It’s Time to Move From External Manifestations to an Inward Experience

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter. TWELVE DAYS OF GIVING! TWELVE DAYS OF OFFERINGS! TWELVE DAYS OF SACRIFICE! ON THE DAY THAT MOSES HAD FULLY SET UP THE TABERNACLE! ANOINTING THE TABERNACLE! SANCTIFYING THE TABERNACLE! THE INSTRUMENTS AND VESSELS OF THE TABERNACLE! BRINGING AN OFFERING UNTO THE LORD! THE OFFERING OF COMMUNITY! TAKE IT OF THEM THAT THEY MAY BE TO DO THE SERVICE OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION! THOU SHALT GIVE THEM UNTO THE LEVITES! TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS SERVICE! ACCORDING TO THEIR SERVICE! THE SERVICE OF THE SANCTUARY BELONGING UNTO THEM WAS THAT THEY SHOULD BEAR UPON THEIR SHOULDERS! AND THE PRINCES OFFERED FOR DEDICATING OF THE ALTAR IN THE DAY THAT IT WAS ANOINTED! THE PRINCES OFFERED THEIR OFFERING BEFORE THE ALTAR! THEY SHALL OFFER THEIR OFFERING, EACH PRINCE ON HIS DAY, FOR THE DEDICATING OF THE ALTAR! WHEN PRINCES COME TO THE ALTAR! PRINCES AND THEIR OFFERINGS! WHEN MOSES WAS GONE INTO THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION TO SPEAK WITH HIM, THEN HE HEARD THE VOICE OF ONE SPEAKING UNTO HIM FROM OFF THE MERCY SEAT THAT WAS UPON THE ARK OF TESTIMONY! AND HE SPAKE UNTO HIM! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Moses writing concerning a very specific set of events which took place on the day when the Tabernacle was fully set up. As you read the words which are found within these verses you will find Moses recounting that in the day when the Tabernacle was fully and completely set up in the midst of the congregation of Israel the princes from each tribe of Israel came unto Moses and Aaron bringing their offerings before and unto the LORD God of the Hebrews. The entire seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers centers upon the completion of the Tabernacle and it being fully set up in the midst of the congregation and assembly of Israel there in the wilderness. I have to admit there is something to be said about the reality and concept of the Tabernacle being fully set up and fully completed that the congregation and assembly of Israel might have the sanctuary of the living God present among them that their God might dwell in their midst. Perhaps the single greatest reality we must understand concerning the Tabernacle is that the underlying function and role for the Tabernacle was that it was the means whereby the living God would and could dwell among the congregation of Israel—not only in the midst of the wilderness, but also once they entered into and settled into the land sworn on oath to their forefathers.

Upon considering the words which are found within this chapter it is absolutely necessary to turn and direct your attention back to the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus where Moses described the instruments, the furnishings, and everything belonging to the Tabernacle being presented unto him. What you will find is that upon receiving that which was brought before and brought unto him, Moses carefully and thoroughly inspected the work which was done by those in whose hearts were the wisdom and understanding to perform the work. Scripture reveals and records that the elements, the instruments and the furnishings of the Tabernacle were completed exactly as the LORD God of the Hebrews had specified, and would then be set up in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. In order for us to understand that which is written and that which is found within this chapter found in the book of Numbers it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention back to the words which are found in the fortieth and final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, for it is there we will find a tremendous description of what happened on the day the tabernacle was set up according to the pattern and design the living God spoke and revealed unto Moses. Consider if you will the words which are found in the fortieth and final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus beginning with the seventeenth verse:

“And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was reared up. And Moses reared up the Tabernacle, and fastened its sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark: and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses. And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. And he lighted the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail: and he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle. And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal. And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: when they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work” (Exodus 40:17-33).

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-38).

If you transition to the Old Testament book of Leviticus—specifically the end of the ninth chapter—you will find an additional reference to the Tabernacle, and specifically the altar of burnt offering. In the final verses of the ninth chapter you will find that after Aaron and his sons made the offerings to consecrate and dedicate the altar of burnt offering, as well as the Tabernacle itself, Aaron proceeded to bless the children of Israel. Beginning with the twenty-second verse of the ninth chapter you will find that when Aaron came down from the altar and from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings both he and Moses went into the tabernacle of the congregation and came out again, Upon their coming out of the tabernacle of the congregation the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people, which was proceeded by a fire which came out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering. Consider if you will the words which are found in these final verses and how not only did the glory of God appear at the time when the offerings were made upon the altar, but also when the Tabernacle with all its instruments and furnishings were dedicated and consecrated as holy unto the living God:

“And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:22-24).

GLORY! FIRE! PRESENCE! OFFERING! GIVING! As you come to the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find the language continuing to build upon the reality of what took place upon the completion of the Tabernacle being set up in the wilderness of Sinai. I presented unto you the words and language which is found in the fortieth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus and how upon the completion of setting up the Tabernacle—after the pattern and design had been followed exactly as the living God had spoken unto Moses—the cloud rested upon the Tabernacle of Testimony. What’s more, is that not only do you read of the cloud resting upon the newly established sanctuary of the living God in the midst of the people of God, but you also read how the glory of the living God filled the Tabernacle. This is quite remarkable and unique when you take the time to think about it, for there is a tremendous amount of language contained within the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, and now Numbers concerning the tabernacle with all its instruments, its furnishings and furniture being sanctified and anointed by Moses, Aaron and Aaron’s sons who were ordained and anointed as priests of the sanctuary. While I find it absolutely incredible that there is language concerning Moses, Aaron and his sons sanctifying and anointing the Tabernacle, I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the reality that perhaps the single greatest way for the Sanctuary to be consecrated as holy unto the living God is through and by the presence and glory of the living God. It was indeed true that Moses had sanctified and anointed the sanctuary with the anointing oil, and even with blood, however, I firmly believe that the single greatest method of consecrating the sanctuary was through the actually presence and glory of the living God descending upon and completely filling the Tabernacle and sanctuary. If we are being honest with ourselves, as well as with the living God, we must readily acknowledge the absolutely astonishing and remarkable reality that the glory and presence of the living God never descends among us in our midst, nor does it come in among us solely for the purpose of emotional highs and sensations of our flesh. There would be those who preach the glory and presence of the LORD as something which is purely experiential, and that which is meant to somehow appeal to our senses—that which we hear, that which we see, and the like—however, I do not believe for one moment that when the glory and presence of the living God comes in among and comes down upon us it is manifested to somehow give us an experiential reality that somehow tickles our senses and emotions.

As you come to the fortieth and final chapter of the book of Exodus you will find the glory and presence of the living God—not descending atop the mountain before and in front of the congregation and assembly, but rather coming into the sanctuary and Tabernacle. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and consider this reality, for there is a vast and fundamental difference between the glory and presence of the living God coming down upon and atop a mountain in the midst of the children of Israel which was observed with thunders and lightnings, which included thick darkness, clouds, and a consuming fire upon the mountain. You will notice a vast and fundamental difference between that which is found in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus and the fortieth chapter of the same book, for in the fortieth chapter you will not find any mention of a consuming fire, nor will you find any mention of thick darkness which enveloped the tabernacle. What’s more, is that thou will not read of peels of thunder and flashes of lightning being seen and heard in the midst of the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel. These experiences and manifestations took place while the congregation of the children of Israel was at the mountain of God in the wilderness, but it would not be the experience that would be manifested concerning the sanctuary. What’s more, is that when you read of the voice of the living God speaking unto Moses at the mountain in the midst of the wilderness you will find that the sound of the voice of the living God was as a trumpet which waxed louder and louder the more He spoke. In the nineteenth and twentieth chapters we find Moses going up upon the mountain and going higher and higher to enter into the midst of the glory and presence of the living God. When, however, you come to the construction of the sanctuary and Tabernacle in the midst of the congregation and assembly you will find that no longer was the living God speaking from atop the mountain with the sound a trumpet that waxed louder and louder, but you will find the living God speaking unto Moses . In fact, as you come to the final verse of the seventh chapter of the book of Numbers you will find that when Moses went into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with God, he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims. No longer would Moses ascend further and further atop the mountain in the midst of the wilderness, but Moses would now enter into the sanctuary itself where the living God would speak unto him from off the mercy seat which was upon the Ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims.

We must recognize and acknowledge this vast and fundamental difference which is found between the manifestation of the glory and presence of the living God atop the mountain before the congregation of the children of Israel at the mountain of God and the glory and presence of the living God coming and resting upon, as well as completely filling the Tabernacle. There at the mountain of God which was in the midst of the wilderness the congregation of the children of Israel witnessed and beheld the mountain violently shaking and quaking under the tremendous weight and presence of the living God as the glory and presence of the LORD God of the Hebrews rested upon the mountain. What’s more, is that while the children of Israel were at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness they saw the mountain being altogether on a smoke on account of the consuming fire which was upon the mountain, as well as the thick darkness which covered the mountain. The children of Israel heard the sound of many thunders, and they beheld the flashes of lightning as the glory and presence of the living God came down and rested upon the mountain which was present in the midst of the wilderness. Moreover, the children of Israel heard the sound of the trumpet waxing louder and louder the more the living God spoke from atop the mountain and in the midst of the thick darkness and clouds. Now, I fully recognize and understand that this might seem like that which was going to be the norm and that which was going to be per usual for the congregation of the children of Israel, however, the truth of the matter was that what the congregation of the children of Israel experienced at the mountain was not to be their experience with the glory and presence of the living God throughout their days and throughout their generations. In fact, as you continue reading in these Old Testament Books of Moses you will eventually find the living God revealing and speaking unto the congregation of Moses concerning their time at the mountain having come to an end, and how the time had come for them to move on from the mountain. This is quite interesting and unique when you think about and consider that there at the mountain—not only did the congregation of the children of Israel witness and behold the glory and presence of the LORD, but it was also there at the mountain where the congregation of the children of Israel shrank back in fear upon hearing the sound of the trumpet waxing louder and louder, and even witnessing and beholding the mountain quaking violently under the weight and pressure of the glory and presence of the living God, as well as committing the iniquity and transgression of idolatry with the golden calf.

One of the most intriguing and astonishing realities I can’t help but think about and consider when reading these Old Testament Books of Moses and the fundamental and core difference between the sanctuary which was established in the midst of the congregation of Israel and the mountain of God which was present in the midst of the wilderness was the reality that instead of the glory and presence of God resting upon the mountain in the sight of the congregation of the children of Israel, the glory and presence of the living God would actually move in and come among the congregation of the children of Israel. I am absolutely convinced there is a great significance in the command and instruction concerning the congregation of the children of Israel having spent too long at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness, for while it does in fact speak to their need to continue and press on in their journey through the wilderness as they moved toward the land of inheritance, promise, possession and blessing, it also speaks to their transitioning from the manifestations of the glory and presence of God atop the mountain which was present in the wilderness. What we must recognize and understand was that the LORD God of the Hebrews never brought the children of Israel unto the mountain in the midst of the wilderness in order that they might grow comfortable and accustom to witnessing and beholding the thunders and lightnings, the violent shaking of the mountain, the thick darkness and consuming fire which was upon the mount, and even the sound of the trumpet waxing louder and louder as the living God spoke from atop the mountain. We must remember the experience and encounter the prophet Elijah had when he came unto the same mountain, for there at the mountain Elijah experienced a great wind, and yet the LORD God was not in the wind. The prophet Elijah experienced an earthquake which shook the mountain, and yet the living God was not in the earthquake. Moreover, the prophet Elijah experienced a fire, and yet the living God was not in the fire. It wasn’t until the prophet Elijah experienced the still small voice that he covered his face with his mantle and came out unto the entrance of the cave and stood before the presence of the living God. Oh, I can’t help but wonder if the same place where Elijah stood at the entrance of the cave as he stood before the LORD was the same place Moses himself stood as the glory of the LORD passed by and as the LORD removed His hand from before Moses allowing him to see His back side and hinder parts. We don’t’ know for sure whether or not it was indeed and was in fact the same place, but it would be just like the living God to bring Elijah to the very same place He brought Moses when His glory and presence passed by in front of and before him.

There is not a doubt in my mind that it was never the design, will and intention of the living God to bring the children of Israel unto the mountain in the midst of the wilderness and allow them to grow used to and accustom to the external manifestations of His glory and presence. I do not believe for one moment that the living God wanted the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel to be dependent upon external manifestations associated with His glory and presence, for it would be very easy to become dependent on such manifestations when seeking to experience and encounter the glory and presence of the living God. What I have come to find concerning the glory and presence of the living God is that it is incredibly easy to grow comfortable and dependent on external manifestations of the glory and presence of the living God, and as such when those realities and manifestations are absent we tend to think that the glory and presence of the living God is not among us. I am convinced this was what was so absolutely incredible about the experience Elijah had at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness, for it would be there in the midst of the wilderness Elijah would experience a great earthquake, where he would experience a strong wind, and even where he would experience a fire, and yet the living God was not in any of those external manifestations which were before Elijah. It wasn’t until Elijah heard the sound of the still small voice that he recognized the glory and presence of the living God, covered his face with his mantle, and came out unto the entrance of the cave. When you read and consider the account and narrative of the completion of the Tabernacle you will find that there were no thunders and lightnings, nor was there any mention of thick darkness, nor even a consuming fire as was experienced and witnessed at the mountain of God in the wilderness. What you read and what you find upon the completion of the Tabernacle in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel was the cloud which led the children of Israel by day through the wilderness resting upon the newly established sanctuary, and the glory of the living God entering into and completely filling the Tabernacle. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for centuries later during the days of Solomon when he completed the Temple which would rest in the midst of the people of God in the city of Jerusalem, there was a similar manifestation of the glory and presence of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles beginning with the first verse of the seventh chapter:

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the reality that when it comes to the dedication of both the Tabernacle in the wilderness, as well as the Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem in the land of Israel, we do in fact read of the glory and presence of the living God filling both sanctuaries of the living God, and the glory of the living God being so strong that Moses couldn’t enter the sanctuary in the wilderness, and the priests couldn’t enter into the Temple during the days of Solomon. What we find and what we read about each of these accounts is that the manifestation of the glory of the living God did not take place and occur as it had done in the wilderness when the children of Israel were at the mountain of God. If you read and study the narrative and account of the congregation of the children of Israel at the mountain you will indeed and will in fact read of thunders and lightnings, thick darkness and a consuming fire, and the violent shaking of the mountain and the sound a trumpet waxing louder and louder, however, this was never intended, nor was it meant to be the norm for the people of Israel. I wouldn’t say this was an exception, but what you must realize and recognize is that the children of Israel had just come out of their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, and had spent more than four centuries within that land with no demonstration or manifestation of the glory and presence of the living God. The children of Israel had spent more than four centuries living as strangers within the land of Egypt with no revelation from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and such a revelation would not come until the days of Moses when he would return after being away for forty years with a powerful message of deliverance unto Pharaoh and his rulers—namely, that Pharaoh would let the people of God go. When the LORD God of the Hebrews brought the children of Israel unto Himself in the wilderness of Sinai, I would dare say that the external manifestations which were evident there at the mountain were used by the living God to capture the attention of the congregation of Israel and to reveal His nature. They had already witnessed and beheld His judgments within and upon the land of Egypt as the LORD unleashed ten plagues upon the land, and they had witnessed His salvation and power at the Red Sea when the LORD parted the waters, thus allowing them to pass through on dry ground, while subsequently using the waters which were a wall unto the children of Israel to drown and destroy their enemies. Now the congregation of the children of Israel had come to the mountain and witnessed and beheld the glory and presence of the living God descending and coming down upon the mountain before their eyes in the midst of the wilderness.

What we must recognize and understand concerning the dedication of the Tabernacle, as well as its consecration was that it did not come with thunders and lightnings. The consecration of the Tabernacle of the living God which stood among and in the center of the children of Israel did not come with the sound of a trumpet waxing louder and louder, nor did it come with a violent shaking unto the weight and presence of the glory and presence of the living God. The consecration of the Tabernacle did in fact come with the glory of the living God completely filling it, and the consecration and dedication of the Temple in the midst of the land of Israel also came with the glory of the LORD completely filling it. This reality is quite astounding and remarkable to think about and consider, for when we think about the process of consecration we must recognize that it is done on two different fronts. The act of consecration not only carries with a responsibility and requirement on our part, but the other side of consecration is that which is in fact done by the living God as He consecrates with His glory and His presence. The living God consecrated both the Tabernacle in the wilderness, as well as the Temple in the midst of the land of Israel with His glory and His presence, and He consecrated the altar of burnt offering—not with His glory coming and resting upon the altar, but with His holy and consuming fire coming out from His presence and consuming the sacrifice and offerings which were upon the altar. This is quite astounding and remarkable to think about, for when you read and consider the words which are found within the five Old Testament Books of Moses you will find that there was the responsibility of Moses, Aaron and the priests to consecrate the sanctuary and Tabernacle in the wilderness, but the glory of the LORD was that which first consecrated and made holy the sanctuary and Tabernacle which was found in the midst of the children of Israel. It would be the glory of the living God which would begin the process of consecration, for true consecration always begins with the divine glory and presence of the living God. When we think and speak about consecration within our own lives we must recognize and understand that consecration first begins with the glory and presence of the living God, and is further continued by the responsibility we ourselves have to further that consecration. The Tabernacle which would be established in the midst of the children of Israel would further be consecrated with and by the anointing of the instruments, the furniture and the furnishings with the holy anointing oil that it might be separated, set apart and consecrated as holy unto the living God. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the tremendous reality of this dual consecration of the Tabernacle and sanctuary as it was consecrated by the glory, as well as consecrated by the sacred and holy anointing oil which the LORD God of the Hebrews commanded Moses to have made.

It’s quite remarkable to think about and consider the fact that when it came to the consecration of the Tabernacle and sanctuary, the glory and presence of the living God rested upon and completely filled the sanctuary, and when it came to the consecration of the altar of burnt offering, it was consecrated by the consuming fire which came out from His presence and consumed the offerings and sacrifices which were upon the altar. CONSECRATION BY FIRE! CONSECRATION BY GLORY! This reality takes on an entirely new meaning when you think about and consider the fact that even when you transition to the Temple that is found in the midst of the land of Israel, the same reality is evidenced and manifested. Just as the Tabernacle of Moses was consecrated by the glory and presence of the living God entering in and completely filling it, so also would the Temple be consecrated by the glory and presence of the living God filling it. Similarly, just as the altar of burnt offering in the court of the Tabernacle was consecrated by the consuming fire coming out from the presence of the LORD, so also would the altar of burnt offering in the court of the Temple be consecrated by fire. When we think and speak about consecration we must recognize and understand that this consecration not only touches the glory and presence of the living God, but this consecration also touches the consuming fire which not only describes the living God Himself (for our God is a consuming fire), but also describes the fire which proceeds forth and comes out from His presence. When you think about the dedication and consecration of the Tabernacle which stood in the midst of the congregation there in the wilderness you will discover that the glory of the LORD filled the sanctuary while the cloud rested upon it in the sight of all the congregation and assembly of Israel. Furthermore, is when Aaron and his sons had made an end of performing the burnt offering, the sin offering and the peace offering, fire came out from before the living God and consumed the sacrifices which were upon the altar in the sight of all the people. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that when the Tabernacle was set up and when the work was completed the glory and presence of the living God came upon and filled the Tabernacle, and when Aaron and his sons had made an end of performing the offerings required by the LORD, the LORD responded to sacrifice with and by fire which came out from before Him. Please catch and don’t miss this, for the LORD responds to a finished and completed work according to His commands with glory and presence, and He responds to sacrifice and offering by a consuming fire which comes forth from His presence and consumes that which is upon the altar. FILLING THE SANCTUARY AND CONSUMING THE SACRIFICE! Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that not only do we find the account of the glory of the living God filling the sanctuary, but we also find the consuming fire coming out from the presence of the living God and consuming the sacrifice which was upon the altar.

Turning and directing your attention back to the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find that there was something else which took place on the day that Moses finished and had fully set up the Tabernacle, and anointed it, and sanctified it, as well as all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed and sanctified them. As you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find that in addition to the consecration, the sanctifying and the anointing of the Tabernacle with all its furnishings, all its instruments and all its furnishings, the princes of Israel which were heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes came unto Moses with the offerings of the people and for the people. Beginning with the third verse you will find that they brought their offering before the LORD, which was six covered wagons, and twelve oxen—a wagon for two of the princes, and for each on an ox. This the princes of Israel—twelve in all—brought before and brought unto Moses, and upon the bringing of these offerings the LORD spoke unto Moses and instructed him to take of the offering that they might be able to do the service of the Tabernacle of the congregation. Furthermore, the living God instructed and commanded Moses to give the offerings which were brought to him unto the Levites—unto each according to their service. This reality and concept of “every man according to his service” is actually intriguing when you think about it, for if you turn and direct your attention back a couple chapters you will find just what the different branches of the Levites were called, chosen and ordained by the living God to do in their service of the Tabernacle. In the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will begin reading of the different sons of Levi and their specific assignment and work which was ordained by the living God for them to accomplish. The fourth chapter begins and opens up with the living God instructing Moses to take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers from thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, to do the work in the Taberancle of the congregation. It continues with the specific assignment which was given unto each of the branches of the sons of Levi, for although the tribe of Levi was separated unto the living God as a whole, there were different assignments which were given unto the sons of Levi according to their house.

“This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things: and when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: and shall put the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof. And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon: and they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers’ skins, and shall put in the staves thereof. And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuff dishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it: and they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers’ skins, and shall put it upon a bar…And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the bells of the sanctuary, as the camp is set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die> These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation” (Numbers 4:1-15).

“And to the office of Eleazer the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the nominating oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites: but thus do unto them, that they may life, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden: but they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die” (Numbers 4:16-20).

“Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families; from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; and all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens: and they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers’ skin that is above and upon it, and the hanging for the door of the taberancle of the congregation, and the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve. At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge of all their burdens. This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest” (Numbers 4:21-28).

“As for the sons of Merar, thou should number them after their families, by the house of their fathers; from thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation. And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof, and the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden. This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest” (Numbers 4:29-33).

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel the tremendous need to highlight the individual assignment and burden which was given unto the different branches and houses among the sons of Levi, for while the tribe of Levi as a whole was set apart and separated unto the living God for the purpose of the work of the sanctuary—each house from among the sons of Levi had their own assignment which was to be fulfilled and accomplished in the midst of the children of Israel. There were three distinct groups of sons and fathers which were present among the tribe of Levi that were set apart and separated unto the living God for the sole purpose of the work and ministry of the sanctuary. While Aaron and his sons were to minister around and before the altar, as well as within the holy place and the most holy place, the Levites were responsible for the vessels, the instruments, the furnishings of the Tabernacle. It’s interesting to note that the LORD used the word “burden” when speaking of their assignment, and we must be careful not to think about it in terms of a burden which was meant to crush the sons of Levi, but rather the incredible and tremendous responsibility they had for caring for and handling the sacred and holy things. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider that there was an entire tribe that was separated from among the children of Israel which was specifically chosen from among the congregation of the children of Israel for the purpose of the ministry of the sanctuary—not only breaking it down and setting it up, but also of carrying the instruments, the furnishings and the furniture through the journeys the children of Israel had in the wilderness. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand from the account of the sons of Levi is that when it comes to the ministry of the sanctuary there were specific assignments which were to be completed and carried out, as each house from among the sons of Levi were responsible for their own burden and their own assignment. What’s more, is that there was a great emphasis that was placed on the taking down and setting up of the Tabernacle in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel, and there was something very solemn and holy about working with the instruments, the furnishings and furniture of the Tabernacle that the sons of Levi were specifically set apart by the living God for the work of the sanctuary. Oh they would never go out to battle against the armies and enemies of Israel, however, what they were required and instructed to do was no less important, nor any less necessary. The sons of Levi were specifically set apart and separated unto the LORD and given unto Aaron and his sons for the sole purpose of the work of the ministry of the Tabernacle and the sanctuary.

What is your assignment within and among the congregation and assembly of the people of God? What is that you have been specifically called and chosen to do for the work of the ministry of the Tabernacle? Have you been called and chosen to set up the house and sanctuary of the living God that the living God might dwell in the midst of the people? Have you been called to take down the sanctuary and house of the living God that the people of God might follow Him wherever He leads them? Have you been called to carry the furnishings, the furniture, the instruments of the sanctuary as the people of God make their way on the journeys the living God has ordained and appointed them? Have you been specifically chosen to take up the sword and go out to battle against the enemies and adversaries that would come against the people of God? Have you been called and ordained by the living God for the purpose of cleaning the sanctuary that it might be a warm and inviting place men and women might come to worship the living God? What is your specific assignment within the body of Christ, and what is you have been called to do? Are you even aware of that which the living God has called, chosen, ordained and appointed you to do in the midst of the sanctuary? If there is one thing these chapters bring us face to face with it’s the awesome and incredible reality that we each have our own unique and specific assignment within the sanctuary of the living God—one that is specific to us. The sons of Gershon to not do the assignment the sons of Kohath were called and chosen to do. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for it reveals and demonstrates the reality that we each have our own unique assignment that has been ordained and appointed unto us in the work of the ministry of the sanctuary, and in the midst of the people of God. As this writing comes to a close I would like to invite and encourage you to get alone in the presence of your God and discover that which He has specifically ordained and appointed you to do in the midst of the sanctuary, as well as in the midst of His people for His glory and for his honor. Once you are aware of that which the living God has ordained and appointed for you to do, I invite and encourage you to pursue it with everything that is in you, and to carry out it out with all your strength and might that you might please and honor the living God who has called, chosen and ordained you for the work of the ministry of the sanctuary—the place of His glory and dwelling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s