Monday, April 23, 2012

120423 - Numbers 08-09 - First to the LORD

Monday SOAP: God's plan for the Levites: they were an offering to the Lord? Make that set aside, wholly designated for the Lord's use, in place of the firstborn. God says that in passing over the firstborn in the final plague on Egypt, He made the firstborn of Israel His own.

S: and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD. (Numbers 8:11) And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the LORD. (Numbers 8:13) And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. (Numbers 8:21)

O: In some versions, it simply says, "as an offering" (it is one word in Hebrew for wave offering, not two as in English). It is important to read a verse in context!

A: Truthfully, this is God saying once again "the firstborn is mine, both man and beast." (v. 17) Although the Levites weren't sacrificed, they were set apart for service. The first of the harvest belonged to Him as well (Ex. 23:16) This was in addition to the tenth part of seed, fruit and flock. (Lev. 27:30-33) God claims first place in the lives of His people and institutes various ways of reminding them of this.

Although New Testament believers are not under the Law (Rom. 6:14-15, Gal. 5:18) and the legal purpose of the Old Testament tithe no longer exists, (Deuteronomy 14:29), God still claims first place in our lives. As the old saying goes, if I were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough circumstantial evidence that I belong to God to convict me? In my habits? In my relationships? In my checkbook register? Even if Malachi 3:8-12 is sometimes misapplied today, Matthew 6:24-34 certainly still applies. If we would put His Kingdom first, it would free Him to see to it that we had everything we need.

P: Father, thank you for the reminder to give you the first and best.


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