Numbers 18 Ė 20


In chapter 18 we learn how the Levitesand the priest are to be taken care of by tithing and how the Levites are to be separated for the work of the Lord and how they will not receive and land inheritance.


Numbers 18:1 Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood.2 "Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness.3 "They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die -- they and you also.4 "They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you.5 "And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel.6 "Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the LORD, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting.7 "Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."


Once again we see God reinforcing the idea that the Aaron and his sons are in charge of the tabernacle and the Levites are given to them as a gift to help take care of the tabernacle. In verses 8 Ė 20 Aaron is told thathe and his family will receive the benefitsfrom the offerings made to God. All the best of the land that is offered will be used to supply Aaron and his family with food and other essential items. However, there are some parts of the offerings that Aaron has to give to God.


Numbers 18: 17 "But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD.18 "And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours.19 "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you."20 Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.


Not only did God have this plan for Aaron and his family he also had made sure all the Levites were taken care of as well.


Numbers 18: 21 " Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.22 "Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die.23 "But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.24 "For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, 'Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.' "


While the Levites would not inherit any land God has given them these tithes of the heave offering as their inheritance. Tithing was commanded by God under the OT and the children of Israel didnít have a choice on how much they could give. However, giving under the new covenant is now based on how much we purpose in our own heart to give to God.


2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.


When we give we are to give from the heart and we aretodo socheerfully. Being able to give back to God some of that which he has blessed us with should make us feel happy to do so. We should also give based onhow much we prosper.


1 Corinthians 16:2 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.


There is a definite difference between OT giving and NT giving. The reason I want to point this out is because may are confused in the religious world when it comes to giving because many of them teach that tithing is something that applies to the NTChristian when it does not. Giving 10% or tithing is no way form of fashion taught under the new covenant. The passages that we just looked at show that God has not given us the choice on how much we give to the Lord. Now we may give 10% then again we may give 20% but God knows our heart and he knows if we are giving out necessity or if we are giving out of love. I guess the main reason so many are confused about tithing is because they donít understand thatthe OT law does not apply to us today. They havenít taken the time tounderstand such clear passages such as.


Hebrews 8:13 13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


Colossians 2:14 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.


These are 2 passages out many the teach that we donot goby the OT laws and therefore we arenot under the law of tithing. Those who practice tithing today only do so with their money. Again, they still donít understand the practice of tithing because it was much more than just giving atenth of their money it involved a tenth of many of their possession such as livestock and grains. Now lets turn our attention back to our text starting in verse 25.


Numbers 18: 25 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,26 "Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: 'When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe.27 'And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress.28 'Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the LORD from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the LORD's heave offering from it to Aaron the priest.29 'Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the LORD, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them.'30 "Therefore you shall say to them: 'When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress.31 'You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting.32 'And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.' "


Isnít that interesting? Until I started preparing for this lesson I had not remembered this aspect of their tithing. I didnít realizethat once the Levites took 10% that they had to turn around and give a tenth of the tithe to the Lord and Aaron. When you take just a little bit of time and study the OT you can find all kinds of neat little tidbits like this one.


Chapter 19 gives us the details on how a person it to made clean after touching a dead body. I want us to look at the first 10 verses just see what the priest had to do in order provide away for someone to be made clean.


Numbers 19:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,2 "This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.3 'You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him;4 'and Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting.5 'Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned.6 'And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer.7 'Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening.8 'And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening.9 'Then a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin. 10 'And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. It shall be a statute forever to the children of Israel and to the stranger who dwells among them.


I always find it amazing how many detailed steps these people had to go through. Verse 11 Ė 22 basically states that if a person touches some dead that they will be unclean for 7 days and then part of their purification consist of them using water on the 3rd and 7th day and these ashes of this burnt bull were to be used as well. If a person did not go through the purification process they would remain unclean. It also tells us that whatever an unclean person touches becomes defiled and if you touch what they touched you will be unclean until the evening. When you think about what they had to back then to make themselves clean it should really make us thankful today that we donít have to go through so many ritual that all we have to do is made clean once through baptism into Christ and from then on if we sin all we have to do is repent and confess our sins to God and they will be forgiven.


When we begin looking at chapter we need to realize that about 37 or 38 years have passed by. We only learn about the first few years of their journey and the last few years of their journey.


Numbers 20:1 Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there.


We find out that Miriam dies at this time. I am sure by now that there were very few of those who were 20 years and older still alive at this time.


2 Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron.3 And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: "If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!4 "Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?5 "And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink."


Well as you can see even this new generation seems to have a problem with complaining and trusting that Moses is their chosen leader by God. Once again we will see Moses come to the rescue.


6 So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them.7 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,8 "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals."9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him.


So far everything seems fine. Moses is doing his usually thing and praying to God to help the children of Israel and God is doing his usually thing providing a solution to their problem. However were about to find out that Moses is about to lose it.


10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?"11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."13 This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the LORD, and He was hallowed among them.


I want you to think about all the things that Moses did wrong here. First of all he disobeyed Gods command. Instead of speaking the rock he spoke to the people and struck the rock. Second of all he did not give God the glory for this miracle instead he said must we bring water from this rock. The third thing that he failed to do was to have enough faith in God that speaking to the rock would bring about water and finally the fourth thing he failed to be an example of how a Godly man should behave. Because of his sin and Aarons God makes the judgment call that now Moses nor his brother will enter into the promise land. I really think this shows that God is a just God and that he does not show partiality. Even though Moses and Aaron did many wonderful things for God it did not excuse them from this sin that they committed against God.


I think we learn several things from this. First of I personal think that Moses simply lost here. Normally he was very humble man but in heat of the moment he sinned against God. We to learn from Moses example to do our best not to allow the heat the moment to cause us to sin. James gives us the best advice on how to maintain our composure.


James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;


We also learn from Moses that it is important that we obey God instructions and not try to do it our way as Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Another thing we learn is not to give ourselves the glory for something God has done. Notice what Paul teaches us.


Colossians 3:17And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


Finally we learn from Moses that we should not doubt in Gods ability to do what he says he will do, instead we shouldtake great comfort knowing that he is all powerful and that he keeps his promises. If we do all of the things then certainly we will be good example of what Christians is all about.


14-21 We learn that Moses wants to go through Edom because it was best path for them to take to make there way toward the promise land. However the king of Edom will not let them pass. So Moses pleads with him and even tells him that they will not bother any of the food sources and that he will stay on the kings road and even if some drink from his land he will repay them. But again the King would not let them pass so they had to go a different route.


Numbers 20: 22 Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor.23 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying:24 "Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.25 "Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor;26 "and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there."27 So Moses did just as the LORD commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.29 Now when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.


Here we see God keeping his promise about Aaron entering into the promise land. I am sure that Aaron was happy to see his son take hisplace as he died on top of the mountain. The whole congregation was sad at his passing and they mourned for 30 days the same amount days that they mourn for Moses later on when he passes away as well.