Daily reading assignment – Numbers 8-10
The early chapters of the Book of Numbers have been spent organizing hundreds of thousands of men and women who had known only slavery for four hundred years. Moses was tasked by the LORD with the responsibility of giving the Law and bringing discipline to a body of people that would become Israel.
Numbers 8:1-4 takes us into the sanctuary of the Tabernacle known as the “holy of holies”. The inner-sanctum was veiled from all but the high priest. Within this sacred place there was a golden altar, a table, and a golden lampstand (menorah) bearing seven lamps burning pure olive oil. Aaron, the high priest, was responsible for lighting the lamps that illuminated the holy place (8:3).
While Aaron and his sons served God as priests, the tribe of Levi was consecrated to assist them and serve the people when they came to worship and offer sacrifices (Numbers 8:5-26).
Rather than the eldest son of each tribal family being dedicated to serve as priest, the sons of the tribe of Levi were chosen (8:14-18). The leaders of the twelve tribes, placing their hands on the Levites, identified with them as serving on their behalf (8:9-11).
Given the charge to serve as the spiritual representatives of the people, the Levites laid their hands on the heads of bullocks to be sacrificed for their sins (8:12) and took upon themselves the role to serve the LORD as His priests (8:13-26).
Assuring the nation He would never abandon them, the tribes of Israel were comforted by a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence: a cloud overshadowing the Tabernacle by day and a fire present at night (9:15-16). Recognizing the LORD orders the “starts and stops” of His people, theyfollowed the movements of the cloud and fire in their journey (9:17-23).
The Journey from Sinai Begins (Numbers 10)
One full year passed at Mount Sinai when silver trumpets sounded the news for exiting the wilderness of Sinai (10:5-6). The tribes followed the cloud (10:34) as the LORD guided His people into the wilderness of Paran (10:11-13). They were trusting Him to be present among the people (10:35).
Friend, I would be remiss if I failed to remind you that, though the LORD no longer leads His people with a cloud by day or a fire by night, He does lead, direct, and guide His people by His Word (Psalm 119:105), the wooing of His Spirit, and wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6).
Understanding the LORD was Israel’s guide during her journey through the trials and temptations of the wilderness, we are comforted in this promise:
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation [trial; test] taken you but such as is common to man [i.e. many others have faced the same]: but God is faithful [trustworthy; true], who will not suffer [permit; allow] you to be tempted [tried or tested] above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape [i.e. pass through], that ye may be able to bear it [endure].”
Whatever test or trial you may face, be assured, God is faithful and you are never alone!
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith