An amazing statistic in the Bible relates to the growth of the Israelites after they went down to Egypt. At that time, they numbered 70 souls. When they left under Moses' leadership 400 years later, many believe they had increased to well over a million. Generations later, when King David commanded the numbering of his army, he was given the figure of 1.57 million!
Numbers and statistics play an important role in nearly everything we do. Even watching baseball is more fun if we know the number of hits, home runs, stolen bases, strikeouts and bat waggles before a swing of our favorite players.
But numbers can become dull and depressing, especially if the number of sales isn't quite large enough, or the number of days before vacation is too large.
Almost everyone has felt the frustration and dehumanizing effect of having to remember another personal number. I would make a list of the numbers I need to have handy, but I'm not sure my billfold could hold it. Just think about it: home phone, work phone, wife's work phone, children's phones and other phones I may call more than once a week. The list continues: my Social Security, my wife's Social Security, my driver's license — even numbers I don't have to remember! We have numbers given us in school. Our parking space may be numbered. We need to keep up with the number of calories, carbohydrates and grams of cholesterol we consume. On and on and on — it really is easy to begin feeling like I'm just a number.
We humans tend to get things out of balance, don’t we? If we're not failing to see the forest for the trees, we’re likely doing the opposite. We really have a tough time keeping our priorities straight. We're inclined to misplace our priorities or ignore them altogether. Husbands and wives can lose the sense of perspective in family relationships. As Christians, we often put the least important before the eternally important and find it easy to seek justification for our actions.
But not God. God loves the whole world, according to the apostle John. He loves everyone, from Adam to the final individual to be born. And God loves me — enough to send his son to die for me; enough to send the Holy Spirit to provide daily guidance and care; enough to charge his angels with my protection. The father watched faithfully for the return of his son from the far country, even though he had another son still at home. The good shepherd leaves the 99 sheep safe in the fold to find the one that has gone astray. As Edmond S. Lorenz penned in 1885:
Amid the trials which I meet,
Amid the thorns which pierce my feet,
One thought remains supremely sweet,
Thou thinkest, Lord, of me!
The next time we get to feeling like a number, we should remember that God knows the number of hairs on our heads. And he knows your name.
The most important consideration is whether your name is written in the Lamb's book of life.