HOLY GOD, HOLY PEOPLE
Spirit of God, as I worship you today, may I be alive to the stirrings of your Spirit in my mind and heart.
Read NUMBERS 3:1–16
3 This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.
2 The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstborn and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 3 Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. 4 Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai. They had no sons, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.
5 The Lord said to Moses, 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. 9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a] 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”
11 The Lord also said to Moses, 12 “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”
14 The Lord said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai, 15 “Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.” 16 So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.
- Numbers 3:9 Most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint (see also 8:16) to me
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of some of the ways in which you serve God in the church and the world. Thank God for this privilege.
The pilgrims are preparing to travel (see Numbers 1–2). Fighting men are counted. Tribes are arranged in the camp. The tribe of Levi is counted for a different purpose. Their job is to support the priests in maintaining the tabernacle (v 7). They have been specially set apart in place of Israel’s firstborn (vs 12,13).
Yet the privilege of serving God comes with responsibility. He is a holy God. Being a Levite or even a son of Aaron does not guarantee protection if wrong attitudes lead to sinful actions (v 4). Beware of messing with God or he might mess with you!
As Christians, we can be thankful that the warning of verse 10 no longer applies. Why? ‘We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus’ (Hebrews 10:19). Freely coming to God is possible, serving him becomes a joy. Yet such service must be curated with care. Even the best of our efforts can be spoiled if driven by selfish motives. Like the Levites we must ensure our lives are given ‘wholly to him’ (v 9).
Pray (or sing) these words from this hymn: ‘All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give; / I will ever love and trust him, / In his presence daily live. / I surrender all.’* What will this mean for you as you serve God today?
My Lord and Savior, I yield myself to you. I surrender my hopes, dreams, and ambitions to you today.
*Judson W. Van de Venter (1855–1939)
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