Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
â€”â€” 1 Chronicles 23:3â€”â€”
God, and only God, can take an evil and turn it for good (Gen. 50:20). This reality can be seen not only all
throughout the pages of Scripture, but in the story of history, and our own individual experience. As an example of this, when King David was tempted by Satan to undertake a sinful census of Israel (1 Chr. 21), we see God sharply rebuking Davidâ€“through the seer Gadâ€“for this sin. This census became political fuel which culminated in the dividing of the Kingdom.
Nevertheless, the good that came of this evil was that we, thousands of years later, actually have a tally of the population of Israel circa 988 B.C.; and we find that Israelâ€™s population (of fighting age men) was around 1,100,000 and Judahâ€™s 470,000.Â
Often times these portions of Scripture are easy to skip quickly over and get to the juicier sections, but there is rich instruction here if we would but take the time to smell the Biblical roses! Two chapters later, as David is about to go the way of all the earth, he makes final preparations for Solomonâ€™s reign and the building of the temple. We find here that the number of qualified Levites in the land at the time was 38,000.
Now hang with me while I do some complex math. 1.5 million divided by 38,000 equals 41 and some change. So for every 40 or so Israelites, there was one Levite. This ratio isnâ€™t accidental; as God moved David to order the land of Israel, God also provided a very robust leadership structure.
Oftentimes we can feel overwhelmed by the vast multitudes of lost souls. However, what if we simply trusted that God has placed us as a kingdom of priests and invest in the forty or so souls that are right in front of us? Leadership does not have to mean serving thousands. More often than not, it means investing well in the handful of people.
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