When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. (Exodus 30:12)
In our day and time, a census is conducted by counting heads, but in ancient Israel it was not so. In fact, the Law of Moses forbids counting heads in the ordinary matter so everyone gave something to the Treasury and that was counted. Specifically, numbering the children of Israel was accomplished when every “head” made a contribution to the Sanctuary in the form of the half-shekel. This was used for the upkeep of the tabernacle which, in itself is interesting considering that the Presence of the Almighty dwelt there.
The important to see is that everyone, both rich and poor, gave toward a sacred cause which benefited the entire nation. Interestingly, the Hebrew text translated as “when you take the census” is literally translated as “when you elevate the heads” signifying the census accomplished more than just counting heads. With the entire nation participating, it was an expression of what happens when God’s people band together, surrendering our personal interests for sake of the nation — everyone is “elevated.” It is akin to the old adage that says, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
If corporate participation benefits all then it only stands to reason that too much focus on the personal interests of a few can have a negative effect on the nation. That is not to say that we should not care for those personal needs among us, but it does stress how important it is for us to be one people with one purpose. When we do this, God is honored and we are blessed. So then, let us all do our part as individuals for the sake of the Body at large having the confidence that when we take care of His business, He will take care of ours.
Blessings and Shalom,