Numbers 8:1-26

Daybreak for Students

Numbers 8:1-26

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Numbers 8
And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the Lord commanded Moses. — Numbers 8:3

Reading this verse caused me to reflect back to scenes from my childhood. I remember watching my parents take the old oil lamp from its mounted position on the wall. They would refill the lamp with oil, carefully trim the wick, and then clean the chimney. When the lamp was put back in its mounted position in an area near the dinner table, it glowed brightly as the evening darkness set in around our home.

As children, we did not take care of the lamp: that was the responsibility of our parents. Care had to be taken to avoid wasting the oil or breaking the chimney. If that happened, there would be no light! There were other duties inside and outside our house that were also the responsibility of our parents. Our duty, as children, was to be obedient and submissive to our parents. And of course, we had some chores which were our responsibility also.

Lighting the lamps in the Holy Place was one of the assigned duties of the priest. In the same way, God has called our spiritual leaders today to perform specific duties. The priests and Levites may be taken to represent the pastors, ministers, teachers, and missionaries who have been set apart for the service of God. These leaders will minister according to the leadings of the Lord. Surely, they must “keep the lamp burning” and be a light to all those who come to the house of the Lord. Their duties may range from the routine to the sublime, but they are duties assigned by God.

To accomplish their assignments successfully, spiritual leaders need the guidance and strength of the Lord. We can be an encouragement to them by offering them our obedience, respect, and support.

How can we do this? Just as children in a family have chores, all of us in God’s family also have some responsibility that God wants us to fulfill. Our duties may not be those of leadership but each one is still important. Our spiritual leaders will be encouraged when we are faithfully in our places and doing what we are asked to do.

Another way to support our leaders is to pray for them. Regular attendance in the prayer room, an uplifting testimony in a church service, and heartfelt amens (meaning, “so be it”) during sermons will also encourage our ministers. Why not challenge yourself to pray extra for your spiritual leaders today?

BACKGROUND

In this chapter, God spoke to Moses about two important matters. One was caring for the lamps (8:1-4) and the second was dedicating the Levites (8:5-26).

It was the obligation of Aaron, the high priest, and his sons and their descendants, to light the seven lamps on the golden candlestick in the holy place. They had the solemn responsibility of caring for the candlestick, trimming the wicks, adding the sacred oil, and making sure the light was shining. There were no windows in the holy place; the candlestick that stood to the left of the incense altar was the only source of light. Without it, the priests could not see to minister in the holy place. It was a symbol of God’s presence, and pointed ahead to Jesus, the Light of the world.

Aaron and his sons were the official clergy in the camp, and the other Levites were designated to be their assistants. The Levites were separated from among the other tribes of the Children of Israel and became chosen people of the Lord. In turn, God gave them to the priests as His special gift. The Levites’ duties were to care for the Tabernacle, take the structure down before each march, carry it, and erect it again at the new location.

Called to serve the Lord in this capacity, the Levites had to be set apart for the Lord. First, they had to be cleansed by water, shave their bodies, and wash their clothes. The leaders of the tribes put their hands on the Levites as an act of dedication, presenting them as living sacrifices to God. In turn, the Levites put their hands on the two young bulls: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. Cleansing by blood as well as purifying by water were requirements, indicating total dedication to the Lord.

The Levites’ role is a picture of the ministry’s role in our church today. God chooses and equips His people for spiritual service. First, the Blood of Christ must purge away sin before the believer is equipped to serve. His life must align to the sacred precepts of God’s living Word. God’s servants serve the Lord by serving His people, but their orders must come from God.

Both the Levites and priests were obligated to protect the sanctuary of God from intruders, and the leaders in the church today must be diligent to protect the flock from those who would destroy it. Dangerous enemies could arise from outside the church or even from within the congregation. Thus, it is vital that God’s leaders be ever on the alert and courageous to confront those who oppose God’s truth.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

I.   The preparation for the journey from Sinai
     D.   The measures for the maintenance of worship in the camp
           2.   The consecration of the Levites (8:1-26)
                 a.   The lighting of the lamps (8:1-4)
                 b.   The purification of the Levites (8:5-22)
                 c.   The charge concerning the Levites (8:23-26)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. What purpose did the seven lamps serve?

  2. Why did the Levites need cleansing before they could serve? What can we conclude regarding the necessary preparation for those who minister in our day?

  3. How do we receive cleansing today?

CONCLUSION

God has ordained spiritual leaders for His people, and they should be respected and obeyed. We will be blessed as we support them in their work for the Lord!