The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, … saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses … every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company."
January is a perfect time to take stock of the past year, to do a medical exam as it were, checking our spiritual vitals, taking inventory of failures and successes, examining where we’ve progressed and where we’ve stalled, which means that this emergence into a new chapter of our Pentateuch pilgrimage is a timely venture. Because, surprising as it first sounds, the book of Numbers is really a book of resolutions.
For this Mosaic commonwealth, there’s a Promised Land just ahead, a land flowing with milk and honey, a fertile region for planting and harvesting, and they can see a glimmer of it over the horizon. Like that first breathtaking outline of the Blue Ridge Mountains that cascades through my windshield as highway 421 intersects with Asbury Church Road, God has filled these pilgrims’ eyes with visions of coming rapture. And I can only imagine how eager and anxious they are to arrive. Yet, this time God won’t reach out His hand to part the waters. This time He won’t cover the onrushing enemies in a flood and wave His people on ahead. This time He’ll ask them to be valiant; to join Him in the battle; to taste the sting of the steel as it were and to fight by His side. As if to imply that the life of faith is a call to arms.
Friend, reflect back on the trenches of last year’s battles. What temptations held you hostage? Conquer them by the power of the Spirit! What bitter grudge fractured a close relationship? Crush that bitterness with forgiveness! What fears and sorrows made you bunker down in retreat, wounding your confidence in the LORD, and sidelining you from ministry? Quell those fears by deepened trust in Christ!
God is still looking for mighty warriors in this generation to join Him in battle, so resolve on this brand- new day of a brand-new year to respond, “Count me in, Lord!” And follow Him to victory!