Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20011010.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part VI - Blessing By Serving God Within His Inspired Word's Directives
(Numbers 8:1-4; 7:1-89 and 8:5-26)
Lesson: We must pay heed to Scripture on ALL we attempt to do for God in service, for God has set it forth as HIS DIVINE (thoroughly gold candlestick), SUFFICIENT (seven-lamped, meaning complete light), PERPETUALLY AUTHORITATIVE (almond blossomed) ADEQUATELY APPLICABLE (the lamps facing the room to illumine it ALL for ALL service done in the Holy Place) revelation to man.
- It is certainly an honorable ministry to give of our material resources to support the Lord's work and to dedicate our times and talents to serve the Lord in discipling others and worshipping Him.
- However, all service for God must be done in accord with His revealed will in His Word, and nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in Numbers 7-8 as follows:
- Blessing By Serving God Within His Inspired Word's Directives, Num. 8:1-4; 7:1-89 and 8:5-26.
- Numbers 8:1-4 on the tabernacle candlestick is sandwiched between the gifts of the tribal princes in Numbers 7:1-89 and the cleansing of the Levitical priests in Numbers 8:5-26.
- Thus, on the surface, Numbers 8:1-4 appears to be misplaced: it speaks of an article of furniture in the tabernacle unlike the ministries of giving or serving by the tribal elders and priests in those significant passages coming before and after it, J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, vol. I, p. 472.
- However, upon noting the candlestick represents God's revelation, we note Numbers 8:1-4 teaches how all service for the Lord must be done in accord with His revelation in Scripture to be acceptable to God:
- In addressing Moses in Numbers 8:1-4, God directed the Holy Place candlestick's seven lamps be set up to illumine specifically the area in front of the candlestick, Num. 8:2 NIV. Moses thus placed these lamps facing forward to light the whole room, Num. 8:3 NIV. Since the lampstand stood in the Holy Place opposite the table of shewbread and the altar of incense, the priests could see what they did at the table of shewbread as well as at the altar of incense before the curtain to the Holiest of Holies, cf. Z.P.E.B., vol. Five, p. 573. Scripture is thus adequately applicable for ALL service.
- The number of lamps were seven, a picture of completeness in the Ancient Near East. God's Word is sufficient for all the insight the believer needs for service, John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:11-13; Num. 8:2b.
- Also, the lampstand was composed of beaten gold in its entirety, a picture of divinity, Numbers 8:4. Scripture is divinely inspired so we can trust its message, cf. John 1:1,3 with 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- At the top of each of the seven branches was the design of an almond bud and blossom, Numbers 8:4b; Exodus 25:31-36 NIV; Ibid., McGee. Since the almond tree blossoms in January even before the almond tree leaves appear, it was named shaqed in Hebrew, meaning "the waker" with a focus on God's watching that His Word be upheld, cf Jer. 1:11-12 and T.W.O.T., v. 2, p. 952. God's Word is perpetually authoritative as God watches over His Word to fulfill it, meaning the believer can rely on its message THROUGHOUT his CONTEMPORARY service and walk, Hebrews 4:12.
- Summary: Being sandwiched in between the long Numbers 7:1-89 chapter on the prince's gifts to the tabernacle and the cleansing of the priests for service in Numbers 8:5-26, Numbers 8:1-4 reveals how necessary it is for all service, be it giving or ministering as spiritual priests, be done in accord with Scripture. After all, Scripture is divinely inspired, sufficient, perpetually authoritative and adequately applicable! Failure to heed God here leads to failure in service regardless of all good intentions!
Application: (1) The METHODS and MEANS we use to serve the Lord are as CRITICALLY important to GOD as are our motives to WANT to serve Him, cf. 2 Timothy 2:5. Hence, we need to watch that we are functioning in accord with His WORD as to our METHODS and MEANS in all we attempt for Him. (2) God's Word is DIVINELY inspired -- we can TRUST its ACCURACY. (3) God's Word is SUFFICIENT, we need no ADDITIONAL revelation from Him for life and service. (4) God's Word is PERPETUALLY AUTHORITATIVE, we can trust He is watching over it TODAY to keep its message effectively authoritative. (5) His Word is ADEQUATELY APPLICABLE, meaning we can trust it to be RELEVANT TODAY though it was written long before! Hence, we should USE it!