Numbers is a book that starts a little slow. If you’re like me, perhaps you began reading Numbers 7 and thought, “Why am I reading and rereading and rereading dedication offerings? Boring!” Sometimes, the repetition isn’t the point. The point is what’s between the lines of what we’re actually reading. Here’s what I mean: I tend to follow up on things with my husband a lot – a conversation we had, something we were going to do around the house, that appointment we were supposed to make for Paxton, you name it. I’m not following up because I think he wasn’t listening (he’s a great listener), but because I want to make sure we’re on the same page. It drives him crazy! And, we’re a better team for it.
When the author of Numbers repeats for us the same dedication offering by all 12 tribes of Israel, it’s easy to read the first offering and skip over the next 11. But the point isn’t the actual offerings. It was the obedience of God’s people to follow God’s boundaries and serve him to the best of their ability. It’s actually a beautiful display of teamwork – God’s people working with him and God providing in return. We glimpse God’s goodness and holiness in providing for his people.
In Numbers 7-9, Moses has anointed the Tabernacle and set it apart as holy (7:1). Then, God sets apart the Levites as priests (8:5). And everyone in Israel, including the foreigners, is told to celebrate Passover – doing so as ceremonially clean and holy (9:1-13). The invite to participate in the goodness of God is extended to everyone and they follow God’s boundaries to experience this holiness to the full.
With Jesus’ entrance into this world, every single one of us has been set apart as holy and given a special place to participate with God in bringing his Kingdom to earth. Some days it might seem repetitive, boring even, to do what God has called you to. Are you looking for God to show up between the lines? You are a royal priest, a holy nation, a child of God!
Questions for reflection:
- What is an everyday, somewhat boring task that you’ve never considered God might be working through all the time? How might you invite God into something ‘ordinary’?
- You and I don’t have to give the various offerings we’ve read about in Leviticus and Numbers. But we do give our lives as offerings to God. Is there something you’re holding onto as ‘yours’ that would be far greater in God’s hands – something you’re prepared to surrender to him to use?