Numbers 7 is the second longest chapter in the Bible.* Within these 89 verses, there is much repetition. The human author could write the first 17 verses, and then end with etc … etc. For sure, scripture readers, teachers, translators, and copyists would be grateful. Such a truncation of the text would save many Hebrew scholars from writer’s cramp. However, this is not what the divine author has in mind. For some reason, God inspires Moses to record – in detail – the twelve days of expensive worship.
So, what is God seeking to communicate to faithful students of Scripture who persevere to the end of this chapter? Here are some possibilities:
1. God loves to see godly leadership and wide participation. Each tribal head is to make sure his clan did its part. At this particular worship festival, the 80/20 rule does not apply, and God makes sure this fact is recorded for perpetuity.
2. God loves a cheerful giver. God, who gives so much to sinners, loves to receive sacrificial gifts from his friends. He displays great love when he sends Moses to Egypt. He shows even greater love when he sends Jesus to Palestine. He then receives pleasure when his people sacrificially love him. Reciprocal sacrifices show the intimate love between a husband and wife. Reciprocal sacrifices also show the tenderness and affection between Jesus and his bride.
3. God loves to see his people prioritizing worship. Israel’s visible church is expensive. The Tabernacle is somewhat extravagant in construction and furnishings. It takes quite a bit of money to support the priests and their families. Undoubtedly, there are some who question whether or not such worship is worth the cost; at time it seems so over the top. However, God’s people understand the importance of obedience. In addition, they understand this visible church is the means by which they, their children, and their grandchildren are to be spiritually improved. Therefore, despite their being relatively poor, they give of their first-fruits and new-found wealth. With willingness they rally to fund the worship of God. God’s people are investing in their spiritual prosperity. In addition, they are taking pride in the visible worship of the invisible God.
Therefore, let us seek to do our part in pleasuring the Father and prioritizing his worship. Some should tithe. Some should give the widow’s mite. All should give generously of their wealth. Then after writing our checks, let us consider our time, energy and skills. Let us every week arrive at the house of God ready to sacrifice. Let us every day wake up and seek to find fresh ways to spend ourselves in service for him.
* Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.