February 19 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.” ~God to Moses and Aaron, Numbers 2:2

Numbers is the fourth book (or chapter) of the Torah. It is so named because the community is numbered (counted) and organized in preparation for their departure from Mount Sinai and their journey to the land of promise. The Hebrew title of the book means “In the Desert” or “In the Wilderness”, an equally fitting moniker since, as we will see, the community ends up stubbornly staying in the desert for quite some time.

In Numbers 1 and 2, God is organizing the community for their expedition. A census is taken, leaders are appointed, and traveling/camping instructions given. God is a God of order. From the beginning, He told Adam and Eve to organize things for His glory (name animals, fill the earth, cultivate the ground). Even in the New Testament we are reminded that God prefers order (1 Cor. 14:33, 40). Jesus Himself got organized by calling out a group of men, enlisting them (and listing them, see Mark 3:13-19), and organizing them into the founding leaders of the early church. In fact, nowhere in Scripture is order considered contrary to authentic worship.[1]

Right in the middle of this sorting and preparing is God (Num. 1:53). Everyone and everything is arranged around Him and His place of worship. For example, the ministers lived in closest proximity to the tent of meeting in order to serve as guardians of God’s glory. They were not unlike elders in a local church, responsible for the direction, discipline, and doctrine of the worshipping community.

God is a God of beauty and order so it’s not so surprising that we can find more time and inclination to worship Him when our lives are organized. In my own life, I need others to help me stay organized (a wife, an assistant), but I still have to work at it. When I keep a balanced schedule and set aside the time I need to do the things that need doing, I find that I am freer to serve and worship the great God I love. I hope this gives you something to think about and perhaps something to act on as well.

[1]It is simply bad theology to regard planning and organization as “unspiritual,” as actions that require us to rely too much on ourselves! God can (and often does) work through these means to accomplish His will.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.