What does it say?
The high priest lights the lampstand and consecrates the Levites for service in the tabernacle (Num 8). The Levites serve God in place of the firstborn of the other tribes, serving in the tabernacle from the ages of 25 to 50, while the age span was 30 to 50 for the transport of the tabernacle (Num 4).
In the first month of the second year, the people keep the Passover for the only time in the desert (Num 9). God makes provision for those caught in certain extenuating circumstances to be able to take the Passover. God will guide the nation in their journeys by the cloud upon the tabernacle by day and the fire by night.
Two trumpets provide for communication in the camp to call for assembly, movement, war and celebration. In the second month of the second year the nation moves forward, and we see the order of the march. Moses urges Raguel to accompany them to be their “eyes” because of his desert knowledge.
What does it mean?
While God accomplishes his mission with or without our cooperation, the cleansing and consecration of the Levites reminds us that God desires for his servants to be clean from sin before him.
The Passover speaks to fellowship with God, while the instructions about the cloud and the fire describe his guidance. These two things, his fellowship and guidance, are essential for his people to advance his mission in the world. Notice also how provision is made for everyone including foreigners to participate in the Passover. God has always been an inclusive God concerned for all the families of the earth.
Seeing the calls of the two trumpets in the foursquare Israeli camp, it’s not difficult to understand the New Testament language regarding the church moving out upon the Lord’s return, invoking trumpet calls and a foursquare heavenly Jerusalem. In the midst of such a triumphant movement, it is so very human of Moses to beg his father-in-law to be his eyes in the desert, as though he never heard God promise to lead him with the cloud and fire.
How will I respond?
Am I “good to go” in God’s mission by being in fellowship with him and sensitive to his guidance in my life? Is there an area of my life where God has promised me something, yet I still try to make provision for it on my own? What would that be, and what should I do as the result of seeing this same weakness in Moses?