The seventh chapter of Numbers is one of the longest chapters in the Bible and is dedicated to the voluntary gifts of the 12 leaders of the 12 tribes. These princes had already contributed liberally to the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:27-28). However, they responded to an obvious need for wagons and oxen for the transportation of the Tabernacle and all of its items for service. On the day that Moses had fully set up the Tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it. . . . That the princes of Israel . . . brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen. . . . And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take it of them . . . and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service (Numbers 7:1-5).
These gifts were not equally divided among the Levites. The family of the Gershonites received two wagons and four oxen for their duties (compare Numbers 4:25-26; 7:7). The Merarites, who had much heavier burdens to bear (4:31-32; 7:8), received four wagons and eight oxen. But the Kohathites received none. They were required to carry the Tabernacle furniture upon their shoulders, which included the Golden Candlesticks, Table of Showbread, Altar of Incense, Brazen Altar, Mercy Seat, and Ark of the Covenant. These were all symbolic of Jesus Christ (see 4:1-5; 3:31; 7:9).
Although all the gifts were identical, each prince was recognized for his gift. From this we learn that every gift and act of service to our Lord is faithfully remembered. Mount Sinai is often associated with the severity of the Law. But the Tabernacle that was built there illustrates the loving concern of God to communicate and fellowship with His people, and to direct them through life's journey. The princes revealed their gratitude through their generous freewill gifts.
The work of transporting all the heavy curtains and posts of the Tabernacle would be extremely burdensome, so the princes were led to present the six wagons -- a reminder that, as we face difficult responsibilities, the Lord provides the wisdom, strength, and material needs to carry them out. We also see how important it is that we give to help others. Let us say with Paul: I can do all things (that He expects me to do) through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
However, we should never assume that our gifts could make us worthy of His blessings. Our gifts should be the response of loving gratitude for His gift of eternal life and should be given with an unreserved surrender of ourselves to His will as revealed in His Word. We are fully dependent on the sacrifice Christ made on the cross to cleanse us from all our sin (I John 1:7). His resurrection imparts to every Christian His life-giving spirit.
Be a partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God; who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (II Timothy 1:8-9).
Through the voluntary offerings of the leaders (Numbers 7). Each one is carefully noted, just as Christ noticed the widow's offering (Mark 12:41-44).
7:13 charger means large dish; 7:21 bullock means young bull; 7:44 spoon means bowl.
Government Official: Rep. Terry Everett (AL) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WWYO-AM, Pineville, WV · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Letha Hash's brother, Henry Rogers · Country: Tuvalu (11,000) nine islands in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: Tuvaluan and English · Religious freedom · 92% Protestant; 5% Baha'i; 2% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Be glad in the Lord and rejoice at all times (Psalms 32:11).
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