Leaving everything to follow
2 Chronicles 11: The Levites left their pastures and properties and moved to Judah and Jerusalem.
His subjects have requested that Rehoboam back off a bit and give them some breathing room but he foolishly promises more of the same. The result is that he loses half his Kingdom. From now on we’ll have twin kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Right off Israel enthrones an evil man who shuts down the worship of Jehovah God. However, not everyone in Israel is on his side and several relocate to Judah, not because they like Rehoboam all that much but because they want to worship the Lord. One group, in particular, is mentioned. Traditionally the Levites have served God, first in the Tabernacle and then at the Temple. Now, the Levites living in the new nation of Israel have a decision to make. Will they abandon their calling or will they abandon their property? Many, we’re told, decide for God. They leave home that they can be true to their calling and serve God in Jerusalem. I’m impressed by their decision as I’m impressed by stories of people who leave home to live in some distant place in response to the call of missions. The most many of us can say about following the Lord is that we’ve been inconvenienced at times. Here’s a group of people who abandoned everything to be faithful to God’s call on their lives. People who make that kind of decision are worthy of our admiration. The Lord’s impressed by it too. As Jesus says in Luke 18, “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
Take Away: Thank the Lord for people who are willing to live out their faith even in the face of real personal sacrifice.
1 Chronicles 26: The teams of security guards were from the family of Korah.
I’ve read this passage several times in various versions of the Bible, but since the sons of Korah were called “gatekeepers” it didn’t catch my attention. Now I see them being described as “security guards.” I guess that’s what gatekeepers are supposed to do: they provide security, seeing to it that all who enter are there for legitimate purposes. King David is such a multifaceted person. He’s a singer and songwriter and harp player, a skilled leader, and he’s a warrior who’s won countless battles. In this case, I see him drawing from his “warrior” skills in organizing the Levites. In spite of the peaceful conditions of the day David prepares for possible trouble. Now, it might be that the sons of Korah are basically ushers who tell people where the corral is for their soon to be sacrificed lamb but I’m guessing that David also wants them there “just in case.” I wonder to what extent, if any, this applies to the Church today. There have been some horror stories in the news, and, obviously, a church full of people is probably viewed as an easy target by some very bad people. I’m not seeing this as some kind of mandate, but there is, at least to some extent, a precedent here for a church to have at least some unofficial security.
Take Away: Leadership involves, in addition to having a vision and sense of direction, the ability to think through the practical concerns of the organization.
1 Chronicles 23: The Levites no longer have to carry the Tabernacle.
Modern day Levites
Centuries earlier when Moses organized their ancestors the descendants of Levi were given the task of moving the Tabernacle and all its furnishings from place to place. It was a big job and it was their job. As Israel fell into the idol worship of the Book of Judges the Levites were still considered holy men, although the application of that position was a pitiful distortion of “holy.” Now things are coming together. Israel’s in possession of the Promised Land. They have a King who wants nothing more than to serve and please God. Their days of wandering in both the physical and spiritual wilderness are past. And the days of moving the Tabernacle, including the precious Ark of the Covenant are also over. David, displaying his organizational genius, counts the Levites and finds that there are 38,000 men of age of service. He divides them into subgroups and begins handing out assignments in keeping with the spirit of their original assignment generations earlier. From now on they may not have to carry the Tabernacle from place to place, but they’ll be the overseers of the Tabernacle and, once it’s built, the Temple. The priests, descendants of Aaron, will handle the sacrifices and such. These sons of Levi will take care of everything else associated with the Temple. As I realize how much David loves the yet-to-be-built Temple and watch as he puts these Levites in charge of it I see what a compliment he’s paying them. I know it’s not the same but I’m reminded of the people who accept responsibilities associated with the Church. Thank God for church treasurers, Sunday Superintendents, teachers, volunteer janitors, and many others who love the Church and faithfully give of their time, talent, and treasure. These, I think, are the modern day Levites.
Take Away: Never take faithful servants for granted. They serve the Lord just a significantly as the preachers and singers.