. This was the first movement in preparation for the coming of the people into the land. The nation had been created an instrument for the carrying out of Divine purposes for the world. Its first mission was PUNITIVE. The peoples occupying the land of Canaan had become utterly CORRUPT, and it was necessary in the INTERESTS OF PURITY that they should be swept out. The chosen people were to be the instruments of this purifying process. They must be PREPARED FOR WARFARE, and this was the reason of the taking of this census. The reason for the preparation of this army must never be lost sight of. The story of the conquest of Canaan is not that of the spoliation of feeble peoples by a stronger, in order to possess territory. It is that of the PURIFICATION OF A LAND, in order that there might be planted in it A PEOPLE FROM WHOSE HISTORY BLESSING (Gen. 12:1-3) would come to ALL THE NATIONS.