‘Number the People’? | FUNG Cee Foong

[ ‘SHARE’ Nov-Dec 2012 – Care for Children ~ ‘Join Hands Join Hearts’ ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER

Author> FUNG Cee Foong   Administration Officer

On Mid-Autumn Day I got back from a trip to deal with personnel and financial matters in Beijing, Lanzhou and Kunming, China. While my mind was still filled with information and issues from the trip, I rushed off to attend my church’s bible camp.

Within a day and a half at camp I briefly read the first ten chapters of the Book of Numbers: Chapter 1 is the numbering of tens of thousands of the twelve tribes’ descendants. In Chapter 2, the LORD gave the sequential order by which the people should camp and break camp. In Chapters 3 and 4 the Levites were numbered and their duties listed. Then, suddenly, Chapters 5 and 6 set out the laws relating to unclean persons and the Nazirite. Chapter 7 contains long and repetitive lists of offerings, and Chapters 8 and 9 describe the cleansing of the Levites and keeping of the Passover in Sinai. Chapter 10 talks about the two silver trumpets. These first ten chapters of the Book of Numbers helped me organise my thoughts on the earlier trip to China.

CEDAR is not big; we started off with one person working on a dining table and now a dozen of us have our own work desks. Three departments grew out of the one-man-one-task original, and the number of staff is increasing. Yet, I am perplexed: does number indicate strength? There seems to be a positive correlation between the two but reality shows that this may not always be true. When I read about the census and the camping and breaking of camp in Chapters 1-4, the figure of six hundred odd thousand give me a ‘headache’ but I also see an order, an organisational structure and efficient actions. Can structural tools alone achieve things? Let’s look at Chapter 7: the LORD only commanded that each day one leader would make an offering; and then all the tribes made the same offering according to their sequential order. I am surprised by their mutual understanding and how internal harmony existed among them. Then I thought of what I observed in China and realised that a body’s order and communion gives the organisation its direction.

I am still unsure as to how to ‘number the people’ and establish order, but the LORD tells me to esteem Him as the Nazirites consecrated themselves, I need to lay aside my ‘self’ and move forward. I firmly believe and am convinced that the LORD’s blessing (Num. 6:24-27) will be found.