Named and Numbered

The Lord spoke to Moses… in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, 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. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe… who shall assist you. From Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud, and from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.’

Moses and Aaron took these men who had been named, and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves,.. [and] listed them. The people of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 46,500… of Simeon, 59,300… of Gad, 45,650… of Judah, 74,600… of Issachar, 54,400… of Zebulun, 57,400… of Ephraim, 40,500…of Manasseh, 32,200… of Benjamin, 35,400… of Dan, 62,700… of Asher, 41,500… of Naphtali, 53,400… So all those listed of the people of Israel were 603,550.”  Numbers 1:1-15,17-42,46

Why does God in His inspired word include these lists of names hard to pronounce? Why this exact accounting? If every word of God is flawless and proves true, it is purposeful in teaching us about the Author. (Proverbs 30:5)


The LORD who calls His people by name is the One who has known and loved them from the beginning by name, and assigns them to specific families and tasks. He counts us precious and honored, and has given us particular purpose. He has numbered our days as well as the hairs on our heads. We are each distinct, part of His unified yet diverse Body, bearing our unique shade of color and talent and personality to show forth the beauty of His glory. (Psalm 139:13,16; Isaiah 43:1,4,7; Luke 12:7)

Are there times we wallow in insignificance, feeling we are just a number in a wide sea of mankind? God counts us significant! Do we feel forgotten, not needed or special? Our Lord never forgets or forsakes us, and keeps us as the apple of His eye! God calls us to exchange our self-centered assessments for His divine accounting, to believe and live in the glory of what He says about our unique, eternal value. (Isaiah 49:1,16; Zechariah 2:8; Hebrews 6:10; 13:5)

Lord, may I bloom each day, to the full color You appoint, as Your loved and redeemed child. And may I value as precious every life You put in my path, doing all I can to affirm them as counted and known by You, too.

One thought on “Named and Numbered”

  1. How humbling, but at the same time elevating to realize anew that each of us who belong to His family are so known and and named that He has a gift/purpose for each of us as His chiLdren to carry out, some with high profile and most with no less worth and purpose. The question for all of us is “are we using that gift?”


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