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OFFERINGS OF THE LEADERS GIVEN TO THE LEVITES
Moses, having completed the setting up of the tabernacle, anointed and consecrated it together with its furnishings and the copper altar outside (v.1). Now in order to be fully prepared for the service of moving the tabernacle from place to place, it was necessary to have ready the means of transportation. The leaders of each tribe therefore contributed an offering for this purpose. Six covered carts were provided, one cart from two leaders, and twelve oxen, one ox for each leader (vs.2-3).
The Lord then instructed Moses to give these to the Levites who required them, so that two carts and four oxen were given to the sons of Gershon, and four carts and eight oxen to the sons of Merari (vs.6-9), for they had twice as much volume to transport as did the sons of Gershon. This is a good reminder to us that when God gives us any service to do for Him He will always supply what is necessary to enable us to carry out that service. The sons of Kohath were not given any carts, for they were required to carry their burdens on their shoulders (v.9). Each service was different, and nothing too difficult for any. Each was to do just what God appointed with the ability and help that God supplied.
THE DEDICATION OFFERING OF JUDAH
Now the leaders of each tribe were called upon to offer on 12 successive days a dedication offering for the altar (vs.10-11). This emphasizes the importance of the altar of burnt offering, which speaks of Christ in His own person sanctifying the value of the sacrifice of Himself. The Lord asks the question inMatthew 23:19; Matthew 23:19, "Which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?" While the gift speaks of the sacrifice Christ made at Calvary, the altar speaks of Christ in His own person, for He is Himself greater that the wonderful work He has done.
Each tribe therefore was to show (symbolically) appreciation for Christ and His sacrifice as each one offered on a different day for the twelve days. Nahshon represented the tribe of Judah, and he brought his offering on the first day.
The silver platter of 130 shekels (just over 4 pounds) and the silver bowl of 70 shekels (over 2 pounds) were filled with fine flour mixed with oil as a grain or meal offering (v.13). The meal offering speaks of Christ in the pure details of His perfect humanity, and the silver of the value of His redemption, which could be the work only of the Man of absolute perfection. "Mixed with oil" reminds us that from His birth the humanity of the Lord Jesus was beautifully permeated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The golden pan of ten shekels weighed only 3 ounces, and was full of incense. The gold speaks of the personal Godhead glory of the Lord Jesus, and consistently with this the incense symbolizes the fragrance of the details of His beauty and glory that always rises as a sweet odor to God.
A burnt offering then consisted of three animals, one young bull, one ram and one male lamb (v.15). These speak of the great objective value of the sacrifice of Christ as that which glorifies God for eternity. The bull emphasizes the strength of that sacrifice; the ram, its devotion; and the male lamb, its submission.
Only one kid of the goats was given as a sin offering (v.16), the goat emphasizing the substitutionary character of the sacrifice of Christ, for as the sin offering He took our place in suffering and death.
The peace offering (v.17) involved much more, requiring two oxen, five rams, five male goats and five lambs of the first year. for the peace offering symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ as that which brings believers together with God the Father and with His son Jesus Christ in perfect concord and unity. The two oxen infer fellowship in depending on the strength of Christ's offering. Five is the number of responsibility, and the five rams, five goats and five male lambs all remind us that the Lord Jesus has taken our responsibility fully upon His great work for us, and blessed in fellowship with Him.
OFFERING OF THE OTHER ELEVEN TRIBES
The offerings of each of the tribes is seen to be identical, so that what is said of Judah's offering applies equally to all the others. The repetition here may seem unnecessary to us, but God is wiser than we, and has perfect reason for what He includes in His word, whether we understand it or not. Each tribe offered on a different day, but each one the same. At least, God is emphasizing the vitally important fact that all are on an equal footing: one is not to be preferred above another. Certainly this is just as true in the assembly, the church of God today. Different individuals have distinct gifts or distinct functions, yet all are of the same value in the eyes of God, all accepted on the same basis.
The offerings of each tribe being the same indicates that all are on the same standing before God. But besides this, we are to look at all these offering as pictures of Christ. If we specially love a person we do not get weary of looking at pictures of the loved one. Just so, God loves His Son and appreciates being reminded of Him by the pictures that each of the tribes presented. Certainly also God desires that we should never weary of appreciating every picture of His beloved Son that is found in the word of God. At least it will certainly not harm us if we read this chapter through carefully and meditatively.
Verse 89 ends the chapter by speaking of Moses entering the tabernacle to speak with God, and God Himself speaking to Moses from above the mercy seat. This was the only seat in the tabernacle, for it symbolizes the throne of God.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 7". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26