The Book of Numbers – Our Light, Bread and Devotion

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Following the dedication of the Tabernacle, we get to see God instruct Moses on the setting up of the Lamps within the Tabernacle and the Setting apart of the Levites for service.

Setting up the Lamps

Numbers 8:1-2 “The Lord said to Moses,“Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.’”

The details of the how the lampstand was to be made can be read in Exodus 25:31-40. It was to be made of solid gold, having six branches, three on one side and three on the other. With the centre it would make seven, requiring seven lamps, filled with oil and Aaron was to keep them burning from evening to morning continually.

The golden lampstand also known as the Menorah, was placed on the south side in the holy place, opposite the table of showbread.  

The Table of showbread was situated on the north side of the Holy Place, where only priests were allowed to enter and perform rituals of worship as representatives for the people. On the table, on pure gold plates were 12 loaves of bread made from fine flour. The loaves were arranged in two piles of six.

The table of showbread was a constant reminder of God’s covenant with his people and his provision for the twelve tribes of Israel, represented by the twelve loaves.

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Our ultimate provision came in the form of Jesus.

In John 6:35 we read “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

And in John 6:51, Jesus says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

The light from the lampstands illuminated the bread, God’s provision to His people. The lampstand by itself could give no light, the light came from the lamps.

John 1:9, says, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

John 1: 4 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

In Mathew 5:14, Jesus calls his followers ‘the light of the world’.

We his people are the light of the world not by our own doing, but because of Christ in us.

In Revelations 1:20, we read that the seven lampstands represent the seven churches. As people of God that form His church, we illuminate Jesus and the path to the bread of life (Jesus). Our lives are to point to Christ, providing a platform for Jesus to be known and seen.

Tending to the Light within us

Leviticus 24:1-3 “The Lord said to Moses, command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually.”

The lamps needed tending, refilling of oil, trimming of the wicks to keep burning and illuminating the bread loaves.

For us: For our light to shine and to point to the bread of life, we need to tend to our personal relationship with God. To keep the oil filled – we must set time aside with God, be intentional and diligent in doing so.

Are we continuously tending to our connection with God, so that the Spirit’s flame within us keeps burning and illuminating Jesus?

The Levites had to always be aware of how much oil was needed to keep the lamps burning through to morning, and so in the same way, we need to be aware of our spiritual refilling. The Levites had to tend to the lamps daily, they had to make sure that they had the clear oil of pressed olives for the lamps for every single day. We must remember that they were in the wilderness at this time, they were not growing anything to get olives or get oil out of olives. They probably had to obtain it (possibly through trade). They would have had to give something up to get the oil. This convicted me that time at the Lord’s feet is valuable enough to give something else up in my day. Time with God should not be the first thing we give up when the day get busy.

Setting Apart of the Levites

The Levites were given to the priests as a gift from God to help, to assist them in service to the Lord and the people.

The responsibilities of the Levites were to take care of the tabernacle and its furnishings, setting it up, taking it down and carrying it as they moved through the wilderness. They did not serve at the altar, were not allowed to perform any priestly duties. But their service was nevertheless valued and important. Their work of practical service also required dedication and consecration to the LORD.

Num 8:7 “To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. And so, they will purify themselves.”

Following this, they had to perform a series of offerings, a grain offering, sin offering and a burnt offering.

For us: As servants of God, we have a responsibility to keep ourselves clean and dedicated to God. But as the Levites had to follow the initial cleansing with offerings, we cannot clean our hearts, only the Lord can. Our cleansing process might look different, but God works on purifying us. Maybe the cleaning process involves getting rid of pride, or the need to keep seeking glory for oneself, the urge to live in comparison, jealousy etc.

Num 8:11 “Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.”

“The idea in the wave offering was to hold an object, usually the part of the offering that would be the food for the priests, before the Lord, to wave it back and forth, and then to keep it for one’s own use.” (Allen, Ronald. Numbers. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 2)

The symbolism here was that Levites were consciously being given over to God in their service to the people. What a beautiful picture for us to keep, to ensure that our desires and motives are consciously being given over to God as we serve Him.

Lord God, your word is filled with so many wonderous things that fill us with awe of who you are, always teaching us of how we are to be in response to your presence in our lives. Thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus, our light, and our bread of life. May we be dedicated in our service to you, may we not do it for any other purpose than to bring you glory.  

God Bless.

29 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – Our Light, Bread and Devotion

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  1. Thanks Manu, for this lesson on staying diligent and intentional in our relationship with the Lord. There are countless blessings available to us through Jesus but we have to be willing to walk in obedience and put God first in all things.

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  2. Thankyou for so much for the rich teaching here Manu. Your statement “For our light to shine and to point to the bread of life, we need to tend to our personal relationship with God.” reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins, and how important it is to keep our lights burning. I’ve never considered that the Israelites in the wilderness would not have had oil handy, and would have had to give up something in order to obtain it. I need to ponder how I can apply this in my own life. Blessings to you today Manu!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the connection you made with the ten virgins. Thank you so much Jo, may we keep tending to our relationship with God with a sense of priority and urgency.
      Is the big day for your daughter yet to happen?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this enlightening post, Manu! There were many good points that jumped out at me.
    – I appreciated the reflection on how Jesus is our bread and our light. He feeds us and He lights our world!
    – I also really liked your point about how we need to be intentional about tending to our personal relationship with God. Life can easily pull our attention away. So it is important to make every effort in this area.
    – I also loved your point about the need to give something up in our day in order to spend time with Jesus. This is so true and convicted me as well. Some mornings I would rather try to get more sleep. But instead I need to put the Lord first, get up and spend time with Him. He will energize me in a way that sleep cannot.
    – And one statement that really hit home: “we cannot clean our hearts, only the Lord can.” Praying Psalm 51:10 (“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”) is something I try to remember each day.
    Thank you for this post! You have given me a lot to reflect on, my friend. I hope you have a blessed weekend 🦋🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bridget, I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts with me.
      I really like the verse in the Psalms you pointed out – create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me – yes that is what I pray for too.
      Have a blessed weekend too my friend 💙💐🙏🏽

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t you just love the symbolism found in the Bible? This was a great post, Manu. I especially liked the following statement: “This convicted me that time at the Lord’s feet is valuable enough to give something else up in my day. Time with God should not be the first thing we give up when the day get busy.” This is something I want to keep in mind, as the pace around here is picking up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pray that he will start loving his time at preschool, can adjust to this new routine and that he would also make some friends ( if he has not already done so). That all the staff involved will go above and beyond in helping him feel at ease there.
      I also pray that the Lord meets you where you at and provides you with whatever you need each day as you navigate this Change in season with Liam going to preschool.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Manu, I remember some years ago reading about the “Temple Prayer,” a prayer patterned after the Temple, where the starting point is the brazen altar at the entrance (we enter by acknowledging the sacrifice of Jesus that had opened the way for us) and ending in the Holy of Holies (in the presence of God). That pattern of prayer has had an impact on my prayer life ever since. There are several websites outlining this, and they’re fascinating. Thanks for your research and sharing on this subject.

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    1. I have read some commentaries on that and it is very interesting. Thank you Ann. Have a wonderful Sunday. Just finished church here. Had a baby dedication and a baptism, it was lovely to be a part of both.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Manu, Your post gives me much to reflect on and work on.
    Our light, like the lamps in the tabernacle, needs to shine brightly to illuminate Jesus’ works and brighten areas of darkness. To keep our light shining, we need to be diligent and refuel; spending time with God in prayer and soaking up His Word. Blessings! ❤️💐🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jeanne 🤗. Time with God is something we know is so important and we always need that reminder as it is also one of the easiest things to slip up in.
      Blessings to you 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Manu! Great post! I really like your visual! I made a PowerPoint for my teaching on Jesus being the bread of life and that image would have been a really great addition! I love how God is working on you and in your through this study. May God’s Word continue to read us so that we can live more for Him. Lots of love, hugs and blessings!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Mandy. I very much value your thoughts on what I learn and share as I know you are passionate about it all. I miss you regular posts but also know that you are doing the right thing of balancing how much you can put out considering your class workload.
      Hugs and love to you too my sister 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how these real live Old Testament stories come alive from your writings. I think of our own lives as lamps and to keep our lamps burning. The oil for us is the anointing through the Holy Spirit and as you said, our light leads people to the bread of life. Bless you. ❤️🙏🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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