In Numbers 26, God has Moses and Eleazar take a new census. They count all the men of Israel that are 20 years old or older and able to fight. (They do not include the Levites in the count). In total there are 601,730, according to Numbers 26:51. Only 2 of these men (Joshua and Caleb) are left form the time when God said they would wander for 40 years. God had Moses count the men so that they would not only know how many men they had to help them take over the Promised Land but also so they would know how to divide the land once they conquered it. This is why the Levites were not counted. Because they were priests they would not be expected to fight, but they also would not be given land. They would live off of what the others provided to them for their service as priests.
The land was to be divided so that larger sections went to the larger tribes and smaller sections went to smaller tribes. Once the tribal borders were set, they were not to be moved. But why was land so important? Today many of us live on tiny lots or possibly in apartments that have no land at all. To many of us not having land is no big deal, but in those days your land was how you provided for your family. You grew crops or raised animals to feed your family, so how much land you had was important!!
This is why the daughters of Zelophehad came to Moses and the elders. They came asking to claim their father’s land. Normally sons inherit the land and provide for their sisters until they are married, but Zelophehad did not have any sons, just 5 daughters. If they didn’t inherit the land due to their father then they would not have any way to provide for themselves! The Lord spoke to Moses and told him that the daughters were right. From then on anytime a man died without sons, his daughters would have the land. If he did not have children then his nearest male relative would inherit the land. Most important, it must stay in the tribe. God wanted to ensure that all His people always had provision.
God still provides for us today. We may not all have land but He provides the things we do need: family, shelter, food. God wants to take care of all His children and provide what they need!
Have your children describe what God has provided them in each of the following categories. Then thank Him for them!
Family, shelter, food, clothing, education