One of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, says that “The Book of Numbers is a travel diary. The trip from Egypt to the promised land can be made in nine days (Deuteronomy 1:2). It took the Israelites 38 YEARS.” Why, because they still didn’t get the understanding of God He desired and decided they needed time to think.
The people count in Numbers only include “All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families.” They do not include the women or children (those under 20) or those not capable of serving in the army. Nor does it include the tribe of Levi since their responsibilities of caring for the temple and acting as Priests was of greater value than serving in the Army.
Who cares? What value can this knowledge give to my life? How about the fact that each tribe is given specific tasks / responsibilities they are to attend to? And just as each tribe was given specific tasks to perform for the security and protection and enrichment and atonement for the community, we do too.
We may not belong to a ‘tribe’ as in the old days but we belong to communities. What are your communities? How many communities do you belong to? Do they overlap?
You may have the community of family, neighbors, city, county, work, church, school, exercise buddies or strangers. How can one be in a stranger community? When one helps another they don’t know (a stranger) they have made a new community. What is community? It is nothing more than the place where one or more than one persons lives intersects or affects another. Just like a tribe minus, usually, the DNA connection.