From the day God counted to seven, humans have been obsessed with numbers. They keep things in order (calendars, clocks, music), help us measure heights and feats, and tell us what percent of our paychecks go to taxes. Some people even get into numerology and attempt to make sense of the universe with numbers.
But maybe it’s not just us. Once God got Moses out of Egypt and set the law in motion, he started asking Moses to count people. A lot of people. To be honest, I’m not certain why God would have needed a census, since he numbers the hairs on your head.
It’s interesting to us, though, because we can infer that there were nearly 5 million Israelites at the time of the census (based on the number of males counted). That’s a lot of Jewish people — especially since the world now contains 13.5 million Jews. It shows what kind of oppression the nation has faced since… well, approximately this time in the Bible. And it’s not completely absurd historical figure since the most populous region in the world has almost always been the Middle East and Africa (until the last hundred years or so).
Look who is obsessed with numbers.
Once some of God’s people are numbered, He does something interesting: He begins assigning the Levites very specific tasks for the tabernacle and for when it’s transported. As trivial as some of that might seem, God finds these responsibilities to be of utmost importance. And Israel took it seriously, for the most part.
At this time in history, it’s conjectured that there were between 40 and 50 million people on the earth. Today, nearly 7 billion people exist. It makes you feel pretty diminutive, if you think about it for a minute.
But what I can tell you is this: if you’re counted as one of God’s people, the Lord has a specific job for you. You are counted, and you matter.
I don’t have a guide for you on how to figure out what that is. Many Christians purport that you just have to listen, to seek Him and draw close to Him, and His will shall be revealed to you. But for me, I’ve been doing this for years, and I still don’t know exactly what I’m “supposed” to be doing.
Maybe what I often tell my wife is the best way to go about this: get out of bed. Breathe. And do the best you can with what you have. What is God’s job for you? To exist for Him. Do what you’re supposed to be doing right now, and the rest will fall into place.
I love the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” because it points out that we have a direct impact on the people around us. If you’re not familiar with the film, read up (or don’t spoil it and watch it). What would your world look like without you? Well, it depends on how you’re living your life. I suppose “A Christmas Carol” does the work just as well.
Be encouraged today that God has counted you, and you’re worth it today. You might perceive what you do as insignificant, but without you, the world might be completely different.