When we get to the tenth chapter, the Israelites are ready to go. They had made trumpets that were to be sounded when they began their march. This section probably also belongs earlier chronologically. The trumpets may have been made when all of the other articles were made, as described especially in Exodus. But the description of the trumpets is held for here because the trumpets signaled the march.

The Aaronic blessing is a very beautiful benediction, perhaps more so in Hebrew than it appears to be in English—although it’s beautiful in English as well. In Hebrew there are three lines, but broken down to six in our Bibles. Each one begins with the name of Yahweh, the LORD. And each line has two elements of benediction and they are arranged in a typical parallel fashion. The lines become progressively longer. In Hebrew the first line has three words, the second line has five words, and the third line has seven words. It’s as if the blessing of God is unfolding and pouring out upon the people.

Another thing to remember is that the number in the third chapter is compared to the total of the firstborn males in Israel. When the people were brought out of Egypt, God had killed the firstborn of all the Egyptians when the angel of death passed through the land. The firstborn of all the Israelites were spared who had put the blood upon the doorposts of their houses. God said that those firstborn children nevertheless belonged to Him. They were saved by the blood. If it wasn’t for the blood they would have died as well. They were sinners just like everybody else, and salvation was by the blood that pointed forward to Jesus Christ.

Notice that all of the fighting men were counted. Every one of them was important. That’s true today in the church as well. The Bible says in several places that God has a scroll in which our names are written (for example, Ps. 139:16; Rev. 20:12). Every one of us is important. Although we don’t have a census on earth in the church that corresponds with the very literal census of Israel, there is a heavenly census that is far more important.

Let’s face it: Numbers isn’t the kind of book you just naturally pick up to while away a few hours on a weekend. It’s part of the Old Testament law, for one thing. That’s bad enough. None of us likes law very much. But in addition, it’s also called Numbers. Some who score very high on their achievement tests or who major in mathematics are interested in numbers. But the rest of us think they are generally pretty irrelevant. And this title isn’t an aberration either—it really is about numbers, at least the first section of the book is. It’s about the numbering of the tribes of the people of Israel, and the arrangement of their camp, and the purification of the people for their march. That’s just not terribly appealing. For the title of the sermon, someone had suggested that I call it “Numbers: An Audit,” since people do not find audits by the Internal Revenue Service appealing, either.