Numbers 3

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Census, camping location, and duties of the tribe of Levi.

Only the Levites were involved with the administration and function of the tabernacle. The Lord set the tribe of Levi aside for his service rather than the firstborn of every Israelite. Descendants of Levi’s three sons–Gershon, Kohath, and Merari–each had a specific location for encampment in relation to the tabernacle, as well as specific duties with the tabernacle.

The Gershonites were responsible for the various screens, coverings, and hangings of the Tabernacle.

The Merarites cared for the bars, pillars, and sockets, forming the tabernacle frame which the screens and coverings hung on.

The Kohathites were tasked with the various furniture pieces of the tabernacle, including the ark. The Kohathites’ responsibilities are not surprising given that Moses and Aaron were of that line (Exod 6:16, 18, 20), and Aaron’s line alone was to minister as priests.

No Israelite other than the Levites could have a participatory role in the Tabernacle upon pain of death (v. 10).

Continuing from chapter 2, there is orderliness and specification in the worship and life of the theocracy.

There is evident wisdom in having the same people do regular tasks. When continually different people do regular tasks things can be forgotten, broken, or mishandled. As this was the place where the Lord was worshiped, great care and attention were required.

Duties should be done for the glory of God and thus with diligence, zeal, and adherence to God’s prescribed commands and instructions.

One should be content with where the Lord sovereignly puts him in life. No one chooses his parents, much less his culture and nationality, and occasionally his “lot in life.” The Kohathites were to dwell on the south side of the tabernacle (v. 29) and devote themselves to caring for its furniture (v. 31). Yet later Korah would rebel against God’s sovereign and providential order rather than be content and thankful for what God had for him (ch. 16).

“The Levites shall be Mine. I am the Lord” (Num 3:48).