Equal Differences

Today's devotion from Numbers 2.

When we read through today's scripture, we see that differences and inequality are part of life. Some tribes are larger. Some tribes are smaller. Some will camp on the east side while others camp to the east. Even within these discussions, some specific men are named as leaders of their tribes. Obviously, this means that others were not leaders. And even those numbers are not inclusive.

But we need to learn to ask ourselves a question: why are these differences deemed as bad or negative? There is only one you. You may have similarities with a few people, or have some things in common with a group, but at the end of the day, you are the only you there is. Even those with which you share some kindred aspects are not identical to you. You will always be different from others, even when you are surrounded by people that have everything in common with you.

However, in our reading was one nugget of truth that offers great hope. When the camp was being organized, God was specific about the equality of one particular thing. He declared, "The tent of meeting is to move out with the Levites’ camp, which is in the middle of the camps. They are to move out just as they camp, each in his place, with their banners." (Numbers 2:17, CSB)

When it came to access to God, all Israelites would be equal. The tent of meeting would be in their midst, and everyone, regardless of tribe, net worth, livestock holdings, education, or height would be close to Him. Why is it that we scream for equality in things that don't matter, but neglect God's equal grace? The one positive universal truth that could unite all mankind is repeatedly overlooked, ignored, and rejected.

We learn in the New Testament how central this truth is to God's character. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, CSB) God equally loves and cares for each of us, in spite of all that is different. In fact, it is often our differences that God uses to display the greatness of His love.