Today Numbers Chapter 7 came around in the reading plan I follow. The chapter is 89 verses long and much of it is repeated 12 times but with a change of day (first, second etc.) and name of tribe and leader. Apart from those changes it’s then repeated through to verse 83. Thus:
Num 7:12 He who offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah.
Num 7:13 And his offering was one silver plate whose weight was 130 shekels, one silver basin of 70 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering;
Num 7:14 one golden dish of 10 shekels, full of incense;
Num 7:15 one bull from the herd, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering;
Num 7:16 one male goat for a sin offering;
Num 7:17 and for the sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
This puzzled me for some time. A Christian friend of mine said each year he reached this chapter his practice was to read the first 17 verses and then jump forward to verse 84. But, I reasoned, if this is really the Word of God then each word is God-Breathed and ought to be read if for no other reason than that.
Here’s a new thing that struck me from this passage on reading it this morning . Every tribe was on exactly the same level, no tribe brought more and no tribe brought less. Bringing an offering to God is a great leveler. We bring it through Christ or it’s not accepted. And to state the obvious every single offering speaks of Jesus Christ and points to His once for all offering on Calvary.
Here’s another one, they did what the LORD told them to do. They brought their offering in the way He prescribed with no opportunity for one-upmanship. We don’t devise our own way of salvation – as many do today – we come God’s way not man’s way. We are justified through Grace , not works.
Just one last one. Despite what we might think, God is not in a hurry. The whole process of the chapter took 2 weeks. I reckon in our modern age we would have wanted to get it all done in a day. But no. It was a lengthy process and took time. Each tribe had time to contemplate what was going on. And by rushing through this chapter in order to get through the book we can miss the good things God has to say to us in His Word.
There’s more. So no! This chapter is not the most boring chapter in the Bible but is actually full of Glory and Wonder and I thank God for it. So till next year maybe. I actually look forward to this chapter each time it comes round. If we will think and spend time in the Word of God it really does speak of Christ and His Grace in the most surprising places.
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
Words: William Cowper, Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779).