The Family Equation

“They were counted by families – all the men of Israel who were twenty years old or older and able to go to war.  The total number was 603,550.”  Numbers 1:45-46

With a family of six, there is a lot to consider when making plans.  I have devised a simple mathematical equation that allows us to decide, within a mere 30 seconds, whether or not an activity is viable for our family to join in.

(family calendar) / (# of family members) x (# of diapers & bathroom breaks) [+ and/or – 6] emotional meltdowns – {mental sanity (one or more parent) possesses at the beginning of the event – sanity at end of event} = x

Usually “x” = “Yes, let’s go, but we’re bringing band aids and helmets.”

In the beginning of the book of Numbers, the Israelites are in their second year of their journey to the Promised Land.  God told Moses and Aaron to take a census of the whole community of Israel, listing the names of all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war.  (1:1-4)  The number they counted was 603,550.  Seriously consider that for a minute.  That number did not include children, women or any of the Levites (1:47-53) because they were called to a different role.  That is a MASSIVE mobile community.  I seriously struggle with even contriving an image of what leading a group that size would look like.

Chapter two of Numbers lays out for us the structure God puts in place so that each individual is accounted for, has a responsibility and is safe.  Check it out:

  • “Each tribe will be assigned to its own area in the camp, and the various groups will camp beneath their family banners.  The Tabernacle will be located at the center of these tribal compounds.”  (Numbers 2:2)
  • The divisions of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun were to always camp on the East side of the Tabernacle and are to lead the way when the Israelites travel to a new campsite.  (2:3-9)
  • The divisions of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad were to camp on the South side of the Tabernacle and would be second in line whenever the Israelites travel.  (2:10-16)
  • The Levites will set out from the middle of the camp with the Tabernacle. (2:17)
  • The divisions of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin camped on the West side of the Tabernacle and followed the Levites in the line of march.  (2:18-24)
  • The divisions of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali camped on the North side of the Tabernacle and brought up the rear during travel.

I LOVE how carefully and strategically God leads his people.  I love how each camp is placed with the House of God as their fixed point, the location that determines all other location.

When I make a plan for myself or my family, do I put all the earthly variables first or do I put my Heavenly Father’s will first?  Do I build my schedule and strategy with God’s commands and promises as the primary objective or leave them as a hopeful additional bonus result?  I need to reconfigure my equation.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)

Challenge: Today I will build all my plans with God at the epicenter, THE OBJECTIVE of my actions, not as simply a “spoke” on my wheel.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the wisdom you shared with me in your word today.  I am in awe of the care and strategy with which you guide us all every day.  Please help me remember to pause to put you first before making my plans.  I am your child and I want to make your will my will.  Amen.

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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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