The book of Numbers opens with the Isrealites having been at Mt.Sinai for about a year. Though the Isrealites had been unfaithful in the covenant God made with them; God graciously provided a way for Israel to live near his holy presence in the Tabernacle. Numbers five through eight is a collection of laws and instructions that further develop the purity laws from Leviticus. God speaks to Israel through Moses about the purity of the camp, restitution for wrongs, unfaithful wives, the Nazarite laws, priestly blessings, the lamp stands, the Levites, and offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. If God was going to dwell among his people then every effort needed to be made to make the came pure and into a place that welcomed God’s holiness.
Key Verse: Numbers 8:21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord and made atonement for them to purify them.
Why: Numbers 85-88 tells us that Altogether the silver dishes for the offering weighed 2,400 shekels and the gold dishes 120 shekels. The total number of animals for the sacrifice of the fellowship offering came to 24 oxen, 60 rams, 60 male goats, and 60 male lambs. Out of all this that was sacrificed and offered up to the Lord the most important was Aaron purifying the Levites and presenting them as a wave offering to the Lord. Are we purifying ourselves and offering up our lives to God?
How does what you read change your vision of God: I know that God is just and righteous. That sometimes leads me to believe that God’s plan is to eventually right the wrongs of our world and to make our world a better place. This is something that I can hope and pray for because our world is so lost and corrupt. Reading these scriptures helped me to refocus on the fact that God’s ultimate plan is not to save our world but to save us and to be with his people. God had all this work done with the Tabernacle, the arrangement of the camp, and gave all these detailed instructions to the Israelites so that he could be with his people.
How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others: When I think of myself in relation to God I normally think servant or child. Going back to the key verse Numbers 8:21, we’re also meant to be like a pure offering to God. Offering up our lives and our very selves.
Action plan: Moving forward I plan to “purify” myself and my life of “unclean” things. Just as the Lord commanded the Israelites to purify themselves and the camp we should make every effort to purify our lives. Purifying our lives is going to look different from person to person. For you it could mean not listening to certain music, not hanging out with certain people, or anything that can corrupt our character and hearts.
Where do you see Jesus in these chapters: All the sacrifices that were made for the dedication of the Tabernacle were commanded by God and made in his name. However, those sacrifices were temporary and none of them were perfect. This reminds me of Jesus and how he is both the perfect and eternal sacrifice. God wants to be with his people and he wants us to be with him. That’s always been his plan. He dwelled among his people in the tabernacle and walked among them through Jesus. Through Jesus we have the opportunity to be with God.