On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, the chief of the people of Naphtali: his offering was one silver plate whose weight was 130 shekels, one silver basin of 70 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; one golden dish of 10 shekels, full of incense; one bull from the herd, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering; one male goat for a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan. Numbers 7:78-83, ESV.
When we talk about the difficulty that we have in reading the book of numbers, it is passages like this we generally have in mind. The chiefs of the twelve tribes of Israel brought their offerings to support the work of the newly constructed tabernacle and, even though the all bring the same gifts, Moses describes their gifts in some detail. By the time we get to our passage, we have already read eleven identical accounts.
What are we to take away from a passage like this one? At least three things. First, all of God’s people were involved in funding the work of God. The chiefs brought the offerings but, as they came as representatives of their tribes, it is likely that these offerings were collected from the people of their tribes. So, God funds His work through the stewardship of His people. Second, we can observe that every tribe gave the same amount even though the tribes were not all the same size. Surely some tribes were wealthier than others. Nonetheless, because each tribe gave the same amount, each tribe was equally invested in the house of worship, the place where God’s people met with their God. There are no second-class participants in Israel’s relationship with God. The third thing we see is that God thought it was worthwhile to inspire Moses to list the names of each chief. Ahira shows up five times in Numbers in his role as chief. Not everyone who obeys God and leads others to do the same ends up in the Bible. Even so, the names in this list remind us that individual obedience matters to God.
God funds His work through the stewardship of His people. There are no second-class participants in Israel’s relationship with God. Individual obedience matters to God. These are good lessons for us today! Paul is right when he says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).
My prayer for you is that your time in the Word each day would never seem a drudgery but would always be blessed by insights about our God, His grace to us, and our call to glorify Him!