Summary: What I at first thought was a dry and boring book with no relevance to my life, turned out to be one of the most profound and exciting books in the bible, with full of application to my life! Learn how to make it through the "wilderness" of this life succ
Living for Giving
Series: A Biblical Guide to Wilderness Survival
October 2, 2011
In case you haven't been here or are maybe here for the 1st time, we're walking through the book of Numbers. Just so you know I'm not in control here, I want you to know that I've promised the Lord that I'll teach whatever I find as we take Numbers chapter by chapter...no matter what. So if you don't like what you're hearing...you don't have a beef against me...you've got a beef against HIM! Now, today is no exception. So this morning we're going to talk about giving. I'm sorry if that's a touchy subject with you, but that's just what's next. We don't talk about it every week, but if you're here this week, you might want to just consider the idea that what is being said could be something God wants to say to you.
The book of Numbers basically talks about the Israelites as they travel to the land God promised them. By the sheer power of God, they'd been amazingly freed from 400 years of Egyptian slavery by God Himself. Think of that, they'd been slaves almost 2x as long as we've been a nation. After God delivered them, He told them to travel across the Sinai desert to the land of Canaan, (the promised land) where He would establish them as a great nation. Well, we're on Chap.7 of Numbers now, and the Israelites still haven't started out on their journey! They're still preparing! If you'll remember, we said that the journey to the promised land parallels OUR journey to the promised land...heaven. We've left the bondage of Egypt (our sinful lifestyles) and we're on our way...but we're not there yet! How many of you know that "Preparation" is a big part of the journey? Probably the most important part. Some of us are still in the 'preparation stage' of our journey and we're getting impatient. We want to get married, or we want to get our education out of the way, we want to get our 1st house...ect. and we're tempted to try and skip the 'preparation stage' and jump right in (buy everything on credit, sleep with our future mate, go from H.S. to a job)...but I want to warn you...don't do it! Proper preparation prevents pitifully poor performance! I learned that lesson the hard way! When my boys were young (Matthew 12, Jared 10), I wanted to take them on a hike to a beautiful Havasu Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. (Ilus: Grand Canyon with boys.) Better preparation would have spared me SOOO much pain, if I'd only paid better attention!
In chap. 7, they're almost ready to go...but there are a few things that need done first. Mainly, getting the tabernacle ready for transport. Remember, the unique thing about their trip was that God was going with them. He would be present with them during the entire journey. But because He was holy and they weren't...contact with Him was instant death. So precautions had to be made so that God could be with them, without killing them in the process. It was like transporting a mobile nuclear reactor, if there was such a thing.
Let me just start out by reading Numbers 7:1-17. O.K... I don't really need to read any further, because from here on out it's a repetitious description of the same gifts over and over given by a different leader of a different tribe. As a result, it takes the writer (Moses) 89 verses to describe the gifts that they are bringing to the Lord. Now, it's not like the gifts are different, in fact they're identical...so why does he repeat it over and over? Is the bible TRYING to put us to sleep? No, that's not it at all. The reason he repeats is because he wants you to see and understand the overwhelming love that is being poured out towards God by each of the tribes of Israel. That just can't be communicated in just a few words or phrases.
Please understand that as they presented their gifts before God, they didn't have some preacher goading them to give what they didn't want to give. They weren't feeling guilty, and nobody was twisting their arm...they were giving out of a genuine and heartfelt love for their God. The bible is telling us 2 things...what the people gave to the Lord, and the attitude that they gave it with! As we talk about it, if you're like me...you might be a little embarrassed about your own giving to the Lord.
First, let's take a closer look at just WHAT the people gave to God. Do you have anyone in your family who's hard to give to? Either they seem to have everything a person could possibly buy, or they're just so darn picky... you're afraid to buy them anything but a gift card! Well, if you think they're tough, try getting something for God! What do you give a God who owns everything? I mean, how are you going to give something special to someone who owns the universe? I mean, a 'tie' just doesn't seem to cut it! Thankfully, the Lord made it easy on them.