Day 5

Offerings from the Leaders

from the reading plan

Numbers 7:1-89, Deuteronomy 12:5-7, Romans 12:1-2

A few years ago, my church—which had been meeting in a hotel ballroom—finally moved into our first permanent space. I remember the long days and nights of assembling furniture, hanging art, and setting up chairs. We held work nights with piles of pizza and children running everywhere, and people from every demographic in our church came to help. It will forever be one of my most cherished memories of our church family.

It was this laboring together, giving time and talent and energy to create a space where the Lord would be praised and people would come to worship, that made those nights so beautiful, so holy. We weren’t just doing any random project; we were building a place where, together, we could all come and be with God.

Numbers 7 records how the tribes of Israel responded to the completion of the tabernacle of the Lord. First, each tribe of Israel sent a representative to bring offerings. Verse 11 says, “Each day have one leader present his offering for the dedication of the altar.” Moses received each offering and then presented it to the priests and the Levites. Each tribe sent offerings, showing that the tabernacle wasn’t set aside for the most influential or the most wealthy but that all tribes were equal and welcome to worship.

Each tribe came with offerings of silver plates, silver basins, fine flour and oil, incense, bulls, rams, lambs, goats, and oxen. These offerings followed Levitical law, representing the elements of sacrifice the Lord required in His law. Leviticus 1 explains the burnt offerings of bulls, rams, lambs, goats, and oxen—the offerings for the forgiveness of sin. Leviticus 2 outlines the grain offering of fine flour and oil—the grain offering was divided between an offering to the Lord and provision for the priests who worked in the tabernacle, an offering to give a portion back to the Lord.

In the earliest iterations of a house of worship, we see the shadows of the Lord’s design for our worship today. We bring, like the Old Testament grain offering, the firstfruits of our portions before the Lord to sustain the work of our local clergy and church. We also receive, through communion, the sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood on our behalf. The Lord’s good design for His house of worship extends all the way back to the tabernacle, all so we can remember as we worship Him each week.

Written by Melanie Rainer

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