And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers. And these are the names of the men who shall assist you. . . Numbers 1:4-5
I like to know what’s going on in my life. . . what the days mean, how events fit together, where I am going next, what will happen there. It helps my peace of mind to look across the hours and know their content. I like to think that when I am in charge of time, then I can make good things happen and keep the bad things out.
How about you?
The passage above is from the book of Numbers. Numbers is not high on my list of intriguing books of the Bible. It reads pretty slowly. . . starts off with long genealogies, repeated phrases and census counts. . .who lived where, etc. Lots of details.
The Hebrew title for the book is, “In the Wilderness.” It is the history of what happened to the Israelites as God led them out of Egyptian slavery and into the dry and arid Sinai peninsula.
The verse above is part of God’s instructions to Moses about how to take a census of the Israelites. God tells Moses to look to the head of each family to help with the count.
And God lists their names: God knows them. . . by name.
They were in a foreign land, without easily found food or water, weapons or tools. They had no discernible pathway to follow nor any clear destination, but God knew where they were and who they were. . . knew their names. . . knew what families they were in. . .
And He had work for them to do.
In the desolation and heat of an unfamiliar desert, all the Israelites had was a Person with a promise of daily fulfillment, right before their very eyes.
In the daily rhythm of their asking and seeking, God was establishing their identity and revising their purpose.
How often life can feel like an unfamiliar wilderness:
- no discernible path
- provisions only for the moment
- intense heat, numbing cold
- danger: real or imagined
When the possibilities seem bleak with few options of hope among them, when we are tempted to build walls of security around us to keep the good things in and the bad things out, when we think we need a plan and a way out, what we really need is this Person: a Person whose wisdom is not clouded by our circumstances.
I am learning that the predictability I truly seek is not in my control of circumstances but in God’s companionship.
We need the One who sustained and provided for a nation of millions in a desert, bringing their living out of nothing.
The Person who sees the beginning and the end of our days.
The Person who is always powerfully working in the details of our thinking and working, laughing and crying, living and dying.
Always on time. Always more than enough.
The God of order and details.
The One who knows where we are.
The One who knows our name.
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15
SMOOTHSTONE: God knows where we are, and He knows our name.