Numbers 10

Numbers 10 gives us a little insight into how Moses handled the huge number of people he would be leading on their journey to the Promised Land.  God instructs him to make two silver trumpets which would be blown in different ways to give direction to the people.  Remember there are hundreds of thousands of folks that are camped together, and Moses is in need of communicating with them effectively as they prepare to move as a large group together.  So Moses instructs the leaders on the different sounds of the trumpet and what they will mean:

  1. when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting
  2. blow only one, then the chiefs, the heads of the tribes of Israel, shall gather themselves to you
  3. blow an alarm, the camps that are on the east side shall set out
  4. blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are on the south side shall set out
  5. when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a long blast
  6. when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets
  7. On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings

There is a very specific set of instructions from God on how to manage the mob of people they were trying to move.  This is an overwhelming project.  They had no radio or TV or Internet or phones.  They had two silver trumpets.  Moses is given the green light to pack things up and move the entire group.  “They set out for the first time at the command of the Lord by Moses”.  Can you imagine this task?  Pack up the tabernacle, which the Levites did, along with each of the tribes and their tens of thousands of people.  Judah leads off and the others follow, and for each tribe there was a leader who was responsible to keep the people together and on track.

As Moses is getting ready to leave, he comes to his father in law and pleads with him to come along for the journey to the Promised Land.  Initially, he is turned down as his father in law wants to “depart to my own land and to my kindred”.  He wants to go back to Midian where he came from.  But Moses pleads for him to stay and help him lead.  “Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us”.  Moses has come to depend on his father in law as a wise counsellor and help in leading the people.

Moses sels the deal by reminding him that “whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you”.  They had seen the power of God and blessing of God up close and personal.  And when Moses put that out there as one of the outcomes that would be experienced, he won over his dad in law and keeps him as part of the caravan toward their Promised Land journey.  Moses and the people took off on a three day journey to the next place God would have them camp.  The cloud led them and provided the way.

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