These passages can seem so monotonous and irrelevant. I mean, who cares how many people there are in a tribe or family from thousands of years ago? Well... God does.
In the first chapter we see that every firstborn belongs to God. God is sovereign. He is mighty and to be served. This is an unavoidable fact. There is simply no getting around it. But God is also merciful and Good. So a count is taken of every firstborn in all Israel. A count is also taken of the Levites. These numbers match up nearly to perfection, which is pretty awesome because the Lord is going to take those Levites' service in place of all the firstborns of the whole nation. He preserves the family unit by leaving firstborns at home and taking an entire family unit to serve as a family!
But God isn't just nearly perfect. He is actually perfect. So the small discrepancy must be addressed. God's merciful solution is to take a ransom of money to be paid to the Levites to make up the difference. Now since the Levites can't earn a living by working a trade, other families provide through God's mercy.
In the next chapter we see another example of God's holiness and mercy folded into one. All the detail that goes into wrapping all the holy items in porpoise skin and blue cloth might seem tedious. But as we read on, we are reminded that most everyone would die for coming into contact with such holy perfection. All this preparation is to show protection and mercy for those men charged with carrying the holy items during their moves!
It is not God's will that these men should die, but God's greatness is once again so undeniable, such a fact of life that there is no getting around the truth that our frail bodies just can't sustain His greatness. So He guards us.
What amazing demonstrations we can see in these insomniac-curing passages of God's nature and character. May He be praised!