NUMBERS 26:1-51 | LUKE 2:36-52 | PSALM 60:1-12 | PROVERBS 11:15
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51 The total number of the men of Israel was 601,730.
And so ends chapter 26 of the book of Numbers. This number was the result of the latest census that God orders Moses and Eleazer to take of all the men over age 20. So what that means is that if the women and children would have also been counted, that number would easily triple or even quadruple.
Imagine a population of two million coming up out of the desert and inching their way up to the land that has been promised to them, i.e., “the promised land” of Canaan said to be flowing with milk and honey. No wonder the natives of that region were nervous as they begin to see and hear the sound of this people approaching!
Turning to our reading in Luke, we learn of the boy Jesus. At the age of twelve, on the annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Jesus decides to stay back and chat up the priests and elders.
This would only be the beginning of his engagement with this group! “Why were you searching for me?” he says to his parents when they scold him for having left their side. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find David, the warrior-king uttering these words that must have been written at a most difficult time during his reign. Despite defeat at the hands of his enemies, he is not without hope and beseeches God’s mercies. He says:
9 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
10 Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies?
11 Give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.
Finally, a verse from the Book of Proverbs in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, speaks to the risks involved in helping a stranger:
15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.