Israel Decreased

Numbers Bible Background

Old Testament: Num 26.1–4

To read the Bible in a year, read Numbers 26–27 on March 1, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

Churches always want to grow numerically, but sometimes that does not happen. That does not mean that church did something wrong. Nor does it mean that church no longer belongs to the Lord.

Look at Israel. The nation grew mightily, then the growth stopped and even declined at times. When Israel first came out of Egypt, 603,550 men above the age of 20 and able to go to war, excluding the tribe of Levi, came out of Egypt. Almost forty years later, God wanted another census taken, and He wanted it conducted as before:

And it came to pass, after the plague, that the LORD spoke to Moses and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying: “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel from twenty years old and above, by their fathers’ houses, all who are able to go to war in Israel.” So Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying: “Take a census of the people from twenty years old and above, just as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt.”

– Numbers 26.1–4

This time they counted 601,730.

Should Israel have grown? Yes, but problems along the journey from Egypt to Canaan, hurt their growth.

Do not get discouraged if your congregation has not grown as you would have like to have seen, but keep working with it and the discipline that God has imposed on your congregation may reveal fruit later.

Questions:

  • What two men were in charge of the census?
  • Where were the children of Israel located when they took this second census?

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