Friday, March 5, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - March 5 - Offerings for the House of God

Today's reading in Numbers 7 contains one of the most repetitive accounts in Scripture. Twelve times - once for each tribe save Levi - the record says this:

On the _____ day _______ the son of _______, the chief of ________, made an offering. He offered for his offering one silver plate whose weight was 130 shekels, one silver basin of 70 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; one golden dish of 10 shekels, full of incense; one bull from the herd, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering; one male goat for a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of ______ the son of _______.

Twelve times! Why would Moses record this same information twelve times over? Why not just say that all the tribes did the same thing, and be content with a summary such as is found at the end of the chapter?

We are not obviously in the place of God to know all the answers as to why He included the details in this text in the way they were written, but I have a couple of thoughts. First, the ancient world was a very oral culture, meaning that most people did not have access to the written word. In order for information to be passed on and preserved in such a culture, repetition was essential. After hearing this chapter read, most any Israelite have been able to remember - simply by hearing - the specifics of what each tribe offered.

Second, the very manner in which this text is written emphasized the unified and generous giving of all Israel. Each and every tribe gave the same thing, and each tribe gave very generously. It is a marvelous testimony to the unity of the people, and to the gracious spirit of the people.

And that is the point we should take from this chapter. All of God's people have a part to play, and all of God's people need to work together as generous members of the kingdom.

1 comment:

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