June 11, 2019

Organized Chaos

Numbers 2

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Arrangement of the Camp

The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side. Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah by their companies, the chief of the people of Judah being Nahshon the son of Amminadab, his company as listed being 74,600. Those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar, the chief of the people of Issachar being Nethanel the son of Zuar, his company as listed being 54,400. Then the tribe of Zebulun, the chief of the people of Zebulun being Eliab the son of Helon, his company as listed being 57,400. All those listed of the camp of Judah, by their companies, were 186,400. They shall set out first on the march.

10 “On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their companies, the chief of the people of Reuben being Elizur the son of Shedeur, 11 his company as listed being 46,500. 12 And those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, the chief of the people of Simeon being Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, 13 his company as listed being 59,300. 14 Then the tribe of Gad, the chief of the people of Gad being Eliasaph the son of Reuel, 15 his company as listed being 45,650. 16 All those listed of the camp of Reuben, by their companies, were 151,450. They shall set out second.

17 “Then the tent of meeting shall set out, with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps; as they camp, so shall they set out, each in position, standard by standard.

18 “On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim by their companies, the chief of the people of Ephraim being Elishama the son of Ammihud, 19 his company as listed being 40,500. 20 And next to him shall be the tribe of Manasseh, the chief of the people of Manasseh being Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, 21 his company as listed being 32,200. 22 Then the tribe of Benjamin, the chief of the people of Benjamin being Abidan the son of Gideoni, 23 his company as listed being 35,400. 24 All those listed of the camp of Ephraim, by their companies, were 108,100. They shall set out third on the march.

25 “On the north side shall be the standard of the camp of Dan by their companies, the chief of the people of Dan being Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, 26 his company as listed being 62,700. 27 And those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher, the chief of the people of Asher being Pagiel the son of Ochran, 28 his company as listed being 41,500. 29 Then the tribe of Naphtali, the chief of the people of Naphtali being Ahira the son of Enan, 30 his company as listed being 53,400. 31 All those listed of the camp of Dan were 157,600. They shall set out last, standard by standard.”

32 These are the people of Israel as listed by their fathers' houses. All those listed in the camps by their companies were 603,550. 33 But the Levites were not listed among the people of Israel, as the LORD commanded Moses.

34 Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his fathers' house.

Organized Chaos



Key Verse | Numbers 2:34

‭Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his fathers' house.

Bio | Lucina Thompson

This is a banner year, since Kyle and I are now 60 (best decade yet!). We've been married 37 years, the past 30 being good. That was not always the case, as we nearly ended in divorce during years five to seven. Luckily, God brought order to our chaos. He then gave us Jordan (30), Audrey (29), and a son-in-law John (31) to walk through life with. My world revolves around them, and usually we love hanging together. We're living the joy of doing things God's way now, not our own. What a Journey!

Central Truth

Moving two million people on foot would be chaotic. Before the Israelites took one step, God had a plan to bring order out of their chaos, just like He does for mine. We can trust Him no matter how chaotic life seems. When we obey Him, it brings order.

Devotional | Numbers 2

One of my favorite plays is The Miracle Worker. In it, a young Helen Keller lives like a wild animal. She is deaf and blind and has no way to communicate with anyone other than through actions. Every day is more...

One of my favorite plays is The Miracle Worker. In it, a young Helen Keller lives like a wild animal. She is deaf and blind and has no way to communicate with anyone other than through actions. Every day is more chaotic than the one before. Through a long and difficult process, a teacher finds the key that unlocks words for Helen so she can communicate. Suddenly, the chaos in her life comes into order. She becomes a beautiful woman who contributes greatly to society.

This reminds me of the nation of Israel at this point in their journey. Most Bible scholars estimate that more than two million people (counting women and children under the age of 20) walked freely out of Egypt. Stop for a moment and think about two million people traveling on foot with all their animals and belongings. It must have been utter chaos.

Into this disorder, God comes. As a loving Father, He gives them specific details so they can live in a way that brings glory to Him and blessing to the world.

The way God organized the nation is a picture of protection (the largest and strongest clans were at the front and rear of the camp) and provision. With the Tabernacle at the center, God made it visually clear He was to be the center of their lives. When they broke camp to move, they went in specific order, and people knew where to be (so they could be located) and what to do (so the work could be done).

What a tremendous reminder for me. When I put God at the center of my life and follow His commands, I am blessed and can be a blessing to others. However, when I go my own way and do what I want to do (which I have done), it brings chaos and pain, not only to me, but to those closest to me whom I love deeply. Each day I get to choose: obey or not? Today, I pray moment by moment to choose to obey ALL that the Lord commands me.

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Discussion Questions

1. Has there been a time in your life when you lived in chaos? How did that look, and what did it cost you?

2. Has anything changed? If so, what and how?

3. Rather than change my actions, I must align my heart with God's heart, and the first step to doing so is to trust Christ. Have you come into a personal relationship with Jesus? If not, read these verses to understand how to do that: Romans 3:23, 6:23, and 10:9. If for any reason you think you're too far from God or are too bad, read Romans 5:8.

4. How are you doing at living a life ordered by God and directed by His Word? What blessings have come to you or others as a result?

10 Comments available

Jay Caruso 2 months ago

Thanks for you devo and what a wonderful accomplishment in Gods time of 37 years Lucina. I do agree “When I put God at the center of my life and follow His commands, I am blessed and can be a blessing to others. However, when I go my own way and do what I want to do (which I have done), it brings chaos and pain, not only to me, but to those closest to me whom I love deeply.”

greg jones 2 months ago

In her day, because she will not sit down, shut up, and be still, Helen Keller is compared to a wild animal. Anne Sullivan showed up with a strict curriculum however she quickly changed her method and adapted it to meet Helen’s interest. In only six months Helen learned 575 words, multiplication tables, and Braille all because Anne Sullivan entered Helen’s chaos and understood it. Blind Anne saw something other than a wild animal in blind Helen and met the woman who would become beautiful while making a great contribution to society, right where she was at.

That knowledge challenges my sit down and shut up view of some people whose world I might not understand. Does one step answer all of today’s questions?

Don Freeman 2 months ago

Amen

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Some see in the layout of the people around the tabernacle, given the numbers in this chapter and how they went north south east and west, a formation like a cross.

It was nine months from the time the tabernacle was conceived (instructions given by God) to when it was finished. Some see the incarnation as that’s the normative time for a baby to be in the womb.

I like that the tabernacle was made of precious materials like gold and silver, but also common like woods and animal skins. They speaks of Jesus divine and human natures.

Carly H 2 months ago
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I love this! These devotionals have been very helpful in making more sense of the OT writings and applying the truths to my life now. Thanks for writing! Cool to hear your story of redemption!

Hope Harris 2 months ago

GM Lucina I always appreciate your JTJ posts.

IN response to Q1& 2: Prior to my new life in Christ and even through the first year of my faith journey my life was chaotic. The more my relationship with Christ has grown the more settled and at peace has become.

Overtime as I face challenging circumstances I learning to rely on God to take care of me.

The Rabbi Sacks blog post I shared yesterday also shares that scholars of the Talmud believe God instructed Moses to have each member lift their head as he counted them. This implies each person has worth.

Sue Bohlin 2 months ago

Beloved Lucina! I MISS you!! Thank you for blessing us with your insight on today’s reading.

I loved how God named names to Moses, showing He knew His people by name. “When God Knows Your Name”—isn’t that the ultimate degree of Fame? All our searching for approval of man, for likes and follows on social media, for recognizability, is driven by a desire for Fame that we already have when the High King of the Universe not only knows our names but has brought us into His own family!

Lindsey Driscoll 2 months ago

Lucina, thank you for reminding us that God’s order is best for our lives rather than our own, just like the order he brought to the Israelites. I see God preparing his people for his purpose by bringing them order here. In Numbers 1 we read that all the men who could fight were counted which prepares Israel to be ordered for battle, and conquering. In Numbers 2 we see God order his people so they could live in an orderly way, but then move when needed. Praying today that the Lord show me how to order my life, my time and my thoughts specifically around his word and his character.

Hugh Stephenson 2 months ago

Lucina!! What a wonderful and awesome devo!

I am imagining the 2,000,000 person March. Just thinking about the logistics! With 2,000,000 people there have to be a constant series of births and deaths as well as every other event of daily life.

Until recently I have never really understood how important order is to God. I didn’t think was unimportant; I just didn’t think about it. Our readings this year reinforce this truth and Leviticus highlights and underlines it.

One of our tag lines in the prodigal ministry is “Got Chaos?”. Everyone who comes in has lots and lots of it. What we learn is that through a deeper understanding of who God is we can set boundaries with our prodigal(s) so that we can restore order and peace in the midst of our prodigal chaos.

Only then can we resume deepening our relationship with Him.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

God showed himself with a burning mountain and then in a tabernacle apart from the people. Now he is in their midst, whether on the move or at rest, traveling with them surrounded by the various tribes.

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