There are certain parts of Scripture that are filled with repeating patterns. This is especially true when we are dealing with the 12 tribes of Israel. In the case of Numbers 7, the repetition is found in the description of the offering of dedication that each tribe brought to the tabernacle. Each offering was identical and written out in detail. At the end of the chapter, the amount brought forward by the people is tallied up and recorded in such a way that any discerning reader could identify the fact that each tribe brought the same offering.
So the question is, “if the Bible makes it clear that each tribe brought the same offering in such a concise way at the end of the chapter, why was it necessary to record each offering fully and completely?”
I am sure that there are several answers, but here is the one I have been pondering:
As I read, I noticed that no matter the size of the tribe, the offering was the same. Judah and Benjamin, the largest and smallest tribes, brought the same offering to the tabernacle. What might this mean? I think it points to something very true about us today.
When Jesus died, He didn’t suffer more for the sake of the thief on the cross than He did for Peter, though the sins of the thief were greater. No, He suffered equally for both because it is not our sinful deeds that ultimately separate us, it is our sinful, dead hearts. So, in bringing the offerings before the Lord in equal weight and size, the tribes are acknowledging that their acceptance by God based on the quantity of the sins, but the quality of the sacrifice. In repeating the pattern each time for each tribe, this idea sinks in and an understanding emerges.
We who are in Christ are accepted by God because of a better sacrifice, the death of the Son of God Himself. Whether we are 1 or 100, liars, murderers, terrorists, or gluttons, our sinful nature is what separates us from God, and Christ is our only means of salvation. Let us cling to this more perfect sacrifice given freely to those who put their trust in the Lord.