To these the land shall be divided as an inheritance, according to the number of names. To a large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance. Each shall be given its inheritance according to those who were numbered of them. (Numbers 26:53-54)
The lion’s share of this chapter is devoted to counting the able-bodied men in Israel who are capable of going to war. And as mentioned previously, this count would also determine how the land would be divided among the tribes. Those with larger populations would receive larger portions of land while the smaller tribes were given smaller, but adequate, tracts of land. Seems pretty simple and quite logical. However, this seemingly innocuous solution to “who gets what” would, most likely, not go over well in todays’ world.
I say that because so many in today’s world scream for and demand equality and social justice. There is and has been a growing sentiment in our culture that everyone should be equal in every way, even to the point that power brokers maneuver to extract, by force, resources from one to give to another. However, in Scripture we see that all are not equal in every way but all are treated in a just and impartial manner. In short, the Scripture acknowledges that there are distinctions between people and people groups and, accordingly, these people have different functions in the Kingdom. In turn, those functions require that they have certain tools and resources that might not be necessary for others to possess.
Looking at this I can’t help but think of the Parable of the Talents recorded in Matthew 25. As the master prepares to go on a journey, he distributes his goods to his servants — some are given five talents, some are given two and another only one. But the Scripture makes it clear that what is given to the servant is “according to his ability.” Apparently, some possessed greater abilities than others — meaning they were not all equal. However, they were all expected to use what was given them to use for a purpose, which in the Kingdom is to “produce fruit.”
While there are different lessons to learn from this parable, the point I wish to make today is that, as God’s people, we must recognize that some have different talents, skills and positions in the Kingdom. Consequently, in that regard, we are not equal BUT, we are all given equal opportunity by God to function in our purpose and render the fruit He requires of us. When we do, we can expect that He will reward us accordingly. So let us not “covet” what is our neighbors’ but be committed to use what God has given to us to work with, knowing that He is forever, just and righteous.
Blessings and Shalom,