In summary, the troops of Israel listed by their families totaled 603,550. But as the Lord had commanded, the Levites were not included in this registration. So the people of Israel did everything as the Lord had commanded Moses. Each clan and family set up camp and marched under their banners exactly as the Lord had instructed them.
This must have been one of the biggest campsites ever! It would have taken about 12 square miles to set up tents for just the 600,000 fighting men—not to mention the women and children. Moses must have had a difficult time managing such a group. In the early stages of the journey and at Mount Sinai, the people were generally obedient to both God and Moses. But when the people left Mount Sinai and traveled across the rugged desert, they began to complain, grumble, and disobey. Soon problems erupted, and Moses could no longer effectively manage the Israelites. The books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers present a striking contrast between how much we can accomplish when we obey God and how little we can accomplish when we don’t.
Imagine how much God’s people could accomplish in this world for him if they stopped bickering, dividing, and fighting. Jesus said his followers should be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). Imagine the impact our love for one another could make!