Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “GREAT GOD”…JESUS!
During the past 2 weeks the Lord has been ministering to me concerning the Servant Leader. So I decided to dive into some study concerning the character of priesthood service and how it applies to you and I figuratively and literally. Hence, for this Golden Nugget, I would like to provoke the thought “It is such a privilege to be used to render service unto the Lord” The following scriptures will be used to provoke further gospel provocation….
Exo. 28:1-2 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
I decided to go to the beginning of the tribe of Israel who was first called to minister in the Priesthood by the name of Levi. I was intrigue to see the meaning and value that was given to the names assigned to this family. The scriptures are so plain and striking that no one who is at all familiar with scripture truths can fail to appreciate the links. This tribe commenced with the birth of Levi as recorded in Genesis 29:34 “And she [Leah] conceived again, and bare a son: and said, Now this time will my husband be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi” (that is, “joined”) Hence, I decided to list the genealogy of this family that was chose to minister in the tabernacle of God and to his people; *please note what their names meant!
*I arranged the Tribe of Levi according to their families
Gershon meant a stranger, or exile. His sons were and what their names meant… (Lael) Dedicated, or belonging to God;(Eliasaph) God has added;(Shimei)Hearing, Renowned; (Libni) For edification, White.
Kohath meant Congregation, Assembly, His sons were and what their names meant..(Hebron) Association, communion; (Amram..MOSES & Aaron FATHER) Exalted people, of the exalted One; (Izhar) Oil; (Uzziel) The strength of God.
Merari meant Bitterness or sorrow. His sons were and what their names meant…(Mahli) Sick, Pardon or a harp, sickly; (Mushi)Yielding, one who has found a refuge, forsaking; (Abihail) Father of strength; (Zuriel) My rock is God
Let’s start by looking at when Moses had came down from the Mount to receive the Law and the plans for the tabernacle Exodus 32:25-29… “And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked to their shame among their enemies:) then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day.”
My brothers and sisters we see here that a new scene opens up to us, and we are called to witness the dawning of a new day upon Levi; a day which may justly lead us to anticipate greater things. We see the tribe of Levi with their sword by their side, but for a different purpose and cause! It is not now in anger or self-will by slaying men and women, but in accordance with holy jealousy to sustain the honor of the God of Israel. It was because of the Lords command that led Levi to cut off a brother, a son, and a friend. For God’s command was….“Consecrate yourselves to the Lord, that He may bestow upon you a blessing.” This was enough for Levi to take heed. Saints please note, although by nature Levi was also vile and utterly unfit for the fellowship or service of God, he response to what he has been delegated, that being to execute the holiness of Gods great name and worship against those who seek to “turn the glory of God into the similitude of an ox that eats grass.” Hence, Levi is not seen “joined” with his brothers in the wickedness of idolatry performed before the eyes of the Lord.
Numbers 3:5-9 “And the Lord spake to Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites to Aaron, and to his sons: they are wholly given to him out of the children of Israel.”
We see God’s marvelous purposes of grace toward Levi fully opens before us. We see that the sacrifices were a means to an end; please note that both the means and the end were in every way worthy of each other. The means was, “death and resurrection,” and all included within the purpose. The end was, to gain nearness to God, and all that was included within the purpose!
Wow, as I looked at Levi by nature, I see grace exercised through the blood, because it lifted him out of that ruin in which he stood; for God said “bring him nigh,” that’s right, bring him into association with the great head of the priestly family, there to serve in the tabernacle. Hence we read in Eph. 2-1-6 “You has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience…. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” And again in Eph. 2:13 “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
My brothers and sisters when our natural man is left free to work, it will lead us as far away from God as it can. This premise is validated in Gen. 3:10 when man said “I heard Thy voice, and I was afraid and I hid myself.” But when grace is left free and the sovereignty of God is at work, it will bring any the soul “nigh.” as it did with Levi. He was by nature “black as the tents of Kedar”; but by grace, he was “beautiful as the curtains of Solomon”: by nature he was “joined” in a covenant of murder; but by grace he was “joined” in a covenant of “life and peace.” To elaborate even further, Levi was by nature familiar with the “instruments of cruelty”; but by grace he became familiar with “the instruments of God’s tabernacle: because of the Holiness of God, He could not come into Levi’s assembly; but by grace, Levi was brought into God’s assembly: by nature “Levi feet were swift to shed blood;” but by grace, he was swift to follow the movements of the cloud (type of the Holy Spirit) through the desert, in real, patient service to God. Please recognize that as an application, Levi had become a “new creature,” and “old things had passed away,” and hence he was no longer to “live to himself,” but to Him who had done such marvelous things for him in MERCY and GRACE. GOLD NUGGET!
Saints please note that the Levites were, in the first place, declared to be God’s property, and then they were “WHOLLY GIVEN UNTO AARON.” Hence we read in John 17:6 “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me, and they have kept Thy word.” And again in John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me.”
I would now like for us to look into some of the detail of their service. In Romans 12:1-2 it states “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We find that although the whole tribe of Levi were, as to position, “joined with Aaron,” yet, as to service, they were divided into classes. “All had not the same office;” and this is what we might have expected, for, although they served in various capacities and levels in services unto the Lord, their service and gift distinguished them from their brethren in areas of service. Please note Saints that it is imperative that we do not compare ourselves and our service with that of another person’s services, because this is spiritually unhealthy.
Even though there was a diversity in the line of service among the Levites, we must remember that there was manifested unity. The Levites were one people (tribe), and seen as such; they were “joined” with Aaron (the Head Priest) in the work of the tabernacle; hence, THEY HAD ONE STANDARD and PURPOSE, which was “the tabernacle of the congregation,” for this typology pointed to our Anti-Type, Christ Jesus in His character and office. Please note in 1 Cor. 12:12-14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
My brothers and sisters it is so imperative that we see this as a foreshadow of the Church. The tribe of Levi in the desert was a truly striking example of what may be termed “unity in diversity.” Gershon was in one sense totally different from Merari, and Merari was totally different from Kohath; and yet Gershon, Merari and Kohath were one: they should not, therefore, argue about their service, because they were one; it would have not been right to confound their services, because they were totally different. Hence, attention to unity would have saved them from contention, and attention to diversity would have saved them from confusion. In other words, all things had to be “done decently and in order” the fact of the matter being “unity in diversity.”….Church, we must follow THE established protocol! GOLD NUGGET!
God did not call out the Levites merely that they might escape the sad effects of God’s absence from their assembly. God had more than their blessing and security in view while dealings with them. It was by design that they should serve in the tabernacle to render praise and glory to Him!
If you noticed from the beginning of this Golden Nugget I noted that Levi had three sons, Num 3:17 “Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari.” They formed the heads of the three classes I alluded to. We also find that the nature of the service of each was such as deemed necessary to impart that tone of character which was signified by their very name. Num 3:21-26 The charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof.”
Here was Gershon’s work, to carry through the waste and howling wilderness the tabernacle and its coverings. This was indeed true Levite service, and considered a blessed service, and its antitype in the Church is what we should seek after, because it puts the Saint into his right place in this world, i.e., the place of a stranger. There was not any attractiveness in the rams’ skins and badgers’ skins; but it was nevertheless, a high privilege for the Gershonite to take them all up and bear them cheerfully on his shoulders across the desert sands. Why? because as a type, the covering of the tabernacle was a shadow of things to come, as it pointed to the character of our Lord Jesus Christ….of us being covered by his righteousness!
This is what makes the Saint of God “a stranger” (as the name Gershon implies) in the world. If we are walking in the manifestation of the character of the Lord Jesus, we realize our place in the wilderness, and we are assured that it validates that we are strangers in this world. Unfortunately, there are numerous body of believers in the Church who have laid down the ram skins and badger skins, and the Gershonite character with them. What I’m saying is, the Church has ceased to walk in the footsteps of her rejected Lord and Master, and the consequence has been that instead of being the wearied and worn stranger, as she should be, treading the parched and sterile desert, with the burden on the shoulders, she has settled herself down in the green places of this world and made herself at home. MEDITATING NUGGET!
Please also notice that there was another feature of the stranger character shadowed out in the curtain, as pertaining to the meaning of the names…, anticipation. God dwelling in curtains showed plainly that neither God nor the ark of His strength had found a resting-place, but were journeying on towards “a rest that remained.”
And how could there be a rest in the desert? There were no rivers and brooks there …no old corn there …no milk and honey there. It is a known fact that the smitten rock (JESUS) sent forth its refreshing streams to meet their need, and Heaven sent down their daily bread (MANNA); but all this was not Canaan Land. They were still in the desert, eating wilderness food and drinking wilderness water, and it was Gershon’s holy privilege to carry on his shoulders that which expressed all this, THE CURTAIN. For in 2 Sam. 7:5-6 “Thus says the Lord, Shalt thou build Me an house for Me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.” We all have to watch and pray against this disposition to grow weary of our Gershonite character. Let us therefore remember that we bear on our shoulder the curtains, and have beneath our feet the sand of the desert, above our heads the pillar of cloud, and before us “the land of rest” clothed in never-withering green, and, both as a stimulus and a warning, let us remember that “He that endures to the end THE SAME shall be saved.”
This point is so essential today, when so many are declining from the narrow path of obedience to God’s Word, and entering upon the wide and bewildering field of human philosophies. Please bear in mind that the Levite, when carrying the tabernacle through the desert, found no support nor guide from beneath: no, the grace in which he stood was his sole support, and the pillar of cloud and fire (the Holy Spirit) above his sole guide. It would have been awful, had he been left to find footprints in the sand, because it would of changed every time the wind blew. But all the sand did for him was to add to his labor and toil while he endeavored to follow the heavenly guide which was above his head; the cloud, a type of the HOLY SPIRIT! GOLD NUGGET!
Now let’s look at the character of the Merarite; for, although the family of Merari does not stand next in order in the chapter, there still is a kindred spirit between the services of these two classes of Levites, which leads us to link them together, the Lord Himself presents them to us to represent unity of service. Notice in Num 10:21 we read, “And the Kohathites set forward bearing the sanctuary; and the other (i.e., the Gershonites and the Merarites) did set up the tabernacle against they came.” Here, then, we see that it was the responsibility of these two families to pass onward through the desert in holy companionship, bearing with them, wherever they went, “the tabernacle.” Please notice the services that had to be rendered…in Num. 3:36-37 And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serves thereto, and the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords.” This is what Merari had to do: he had to take his place here or there, according to the movement of the cloud, and set up the boards of the tabernacle in their sockets of silver upon the sand of the desert.
In the tabernacle, God was seen bringing all His glory into immediate connection with the sand of the desert: and when the high priest went into the holy place, he found himself in the very presence of that glory, with his feet upon the sand of the desert likewise. But we notice in 1 King 6:30 that in the temple this was not the case, for the floor of the house was overlaid with gold. So is it with the Saints now, we have not as of yet put our feet upon “pure gold” of the heavenly city, but we abide in the knowledge of God while identifying with sorrow, toil and conflict in this wilderness journey.
I believe that the antitype of this in the Church is now fully confirmed in what has been stated concerning the character of Merari. We must stand firmly and decisively in this world for Christ, we must let Him penetrate into those places where “the world” is really seen in its strength. Now, if any further proof were needed of this interpretation, we have proof in the matter of the fact that they’re very few with the character of Merari in labor. The reason is because the carnal man loves to be at ease, and hence does not want to be associated with sorrow and worldly rejection!…But JESUS was known as “A MAN OF SORROWS.”
My brothers and sisters let’s look at what Gershon did. He had to place the curtains and badger’ skins over the boards which had been already set up by his laborious and sorrowful brother.
So, again let me reiterate the three great characteristics that was to be exemplified in the tribe of Levi.
Stranger-ship 1 John 3:1 “Therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.” “1 Pet. 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
Sorrow in the world John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 15:20 “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” Rom 8:18 “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 1 Pet. 5:10 “After that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect” Heb. 10:36 “ye have need of patience” 2 Tim. 2:12 “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” Rev. 7:14 “These are they that came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Union Joh. 17:21 “That they all may be one.” Joh. 11:52 “He should gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad.” Eph. 2:16 “That He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross.” My brothers and sisters please continue to bear in mind that, while there was this beautiful diversity in the character and line of service of the Levites, they were one people, and that manifestly …they were one in life, one in standing, one in calling, one in inheritance; and likewise should it be with the Saints now. We are not to expect uniformity of opinion on every point, nor are we to look for a perfect agreement in the line of service as we develop in this walk of life; but Saints should be seen as one people and as one in worship, one in labor, one in objective, one in sympathy; one in a word, one in everything that belongs to them in common as the people of God.
I emphasize this point, because its apparent in this present day that many may be in unity in service, but at the same time have the greatest diversity in worship (for worship is a lifestyle) I appeal to the spiritual mind of those who are engaged in this Golden Nugget, how can this be? For we all are a reflection of each other for the purpose of carrying out our Father’s work.
How sadly out of order it would have been for a Levite to call upon one of the uncircumcised of the nations around them to assist them in carrying any part of the tabernacle! And yet we hear of the Saints of God who now justify and insist upon mingling and acting more like those who have no light…which always result in disorderly conduct. It is because of this that we see many who have abandoned their post to join the carnal minded and the unconverted, and hence have scattered! They have abandoned the character of the Gershonite due to refusal to carry the curtains, because they have become weary of the strangers condition; they have abandoned the character of the Merarite and have laid down the boards and sockets because they have grown weary of bearing the cross; and they have abandoned the character of the Kohathite because they have degraded their high and holy office by making it the common property to those who have NO authority from or IN God to put their hands to the work. Hence, the name of our God (JESUS) is blasphemed among the world by us, and it does not appear that we are burdened by these atrocities and abominations. MY, MY, these things should not be. Let us remember that it is only ” when JESUS comes” shall all things be set right forever, for God has fully glorified Him.
My beloved brothers and sisters let us be compelled to live in service to Jesus and not to ourselves, for it was He who died for us and rose again. We are presently in the wilderness, where we are called to carry the tabernacle, because we are the tabernacle of God. May we cheerfully move onward and upward as we perpetually declare that we seek a country, while anxiously thriving for “the rest that remains.” While embracing that “It is such a privilege to be used to render service unto the Lord” God Bless You and have a “JESUS DAY”