The book of numbers begins with a census. Moses is charged with counting the “men of fighting age”, effectively putting a number to the generation following God in the wilderness.
Later in the book of Numbers, God renders a judgment on Israel because of their unwillingness to fight for The Promised Land. The people will have to wander in the desert until “the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight were gone”.
Who was relegated to die in the wilderness? Everyone of fighting age at the time they refused to fight. A generation of equipped battlers who were afraid, unwilling to trust God, exercise courage, and enter The Promised Land.
God is holding accountable those who refused to fight.
He still does. We are called to courage. We are called to engage in a battle. Not one of violence or insult. But one of justice and truth, standing up for what is right and good and true. Ephesians tells us to get up every morning and put on our spiritual centurion uniform, because we are called to battle the forces of darkness with peace and truth.
When it comes to the Kingdom of God, we are all men and women of fighting age. We are aware of the stakes and equipped for engagement. The foundation for the fight is courage. A willingness to fight even if it might cost us something. A boldness to act in the face of fear.
“These were the men counted by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, each one representing his family. All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel’s army were counted according to their families. The total number was 603,550.”
– Numbers 1:44-46