God is definitely a God of complete order. We even see this in the way He details how the tribes are to camp while in the wilderness and the order of procession whenever they moved.
On the east side of the Tabernacle would be the tribe of Judah, next to them would be Issachar, next to them would be Zebulun – these would be the first to break camp.
On the south side of the Tabernacle would be the tribe of Reuben, next to them would be the tribe of Simeon, next to them would be Gad – these would be the second to break camp.
On the east side of the Tabernacle would be the tribe of Ephraim, next to them would be Manasseh, next to them would be Benjamin – these would be the third to break camp.
One the north side of the Tabernacle would be the tribe of Dan – next to them would be Asher, next to them would be Naphtali – these would be the last to break camp.
In between the tribes and the Tabernacle would be Moses, Aaron and their sons in order to listen to God, serve God, and meet the needs of the people. We read in:
Numbers 3:38 (NKJV) “Moreover those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tabernacle of meeting, were Moses, Aaron, and his sons, keeping charge of the sanctuary, to meet the needs of the children of Israel; but the outsider who came near was to be put to death.”
Many Bible teaches believers that an aerial footage of Israel’s camp would depict a cross. Chuck Missler, “It would appear to us that it is a cross! Isn’t that remarkable? And this is from the Torah, not the New Testament!”
History tells us that the banners or flags for Judah’s tribal standard was, of course, the lion. Reuben’s ensign was a man; Ephraim’s the ox; Dan’s, ultimately, the eagle. It is interesting to note that these four primary tribal standards–the lion, the man, the ox, and the eagle–are the same as the four faces of the cherubim (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14; Revelation 4:7). Each time we encounter a view of the throne of God, we notice these holy living creatures. Some even see a resemblance of Jesus (Lion = King; Man = Humanity; Ox = Servant; Eagle = Deity).
Numbers 3 lists the sons of Aaron and the selection of the Tribe of Levi. Keep in mind that from the sons of Aaron would come the High Priests of Israel, and the sons of Levi would be their helpers as priests. We read this about the Levites:
Numbers 3:7 (NKJV) “And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle.”
The children of Israel, in one sense, owed God their firstborn son, so rather than taking him from each family, God “took them” from Israel as a whole, by setting apart the entire Tribe of Levi to be priests. When Moses numbered the Levites one month old and above, the total was 22,000 (Numbers 3:39). When God numbered the firstborn among Israel one month and above, the total was 22,273. God then allowed the children of Israel to pay 5 shekels each for the redemption of the extra 273 firstborn males who were not accounted for among the descendants of Levi.
As we continue our journey through the Bible, we will see these 3 sons of Aaron – Gershon, Kohath, and Merrari and the different responsibilities they have in helping with the tabernacle.
Numbers delineates where each of these families would camp and what their duties would be. Gershon on the west:
Numbers 3:25 (NKJV) “The duties of the children of Gershon in the tabernacle of meeting included the tabernacle, the tent with its covering, the screen for the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”
The family of Kohath would camp on the south of the Tabernacle:
Numbers 3:31 (NKJV) “Their duty included the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the utensils of the sanctuary with which they ministered, the screen, and all the work relating to them.”
The family of Merrari would camp on the north of the Tabernacle:
Numbers 3:36–37 (NKJV) “And the appointed duty of the children of Merari included the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, its utensils, all the work relating to them, 37 and the pillars of the court all around, with their sockets, their pegs, and their cords.”
Yes, He is a God of order in order to get things done efficiently and compassionately to reach the world. It’s a blessing to see how throughout the ages, God has given an assignment, a duty for all of His people. May we be faithful wherever He’s called us to camp and to whatever it is that has been entrusted to our care (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10).
The religious leaders questioned Jesus’ actions and authority, He hadn’t gone to their schools, or run in their circles; He hadn’t been elected into office, or appointed by the Romans, how could He have the audacity to clean house like this and oppose them in their positions of power – where did Jesus get that authority? Who did He think He was? Of course we know His authority was from the Father and He now possesses ALL authority (Matthew 28:18).
Jesus responds with a question of His own, “What about the baptism of John? Was it from heaven or from men?” If they were honest with that question, they would easily have their answer – the Baptist was undeniably from God, but they weren’t willing to face the truth and its consequences. They mistakenly thought they could simply forget God’s prophet, bury him, and be done with him – but they couldn’t. God wouldn’t allow it, God wouldn’t go any further with them, until they dealt with what He’d already given them.
Is there any sin-issue in my life that I’m trying to bury? I don’t want to face it? If so, I very well might be stuck there, stunted in my growth – or worse, in danger of being flattened in judgment (1 Corinthians 11:31).
As the Lord Jesus draws closer to the cross, He shares some heavy warnings with the Pharisees and the other religious leaders who opposed Him every step of the way.
Israel is described as a vine in Isaiah chapter 5, and here the Lord sees the religious leaders as tenant-farmers who refused to acknowledge God’s ownership of the land. At the heart of such an agreement the tenants were to produce fruit for the owner. Instead, these leaders persecuted the prophets of God who called for fruit and they were about to execute the Son of God who saw no fruit– they actually thought they could rob the living God of His land!
But Jesus warned them of the consequences of their decision:
Mark 12:9 (NKJV) “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.”
The rejection of the Messiah had been predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures; from a Messianic Psalm 118:22-23 (quoted by Mark – they should have read their Bibles)
Mark 12:10–11 (NKJV) “Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders REJECTED Has become the chief cornerstone. 11 This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
The Pharisees then tested Jesus with a question about taxes, but He blew them away with that heart wrenching response in:
Mark 12:16b–17 (NKJV) “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.
They were trying to catch Him in His words, but He just kept teaching them heavenly lessons. The image on the coin was Caesar’s go ahead and give it to him, but we are created in the image of God, we have His inscription upon us, let’s give ourselves completely to God! Jesus didn’t get political this time around, He was building a bigger Kingdom, one that would last forever.
Psalm 47 emphasizes the fact that God is the King over all the earth, and as King He will rule the earth. It just so happens that this King also loves us (Psalm 47:4), He will defeat those who oppose us (Psalm 47:3), we can therefore clap and SHOUT with a voice of triumph (Psalm 47:1).
Do you know this about God who is over ALL the earth?
Do you know this about God who loves you dearly and gives you the victory, even in suffering? (Romans 8:37)
Do you understand? If so, you can now sing with sense, you understand how you stand.
Psalm 47:7 (NKJV) “For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.”
The wicked will get what they don’t want, their greatest fear…and the righteous will get what they’ve always wanted, the desires of their heart, so don’t lose heart my fellow believer!
Psalms 37:4 (NKJV) “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Proverbs 10:25 brings to mind Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24-27. Will our “houses” stand when the whirlwind hits? When the test (which is on its way) is given? It all depends on if I’m in right relationship with God.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.