Chapter 8 — Setting apart the Levites. The priests lighted the middle lamp from the FIRE OF THE ALTAR, and the rest … one from another, signifying that all light and knowledge comes from Christ who has the seven spirits of God (7 lamps of fire) to light the priests’ way. 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
They had to SHAVE all the hair from their flesh which signified the cutting off of their profound desires of earthly things so they could focus on a singular purity of heart, a heart FOR HIM. Can you imagine the incredible image of the Israelites laying hands on the priests to signify that they were offered by them and for them?? In chapter 8 there are 2 things going on. There is purification on the inside and purification on the outside. The sacrifice, the blood, purifies us on the inside (first, nothing else makes us right but blood). The blood purifies us on the inside, once we are “atoned” then we purify the outside. When we are called to make changes in our lives (and we ALL are so we can be made more in HIS image), it takes a PHYSICAL ACT … a SACRIFICE on our part. (See Romans 12:1-2)
You may also want to make note each time in this chapter that the word AFTER is used… “After the”, “After you”, “After that.” I’d like to suggest you go back and re-read these sections to see if it holds any thing special for you after noticing these phrases. 🙂
What I am about to say, may sound as if I am making light of our scriptures today, which I am NOT. There are times when the Lord allows me to giggle at certain things in Scripture because He knows I remember those things for a long time as great revelation to me. God presented me with this thought last year and I see it each time I read this Scripture. The entire time I was reading about the Levites being a wave offering my mind immediately saw a huge stadium filled with people doing “the wave”. I know when Aaron did a wave offering he literally waved the specified (best) parts of the animal before/to the Lord. Maybe this is the first ever recorded “people wave”. WHAT an awesome sight that would have been from God’s point of view!! I realize it doesn’t say that the people waved but that Aaron presented them as a wave offering to the Lord. Yet the “word picture” is now something I will never forget about the wave offering and being set apart. It reminds me of when I am at church and the entire church (without any suggestions) raises their hands in praise to the Lord… reaching up and reaching out to worship HIM, thank HIM, be totally in HIS presence. Ahhhhhhhhhh 🙂
Chapter 9 —The Passover. (If you are new to the Blog you may want to go back to Exodus 11-12 to see the meaning of the Passover.) And, BTW – those of the Jewish faith are celebrating Passover as we enter our celebration of Easter. The time we (both Jews and Christians) celebrate these feasts of their faith is in the Spring of the year during the first month on the Jewish Sacred Calendar, Nisan. There are no coincidences!!
As the Passover approached, men asked: “BUT…what about me, we’ve … we’ve been around dead bodies…we are unclean but we want to be included in this Passover????” Moses does something TOTALLY beautiful here!! Moses admits he does not have an answer. He tells them to WAIT (verse 8) until he could find out what the Lord had to say. What a GREAT example of humility; risking disrespect of his people because he admitted he did not have all the answers; and then he went before HIS loving God to get the answer?? What an awesome example of a great leader!! Moses did NOT answer them until he KNEW the Lord’s answer. Waiting on the Lord is NOT usually the “easy” thing to do … particularly in our fast paced society. Yet… Moses WAITED on the LORD for an answer.
This is the very second Passover in History and people are asked how they could be included although they were unclean for reasons beyond their control. Did you notice that God DID NOT ADJUST THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PASSOVER? The standards of holiness were maintained, and the men were NOT allowed to participate on the EXACT date of the Passover. Look at verse 1 where the Passover is to be held on the 14th day of the first month (Nisan). HOWEVER, God did not exclude them. HE make an exception … He DID allow the men to celebrate the Passover on the 14th day of the SECOND month. A month later to allow them to become clean, holy, purified.
Another participant in last year’s study made the following comment: “In some cultures people are set apart for (the task of handling the dead) and are excluded from society in general–the Untouchables in India and the Burakumin in Japan are examples. Moses went to God and God allowed an exception, not just for the ceremonially unclean, but for those who were traveling, and for foreigners as well. He set guidelines, but He allowed their inclusion. Without that graciousness, I can imagine whole families gradually falling away because they couldn’t meet the letter of the law. God chose to be inclusive.” WOWWWWWW!!!!
The Passover is being celebrated and God has said this numerous times already but look at verse 12: “They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones” when referring to the sacrifice animal. My Bible has a cross-reference to John 19:36 Read John 19:28-37. It will open your eyes.
The last verse in this chapter touched me very deeply. God made a way for the “aliens” to celebrate the Lord’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. God did NOT leave them out. God’s rules were the same for EVERY one … no exceptions. Yes, God had HIS chosen people, but HIS goal was to have EVERY one obey and worship HIM. Until Jesus came… WE were the aliens… God was thinking of us even then!!
Chapter 10 — The Israelites have been camped out at the base of Mount Sinai for 2 years, listening, learning, and obeying. God is very specific with the ORDER the tribes are to leave. Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and then the Tabernacle was to be taken down and the Levites –Gershonites and Merarites — who were to carry the tent parts were to depart. Reuben went next, Simeon, Gad, .. and then the Kohathites (also Levites) were to CARRY the Holy Parts on their shoulders. The Tabernacle was to be physically set up in the new site before the Kohathites arrived. The remaining tribes followed. Everyone is prepared and knowledgeable… the cloud lifted, the trumpets blew (did you notice different trumpet sounds for different reasons) …and the Israelites departed. The Israelites KNEW they were being protected and guided by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night … they KNEW from God when to move and when to stay!!!
The Israelites were following the Lord; NOT simply taking off and THEN asking the Lord to follow them. Ummmmm…. Sounds like a great lesson for each of me today 🙂 How about you? The Israelites WAITED on the Lord by waiting for the pillar of cloud to move, waiting on the trumpets to blow, waiting depending upon which tribe they were in. What does God tell us about waiting on HIM? Look at Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
I also thought it was beautiful that Moses asked Hobab (his brother-in-law, son of Reuel aka Jethro) to go with them. Moses made him feel most special and told him how much he valued him and what he did. Do we do that with people in our own lives?? Do we tell them how special they are to us and include them in what we do? (Ummmmm. I need to go write a note or two or make a phone call to someone.. seriously!!)
See map below. They are leaving Mt. Sinai (10) heading towards Kadesh Barnea (12).
Sharing HIS love and praying you are touched by at least one thing in today’s reading 🙂