Bible Insights

The Book of Numbers Shows Us a Wise Step to Follow

Throughout the Bible We See Examples We Can Apply in Our World Today

As we move toward the end of the book of Numbers, we see God allocating Canaan—the Promised Land—to the twelve tribes of Israel. First, God gives Moses the western, northern, eastern, and southern borders of the nation.

Then he indicates which tribes will live east of the Jordan and which will reside to the west.

But he doesn’t give any details for tribal boundaries within this area. Instead, he says to divide the land by lots. That is, to conduct a random drawing.

Though this seems akin to a game of chance, the people likely believe God will direct the results.

In the book of Acts, we see the same thing in choosing a disciple to replace Judas. In this case the disciples explicitly ask for God to direct the outcome (Acts 1:24–26).

An Additional Wise Step to Take

However, instead of relying only on lots to make the selection, God designates one leader from each tribe to be involved in the process (Numbers 34:18).

This wise step provides the people with assurance that the drawing occurred properly, and nothing interfered with the selection of territory as God intended.

Though Moses could have simply drawn lots himself to assign territory to the twelve tribes, having representatives from each tribe present to witness the process, helps give the people confidence that everything happened as it should.

Though this seems like an unnecessary step, it’s also a wise step. Likewise, we are wise to follow this perspective in the proper management of our local church and the administration of our denomination or association.

At one level we can equate this additional level of oversight to poll watchers during an election. At another level this is like a check and balance in government.

In an ideal world, neither one of these is necessary. However, in a fallen world this is a wise precaution to take. And in all we do, we must be wise.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Numbers 34-36, and today’s post is on Numbers 34:18.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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