Numbers 26

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness had ended and they were on the Jordan’s east side preparing to cross, conquer, and settle Canaan. Thus, the Lord ordered a census of every male 20 years and older.

While similar to the first census taken at the foot of Mount Sinai (Num 1) there were yet differences. The most notable difference was among this second numbering, “there was not a man” alive from the first numbering at Sinai (except Joshua and Caleb), just as God had said.

Another difference between the two groups was to only the second would the land be divided as an inheritance (vv. 53ff).

Amazingly the total number had essentially remained the same, only 1,820 less.

This “wilderness generation” had seen and heard much, from the rebellion and death of their fellow Israelites to God’s continual presence in the pillar of cloud and fire, as well as his daily provision of food and water. Even on their own persons their clothes and sandals did not wear out (Deut 8:4; 29:5-6; Neh 9:21).

God not only kept his promise that none of the first generation would enter Canaan (14:26-35), he kept his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would make them a great nation (Gen 12:1-3; 26:4; 28:13-14). He kept his promise to Moses at the burning bush that he would bring them out of Egypt to Canaan, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod 3:16-17).


  1. God always fulfills his promises. Never doubt him, no matter how bleak things look, for God ordains such to be glorified much.
  2. Rebels don’t receive God’s promises. Unbelief, complaining, gratifying the flesh, rebellion, and testing God always result in death (Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 10:1-13).
  3. God’s protection, guidance, and provision are never earned but are graciously given.
  4. My lack of faith and disobedience not only can affect me, it can affect those coming after me. The second generation should have grown up in Canaan, building on what they should have received. But because of their fathers’ rebellion the second generation had to wait in the wilderness and war in Canaan.
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