Friday, March 08, 2024

2024.03.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 4

Read Numbers 4

Questions from the Scripture text: Who speaks to whom in Numbers 4:1? Of which clan does He command a census here (Numbers 4:2)? Of what ages (Numbers 4:3)? What are they expected to do during these twenty years? To what, especially, were the Kohathites assigned (Numbers 4:4)? Who must do their task first (Numbers 4:5-15)? What items are they to attend to? What are they to do with each of these items? Then what do the Kohathites do (Numbers 4:15)? Who was singled out especially for what task in Numbers 4:16? Who speaks to whom in Numbers 4:17? What is the importance/effect of this new/specific instruction (Numbers 4:18)? Who will assign who/what/when to each of them for their task (Numbers 4:19)? To keep them from doing what (Numbers 4:20)? With what outcome? Who speaks to whom in Numbers 4:21? Concerning which clan (Numbers 4:22)? Which ages (Numbers 4:23)? What will they do during these years? What, specifically, are the Gershonites to carry (Numbers 4:25-26)? Who will oversee them (Numbers 4:27)? And who, more specifically (Numbers 4:28)? Concerning which clan does YHWH now speak in Numbers 4:29? Which ages is he to number (Numbers 4:30)? What are they expected to do during these years? What are the Merarites, specifically, to carry (Numbers 4:31-32)? Under whose direction (Numbers 4:33)? Who number whom in Numbers 4:34? What ages (Numbers 4:35)? How many are there (Numbers 4:36)? How does Numbers 4:37 summarize this? Who are numbered in Numbers 4:38? What ages (Numbers 4:39)? How many (Numbers 4:40)? How does Numbers 4:41 summarize this? Who are numbered in Numbers 4:42? What ages (Numbers 4:43)? How many (Numbers 4:44)? How does Numbers 4:45 summarize this? To whom does Numbers 4:46 now refer? Of what ages (Numbers 4:47)? How many in total (Numbers 4:48)? How does Numbers 4:49 summarize this census? 

Why did the Levites have to be numbered again? Numbers 4 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these forty-nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the second numbering of the Levites emphasizes the greatness of the work of the priesthood. 

Hard work. By the ages of those numbered (30–50), the Lord teaches them that they need strength and maturity. This is going to be hard work!

Much work. Over eight thousand Levites were needed. And they are given an extensive, detailed list of tasks to accomplish. There is going to be much work!

Deadly important work. For the Kohathites in particular, it was clear how important this work was. The earnestness with which they put their shoulders to the poles was instructed by the fact that they couldn’t begin that work until all of the furnishings were properly covered by Aaron and his sons. They couldn’t even watch it being done, lest they die (Numbers 4:20), and the Kohathites be cut off all together (Numbers 4:18). 

The Gershonites’ service with the hangings, and the Merarites’ service with the structure, are also reminders of the sacred space within the tabernacle court. This vitally important work is why the Levites are reserved for it instead of military service.  

Prescribed work. The care of God’s worship is not a place for creativity or ambition for advancement. Not only does God assign the clans and the leaders for each area of service, but He directs that the leader assign to each one his work by name. The idea that it is evil to have authority or be under it belongs to Critical Theory, not biblical Christianity. Believers must receive God’s commandments and God’s appointed authorities as good gifts from Him. They must be glad to have their assigned roles and to serve in them with all their hearts.

This priestly work was just a shadow of Christ’s. Its greatness declares to us how difficult, how much, how important, how necessary His atoning work was (and His intercessory work continues to be). And just as the Lord prepared the Levites for their hard work by implying its difficulty in this census, so also has He told us how hard our work in this life would be. Whether in our hearts, in our households, or in the church, the Lord has assigned this work, and He will sustain it. It is worth the effort!

What great work has the Lord Jesus done for you? What great work is He still doing? What are you working on in your spiritual life? What role do you have in your family? What role in your church? How are you doing all of these in a way that shows they are worth the work?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for the great and glorious priestly work of Christ. Please grant unto us to serve You with all our heart in our life, in our household, and in Your church. For we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH274 “Jesus, My Great High Priest” 

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