My partner, Geremías, and I decided to take today as a “spiritual reflection” day. Our work has grown immensely over the last 2 weeks, and God has really harvested. But one of the requirements of this job is to have an “intimate relationship with God.” One of our professors, Jim Lynch, told us not to let our ministry interfere with our relationship with Him. That’s exactly what we’ve done, and we decided to devote today to renewing our hearts and minds for the One who deserves it most.
I had a profound study in Numbers today, and I decided I should write it down to share, but also to elaborate my own thoughts by writing it out. So here you go, off the normal rhythm of my blogs, but in my mind necessary.
I encourage you to read Numbers 3 before reading this. (Actually this blog is worth nothing if you don’t put your face in the Bible) I will be using the NIV.
Numbers 3 tells about the duties of the Levite clans, being the only non-military clan. All the other tribes and clans of Israel were devoted to military power, but the Levites had been set apart (actually by killing their “brothers, friends, and neighbors”) all the way back in Exodus to do this duty. They even have a whole book in the Bible dedicated to how they’re supposed to be priests. In other words, these guys are a big deal.
So God had just demanded a census of the people, and arranged those people. All of that was military strategy. These people are getting ready to take off to the promise land, out of the Desert of Sinai, where they had received the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses.
Before they take off, they’re going to need a formation and responsibilities as well. Verses 21-26 give duties to the Gershonites. They are, in summary, to handle the curtains, coverings, and cords of the Tabernacle and were to camp to the west of it. Verses 27-32 give duties to the Kohathites. They were privileged with handling the “most holy items” of the tabernacle such as the arc, the table, the altars etc… They’ll be putting their stakes in the ground to the south. Verses 33-37 give duties to the Merarites. They were to handle the structural stuff like the frame, crossbars, and posts and were to camp to the north of the tabernacle.
“Levi” means “unity,” and no son served under another family. Verses 21-37, which I have just summarized for you, are the Old Testament reflection of 1st Corinthians 12. Look at verses 4-6 in Corinthians and look at verses 12-26. God had called the Levites to be serving Him, but they all had different ways, talents, gifts, and duties. But it all honored God. That is the key to being a part of the body of believers. It is only healthy if it is an unselfish talent or gift glorifying God. The OT says it in a different way, but you can obviously see that God has a plan to get things done as one.
If we look at verses 10 and 38 we see a common phrase: “anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death.” The mediation of the OT could not bring the individual sinner into close communion with God. If a person tried to approach God in the sanctuary, the pain of death was their penalty. That’s the world in which they were living. But in the dispensation in which we live today, we have not only access to God through the Great Mediator but also boldness to enter into His very presence. This is according to Hebrews 4:16 which says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” A beautiful verse, and comparing these two thoughts, makes me realize how blessed I am to be able to boldly approach God, have communion with Him, and He with me.
Finally, a third theme I found comes from verse 15: “Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.” The Levites were predestined, were chosen to be hallowed to God, a servant. They were counted to compensate for the firstborns of the rest of the tribes. Taking into account that they were to serve God when they were 30 but they were actually a prospect since they were born. Paul says it twice, in Romans 8:29 and in Ephesians 1:4 how we are predestined to do the Good Work.
Isn’t it great that God had predestined us before we were born to do our part, our own unique part, so that others and ourselves can have a communion of boldness with Him!
P.S. This is something I designed using one of the pictures I took in one of my districts. If you like it, click it and download it or set it as your background. I would be honored.