When God first made a promise to Abram, it sounded like this: "Look as far as you can see in every direction--north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!” (Genesis 13:14-16 NLT)
When the Israelite children were sitting around the campfire hearing this story from their parents, they would have seen this:
All the people were registered according to their ancestry by their clans and families. The men of Israel who were twenty years old or older were listed one by one, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. So Moses recorded their names in the wilderness of Sinai. The total number was 603,550. (Numbers 1:18b-19, 46 NLT)
This number only included the men age 20 and older who were of fighting age. It does not include any women over the age of 20. If there was one woman for each man, the total would be over 1.2 Million. It also doesn’t include children age 19 and younger. In order to sustain these numbers, which we will see in a later week, they would need at least 2 to 3 children per woman over the next 40 years. One child per couple would make the number 1.8 Million. 3 children per couple would make 3 Million. The bottom line is simple. The children would hear the story from their parents about God’s promise to Abram and then look around: there are too many to count, just like God promised.
Now if you will obey Me and keep My covenant, you will be My own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to Me. And you will be My kingdom of priests, My holy nation… (Exodus 19:5-6a NLT)
God’s fulfillment of this promise to Abram gave the children hope that God would fulfill these other promises, too. They need to keep to God’s covenant so they will become God’s “own special treasure,” “kingdom of priests,” and “holy nation.” When they keep God’s covenant, they will be special, God’s ambassadors to the world, and set apart as different. The same is true for us today.
So, how about you? What motivates you to be different with God rather than the same as the rest of the world? Do you trust God’s promises? Are you different?