When I write a post, I tend to go in one direction. It will either be funny or serious, creative or thoughtful, inspirational or condemnational. I just made that word up.
But Numbers 10 had a little bit of everything, so I am going to give you a little bit of everything. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl. (10 points if you can name the movie that tagline is from.)
God commands the Israelites to build some trumpets. When you look at what they were used for, it was basically a primitive form of Twitter. (Twimpets = Twitter + Trumpets. Get it?!) Here is what I mean:
Summoning the congregation: “Tweetup at the tent of meeting!”
Breaking Camp: “The flash mob will be happening in Judah’s camp, NOT at Naphtali’s!”
Sounding the Alarm in Wartime: “Amalekites are attacking the southern camp! Pls RT!”
Days of Rejoicing and festivals: “This atonement day, instead of getting caught up in rampant materialism, slaughter a bull with your family. #qualitytime.”
First Day of the Month: “Can you believe it is the month of Kislev already? #cliché”
Sacrifices: “Reuel just checked in at @tabernacle to offer a ram”
The Maiden Voyage
Numbers 10 chronicles the first (as best as I can tell) time the Israelite camp picked up and began moving. We have been told they traveled before, but this was the first time we were given a description of how it happened.
The Tribes all have their places and responsibilities. The tabernacle is all set up and ready to go.
Then the people go.
My favorite detail of this was how the tribes of Gershon and Merari head out before the tribe of Kohath.
Gershon and Merari will have the tabernacle set up before Kohath arrives with all of the sacred items. They make sure Kohath has somewhere to put their stuff.
As they are about to set out, Moses turns to his father-in-law, Hobab, (his third name [read the comments] for those at home keeping score) and invites him to come along.
This might not seem like a big deal, but Hobab is a Midianite. He is a foreigner. He is not one of the people of Israel. Inviting him to travel with the rest of the people is no small thing.
And not only that, but Moses needs him. Moses doesn’t know the way. He doesn’t know the terrain and where the good camping spots are. Hobab does. Moses is free to admit his need and weakness in front of this man.
And to top it off, Moses promises that whatever good the LORD does to the people, he will do to Hobab.
Moses knows that the blessing of God is not a zero-sum game. There is enough for everyone.
Even for the foreigner who happens to be your in-law.
Are there “foreigners” in your life that you can invite in this holiday season?
Hobab’s become one of my favorite stories lately. Numbers is way richer than I used to think.
For reals! Just wait till chapter 12.