Numbers 7 is not a popular chapter in the Bible. Inspired? Yes. Interesting or exciting? No. In fact, while reading Numbers chapter seven recently, I wondered why all of this “stuff”needed to be in there. It contains a detailed account of “Nahshon son of Amminadab, leader of the tribe of Judah” presenting his offering at the dedication of the tabernacle altar. The offering details consist of things like silver platters, choice flour moistened with olive oil, and the number of cattle and goats they presented as an offering. And then, it’s repeated eleven more times. Basically, identical sections x 12.
Really? Is this a test to see how spiritual we are–how hungry we are for God’s Word? The one who reads every word of this with interests gets God’s gold star for the day!
However, as I pondered these verses–and the amazing verse at the very end (that’s coming)–I was reminded of some really important truths God wants us to know and live by. So here are the four:
- We engage in lots of ministry for God without experiencing noticeable intervention from God. The nation of Israel–all twelve tribes–obeyed God faithfully without experiencing any great life-changing results. No voice, no thunder, no miracles, no obvious divine blessing. They simply did what was right and offered it as a gift of faith to their holy God. We are called to do this too. Day after day. Even when it seems nothing great is happening or that God hasn’t “shown up” for awhile, if we are doing what is good and right, we just keep doing it. Faithfully. We engage in lots of ministry for God without experiencing noticeable intervention from God.
- Affirmation by representation leads to holistic implementation. What? Just think of it. All twelve tribes were represented (and recorded) in the process of dedicating the tabernacle altar to God. Everyone needed to affirm this new ministry “tool” and method of worship. It was not a Moses only deal. Everyone needed to have a chance, even through their leader’s representation at that altar, to affirm their dedication to what God was doing. As a result, there was an ownership by all of Israel. Everyone had a piece of the altar. This is a great principle in ministry too! Get everyone engaged and affirming. It leads to a movement that honors God.
- Faithfulness in the small things results in God’s favor in the important things. The small things like silver platters, oil mixed with olive oil, and choice bulls and goats. The small things like small group preparation, notes to the hurting, a meal for the sick, and moments of authentic prayer when no-one else is watching. And then we find God’s favor in the important things. At the end of this chapter, God speaks audibly to Moses. Which leads to number 4.
- God loves to speak to godly diligent leaders. Moses was certainly godly, but he was also diligent to be sure the dedication went right, that all were involved somehow, that God was honored, that the people were obidient, that every detail was properly executed. He was diligent. And then we read verse 89, “Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord , he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there.”
That last verse is not placed there by accident. It’s like an exclamation point at the end of a seemingly boring chapter in the Bible. God speaks to those who are faithful, godly, diligent.
And I LOVE hearing God’s voice in whatever form. What about you?
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.