-Chapter 18 covers the gifts of God to His servants in the priesthood and tabernacle/future Temple service. These are the ones that very clearly bear the guilt when the sanctuary does not function in the holiness and purity that God desires (Numbers 18:1). The brothers from the tribe of Levi are the chosen priesthood line to join with Aaron and serve unto the LORD as a gift from Him (Numbers 18:2,6). They will attend to their obligation by the command of the Sovereign, but they “shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you (Aaron) will die (Numbers 18:3). Also, the outsider may not come in near the holiest place (Numbers 18:4). This will ensure that God’s wrath be removed from among the sons of Israel (Numbers 18:5). Aaron and his sons are the only ones to attend the priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, and they were expected to perform their service accurately with no outside help (Numbers 18:7).
-Now, after taking care of the priestly business, God speaks to Aaron further to delineate the priest’s portion of the offerings that are presented before the holy place. Their sustenance would come as God’s gift to them through the sacrifices of His people as they brought forward their best gifts and contributions. “Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours (Numbers 18:14).” Even the first born was theirs from man and animal, but they were to redeem the firstborn of man by their valuation price of five shekels in silver (Numbers 3:40-51; 18:15-18). All the gifts were holy and they were to be a perpetual allotment as an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD (Numbers 18:19). Since the Levites had no inheritance in their land, the LORD would be their portion and inheritance. The Israelites would bring their tithe to support God’s servicemen so that they could do the holy work unhindered with common labors and concerns. Again, then the Scripture reiterates that they bore the responsibility for theirs service and the guilt for their iniquity (Numbers 18:20-24).
-The LORD then addressed Moses again to make sure that the Levitical line would share in the spirit of giving as they were required to give a tenth of the tithe they had been given from the people. They would also tithe on the produce from the grain of the threshing floor or the wine vat, which would eventually be centered there in Jerusalem of the Promised Land. All the best was to be sacrificially given directly to the LORD; the rest of it could be dispersed back to the Levites and their families to eat anywhere as their compensation in return for their service in the tent of meeting. God’s final declaration at the end of the chapter sums it all up, “You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die (Numbers 18:25-32).”
-*Application* God’s messengers, pastors, and service people still receive the gifts of the LORD given by His people. As a full-time minister, this chapter ups the ante for responsible service and staying pure in the call of God on my life. Giving is a key part of the Kingdom of God and everyone, including the clergy, is expected to sacrifice generously so that the work of the LORD may go forward. Sadly, most of today’s American Christians come nowhere near a tenth of their income in giving back to the work of the LORD in His church. If everyone simply fulfilled the biblical command to give their tithe, we could change the trajectory of this country. Giving multiplies the Kingdom.
Verse to Memorize: Numbers 18:32