Each tribe brought the same rich offerings to the dedication of the altar. The privilege of being a tribe in Israel brought responsibilities, no matter whether you were a large tribe or small, rich or poor. We, as a Christian congregation and denomination, have as great responsibilities in the Gospel – where our offering is Christ!
Here we have a passage showing some of the practical outworking of the setting up/down and transportation of the tabernacle amongst the Levite clans.
The chiefs of the tribes turn up with wagons and oxen.
The Gersonites were to put up and take down and transport the tent itself (chapter 4 v25), the curtains, hangings and cords of the tabernacle. They get two wagons and four oxen to help them out with the transport.
The Merarites helped with the setting up and taking down, and were to transport the frames, bars, pillars and bases, as well as all their equipment and accessories. They got four wagons and eight oxen (you can imagine beams would have a little more weight than curtains and cords).
And what about the Kohathites?
No oxen. No wagons.
“But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because they were charged with the service of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulder.”
Their burden was the ark and its cherubim, the veil, the table, lamps and the altar.
In Matthew 16 and Luke 19 Jesus says,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Jesus did this (and then Simon of Cyrene), carrying the physical cross to Golgotha.
The cross is not a holy thing. It is an instrument of blood and death, an evil and cruel method of punishment.
But Jesus bore the cross on His shoulders obediently, suffering the death of a wretched criminal.
And so our King calls us to walk in the same way, submitting obediently under the Father’s will for us, following Jesus.
Instead of carrying the holy things on our shoulders as the Kohathites did, we follow Him who IS the holy thing!
We are now the portable tabernacle, God’s kingdom, not built by human hands.
And so we follow Jesus, the holy one. We take up our cross because He took up our sins and bore them on the tree.
* Lord God,
Please help us to understand this passage from Your word today.
Please help us to see Jesus.
Please help us merciful God to show Your love to those around us. To love as we have been loved by You.