LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE

 As the Tabernacle is established, the people are preparing to set out to the Promised Land.  They need to be right before the Lord as they go.  Their leaders also take this charge seriously.

 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;  That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:  And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.  Numbers 7:1-3

 Leadership must be by example; their obedience to God was needed as an example for the people.  The offerings were shared with the Levites, but the Levites were also leaders in the spiritual realm, and they too showed leadership in offerings.

 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.  And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.  Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:  And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.  But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.  And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.  Numbers 7:4-10

 When Messiah came, he too made an offering of service at the alter of sacrifice.  In the New Testament we are reminded that leadership demands service first:

 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Matt 20:25-28 (KJV)

 When the leaders had made their dedications, the Lord gave a pattern for the menorah.

 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.  Num 8:1-4 (KJV)

 Perhaps this reference to the lamps seems out of place in this service of dedication of leadership.  But the greatest leader of all would serve after this pattern.  The apostle John had a vision of the Messiah as part of the seven candlesticks.  No one would dedicate more to the kingdom of God than the son.

 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  Rev 1:14-16 (KJV)

 Now the Levites were prepared by cleansing for service.  The ceremony marked the end of their preparation for war.  They would need to understand the importance of spiritual warfare first though.

 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.  And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.  Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.  And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:  And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:  And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.  And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites.  And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.  Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.  And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.  For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.  For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.  And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.  And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.  Num 8:5-19 (KJV)

So the Levites were again set apart for service to the Lord.  At age fifty they were further relieved of duty to focus on service to ministry.  The elders were the leadership ranks of the spiritual warriors.

And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them.  And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the LORD; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.  And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:  And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:   But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.  Num 8:20-26 (KJV)

They are reminded to keep the Passover at this time too.

And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.  Num 9:1-3 (KJV)

These people did as God asked without complaint at this time.  Moses shared the instructions, and they complied.

And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.  And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.  Num 9:4-5 (KJV)

They were willing to serve, and observant of all the warnings around the Passover.  They wanted to comply even when circumstances might prevent it.

And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:  And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?  And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.  Num 9:6-8 (KJV)

Moses understood their desire, and the warnings about this, so he sought God instead of venturing a guess.  God was favorable to their willingness to observe Passover more than to those who might make excuses.  In their coming campaign many would come into contact with dead bodies as their enemies fell around them.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.  The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.  But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.  And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.  Num 9:9-14 (KJV)

We come into contact with unclean things in our daily life.  We should be so willing to remember the Passover of Jesus so much as these.  To forget the gift of the Lamb of God is to be cut off from life itself, not just being cut off from the people. 

The people of Israel are now dedicated and ready for the coming advance on the Promised Land.  The signs of the Lord direct their coming and going.  They are nearly ready for the advance to begin.

And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.  So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.  And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.  At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.  And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.  And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.  And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.  Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.  Num 9:15-23 (KJV)

The camp was given the basic training of spiritual warfare.  They were nearly ready to enter the battle with the Lord going before them.  They had the pillar of smoke as the ensign of God himself going before them.  Surely faith will lead them to great victories.

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