Introduction: This week we turn to the process for equipping God’s
sanctuary. How does God want to obtain the equipment for His work?
How does He want to obtain the workers? If support comes from
offerings? Should everyone give the same gift? Can anyone be too old
to work for God? Let’s plunge into our study of Numbers and learn
some more about God’s instructions on these issues!

  1. Offerings

    1. Read Numbers 7:1-2. Focus on the picture: God’s
      tabernacle is erected, furnished and even has all of its
      utensils in place. The head of the families made
      offerings that made this possible. We are always
      interested in God’s view of offerings. Did every person
      make an offering? (It says the tribal leaders made them.)

      1. Why not require everyone to make an offering?

    2. Read Numbers 7:3. What do you think about these
      offerings? Did every tribal leader examine his heart and
      decide what he would give? (No. This is a co-ordinated
      effort. No doubt Moses told them what was needed and they
      gave it.)

      1. Have you ever done this before: given what was
        needed as opposed to giving money in general?

        1. Which approach do you think would be more
          productive? (I understand people give more for
          projects. They can see what they are giving
          for and they feel more involved.)

    3. Read Numbers 7:4-8. On what basis were the carts and oxen
      distributed? (“As each man’s work requires.”)

      1. Is that how we distribute the offerings in our
        church today?

      2. In my conference, they look at the church
        membership, the attendance, the tithe and they come
        up with a formula to determine how many pastors your
        church should have. Does that reflect what “each
        man’s work requires?”

      3. What if church leaders just looked around and asked:
        “Where is God’s work best progressing? What is
        producing results? We will put the money there.”
        Would that be consistent with what is going on in

    4. Read Numbers 7:10-11. This is a dedication offering. One
      leader brings his dedication offering each day for twelve
      days. Is this just an offering, or is this a ceremony?

      1. Should we make our offerings into ceremonies?

      2. We tend to try to minimize our offerings. Some
        churches have an offering box at the back and never
        call for an offering. Should we sometimes focus on
        the offering?

    5. Read Numbers 7:12-17. We won’t read the next eleven days
      of gifts because they are all the same. My wife’s
      birthday is coming up soon. I like this idea of knowing
      exactly what the offering should be! Unfortunately, I’m
      left with very little guidance. What should we conclude
      from the fact that everyone gave the same thing?

      1. If you scan over Numbers 2, you will see that some
        divisions/tribes were five times larger than others.
        Is this God’s view that everyone should give the
        same amount regardless of ability to pay? (This is
        not the entire picture we find in the Bible. The
        tithe ( Leviticus 27:30-32) was based on “income,” it
        was not a set amount each person paid. It increased
        with increased income.)

      2. Do you think the ceremonial aspect of this offering
        has something to do with the amount of this
        offering? (Yes. Read Numbers 7:84. These are the
        plates and bowels for the tabernacle. They needed
        twelve identical sets. Every tribe had an equal
        share in the worship service. I doubt this offering
        strained the resources of even the smallest division
        of the people.)

        1. Is this how our offerings are normally viewed:
          as an opportunity to be involved in the work?
          (The overriding theme here is that the people
          gave offerings that they could see were part of
          the worship system. Every tribe was a part of

  2. God’s Voice

    1. Read Numbers 7:89. When we studied Genesis we thought it
      was great that Adam and Eve got to speak face to face
      with God. When we studied Acts, we thought it was great
      that the Holy Spirit was so obviously involved in the
      work. Whose idea was it for this meeting between God and
      Moses? (It says Moses intended to speak with God.)

      1. Moses is the leader. He is one of perhaps a million
        Israelites. What does this teach us about God
        speaking to us? Is it like winning the lottery? We
        have to be a Moses – one in a million?

        1. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What does that suggest
          about our ability to approach God? What does it
          suggest about our ability to speak with God?
          (We can approach God “with confidence.” The
          text says nothing specific about actually
          talking with God, but it indicates that if we
          come to God we will “find grace to help us in
          our time of need.” Some communication is going
          on because we are promised results!)

  3. Retirement?

    1. Numbers 8:5-22 describes the dedication of the Levites to
      the work of the tabernacle. I want to focus on just a
      small part of God’s instructions. Read Numbers 8:23-26.
      What does this say is God’s view of retirement?

    2. Read Luke 12:16-20. What does this suggest is God’s view
      of retirement?

      1. Do we know this man’s age? (No.)

      2. What do we know about his general wealth? (He was so
        wealthy he did not know where to store his most
        recent crop.)

      3. Why did the man retire? (He did not retire because
        of age, he retired because of his wealth – he did
        not need to work.)

    3. Read Luke 12:21. What does Jesus say is the problem with
      this man? (He focused on himself rather than God. He
      focused on his pleasures rather than God’s will – at a
      time when he could still work.)

    4. I’ve often heard it said that the Bible says nothing
      about retirement. (I hear this from people who are saying
      silence means we should not retire.) They add that, if
      anything, Luke 12:18-20 says something negative about
      retirement. My own plan is to never retire as long as I
      can still work. However, I never previously noticed
      Numbers 8:25. Can you reconcile it with Luke 12? (If you
      look carefully at Luke 12, it does not provide specific
      counsel on age and work. Although many people become
      wealthy enough in their later years to stop working, Luke
      12 addresses money and work.)

    5. Let’s get back to Numbers 8:25-26. The text says “must
      retire” and “work no longer” but it also says “may assist
      their brothers in performing their duties.” If you “must
      retire” what is this “may assist their brothers” part?
      Can you reconcile those two instructions? (A number of
      commentaries suggest that at fifty the Levites went from
      “regular service” to an advisory role. They were giving
      instruction and advice.)

    6. Read Deuteronomy 31:1-2. At what age did Moses retire?
      (120 years.)

      1. Why such a disparity with the Levites? Moses served
        more than twice as long as the Levites!

      2. What rule should we find in these texts about
        retirement? (It is not wrong to retire from regular
        work at a certain age. However, God can continue to
        use us in His work for our entire life.)

    7. Friend, our study this week lends support to the idea
      that God has different approaches to offerings and
      different approaches to personal service. In some
      situations God desires one thing and in another He wants
      something else. Will you be flexible and open to God’s
      will for your service?

  4. Next week: Trumpets, Blood, Cloud and Fire.