Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.
Here specific detail is given to chapter 3. The three clans of the tribe of Levi (Kohath, Gershon, Merari) are numbered by age (30-50) and given specific responsibilities with regard to the tabernacle, under the authority and administration of Aaron and his sons ( vv. 19, 27-28, 32).
When it was time for the camp to move (9:17-23) Aaron and his sons would cover all the tabernacle furniture and prepare it for travel. Once that was done, and only then, the Kohathites would come and carry the covered tabernacle furniture.
After the tabernacle service was ready, the clan of the Gershonites would remove and carry all the various curtains, screens, hangings, and cords of the Tabernacle.
Following this, the Merarites would disassemble, compact, and carry the boards, bars, pillars, and sockets which the curtains and hangings hung on.
The care and transport of the Tabernacle–where the God of Israel’s glory rested and was worshiped–was no small task. The Lord through Moses directed how this should be handled, he did not leave the service of “the holy things” (vv. 19-20) up to human ingenuity or wisdom. Not only were these things expensive and ornate, they were sacred.
There is no denying that this was work. Numbers 4:47 emphasizes the labor, work, and service of these Levites. While it was work, it was a great privilege and honor for these clans of Levi, for no other Israelite could do these things. Paul said that to Israel alone belonged this glory and service (Rom 9:41).
Essentially tied with this was that this was ministry–a ministry to the Lord, and a ministry to and on behalf of the rest of Israel, a theocratic nation. Remember, they were all without our modern conveniences–they didn’t even have settled homes, they lived in tents, traveling in the wilderness! The “average Israelite” had much to do just to live; it was a blessing to have the Levites dedicated to the Tabernacle service on their behalf.
Two quick applications:
- The Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). The NT has definite instructions and commands for how that body must be cared for because of Whose it is. This also applies to the Christian’s entire life, for nothing can be done apart from our bodies. Christian, learn God’s commands, by his grace and Spirit and for his glory be wholly dedicated to him.
- The Christian ministry is accomplished by every Christian serving the Lord as God has sovereignly gifted and enabled (1 Cor 12). There are gifts of speaking and serving (1 Pet 4:11). Every Christian’s ministry is essential! If one Christian fails to serve as God has enabled, that hinders the church body and dishonors Christ. Imagine if the Merarites decided to just quit or take a day off! The entire nation’s progress would have been affected.