Daily Devotional Monday 20th July 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 8

The Seven Lamps

8:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses. And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

Cleansing of the Levites

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD. 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the LORD to make atonement for the Levites. 13 And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the LORD.

14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. 17 For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Retirement of the Levites

23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they1 shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister2 to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”

Footnotes

[1] 8:24 Hebrew he; also verses 25, 26
[2] 8:26 Hebrew He ministers

(ESV)

The tabernacle is now almost ready for use. The last arrangements are put in place. We have the setting up of the lampstand (v1-4; see Exodus 25 v31-40). The lampstand had seven lamps speaking of the perfect light that Christ brings to His people. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” (John 8 v12) Paul in describing salvation said, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4 v4)

There is now the final preparation of the Levites (v5-14). The sprinkling of clean water on them (v7), while not conclusive does give weight to the Presbyterian practice of sprinkling at baptism.

The laying of the congregation’s hands on the Levites (v10) is them identifying them as their representatives, being ordained, set apart to do holy work for all the people.This is a reminder to congregations that ministers and elders who have been ordained have been set apart by the people for a holy work in which they need the people’s prayer and support.

The Levites laying their hands on the bulls for sacrifice (v12) speaks of how they and any other workers in the church can only serve through the cleansing power of the sacrifice for sin.

The Levites as they entered the work had to do so wholeheartedly (v16). No service for the Lord is to be entered into in a half-hearted way. The Lord deserves our all and our best. The age for Levites in active service was between twenty five and fifty (v23-25). Those serving in the temple need both a level of maturity and freshness. As we serve we need to seek to be both mature and fresh.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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