If you have not already done so, please read Walk in Total Obedience & Camping Around the Tabernacle before you read this article – from the category Walk in Obedience.
The Marching Orders for the Israelites are found in Numbers Chapters 4 and 10. God had given Moses specific instructions for this as well as to how they were to set up camp. The two were closely intertwined, as they allowed for a speedy set-up and break-down for moving.
When the cloudy pillar arose from the Tabernacle, it was the divine signal for them to start packing and move to the next place God wanted them to go.
The Levites were first, as they carried the Ark of the Covenant. The cloudy pillar went before them as the guide. When the Cloud gave the signal, the Levites who carried it moved forward simultaneously.
Then the priests used the silver trumpets to blow an alarm for each of the divisions when it was their time to move forward.
This was their Marching Order:
Bearing the Ark of the Covenant
Numbers 4: 15; 10: 33
ARMY OF JUDAH
Numbers 10: 14 – 16
THE MERARITES (A Priest Family)
Numbers 10: 17
with four wagons drawn by eight oxen, bearing the boards, bars, pillars, and sockets of the tabernacle, and the court pillars and their sockets
THE GERSHONITES (A Priest Family
Numbers 10: 17
with two wagons, drawn by four oxen, bearing the curtains, coverings, and hangings of the tabernacle, and the hangings of the court
THE ARMY OF REUBEN
Numbers 10: 18, 20
KOHATHITES (A Priest Family)
Numbers 10: 21
carrying the sacred furniture of the sanctuary and the court
THE ARMY OF EPHRAIM
Numbers 10: 22, 24
THE ARMY OF DAN
Numbers 10: 25 – 27
They were led by the fiery cloud through the wilderness as it guarded, lighted, and protected them. Each family and tribe proudly displayed their banners and ensigns as they marched. What a magnificent sight to see!
The Bible does not say why the tribes were placed in their order, but it seems that they all must have felt they had an important role to play. They were interspersed between and around the pieces that made up the Tabernacle.
Since there were 3 tribes that camped together in sections of 4, they were probably related to one another by either blood, affection, or other ties. God arranged things so that peace, harmony, and unity would be promoted between them. Each division would have had a minimum estimated half a million total people.
When you think about 2 to 3 million people living together in a 2 to 3 square mile area, you know that it had to be the Hand of God that worked everything out.
God made each individual in the camp important by giving them a specific job to do. It is the same today for every Christian. None of us are unimportant in His Work. He has a great plan for each life if we will just have the faith to believe in Him.
Each person in the wilderness had to work together in harmony to get the giant task accomplished. If they had just decided to rebel and do their own thing, they would have perished.
For the Kingdom of God to function as He intends, each Christian must be willing to use the talents given Him and work together as a whole.
For a deeper study of this subject, click here and go to my site Power of the Living Word. The individual articles will give you a much deeper understanding of the function of the Tabernacle in the lives of the Israelites during their time in the wilderness.