Numbers 26:1-65 – Patience, Grasshoppah!

Posted: October 20, 2016 in 04-Numbers

Numbers 26:1-65
The Second Census

Patience, grasshoppah! When you can grab the stones from my hand, you may leave. That was a famous line from the television show, Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, back in the early 1970s. The series aired on ABC from October 1972 to April 1975 for a total of 63 episodes. Kung Fu was preceded by a full-length feature television pilot, an ABC Movie of the Week, which was broadcast on February 22, 1972. The series became one of the most popular television programs of the early 1970s, receiving widespread critical acclaim and commercial success upon its release. The series follows the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine (portrayed by David Carradine as an adult, Keith Carradine as a teenager, and Radames Pera as a young boy), a Shaolin monk who travels through the American Old West armed only with his spiritual training and his skill in martial arts, as he seeks Danny Caine, his half-brother. The use of flashbacks in the show always came at critical times in each episode as he would draw upon his moral and ethical training from his youth to help him decide what to do. One of the key phrases from these flashbacks as the young Caine was in a hurry to grow up was, “Patience, grasshoppah!”

Young Caine would get frustrated with the slow pace of his learning in these flashbacks but it was in present time of these episodes as he traveled the Old West of America that these lessons learned in painstaking detail as a youth that served him so well. If he were to have left the monastery at too early an age, he would not have been prepared for the things that he encountered as a young man. Sometimes are we not the same. We push headlong into things that we are not prepared for and they blow up in our face. We get angry at God for not allowing things to happen quickly enough. The patience of Caine from the show Kung Fu of the early 1970s and that catchphrase of “patience, grasshoppah!” is what immediately came to mind when I read through this census of the adult males of the people of Israel. At first, I did not know why this jumped into my mind this morning as I was reading this passage but read through this passage first, and then we will talk. Patience, grasshoppah! Read first. Explanation later:

26 After the plague the Lord said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, 2 “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families—all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Israel.” 3 So on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them and said, 4 “Take a census of the men twenty years old or more, as the Lord commanded Moses.”

These were the Israelites who came out of Egypt:

5 The descendants of Reuben, the firstborn son of Israel, were:

through Hanok, the Hanokite clan;

through Pallu, the Palluite clan;

6 through Hezron, the Hezronite clan;

through Karmi, the Karmite clan.

7 These were the clans of Reuben; those numbered were 43,730.

8 The son of Pallu was Eliab, 9 and the sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan and Abiram. The same Dathan and Abiram were the community officials who rebelled against Moses and Aaron and were among Korah’s followers when they rebelled against the Lord. 10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. 11 The line of Korah, however, did not die out.

12 The descendants of Simeon by their clans were:

through Nemuel, the Nemuelite clan;

through Jamin, the Jaminite clan;

through Jakin, the Jakinite clan;

13 through Zerah, the Zerahite clan;

through Shaul, the Shaulite clan.

14 These were the clans of Simeon; those numbered were 22,200.

15 The descendants of Gad by their clans were:

through Zephon, the Zephonite clan;

through Haggi, the Haggite clan;

through Shuni, the Shunite clan;

16 through Ozni, the Oznite clan;

through Eri, the Erite clan;

17 through Arodi,[a] the Arodite clan;

through Areli, the Arelite clan.

18 These were the clans of Gad; those numbered were 40,500.

19 Er and Onan were sons of Judah, but they died in Canaan.

20 The descendants of Judah by their clans were:

through Shelah, the Shelanite clan;

through Perez, the Perezite clan;

through Zerah, the Zerahite clan.

21 The descendants of Perez were:

through Hezron, the Hezronite clan;

through Hamul, the Hamulite clan.

22 These were the clans of Judah; those numbered were 76,500.

23 The descendants of Issachar by their clans were:

through Tola, the Tolaite clan;

through Puah, the Puite[b] clan;

24 through Jashub, the Jashubite clan;

through Shimron, the Shimronite clan.

25 These were the clans of Issachar; those numbered were 64,300.

26 The descendants of Zebulun by their clans were:

through Sered, the Seredite clan;

through Elon, the Elonite clan;

through Jahleel, the Jahleelite clan.

27 These were the clans of Zebulun; those numbered were 60,500.

28 The descendants of Joseph by their clans through Manasseh and Ephraim were:

29 The descendants of Manasseh:

through Makir, the Makirite clan (Makir was the father of Gilead);

through Gilead, the Gileadite clan.

30 These were the descendants of Gilead:

through Iezer, the Iezerite clan;

through Helek, the Helekite clan;

31 through Asriel, the Asrielite clan;

through Shechem, the Shechemite clan;

32 through Shemida, the Shemidaite clan;

through Hepher, the Hepherite clan.

33 (Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons; he had only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah.)

34 These were the clans of Manasseh; those numbered were 52,700.

35 These were the descendants of Ephraim by their clans:

through Shuthelah, the Shuthelahite clan;

through Beker, the Bekerite clan;

through Tahan, the Tahanite clan.

36 These were the descendants of Shuthelah:

through Eran, the Eranite clan.

37 These were the clans of Ephraim; those numbered were 32,500.

These were the descendants of Joseph by their clans.

38 The descendants of Benjamin by their clans were:

through Bela, the Belaite clan;

through Ashbel, the Ashbelite clan;

through Ahiram, the Ahiramite clan;

39 through Shupham,[c] the Shuphamite clan;

through Hupham, the Huphamite clan.

40 The descendants of Bela through Ard and Naaman were:

through Ard,[d] the Ardite clan;

through Naaman, the Naamite clan.

41 These were the clans of Benjamin; those numbered were 45,600.

42 These were the descendants of Dan by their clans:

through Shuham, the Shuhamite clan.

These were the clans of Dan: 43 All of them were Shuhamite clans; and those numbered were 64,400.

44 The descendants of Asher by their clans were:

through Imnah, the Imnite clan;

through Ishvi, the Ishvite clan;

through Beriah, the Beriite clan;

45 and through the descendants of Beriah:

through Heber, the Heberite clan;

through Malkiel, the Malkielite clan.

46 (Asher had a daughter named Serah.)

47 These were the clans of Asher; those numbered were 53,400.

48 The descendants of Naphtali by their clans were:

through Jahzeel, the Jahzeelite clan;

through Guni, the Gunite clan;

49 through Jezer, the Jezerite clan;

through Shillem, the Shillemite clan.

50 These were the clans of Naphtali; those numbered were 45,400.

51 The total number of the men of Israel was 601,730.

52 The Lord said to Moses, 53 “The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names. 54 To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one; each is to receive its inheritance according to the number of those listed. 55 Be sure that the land is distributed by lot. What each group inherits will be according to the names for its ancestral tribe. 56 Each inheritance is to be distributed by lot among the larger and smaller groups.”

57 These were the Levites who were counted by their clans:

through Gershon, the Gershonite clan;

through Kohath, the Kohathite clan;

through Merari, the Merarite clan.

58 These also were Levite clans:

the Libnite clan,

the Hebronite clan,

the Mahlite clan,

the Mushite clan,

the Korahite clan.

(Kohath was the forefather of Amram; 59 the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, who was born to the Levites[e] in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam. 60 Aaron was the father of Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 61 But Nadab and Abihu died when they made an offering before the Lord with unauthorized fire.)

62 All the male Levites a month old or more numbered 23,000. They were not counted along with the other Israelites because they received no inheritance among them.

63 These are the ones counted by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they counted the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. 64 Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

As you will note here, this is a new census for a new generation. Thirty eight years had elapsed since the first census recorded in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 1:2-2:33). During the intervening time between the two censuses every Israelite man and woman, except for Caleb, Joshua, and Moses, had died. Yet, God’s laws and the spiritual character of the nation remained intact throughout all of this book we have walking through for these 26 chapters so far. Numbers records some great miracles of God. However, this quiet and powerful miracle (the miracle of keeping the people of Israel as His people and for them to generally follow God’s outline for an entire generation in the wilderness) is often overlooked by us as we read of and remember only the rebellions of His people. A whole nation moved from one land to another over a 38 year period and they remained intact as a nation without destroying themselves is a testament to the powerful miracles of God. A whole nation losing its entire population yet managing to maintain its spiritual direction is a miracle in and of itself.

Sometimes, we may feel as though God is not working dramatic miracles in our lives. However, God is working, working, working in the details of our lives to bring about His long-range purposes for us. Each step in our long journeys after the cross enters our lives may seem like nothing is happening. However, when you look back at your life and really examine it you can see God’s guiding hand. He is there working the details of our lives. Sometimes, sure there are these big things that God does in our lives that we can point to and say, Wow! However, God does not vacate us in the humdrum day to day existence that each of has. When we seek Him earnestly and with all our hearts, God will bless it, I promise. It might not be mighty miracles of obvious greatness at times but rather it is Him being with us every step of the way. He never leaves us and never deserts us. We may get impatient with God but He is God. He knows best. He knows that maybe the long stretch that you are in now is to teach you to trust Him with the outcome. He has you in this long stretch right now to prepare you for what’s next. Just as Israel was not ready for the promised land in the beginning of this book but has been through trials and testing that was necessary for this new generation to be truly ready to take the Promised Land and appreciate it. So, it is with us. We must trust that this long stretch that you maybe in and I know that I am in to prepare us, to get us ready for what’s next. Let us not short-circuit God’s plans with our impatience. Let God work his plan. Do what God has in front of you right now and do it with excellence and do it with a mind that is open to what God is teaching you that will be oh so valuable when He finally opens the door to your next step.

My senior pastor, Jeff Hickman, always says, “God is preparing us for what He has prepared for us!” It is a mantra that we should live by. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Even the mundane things that you are going through now are things that God will use for you in your next step in what He has in store for you.

Patience, grasshoppah!

Amen and Amen.

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