The time has come,
The time is now.
Just go, go, go!
I’ll tell you how.
Silver trumpets sound,
That’s when all will know;
Time for battle or for feast,
Leaders meet and the nation go!
When the tabernacle cloud arise,
Or the pillar as of fire go by night;
As it leaves from that place,
All Israel move out at its sight.
Each tribe in its place,
Goes out in its way.
The people know it’s time,
Whe’r by night or by day.
They move on out,
All tribes in formation;
As a cross they proceed,
The Israelite nation.
Only YHWH does know,
Where their steps will all lead.
So the people with faith,
Do trust and concede.
Following cloud or fiery pillar,
The people proceed;
With faith and with hope,
YHWH’s all that they need.
When the time has come,
For the nation to settle;
The icon they follow,
Drift down as a petal.
Now the nation does rest,
Where cloud & fire remain.
Will they stay in peace,
Or will they go on and complain?
The time had come,
The time had went.
The people of Israel,
Had gone as been sent.
The introduction was adapted from Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now! by Dr. Seuss
It has come time for the alter to be dedicated and for the priests to do their duties. The leaders of the tribes of Israel to step up and be leaders. So they do. Together they offer 6 carts and 12 oxen for use in the service of the tabernacle. Then the leader of each tribe comes and offers the offering for a day, each in turn for 12 days. They all offer the same things. A silver dish and a silver bowl full of grain and oil, a gold pan full of incense; a bull, a ram, a male lamb one year old for a burnt offering; a male goat for a sin offering; 2 bulls, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs one year old for a peace offering.
I love to see the leaders being leaders! They stand as not only instructing and directing each of their tribes respectively, but also serving and being an example to them. They recognize that they have a responsibility to both YHWH and the people that they stand before. They are the first to offer sacrifice and offering to the LORD and stand both in representation of their tribe, and as an example for their tribe to follow. Everything is done right, and it is done well. This is why these men are the leaders of their tribes. They came first and they came before. They served, and they served as an example. They obeyed and they cooperated. They were truly dedicated leaders.
This was a long chapter going through all of these offerings day by day. It took me three days to copy over this chapter, but it also allowed me to finally get caught back up with my posting, so now i am once again posting on the same chapter that i am completing. It’s a nice to be caught back up!
I think it’s interesting that God / YHWH tells no one how to do their jobs except for the Levites and priests. Everyone has free reign to choose the job / position / role that they want to play. They could choose to herd sheep, be an artisan, run a shop, take care of kids, teach, whatever. But not the Levites. They were not just set aside as holy, they were set aside with a purpose.
Not only did the Levites have to serve the priests, temple, and God / YHWH, but they also each had their own tasks depending on their families. The Kohathites for instance, were in charge of moving and caring for the most holy things. Even in this, the Kohathites were not allowed to see the most holy objects. It was the duty of the priests to cover the objects such as the alter, the lampstands, and the ark of the testimony.
Next the Gershonites were responsible for the coverings and hangings of the tabernacle. They were responsible to take care of the screens for the doorways, the hangings of the court, and the covering of the tabernacle.
Then finally, the Merarites were responsible for the frame of the tabernacle. They took care of the pillars, the boards, the bars, etc. They were responsible for the very skeleton, the frame of the tabernacle. If they did not do their jobs right, the whole of the structure would fall down upon them.
Does God give us duties, or simply roles. Does He direct our every step, or are we responsible enough to seek the Lord and all He is and allow obedience to His overall calling guide us?
Moses has, with YHWH’s direction and doing, successfully brought the people of Isreal out of their bondage in the land of Egypt. He has brought them to Mount Sinai, the Lord’s / YHWH’s mountain, and brought them face to face with God / YHWH. From there, YHWH has given the people direction, understanding, and instruction. They have built a tabernacle for YHWH to go with them, and it is getting ready for the people to start heading out.
In the meantime, the people need to be prepared. They will be taking the promised land. They will be fighting battles and defeating nations of people who had allowed their sin to consume them to the point of their being vomited out by the land they live in. As such the men of Israel need to be aware of who they are, what they are capable of, and how many of them are going out to war. So God / YHWH calls them to do something simple. Number yourselves. Figure out how many there are who can fight and go to war. So every male 20 years old and older has to register by their families and tribes. They must make themselves known and be prepared for war.
So the leader of each tribe goes about getting their people registered. In the end, all the males 20 years old and up of the sons of Israel amounts to 603,550 men. Not counting women and children under the age of 20, and not even counting one of the tribes. The Levites have been set aside to serve the LORD / YHWH. As such, approximately 1/12th of the people aren’t even considered for the census That is a lot of people!
What’s amazing to me is that just over 500 years before this census occurred, God made a promise to 1 elderly man and his elderly, barren wife;
“Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
“I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:16)
So from 2 elderly and barren people and a promise from YHWH, around 500 years later is this huge, massive nation divided into 12 tribes with an army of over 600,000 men aged 20 and older with 1/12 of them not even involved in that number. Now that’s what I call fulfilling a promise!
What kind of promises has God / YHWH made in your life? Are they promises you are working to fulfill, or are you trusting completely in Him to do all the work and fulfill them for you? Think about it…
As we are closing up on the end of the book of Leviticus, God / YHWH paints a picture of what the rest of the Old Testament / Covenant will look like. It is a peek into the future of Israelite people, and a picture of both the good and the bad. I just wish that it wasn’t SO bad. Ultimately though, we begin to see the picture of the peoples relationship to God. We get a feel for just how much the people will turn away, and how that turning away will affect their relationship with YHWH and their own futures.
YHWH starts off with a command. “‘You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or… You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD (YHWH).” It’s simple really. Don’t worship idols / false gods, and keep His Sabbaths and reverence His sanctuary. How difficult can that be. Apparently that can be very difficult because it does not take long (a single generation after Joshua) for all of it to begin to fall apart.
Are we any different? Have we changed any from this in the thousands of years since it was written, or are we still going from generation to generation following the ways and directions of our culture over what God’s word says? This is the picture of the Old Testament, the entire 49 books. Yet, this is also the picture of today. Instead of pursuing God / YHWH, we are pursuing education and technology and financial stability and comfortable homes. Instead of keeping His Sabbaths and revering His sanctuary, we are keeping ourselves as busy as we possibly can with all of our “responsibilities”. We are too busy trying to stay busy, that we push away the very purpose of our lives. In the end, what does that bring us? …exhaustion, sickness, loss, anger, frustration, being overwhelmed, seeing the work that we have built coming to nothing?
Our pursuit needs to be not a pursuit of what’s the best, brightest, and shiniest. It needs to be a pursuit of YHWH first and foremost. We need to not make the same old mistakes that the Old Testament Israelites made. We must pursue YHWH.
John J. Camiolo Jr.
“May your light never go out” – a blessing
YHWH gave a command to Aaron and Israel. Never allow His light to go out in the tabernacle. It was the priest’s job to keep the lamp in the tabernacle lit at all times. His light is to shine in the darkness, never consumed or put out. His light is to shine at all times and for all times. It is a beacon of hope to the world. It is holy to the LORD.
In the same way, the priest is to take fine flour and bake 12 loaves of bread and place them on the pure (gold) table in the presence of YHWH. These 12 loaves are to be continually before him, to be eaten by Aaron and his descendants and then replenished every Sabbath. They are holy to the LORD.
More than that, the Name of the LORD is holy. When a man blasphemes the Name of the LORD, there are consequences. It becomes a death sentence. To dishonor the Name of the LORD is to dishonor the LORD. That cannnot be allowed in the camp and presence of God. YHWH is not going to strike down every person who says something negative about Him, but He does expect His people to respond appropriately. He is the LORD, and His name is Holy.
Do we treat YHWH and His name as holy. Are we a light that never goes out, or are we on and off and on and off. Do we point to the bread of life, or only to ourselves?
That’s one of the things that i like about YHWH. It’s not all just about rules and regulations. It’s about utilizing all kinds of aspects of life. It’s about creativity and connecting the past, to the present, to the future. Worship is not just about sacrifices and burnt offerings. It’s also about bringing something before God that you are to consume in his presence. It’s about festivals and rest as well.
There are a number of festivals that are to be celebrated throughout the year; the Passover, Pentacost, the feast of weeks, the feast of booths, etc. They all have meanings and important interpretations. For instance, passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage and slavery under the Egyptians. It is a celebration of new life and hope. It is a celebration of freedom. Meanwhile, the feast of booths is a week long celebration in which the first day is a day of rest and the only work that can be done is the building of small booths made of the branches, boughs, and fronds of trees. It is a celebration as a reminder of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness where they had to rely on God for protection and provision. It is a time of blessing. The feast of booths begins and ends with a day of rest to the LORD. I mean honestly, how many religions do you know that celebrate rest?
Are we taking seriously what YHWH has done for us? Do we make it a point to remember and celebrate together the ways that He has brought health and healing to our lives? Do we remind one another and celebrate together His work and purpose in and through us? How can we do this more?
Whenever YHWH sets a leader over His people, He sets up some pretty high expectations. There are things that the people can do that the leaders must stay away from. Those who act as priests, prophets, and kings are expected to live at a higher standard than those who do not have a direct connection and responsibility to YHWH.
In this chapter those of the priestly line and especially the priests who serve the LORD are instructed that they may not defile themselves by a corpse unless it is a direct family member. Even then, the high priest may not even do that. They may not marry a woman who has been widowed or divorced, or who has slept with any other man at any time in her life. She must be a virgin or he may not marry her. Nor may a priest tear his clothes in mourning or uncover his head. If his daughter profanes herself in harlotry, it rests on him as well. Then finally, if there is any physical defect in a man, He may not serve as priest before the LORD. YHWH even goes so far as to say that if a man has a broken hand or foot, he may not serve the LORD.
Do we take our responsibility in representing the LORD seriously? Do we set ourselves apart from the world, or do we do what everyone else is doing? As people who pursue God and seek His work and will in our lives, we should be living examples of God and His work and will. We should be truly pursuing Him in all holiness.
Leviticus 20 parallel’s chapter 18 in most ways. They both deal with those things that profane the people and the land. They both respond to sexual sins and blatant ungodliness. Both refer to the corruption of the nation through the corruption of the people, and that the very land itself will spew them out when their actions come out this way.
All of this is important for all people. These are sins that cause the land to become unfertile and to reject its inhabitants, whether they be Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or Hindu’s, or Buddhists, or Atheists, or Animists, any others. When we pursue sexual immorality and spiritists, we will find time and time again that our nations will become more and more corrupt and that we will lose what we cherish most.
On a more positive note, in this chapter we come across a new name of God; YHWH Qadash. YHWH Qadash appears in verse 8, and it means the LORD (YHWH) who sanctifies you. It is a beautiful picture of how YHWH cherishes His people and sets them apart for Himself. Those who are His children are blessed and honored by His name and His work in and through us. We are pursued and set apart by the Most Holy God. It is both an honor and a responsibility, and it must not be taken lightly. It must not be profaned.