“So the whole number of the Israelites, by their ancestral houses, from twenty years old and upward, everyone able to go to war in Israel – their whole number was six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty (603,550, males, 20 years old +). The Levites, however, were not numbered by their ancestral tribe along with them. The LORD had said to Moses: Only the tribe of Levi you shall not enroll, and you shall not take a census of them with the other Israelites. Rather you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the covenant, and over all its equipment, and over all that belongs to it; they are to carry the tabernacle and all its equipment, and they shall tend it, and shall camp around the tabernacle. When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And any outsider who comes near shall be put to death. The other Israelites shall camp in their respective regimental camps, by companies; but the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the covenant, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the Israelites; and the Levites shall perform the guard duty of the tabernacle of the covenant. The Israelites did so; they did just as the LORD commanded Moses. Numbers 1:45-54
The Lord’s creation is ordered, not chaotic. The Lord’s people receive instruction on the most basic things, how to set the camp when still, what the order of march is when on the move and most importantly that the Tabernacle (the presence of God) is to be the center of the encampment and protected by the Levites, the priests, the tribe that is the example to all the others, the ones who are to lead worship. The other tribes are counted as warriors, the Levites not counted are priests, both groups, as members of the People of God are to receive power from the Lord, not operate on their own. Each has task and purpose and are expected to guard the tabernacle, face the tabernacle – keeping their focus on God which guards their hearts from outside influences. O that the people of the Body Jesus Christ would always keep their eyes on Jesus, guarding their hearts from outside influences, that God would be at the center, high and lifted up, and that we would listen for and to God’s instruction instead of making it up as we go. Order instead of chaos, please Lord lead us.