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7. Levitical Responsibilities

August 14, 2009

Text:      Numbers 18:1-19:22

Outline:      I. The Levites Responsibility            Numbers 18:1-19

                          II. The Levites Compensation          Numbers 18:20-32

                         III. Responsibilities in Death            Numbers 19:1-22

Context/Discussion/Comments:

      Following the last lesson, God seems to be making a point that perhaps the Levites and especially Aaron and his family were lax in their duties to teach and train the Levites what they were supposed to do and the importance of serving to the best of their ability. If they had done just that, perhaps the uprising of Korah could have been prevented. Regardless, God places responsibility on Aaron and his sons for teaching and training the Levites on what to do, when to do it, and where to do it. It is Aaron’s responsibility to teach them why it is important. Any failure in the correct and proper worship of God rests at the feet of Aaron. This work is critical to prevent any more loss of life.

      God has chosen the Levites and set them apart to serve Him and to serve Aaron in his duties as High Priest. They are not to do priestly duties. That is reserved for Aaron and his descendents only. The High Priest is responsible for all the offerings to the Lord given by Israel. These offerings are holy. The High Priest and his fellow priests receive a portion of all the offerings as payment for their service. All the first born of man and animals are theirs. Man is redeemed with 5 silver shekels but the animals are to be sacrificed as a Burnt Offering with the meat going to the priests.

      The priests will not receive any land because the Lord has taken care of their needs. The Priests are the only authorized people to serve in the Tabernacle. The Levites will be given a tithe with which to meet their needs. But they are to tithe the tithes they receive as an offering to the Lord too. They are to give their best as is required for everyone and they are allowed to eat their offerings at home because it is their compensation for service in worship of the Lord.

     Chapter 19 starts out as noting a special offering of a red heifer which has a special place when death occurs and people become unclean. The heifer doesn’t seem as important as the purifications process that must take place because people have become unclean by being near or touching a dead body. The heifer is slaughtered outside the camp but its’ blood is brought back to the Tabernacle and sprinkled before the entrance. The heifer is not burned on the altar but burned outside the camp where is was slaughtered. The priest involved is considered to become unclean and must wash his clothes and bathe so as to become clean by evening. The person who handles the ashes is clean but then becomes unclean too and must bathe and wash his clothes before being considered clean. Water and the heifer’s ashes are mixed and/or the water is strained through the ashes and is used to purify those who handled the dead body on the 3rd day and the 7th day. Failure to do this is cause for removal as a member of Israel, a severe penalty. All who may have visited the dead body are also considered unclean and must go through the same ritual. That same water is sprinkled on the tent, its’ contents and all who were in the presence of the dead person. This sprinkling is repeated on the 3rd and 7th day too.

Lesson/Applications:

1. Know your job assignment in and for His Kingdom. Know the what, when, where, and how to do it. The Lord and all the other members of His Church are counting on you.

2. God has chosen each of us for a specific assignment. Do not seek a higher positions unless God moves you.

3. Even though our work/ministry may be funded by the gifts of others, we too are expected to be thankful and give a portion of our gifts back to the Lord for His ministry. Our dedication and commitment to the Lord’s work is sustained by the generous thank offerings of His children.

4. Death reminds us of our fallen sinful nature. Association with death reminds us of our own sin and is an opportunity to seek the Lord’s forgiveness and purification unto righteousness. Use this time of mourning as an opportunity to grow in your faith.

5. Those who choose to reject the Lord God and His statutes choose to die both physically and spiritually.

6. We Christians are to take full responsibility and do the best job we know how in serving the Lord in our assigned capacities. Stay focused on your own assignment because God is providing all your needs.

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