Certain portions of the Bible are assuredly much more fun to read than others. Matthew 1, the lineage of Jesus, while interesting to those with a penchant for genealogies, does not make for compelling reading. 1st & 2nd Chronicles likewise lack a certain driving force behind them. The first part of the book of Numbers might not rank high on many people’s reading lists. Yet God saw fit to include them in Scripture. This tells me that they contain something important.
Here’s a note from the ESV Study Bible on the census taken in Numbers 1:
…the theological message of this section in Numbers is clear—namely, (1) that every eligible adult male in Israel must be prepared and committed to fight in the Lord’s army, and (2) that all the people of Israel who were delivered from Egypt are the elect people of God, but they must confirm God’s choice by their wholehearted participation in the realization of their calling (see further Ex. 32:32–33; Ps. 87:6; Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16).
It’s that second point that leapt out at me, “…all the people of Israel who were delivered from Egypt are the elect people of God, but they must confirm God’s choice by their wholehearted participation in the realization of their calling.”
Those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ have been called by God. We have been adopted as Children of God (John 1:12) and made into a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) but we must also confirm this adoption, this election, this commission by living out the vision (or Big Dream) God has for us.
We must confirm God’s choice by our wholehearted participation in the realization of our calling.