Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon
· The family of Gershon received two carts with their four oxen; they had the responsibility of transporting the fabrics of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:25-26).
Four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari
· The family of Merari received four carts with their eight oxen; they had the job of transporting the boards and pillars of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:31-32).
But to the sons of Kohath he gave none
· The family of Koath received no carts, and no oxen; they were to carry the holy furniture of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:4), and were to carry all things on their shoulders - so, to remove the temptation to disobey, Moses gave them no carts!
The offerings of the tribal leaders
· Each leader brought:
o a silver platter
§ each full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering
o a gold pan with incense
o a bull
o a ram
o a male lamb
o a young goat
o two oxen
o five rams
o five adult goats
o and five more lambs.
· Each silver plate weighed about three pounds, each silver bowl about two pounds, and a gold shovel about four ounces.
· These three verses at the beginning of the chapter, given right before the cleansing and dedication of the Levites, seems to be out-of-place, sort of randomly dropped in there for no good apparent reason.
o But we know that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16), so these verses, too, have been designed by God
o And their specific placement & timing I think are important.
o We’re given a very important lesson, I think, in these verses.
· The Levites were the servants of the Tabernacle – corresponding to the servants of the Church in the NT context (and Rev. 1, the Lampstand is a picture of the Church, so I’m on pretty solid ground here).
o A high and holy calling, but one that you can easily get caught up in and burned out in.
§ The Levites needed to be reminded that the work was really not up to them, but they were just to serve as vessels for God’s grace
§ Just like us in the NT era.
o The Lampstand (described in Exodus 25) did not have any capacity in itself to produce light – it could want to really really badly all day long – but it had to have lamps placed on it that themselves give light.
§ All the lampstand could do was hold up the light to extend its reach and make it more visible
§ Even then, it needed to be constantly trimmed and filled with oil so that it would provide constant light.
· Just like believers!
o We don’t have any capacity in ourselves to do what God’s called us to do
o All we can do is be vessels for God’s grace
o And we need to be continually “trimmed” and continually “filled” with the oil of the Holy Spirit.