Published on
January 2, 2024

Numbers 1

“Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their clans and their ancestral houses, counting the names of every male one by one.”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
Numbers 1
“Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their clans and their ancestral houses, counting the names of every male one by one. You and Aaron are to register those who are 20 years old or more by their military divisions – everyone who can serve in Israel’s army. A man from each tribe is to be with you, each from his ancestral house. These are the names of the men who are to assist you...” Numbers 1:2-5a (HCSB)

One month after the erection of the Tabernacle, Moses is commanded to muster all the men of military age, i.e., those twenty years of age and upwards. It’s time for war! Can you imagine the spiritual and national inertia that had built to this moment?  

Let’s refresh: Creation, the fall of man, the flood, Abraham, the “Covenant,” Isaac, Jacob, Joseph sold into slavery, the redemption of his kinsmen, Egyptian captivity, Moses, the plagues, the Ten Commandments…plus 603 more commandments.  

This entire time, everything has pointed to God’s promise to the patriarchs that Israel WILL inherit the land. “Numbers” begins with a military census. Israel’s forceful acquisition of Canaan looks imminent; excitement is in the air!

That’s a lot of backstories leading up to this moment, but a greater story is told here in Numbers, chapter 1. It is the story of World history, from The Creation to The Revelation. “Where?” you may ask.

It’s in the NAMES. Every Hebrew name has a meaning, and when we combine the meanings of Israel’s tribal leaders (and their fathers) in their recorded order, we see not only the history of Israel but the history and hope of the World. Check it out...

Elizur: God is my rock – Shedeur: Shaddai is light – Shelumiel: At peace with God – God is my friend; Zurishaddai: My rock is Shaddai – Nashon: serpent, God inspires; Amminidab: The divine Kinsman is generous; Nethanel: God hath given; Eliab - God is our Father; Helon: God perseveres; Ephriam - God multiplies;  Elishama: God hath heard; Ammihud: The Divine Kinsman is glorious; Gamaliel: God is my reward – Pedahzur: The Rock has redeemed; Abidan: The Father has judged; Gideoni: God is a warrior; Ahiezer: The Divine Brother is a help; Ammishaddai: The People of Shaddai – The lot (or fate) of God – Given By God – God hath added – God is a friend – The Divine Brother is a friend.

Victory in Canaan was assured if the men whom God assembled would march out in faith, living up to the characters of the NAMES they had inherited. How well are YOU living up to the character of the Name YOU have inherited, having been adopted as a co-inheritor with Messiah?

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