Numbers 7-11

Numbers 7‑11  •  13 min. read  •  grade level: 6
UM 7-10:10{Mamma. Now, after Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and anointed it and everything belonging to it, the princes of Israel carne with offerings to the Lord, and they brought them before the tabernacle. And the Lord said to Moses, Take the offerings of the princes, and give them to the Levites, for the use of the tabernacle,
Sophy. What did they offer?
M. Each of the princes brought an ox, and every two of them brought a wagon between them; so there were twelve oxen and six wagons. And Moses gave two wagons and four oxen to the sons of Gershon, that they might carry the curtains of the tabernacle in them. And to, the sons of Marari he gave four wagons and eight oxen, because they had such heavy things to carry. But he gave none to the Kohathites, for the holy things were all to be carried on their shoulders.
S. That was what the staves were for.
E. Exactly; now, when the altar was anointed, the princes brought offerings to dedicate it. On the first day the prince of the tribe of Judah offered; and his offering was a silver charger and a silver bowl, both of them full of fine flower mixed with oil for a meat offering; a golden spoon full of incense, and one bullock, one ram, one lamb, for a burnt-offering; a kid for a sin-offering; and for peace-offering, he brought two oxen, five rams, five goats, and five lambs.
B. That was a great many!
M. On the second day the prince of the tribe of Issachar offered, and his was exactly the same. On the third day another prince offered, and so on for twelve days: so that all the tribes shared in the dedication of the altar.
And Moses went into the tabernacle to speak to the Lord, and he heard the voice of One speaking to him off the mercy-seat, from between the cherubim.
S. What did the voice of God speak to Moses about?
M. The candlestick. The Lord said Aaron was to light the lamps, that they might throw light upon the candlestick, that its beauty might be seen. And then Moses was to take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and, to cleanse them. The Lord said, You must sprinkle some water upon them, and let them shave off all their hair, and wash their clothes; and let them take burnt-offering, and a meat-offering, and a sin-offering. Then Moses brought the Levites to the door of the tabernacle, and called all the children of Israel together. And they put their hands upon the Levites, and Aaron offered the Levites before the Lord, as an offering from all the children of Israel. Then the Levites put their hands upon the heads of the bullocks; and Aaron offered a sin-offering and a burnt-offering, and made atonement for the Levites. And the Lord said, They are given to me from among the children of Israel; instead of all the first-born have I taken them.
The Levites were to be given to the service of the tabernacle, from the time they were twenty-five years old until they were fifty.
S. But the priests were to serve God all their lives, were they not, mamma?
N. Yes; there was no particular age given for a priest. The descendants of Aaron were always priests.
When the first month of the second year arrived, the Lord reminded Moses about keeping the passover, and they kept it in the wilderness of Sinai. But there were some men who came to Moses and Aaron, and said, We are defiled by the dead body of a man, what shall we do, for we may not eat the passover? So Moses told them to wait until he had asked the Lord. And the Lord said, If any man is unclean from having touched a dead body, or if any one is away on a journey, so that he can not eat the passover in the first month, then he may eat it in the second month. But any one who did not eat the passover should be cut off from among his people, because he had despised the goodness of the Lord.
It was very gracious of the Lord to make this provision for any one who might be hindered from eating the passover in the first month, because the whole congregation were to do it together, as they had done on the night that they came out of Egypt.
S. How many things God taught them in that one year! I cannot think of them all. He gave them the law on the tablets of stone, and He taught them about the offerings, and about the tabernacle, which was the most wonderful of all, because it was made like things which God had up in heaven, and because there were so many shadows in it of what Jesus is to us.
M. Yes, Sophy; and the day that the tabernacle was set up the cloud covered it, and remained on it always, but at night it looked like fire until the morning, and when the cloud was taken up they went on their journey, and wherever the cloud rested there they pitched their tents, so that it was at the commandment of the Lord they stopped, and they went on. It might be a few days, or it might be a great many, but it was whenever the cloud moved they moved, whether it was in the day or in the night, and when the cloud rested they rested; so that they were really traveling with God, just as His people do now, who are looking to God to guide them. He shows just as plainly where He would have us go, and where we shall have His presence with us, and that is where He will feed us, as with manna, that good thing that carne down from heaven every day.
S. If any one stayed behind, I suppose he could not find any manna on the ground next morning?
M. Just so. If they had not gone with the cloud they must have missed their daily bread.
Now, the Lord told Moses to make two silver trumpets; of one whole piece they were to be made. They were used to call the assembly together, and to tell them when they were to set out on their journey. When the priests blew the trumpets they carne to the door of the tabernacle. If only one trumpet sounded, all the princes carne; if an alarm sounded, the camps that were on the east side of the tabernacle were to go forward; and when they sounded an alarm a second time, those on the south side were to set out on their journey.
S. How glad they must have been when they heard the trumpets sound!
M. The silver trumpets were used in the wilderness to call the people together, and to tell them when to set out on their journeys; but they were also to be used in the land, for the Lord raid, If you go to war in your hand against the enemy that oppresses you, and you blow an alarm with the trumpets, I will remember you, and I will save you from your enemies. And also in the days of your gladness, in your feasts and solemn days, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings and your peace-offerings, that they may be a memorial to you before God.
S. Will the Lord Jesus have a silver trumpet when He comes to call His people up?
M. He will have the trump of God, for the Bible says, He will come with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and He will call all His people together, the dead and the living; not then to the door of the earthly tabernacle, but to Himself in His Father's house, CHAPTER 12—NUMBERS 10:11, 1111And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. (Numbers 10:11)
11And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. (Numbers 10:11)
UM 10:11-11{Mamma. Now the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle in the second year, on the twentieth day of the second month; and the children of Israel took their journey out of the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.
When the silver trumpet sounded an alarm, the camp of Judah set forward, with Issachar and Zebulun, then followed the sons of Gershon and Marari with the tabernacle; next came the camps of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad; and then the Kohathites carrying the holy things on their shoulders; and the Gershonites and Merarites, with Ithamar the priest, set up the boards and pillars and hangings of the tabernacle, before the Kohathites arrived.
S. So that it was quite ready to put all the things in their right places.
M. Yes; Eleazar the priest had charge of the things belonging to the holy place, and the most holy place, and it was the business of Aaron and his sons to cover and uncover them; no one else was allowed to look at them. After the Kohathites followed the camps of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin; and last of all, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali.
Now there was a man named Hobab, son of Moses' father-in-law, and Moses said to him, Come with us to the land the Lord has promised us; and he said, I will not go, I will go back to my own land, and to my own people; but Moses said, Do come, and you will be to us instead of eyes.
S. Did Moses want Hobab to show him the way?
M. Moses seems to have forgotten for a moment that God was going with them. But the Lord would not allow His people to be guided by Hobab, or by any one else but Himself; therefore, instead of the ark going in the midst of the camp, as He had said, it now went on before them, to search out a resting-place for them. And when the ark set forward, Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when the Ark rested, and the Lord took up His abode in the midst of His people, Moses said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.
S. How beautiful that was, mamma!
M. It is beautiful: this is God's side, and it is the bright and blessed part of our story; but man's side was a dark, sad picture of unbelief and sin, for we read The people complained, and it displeased the Lord, and He sent fire among them, and consumed a great many; and the people cried to Moses, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched; but Moses called that place Taberah, which means a burning It shows us how near God was to His people when He heard them murmuring in their tents, but He took notice of it in mercy, because He would not allow sin to go unpunished in the camp S. How dreadful of them to complain, just when God was sending the ark on before to find a resting-place for them.
M. Yes; their hearts were not satisfied with God, and there was a mixed multitude with them of people who had come up with them from Egypt, and they began to wish for the things of Egypt. And the children of Israel wept, and said, Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we had in Egypt, and the cucumbers, melons, and onions we used to eat there, and now there is nothing but this manna before our eyes. They were really, in heart, looking back into Egypt.
S. It was like Lot's wife to look back.
M. Yes; like her, too, they forgot the Lord's judgment upon Egypt, and their hard bondage, and sufferings there; and when the people wept, the Lord was very angry, and Moses also was displeased. And he went to the Lord and said, Why has thou afflicted thy servant? I am not able to bear the burden of this people alone, it is too heavy for me.
S. But Moses was not alone, because God did everything Himself for His people?
M. Yes; but the evil of this rebellious people oppressed the heart of God's dear servant, and he felt how utterly powerless he was to keep them in subjection to Go& But the Lord did not rebuke Moses. He only said, Gather to me seventy men whom you know to be elders of the people, and bring them to the door of the tabernacle, that they may stand there with you; and I will come down and talk with you there, and I will take of the spirit that is upon you, and I will put it upon the seventy men, and they shall bear the burden with you.
S. Did not that take away some honor from Moses?
M. Yes; it was failure in Moses to suppose that seventy men could help him; they only took away some of the honor that God had put upon him. Still Moses was God's most favored servant, and God soon showed that there was none so faithful as he. And the Lord said, Say to the people sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and you shall eat meat. You shall not eat for one day, or two days, but for a whole month, till you are sick of it, because you have despised the Lord, and have wept before Him, and said, Why did we come out of Egypt? But Moses answered, The people are six hundred thousand footmen, and Thou hast said, I will give them meat for a whole month. Shall all the flocks and herds be killed to satisfy them? Or shall all the fishes in the sea be caught for them? This was sad unbelief in Moses, who ought to have said, He that gives us bread from heaven every day can easily give us meat too, if He pleases.
S. Did the Lord rebuke Moses for his unbelief?
M. Yes; He said, Is Jehovah's hand shortened? You shall see whether my words Will come true to you or not.
Then Moses went out and called the seventy men, and the Lord took of the spirit that was upon Moses and gave it to them, and they prophesied.
S. What do you mean by "prophesied?”
M. When God gave there men His Holy Spirit, they saw things according to God's mind; and when they spoke What they saw it was called prophesying. And two of the men stayed in the camp and prophesied; but Joshua, Moses' servant, was jealous for his master, because he thought that no one had any right to prophesy but his master. So he said, My lord, Moses, forbid them,
S. Did Moses tell them not to prophesy?
M. Oh no; Moses was delighted to see the work of God's Spirit in His people, and He said Are you jealous for me? I wish that an the Lord's people were prophets, and that He would put His Spirit upon them all? Then Moses went into the camp, and all the elders with him.
S. Did God send the people meat to eat?
M. Yes; He sent a wind which brought quails from the sea, and they fell in thick heaps all round the camp, and the people gathered them greedily all day and all night, and all the next day. They forgot the warning of the Lord,—and while they were greedily eating the meat, but for getting the mighty One who sent it, the Lord struck them with a very great plague, so that they died. And Moses called the place Kibroth-hatta-avah, which means—The graves of lust; because there they buried the people who lusted, that is, who wished for the meat and melons of Egypt. And they left this place of their sin and sorrow, and traveled on to Hazeroth,