[今日經文 Today’s Reading: 民數記 Numbers 24-26]
民數記記錄了兩次人口普查，第一次是在西奈山，第二次是在以色列人進入應許之地之前的摩押平原，統計 20 歲以上能夠打仗的以色列人的人數。 是的，上帝已將土地賜給祂的子民，但以色列人必須通過戰鬥才能真正獲得它。 在曠野漂泊 40 年後，人數從 603,550 人減少到 601,730 人。
如果上帝在COVID-19之前和之後在我們的教會中進行了人口普查，那麼數字將是什麼？ 不幸的是，在COVID-19之後許多人已經退出了教會。 當我們考慮到教會參加者中有多少人可以真正為神的國度“打仗”的 人數時，尤其是我們的下一代，更大的挑戰就來了。 在北美的華人教會中，各種研究表明，從小上教會長大的孩子，有75%到90%在長大後離開了教會。
民數記裡的人口統計，是按家族統計的，每個家族都是按照父親的名字來統計的。 人數統計不只是一個人一個人做的。 這顯示了家庭單位的重要性。 我們需要強壯的父親來培養能參戰的強壯後代。
願 COVID-19 和最近的選舉為我們的教會敲響警鐘，培養更多能夠上戰場的人！
The book of Numbers records the taking of two censuses, first at Mount Sinai and later on the plain of Moab before the Israelites enter the Promised Land, of the number of Israelites above the age of twenty who are able to go to war. Yes, God had given His people the land, but the Israelites were required to go to battle to actually acquire it. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the numbers are shown to have decreased from 603,550 to 601,730.
If God had taken a census in our churches before COVID-19 and then takes one after COVID-19, what will the numbers show? Unfortunately, many have already dropped out of our churches. A greater challenge comes when we consider the number among church attendees who can actually “go to war” for the Kingdom of God, especially our next generation. Among the Chinese churches in North America, various studies show that 75% to 90% of our children who were raised going to church have left church after they have grown up.
The census in the book of Numbers was done by family, according to the name of the father in each family. The head count was not just done individual by individual. This shows the critical importance of the family unit. We need strong fathers to produce strong offspring who can go to war.
May COVID-19 and the recent elections serve as a wake up call to our churches to train more who are able to go to battle!
Prayer: Dear God, please help the church to know the importance of discipleship, so we can raise our next generation to fight effectively in the spiritual battle. In Jesus’ name, Amen.