Numbers 3, 4
Focus Verse: “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle. The Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord. – Numbers 3:45
Why did God want the Levites for Himself? Why did He set them apart to minister at the tabernacle, to keep guard over the people of Israel, and to keep guard over the tabernacle?
God chose the Levites as the one tribe to set apart for Himself in a special way because He knew they would be devoted to Him. In Exodus 32, when Moses was in the mountain for a long time talking with God, the people of Israel foolishly had Aaron to make them a golden calf to worship. God was furious when He saw what was taking place in the camp, and He sent Moses down from the mountain to bring the people to their senses. At first, Moses wasn’t very concerned, but when he saw the people drinking, eating, playing, and dancing to a man-made idol, he became furious too. So furious that the tablets he was carrying, which had been written on both sides by God, he threw down and broke. Then he grabbed the golden calf, burned it with fire, and ground it to powder.
Moses stood in front of the sinful, chaotic camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” Guess who gathered around him? All the sons of Levi. God, through Moses, then told them to take their swords and go throughout the camp and kill their brothers, friends, and neighbors. Did the sons of Levi hesitate at this command? No. They did what God said and killed about three thousand men. Moses then told them, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and He has blessed you this day.”
God set the Levites apart for Himself because they proved on that fateful day that they valued Him above their families, friends, and neighbors. Instead of blending in with the sinful actions of the other tribes, they decided to be on the Lord’s side and stand for righteousness. Anna Diehl writes that during this moment, “anyone could have run over to Moses just to try and get on his good side, but God knew the Levites were more than just flatterers and He called on them to demonstrate their devotion in a way that cost them dearly.” By killing those close to them because God had commanded it, the Levites showed that they were truly committed to Him. This is similar to how God tested Abraham’s faith, trust, and love for Him by telling Him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Abraham passed His test. The Levites passed theirs.
What about you? What or who is God asking you to sacrifice to prove you truly trust in Him and love Him? What difficult thing is God asking you to do to show that you are completely devoted to Him?