The Levite Principle Part 1

Why Do Levites Serve?

by Harold Forbis | Nov 22, 2021 | Worship

Passion for the Honor of the Name of the Lord

God is passionate for the honor of His own name, which has to do with His reputation, the representation of His holy, unchanging nature, and character to the whole universe.

    • Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” [ESV]
    • Psalm 138:2 “You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” [ESV]
    • Psalm 29:2 “Honor the wonderful name of the Lord, and worship the Lord most holy and glorious.” [CEV]
    • Matt. 6:9 “You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name.” [CEV]

We are instructed in these scriptures to honor God’s name. But more than being obedient to Biblical commands, when He has revealed Himself to us, and our spiritual eyes are opened to perceive Him as He is, we become passionate for the honor of His name as well.

When we are born again, we are separated for service to the Lord and His people. We fulfill our holy calling, not as obedient servants only but motivated by the passion for God that now lives in our hearts. It’s now in us to love and to serve. It’s who we are and all we desire to do, and the Lord joins us with others of like heart to serve together in His house.

We see this principle illustrated in the life of the Levite tribe of Israel, as the Lord separated them for service because of their zeal for his honor among the Israelites in Exodus chapter 32.

God is passionate for the honor of His Name.

While Moses was up on Mount Sinai with the Lord receiving the covenant, the Israelites felt like it was taking him too long to come back. So they dishonored the Lord and all he had done for them by creating and worshiping an idol.

Exodus 32:7-10 “And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'” And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” 

Moses was passionate for the honor of God’s Name.

Exodus 32:11-14 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.'” And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people. 

The Levites were passionate for the honor of God’s Name.

Exodus 32:25-29 “And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. And he said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’  And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, ‘Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day’.”

Because their devotion to seeing God honored above all else moved them to this radical obedience, God chose the Levites at that moment to be separate from all Israel to Himself. (See Numbers 3:43-45, 8:15-18, Deut. 10:8-9)

If God calls you to serve as a worship leader, musician, or singer, He has separated you to Himself and put a radical Levite passion for the honor of His Name in your heart. This passion stirring in you is the real key to serving, and it’s more important than any musical talent or leadership ability you may possess.