Today we start the beloved book of Numbers! While the stereotype is that Numbers is a book with a lot of lists and statistics and is hard to apply to our lives, I believe you'll find as we walk through this book together that it is full of relevant, powerful truth for us to learn and feed on. Let's go!
Numbers 1:5-10 (NIV)
5 These are the names of the men who are to assist you: from Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur;
6 from Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai;
7 from Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab;
8 from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar;
9 from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon;
10 from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur;
When God commanded Moses to take a census of the entire Israelite nation, God was specific about whom He wanted as leaders to help Moses. God identified each of them by name and tribe (vv5-15). Notice that the Lord didn't leave the choosing of leaders up to chance. He didn't ask the people to vote. Rather, God did the choosing and He specified whom He wanted, saying "These are the names of the men who are to assist you" (v5).
Similarly, you have been chosen by God to serve Him.
Just as God called these 12 leaders by name, God has also called you by name. John 10:3 says "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."
Just as these 12 leaders were to work together with Moses as a team, God has called you to serve as part of a team, together with other members of God's family, for a purpose much bigger than yourself.
Just as these 12 leaders were to help the rest of the Israelite nation confirm their identity and where they belong, God has called you to use what He has given you to help others discover who they are in Christ and discover the nation they belong to (i.e. God's kingdom).
Finally, notice that in Numbers 1, if you were male and 20 years old, you were EITHER a soldier OR a priest (See verses 45-51 where those belonging to the tribe of Levi were all priests, while those belonging to any other tribe were enlisted as soldiers). That was the Old Testament way.
But in the New Testament, as long as you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you are a soldier AND a priest in God's kingdom. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, over 20 or under 20. You are a soldier in God's kingdom (2 Timothy 2:3-4), armed with spiritual weapons to fight spiritual battles in Jesus' name. You are also a priest in God's kingdom, called to declare the name of Jesus in our city and to stand in the gap between God and the people (1 Peter 2:9).
Since you have been called to serve God, how are you serving God with your life?
Praise God! May you fight as a strong soldier and serve as an honoured priest, because God has chosen you to serve Him! As Pastor Yang of Torch Covenant Church once said, "You have no choice, because you have been chosen!"