Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible; although there are some indications that Genesis was compiled by collating earlier records. Most of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy were written in the last year of Moses’ life. Much of the text indicates that Moses was simply the intermediary between God and the people, “So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the LORD commanded Moses” (Numbers 29:40).

Although the Law through Moses came to an end with our Lord’s sacrificial death, there are many principles, which remain and have lessons for us. Numbers 30 today is about the importance of keeping vows, which an individual man or woman might make and those who fail, “bear their iniquity” for the man “shall not break his word” (Numbers 30:2). Men and women make vows when they enter into marriage, but it’s no ‘big deal’ today if they later break them. In a spiritual sense we make vows when we decide to be baptised, for this is ‘spiritual marriage’ and Christ becomes our bridegroom and we are virgins waiting for his return.

Looking again at Numbers, it is interesting to notice the figures of the 12 tribes in the census that was taken as they started on their wilderness journeys and again when they completed it. In Numbers 1 those aged 20 and over numbered 603,550 and nearly 40 years later, they number 601,730. (Numbers 26:51). Hardly any change, those dying in the wilderness had been replaced by the children growing up, with others being born and becoming 20 and over.

But the figures for the individual tribes are revealing as some tribes lost membership badly. Simeon is by far the worst, dropping from 59,300 (Numbers 1:23) to only 22,200 (Numbers 26:14)! Others, such as Manasseh gained (up from 32,200 to 52,700).

Our ecclesias can be compared to the tribes; we too are journeying through a wilderness, the wilderness of this world which is lacking in any spiritual values. If we trust in the Lord we will reach the promised land, but how many will fall by the wayside?

It is vital we ask ourselves, “Will I?”