Numbers 17-18

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 11, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The people are being transformed from a band of slaves, to an organized fighting army.

God had ordered Moses to send spies into the Promised Land so the people would know what it was all about.

The people didn’t like what the spies told them about what was up ahead. They weren’t willing to trust God to take them into this land.

Their lack of faith resulted in forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The book of Numbers covers that forty year period of wandering.

Last week we looked at a crisis Moses faced in his leadership. A fellow named Korah had stirred up some people to rebel against Moses’ leadership. They thought they could do just as good a job at leading the nation as Moses.

God didn’t agree with Korah. Fire came from God and burned up Korah and one set of rebels. Another group was dealt with by the ground opening up and swallowing them. A third set were killed by a plague.

We are still in that same time period of dealing with the issue of leadership, in particular, who should have the job of the priesthood?

Numbers 17

17:1-13 Aaron’s Budding Rod

:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod.

:3 And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house.

:3 rodmatteh – staff, branch

The word is also translated “tribe”, which is a group of people who are led by someone who holds a “rod”.

These “rods” are going to be symbolic of each of the twelve tribes.

There is going to be a selection process where God is going to pick the “rod” of the tribe that He wants to serve in the priesthood.

It’s kind of like drawing straws.

Aaron is from the tribe of Levi. The Levites “rod” has his name on it.

:4 Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you.

:4 the tabernacle – These rods are going to be placed overnight in front of the Ark of the Covenant that is located in the “holy of holies”, the back room of the “Tabernacle”.

:5 And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you.”

:5 blossom – When we studied the book of Exodus, we looked at the issue of the location of Mount Sinai.

We suggested that the traditional view of Mount Sinai, located in the “Sinai Peninsula” belonging to Egypt might not be the correct location. (Show “Traditional Sinai” Map clip)

We suggested that perhaps Jabal al Musa, located in Saudi Arabia might be a better location. (Show “Sinai” Map clip)

One of the interesting things about this location is the abundance of almond trees located around the mountain.
There are no almond trees at the other site.
You’re going to see that at least Aaron’s rod was made from an almond tree.

God’s way of selecting the priestly tribe will be to take the dead wood of the rod and cause it to blossom.

:6 So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.

:7 And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.

:8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.

:8 blossoms … ripe almonds – In one night, Aaron’s rod not only had the little nubs of “buds”, but had actually produced flowering blossoms and even ripe almonds.

All in one night. (Play “Rose” time lapse video clip)

:9 Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod.

:10 And the LORD said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.”

:11 Thus did Moses; just as the LORD had commanded him, so he did.

:10 before the Testimony

The rod of Aaron became one of the three things that were held either next to the Ark of the Covenant, or actually inside it. In a sense it was kind of like a safe-deposit box at the bank, where you keep your important records and treasures. The Ark would hold the two stone tablet containing the Ten Commandments (Exo 25:16), a jar with a sample of the manna (Exo 16:33-34), and now Aaron’s rod was to be added.

:5 will blossom – It’s important in the church that we allow God to have a say in who it is that serves Him in whatever position.

Some churches have elaborate steps that a person takes, and then they are placed in the ministry.

As long as anyone is willing to follow those steps, they will get a “job” in the ministry.

In truth, the best we can do is to recognize that God has chosen a person for ministry.

If you are considering going into some sort of ministry, ask yourself the tough question – Has God called me? How do I know?


The proof is in the fruit

I guess we could have said the proof was in the nuts, and surely some of us who serve God are just a bit nutty.
Play Woody Woodpecker laugh
Just think of it, they are going to take twelve dead tree branches, and are going to expect them to sprout and come to life!
By ourselves, we are nothing more than just deadwood. There’s not a whole lot in us that can do a whole lot for anyone.
And yet, somehow, when God gets a hold of our lives, he can take these dead old sticks and infuse them with such life that they not only sprout, but bear fruit as well.

(Jn 15:5 NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Abiding in the Vine will always result in fruit.

Not bearing fruit is evidence of a branch that isn’t abiding, it’s just a lifeless old stick.

Peter and the disciples saw the difference between when they were working and when Jesus was working for them.

(Lk 5:4–11 NKJV) —4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

They would learn to go after a different kind of “catch”. And they would learn that it’s not when they go out on their own that they will “catch” anything, but only when Jesus was leading them.

They would have a reminder of this after the resurrection when the disciples decided to go “fishing” again:

(Jn 21:3–7 NKJV) —3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them,  “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.

That’s what happens when Jesus is involved in your ministry, you will see some sort of results.

Sometimes, we need to be careful to not rush people into places of responsibility until we’ve seen the proof of God’s anointing.
(1 Ti 5:22 NKJV) —22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.
When God calls a person to serve Him in a particular capacity, there will be fruit (or “nuts”!)
The huge nut tree by the fence of the town cemetery was always laden with the delicious stuff, but nobody ever picked them. Not until the day when two young boys went a-nut-picking that is. They filled up a bucketful of nuts and seated themselves comfortably by the root of the huge tree, safely out of sight from anybody outside the cemetery, and began the process of dividing the collection evenly amongst themselves. “One for you, one for me.... One for you, one for me...” went one of them as he divided the nuts one by one. The bucket was so full that as he pulled out a nut, several specimens would roll out towards the fence, but there were so many to go that the boys didn’t mind. Cycling down the road by the cemetery was this young fella on his newly-acquired bike. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery, and slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he did hear a voice “One for you, One for me.... One for you,.....” but could not trace where it was coming from. Then suddenly, he realized what it was. “Oh my goodness!” he shuddered, “It’s Satan and St. Peter dividing the souls at the cemetery!”. “Quick, I must find someone else to listen to this, otherwise no one else would believe me.”. So he cycled down the road a bit, and to his relief there was an old man with a walking stick, hobbling his way towards the town. “Sir, sir, come quickly please. “ he said, “You won’t believe what I heard. Satan and St. Peter are down at the cemetery dividing the souls. I heard them myself - come with me, I’ll show you”. “Shoo off ya young brat you! Ya know no end of ya silly practical jokes, you do.” the man said. “Having the noive to ask me to walk back all the woi to the cemetery - Can’t ya see I’m finding it difficult to walk as it is!. Now shoo off before I whack ya one with moi walking stick! Young folk my day treated elders with respect, you hear me, RESPECT!” However, after several belated pleas, the young fellow finally talked the old man into hobbling his way back to the cemetery, and sure enough, they heard the mysterious voice from somewhere inside, “One for you, one for me... One for you, one.... “”Egad, laddie you’s been speakin’ the throot all thees toime.” whispered the old man. “Let’s see if we can catch a glimpse of the Devil heemself. “and shivering with fear, edged toward the cemetery fence along with the young lad. Peeking in from just outside the fence, they still couldn’t see anything, but sure enough, still heard -“One for you, one for me.... One for you, one for me.... And one last one for you. There, that’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done. “(It was later revealed that the old man with the walking stick made it to the town several minutes before the young lad on the bike!)
Fruit is the by-product of a growing organism.
If God has called you to be a street preacher, then the fruit will involve people getting saved and their lives changing.
If God has called you to be a Sunday School teacher, then there’s lots of things to look for: Salvation for your kids, an excitement in their lives about the Lord, love for the Bible and prayer, maybe the way they treat their parents and each other.
If God has called you to a ministry of intercessory prayer, you’re going to see what? Answered prayers!
If you’re a worship leader, then people are going to be experiencing true worship (from time to time at least). You’ll be seeing some of the results of true worship, namely humility, joy, peace, healing, etc.
Sometimes fruit can be measured in “numbers”.

When people come to the Lord, your group will grow in size.

Sometimes fruit can be measured in depth.

If the lives of the people you minister to are developing, falling more in love with Jesus, then that is fruit.

I’m not sure it’s just the amount of fruit that counts, but that there is fruit.
There were people that God called in the Bible who did not see a lot of “fruit”.

God called Jeremiah to speak for Him, but I don’t recall Jeremiah having a lot of “converts”.

On the other hand, God also called Jonah, and we all know how reluctant Jonah was to follow God’s commands.

Yet Jonah probably had one of the biggest “altar calls” that a preacher ever had – an entire city turned to God.

Both Jeremiah and Jonah were called, but the amount of “fruit” was different.

If I try to compare my “fruit” with Greg Laurie’s, I could get quite discouraged.
It’s not the amount of fruit, but the fact of fruit.

When we left the Baptist church, we started a little home Bible Study. There were four of us (including Deb and myself).

If five years later there were the same four people, and none of us had really grown in the Lord, then I should ask myself some difficult questions.

If I never see fruit in my ministry, I may need to face some hard questions about whether or not I’m doing what God has called me to do.

:12 So the children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Surely we die, we perish, we all perish!

:13 Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD must die. Shall we all utterly die?”

In the last chapter, the people were complaining that they all wanted to be priests.

Now they are all afraid of getting too close to God.

God has an answer for them.

Numbers 18

18:1-7 Priestly Responsibility

:1 Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood.

:1 bear the iniquity

bearnasa’ – to lift, bear up, carry, take

iniquity‘avon – perversity, depravity, guilt or punishment of iniquity

These two words are used together over 30 times in the Old Testament.
Sometimes it is translated “pardon” or “forgive”, the idea of taking sins away (Ps. 85:2; Mic. 7:18).
Sometimes it seems to be used to talk about taking sins into God’s presence for the purpose of having the sins forgiven.

(Le 10:17 NKJV) —17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?

It seems here the best idea that fits the context is that of bearing the responsibility of handling sin before God.

The people have just learned a huge lesson. It can be quite dangerous to approach the Living God.

It’s like the danger of handling nitro glycerin. It can be quite explosive.

Now Aaron and the Levites are being given the clear responsibility to be the ones handling the nitro glycerin.

Specifically, it is the tribe of Levi that will be responsible for the things of the “sanctuary”, or the Tabernacle.

It is Aaron and his family who will be responsible for the duties of the priesthood.

:2 Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness.

:3 They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die—they and you also.

:4 They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you.

:5 And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel.

Again, the idea is that the rest of the nation will be kept “behind the yellow safety line” while the priests and Levites will be responsible to make sure they do their ministry correctly.

:6 Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the LORD, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

:7 Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

:7 gift for service – alternate translations: “a bestowed service” (NAS); “I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift” (NIV)

What God is saying is that Aaron’s position as priest was a gift from God to him.

Some people will look at Aaron’s position as high priest and think that it’s a pretty cool thing to have such a high position and be paid so well.
I wonder if Aaron is looking at the dead bodies lying around from Korah’s rebellion and wondering if this is really a gift he wants.

As a gift, it wasn’t something Aaron had earned or worked hard to attain to. It was simply a gift.

This calls to mind the New Testament word “charismata”. “charis” means “grace”, “mata” means “work”, we translate the word “spiritual gift”

Spiritual gifts are not abilities that a person is naturally endowed with. They aren’t abilities that a person acquires from a lot of hard work. They are abilities that are supernaturally given to them from God.

You can take no credit for the spiritual gifts God has given you.

(1 Co 12:7 NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

God will take your particular set of gifts and as you use them, they form your ministry.

Ministries, just as gifts, are given to us by the Lord

18:8-19 Priestly Compensation

God will tell Aaron that he will be paid by the offerings that the people bring to the Lord…

:8 And the LORD spoke to Aaron: “Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever.

:9 This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons.

:10 In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

:11 “This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

:12 “All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the LORD, I have given them to you.

:13 Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

:13 shall be yours

The priests would not have an inheritance in the Promised Land like the rest of the people. They would not have “the family farm” to pass on from generation to generation.

Instead, God promised to meet their needs by giving to them their support from the sacrifices and offerings that they participated in.


God takes care of His servants.

Look at how well God does it too!
(Nu 18:12 NKJV) “All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine …
Paul will use this principle to tell the Corinthians that it is proper for a person in ministry to be supported financially by his ministry –
(1 Co 9:13–14 NKJV) —13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

:14 “Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

:14 devotedcherem – a thing devoted, thing dedicated

Everything that is being given to God is going to be property of the priests.

:15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

:15 the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem

The first-born was to be God’s portion.

To give God His portion, you would sacrifice it.

God didn’t want people sacrificing their children, so He set up an “exchange” program where you could “buy back” your children from the Lord.

This is called “redemption”

Unclean animals were to be redeemed because God didn’t want the people sacrificing unclean things to Him.

:16 And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

:17 But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD.

:17 you shall not redeem; they are holy

The clean animals, those acceptable for sacrifice, could not be redeemed.

They too belonged to God, but since they were acceptable sacrifices (children were not), God didn’t want to sell them, He wanted them sacrificed.

:18 And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours.

:19 “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you.”

:19 covenant of salt

This phrase appears two other places in Scripture (Lev.2:13; 2Chr.13:4-5)

(Le 2:13 NKJV) —13 And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.
(2 Ch 13:5 NKJV) —5 Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?

What does this mean?

It seems that salt was looked on as something that lasted, something that was incorruptible.
God is making an agreement with the priests that their needs will be met. And it’s a solid, unchanging promise.

18:20-24 Levite Compensation

:20 Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.

:20 I am your portion

I like the idea that the priests had to rely on God to support them, and not trust in their possessions.


Where is the treasure?

Jesus said,
(Mt 6:19–21 NKJV) —19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
If our hearts are focused on earthly treasures, then our heart will be tied to earthly things.
If our hearts are focused on God’s treasures, then our heart will be tied to Him.
It’s not that God doesn’t care about our earthly needs, after all this entire chapter is about meeting the physical needs of the families of the priests and Levites. But God’s desire is that we learn to make Him our desire first, and then He promises to take care of our needs.
(Mt 6:33 NKJV) —33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

:21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

:21 all the tithes

So the Levites too, just as Aaron’s sons, were to be taken care of out of the tithes that the people brought into the Lord.

:22 Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die.

:22 shall not come near

This is what prompted this whole chapter, Korah’s rebellion and the people realizing that God was Holy and Just, and they were Unholy and Deserving of Judgment.

This didn’t mean that the ordinary person couldn’t worship God, it meant that they had to go to a priest who would offer up their sacrifice for them. An intermediary.

Like Jesus!

(1 Ti 2:5 NKJV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

:23 But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

:24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’ ”

18:25-32 The Levites’ Tithe

:25 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:26 “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe.

:26 a tenth of the tithe

Now the question might come up: “If I’m a Levite, and I’ve received the tithes from other people for the Lord, do I have to pay tithes?” The answer is YES!


Everyone learns to give

We are in a money-paranoid society. We have been abused so much by people out to fleece the flock, that we become wary of any talk about giving.
But the fact of the matter is, if you haven’t learned how to freely give out of what God has given you, you are missing out on a wealth of spiritual blessings.
This is what Paul wrote to the wealthy Corinthians, in trying to get them to have a financial contribution ready to make to the poor church in Jerusalem –
(2 Co 9:6–8 NKJV) —6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

There is a bit of truth to what the “prosperity teachers” say about giving, that you reap what you sow. Not that you will necessarily reap financial rewards for giving, but that God will make grace abound to you, and take care of your needs.

:27 And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress.

In other words, in God’s eyes, the tithe that the Levites would pay would be just as valid as if they had earned the sacrifice from being a farmer.

The Levites’ income was just as valid as that of the laborer.

:28 Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the LORD from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the LORD’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest.

:29 Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the LORD, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them.’

:30 Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress.

:31 You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting.

:32 And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.’ ”

:32 bear no sin because of it

As long as they were faithful to give a tenth back to the Lord, they were free from the sin of abusing what God had given to them.

:32 you shall not profane the holy gifts

The “holy gifts” were the sacrifices and offerings that the Israelites would bring to the Lord.

Sadly, this “polluting” (or, profaning) was done from time to time.


Spoiling the gifts

Eli’s sons
Eli was the high priest in the days before there was a king in Israel. He was the priest that little Samuel learned to hear the voice of God with.
Eli’s sons were evil men.
They used to rip off the people as they came to bring offerings to the Lord.

Instead of taking the portion that God allowed for them as priests, they took as much as they wanted from the people.

To top this off, they also were having sex with the women who served God at the Tabernacle.

(1 Sa 2:17 NKJV) Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

This is what happens when we abuse the things that God has given to us – people walk away from the Lord.

I wonder if this might not happen today in various ways.
Pastors, men in ministry who abuse the finances of the church.
Our own “gifts” from God – the finances that God has given to each of us.
Even spiritual gifts – not using or even abusing the gifts of God.