Numbers 8 – Menorah – Part 1
Numbers chapter 7 ended with the voice of God speaking from above the mercy seat to Moses. It was the first time Moses heard the voice of Yahweh coming from above the Ark of the Covenant. Starting into chapter 8 might seem anti-climatic in comparison if we are not careful with the text.
8:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
2 “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.’ ”
Although we have encountered the words of verse one many times already on our way through the book of Numbers, do you think Moses ever got used to it? Do you think you would get used to YHWH speaking to you in an audible way? I’m guessing it kept Moses humble. When God’s voice is heard it commands attention. He doesn’t mince nor waste words. When Yahweh opens His mouth what He is about to say is critically important, so pay attention!
So what important thing does Yahweh say to Moses? Hey, Moses! I want you to tell your brother and High Priest Aaron something for me. I have something important for him to do.
Ok, God, I’m listening. What do you want me to tell Aaron?
Tell Aaron I want the seven lamps of the lampstand arranged in a certain way….
Sure, God, I’ll tell Aaron.
Um, ok. Yeah, I don’t get it. At least I didn’t until I started digging into it a little. I’m not even sure I fully understand it now. Let’s read the next two verses and see if it starts to make sense.
3 And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses.
4 Now this workmanship of the lampstand was hammered gold; from its shaft to its flowers it was hammered work. According to the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
In verse three Aaron obeys God’s instruction as delivered through Moses. But then there is the strange verse four. Why do I call verse four strange? Well because in context it doesn’t seem to fit. It kind of interrupts the flow of the narrative. Remember Numbers 7:1?
1 Now it came to pass, when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, that he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings, and the altar and all its utensils; so he anointed them and consecrated them.
Moses was done setting up the tabernacle. Everything was arranged and we have moved passed Yahweh’s instruction on how things should be made and arranged in the tabernacle. Why is this passage here? Eh, it’s just one of those scriptures that doesn’t quite make sense. Let’s just move on. No need to hurt our brains on some minor detail right? I mean is it a big deal if we don’t really get these few verses?
If I was just reading this passage devotionally I might ponder these verses for a few minutes, shrug my shoulders and move on. But right now I’m stuck. I just can’t bring myself to abandon these seemingly boring details about the lampstand. There’s got to be a reason God felt this was important enough for Moses to record for all of mankind.
I’m afraid we are going to have to wait until next time to discover what these few verses are about. Maybe you’ll want to do some study on your own in preparation. Strap your Hermeneutical tool belt on and go to work. You will not be disappointed I promise.
Let me give you a little spoiler.
9:1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.
2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;
See the last two words in Hebrews 9:1, earthly sanctuary? Notice the word lampstand in verse 2?
Could it be that Hebrews chapter nine gives weight to the lampstand details found in Numbers chapter 8?
I’ve recently been accused of becoming more legalistic the deeper I dig into God’s Word. I’ve been told that I’ve become out of balance in my Christian walk, focusing too much on intellect, and not enough on the Christian life. It, of course, breaks my heart to hear those accusations leveled against me.
There are two reasons such an accusation is painful – why it breaks my heart to hear. First of all, that means the person making the accusation doesn’t know me as well as I thought they did. But more importantly, implicit in the accusation is the fear in them that they too will become unbalanced as a believer if they dig into God’s Holy Book.
Listen to me beloved! Nothing could be further from the truth! We must realize that the word of God, is the Word of God. You know what I mean, right? Read John chapter one. Falling in love with the word of God will cause us to fall deeper in love with the Word of God, the Lord Jesus. Don’t get me wrong. It is possible to love studying the word of God and falling to apply what we learn to our own lives. But remember as believers in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate the Word of God to us. So press in, dig, study, love the word/Word of God. you will grow as a believer. You will truly become better balanced as a believer.
All Scripture Quotations From The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.