1 – Numbers 5:5-8 5 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, 7 he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong. 8 But if the man has no next of kin to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for wrong shall go to the Lord for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement with which atonement is made for him.
RAF: This passage offers insight both into true forgiveness, and true repentance.
True repentance is not something single. In other words, it does not simply apologize to the offended – though apology is first. True repentance includes willingness to make restitution – where proper. (See: 2 Cor. 7:9-11) As as seen in the example here, if repentance is long over due, and one cannot make it right with the individual anymore, acts of confession and restitution can still be made. Our text sees it done with the priests. Today, we might employ the Church.
But then too we see how forgiveness sometimes has two aspects as well. Forgiveness is conditioned first – on confession (Luke 17:4). And forgiveness is quick to respond in release. When forgiveness really shows its colors however, is when we wave restitution. When the penitent one comes, and seeks to make some form of reparation, and we are willing to suffer the loss because we are more concerned that the relationship is righted. This is a form of forgiveness that points men to our Heavenly Father. Make no mistake, His forgiveness of our sins included His willingness to suffer the loss in the imputation of our penalty to the Son. It was costly.
2 – Numbers 6:1-2 (ESV) And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord,
RAF: Nazirite vows were completely voluntary. Two notable exceptions (perhaps) were Samson and John the Baptizer. What is of interest however is the practice of voluntarily entering into seasons of special consecration before the Lord. Times of separating ourselves from legitimate things that we might draw near to Him. Days or weeks – or perhaps months of seeking Him out in a special manner. I cannot help but think how beneficial such times would be for us as well. It is not mandated anywhere in Scripture (except Deut. 24:5) that you take time for instance to be alone with your spouse – special times away with one another. But none can argue the wisdom and benefit of it. So too with our Lord: Times apart with Him will keep your relationship fresh, sweet and close.
3 – Numbers 6:22-27 (ESV) The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
RAF: What is important to note here is that the fullness of blessing is located completely in the Lord Himself.
a. The Lord be your happiness.
b. The Lord be your safety.
c. The Lord be personally and favorably disposed toward you.
d. The Lord be to you what you do not deserve.
e. The Lord look at you with smile on His face.
f. The Lord be the source of your peace.
Our blessing – our total blessing is in Him. All external blessings are but symbols of being His in glorious union.
4 – Numbers 8:10 (ESV) When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites,
RAF: Note the involvement of the Congregation. This is not simply done by Aaron and his sons unilaterally, the entire congregation lays hands on them. While the priesthood was divinely directed, nevertheless the congregation was involved in making their recognition of it publicly known.
5 – Numbers 8:23-26 (ESV) And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”
RAF: No doubt there is great wisdom here: The greater burden is to be borne by those between 25 & 50. Those above 50 are to counsel and assist, but leave the “heavy” work to those between the ages. This is probably to be applied regarding the carrying of the structure of the Tabernacle as they walked through the wilderness. But it is a good reminder that those older and more experienced must be willing in the right season to let others carry certain burdens, and to shift the focus of their own service. The mentality that one must “do it all”, and that, to perpetuity, is wrong headed and prideful. Maybe the younger ones won’t do it as well – but if the more experienced will take the time to be with them, instruct them, pass on their experiences and gained wisdom – it will still be done well. How hard it is for us older ones to let go, or shift our efforts.