Why Family Size Matters - Numbers 1-4

Recently, our family read the first four chapters of Numbers. We noted that the book of Numbers begins with heads of households reciting their genealogies and the number of fighting men twenty years old and above. This was seen by us as an amazing feat, as we could hardly imagine being so well versed.

We saw how these families were posted in various positions around the Tabernacle and performed particular services to the Lord. Each family had significant strength of numbers.

For example, the sons of Reuben were 46,500, while Simeon had 59,300. Judah had the most fighting men at 74,600 while Manasseh has the least, at 32,200.

Here were some of our observations:

1. They had an intimate understanding of the status of their families and were able to recite their genealogies in detail.
2. They had an awareness of the numerical strength of their families because the numerical strength of their families mattered to them.
3. The strength of these families is staggering.
4. The families worked together in the service of the Lord having specific duties which indicates that there was a division of labor according to families as families specialized in particular tasks.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

First, a statement: If you want to provide more warriors and perform more service to the Lord, have lots of children.
Second, a question: is your whole family mobilized for the service of the Lord as they were here?
Third, a proposition: our modern-day idea of birth control influences the numerical strength of the church.
Fourth, a question: are the families in your church organized together into a division of labor which mobilizes particular families in the performance of particular duties?
Fifth, a question: is this possibly one reason why scripture is filled with the idea of "fruitfulness" and "multiplying greatly" in the land (Genesis 1:28, Deut 6:1-9...)? 

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