Numbers 2:9 The total number of men assigned to Judah, troop by troop, is 186,400. They will lead the march.
Numbers 2 gives the specific arrangement and disposition of the tribes, and lists the number of each tribe and where they were to be positioned. It is seen from this arrangement that the vanguard and rear guard of the host had the strongest forces-186,400 and 157,600 respectively-with the smaller tribal groupings within them and the tabernacle in the center.
To each tribe, then, there was given a specific place and function, and each was to be in his divinely appointed place. It is not difficult to see shadows of New Testament patterns here. The apostle Paul says, "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called" (1 Corinthians 7:20), and "You are the body of Christ, and members individually" (I Corinthians 12:27).
The words in verse Numbers 2:17, "everyone in his place," provide the direct link with these New Testament references. The Danites, for example, were behind the others in most of the march; yet they were good fighting men, and therefore particularly fit for that position. They were needed there to ward off surprise attacks from the rear. The tribe of Judah was to lead the march into battle. In every battle, Judah was to go first.
Judah, in Hebrew, means: "the praise of the Lord." When you understand this meaning, we get a clear picture of what God is telling His Children.
"Praise" should always go first into every battle. It doesn't matter how great the struggle or the storm, go into the storm with praise in your heart that flows out of your mouth. God is giving His complaining, whining, belly aching children an alternative. Praise and thanksgiving! Their tendency was to go into battle complaining about "not enough food" or "no beds" and how they "needed a new leader". God knew that they would never be who God created them to be if they didn't start sending Praise (Judah) first into battle.
Many times I find myself going into a battle not with praise, but with complaining, and words of fear, or doubt. God is showing me today, through His Word that I need to have His praise in my mouth, at all times, but especially heading into a battle.
The whole pattern in Numbers 2 presents a vital picture:
Here are the people of God on the move, with the ark of the covenant in their midst, the Word of the living God at the heart of everything, as it were, directing all the operations and sending forth its influence in grace and power. And a church with the Word of God at the heart of its life is a church that will advance purposefully, because it is one that has life and influence. It is certainly no accident that, later in the ongoing story of Israel (Joshua 2:10-11), when the Canaanite tribes heard of the advancing host of Israel, their strength was turned to water within them because they knew that in the midst of these Israelites was a real and living God, a mighty God who did exploits for His people.
What a blessed people we are! God's Word in our midst and hearts, and praise to our God going before us. I can't help but be victorious with that combination! Amen?
"Dear Lord, I am so thankful for your Word today. I am so challenged with the thought of entering each battle, struggle or storm with 'Praise' and not complaining. Please forgive me for the times that I have allowed a wrong spirit to develop within me. Also, for the times that I have been more of a complainer than a praiser. You deserve my praise. Today, I choose to emphasize praise and thanksgiving. I will also continue to hide your Word in my heart, and declare it victoriously while praising. When I enter a battle with praise and thanksgiving, I am declaring to the enemy that 'the battle is not mine, but it is Gods!' I love you Lord, and thank you for the blessing of today. In Jesus' name, amen!"