The Levite Principle Part 3
Who Do Levites Serve?
Serving is, of course, primarily for the benefit of the one being served. So, as we study the serving lives of the Levites, it’s important to take a look at who they were serving, so we can understand who we are to serve.
First and foremost, the Levites served God Himself. We’ve seen that the Lord separated the Levites to Himself from the other tribes of Israel.
“Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine.”
“At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day.”
Their daily serving consisted first of serving the Lord, ministering to Him as they were instructed. This was initiated during Moses’ time, and we see it continuing on 500 years later during the reign of King David.
1 Chronicles 15:2
“Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of the LORD and to minister to him forever.”
Our first and foremost ministry, or service, must always be to the Lord Himself.
(NASB) “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
This is the life Jesus was speaking of to the Samaritan woman in John 4:23, “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” He was not talking about spending our whole life in a ‘worship service,’ but rather about giving our whole life in service as worship.
When we live a life of worship, of obedient ministry to the Lord, we are then able to call others to worship the Lord with us. We are to ‘walk the walk’, before we ‘talk the talk’, simply inviting others into the reality of life in God’s presence that we are living in. As David said –
“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth…Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
B. Leaders in the House of God.
Secondly, the Levites were separated to the service of those whom the Lord had consecrated as leaders in Israel.
Numbers 3:6, 9 The Levites were given by God to serve Aaron and his sons.
II Chronicles 2:5, 11-14 Here we see Solomon and the leaders of Israel leading the nation in the dedication of the temple, with the Levites serving them, helping to prepare for the congregation to come and worship the Lord.
As worship leading teams, our primary role is to assist our leaders in congregational meetings, encouraging people into the presence of God, where He can have His way with us through the preaching of the Word and other ministry as He directs the leaders.
It’s important to consider our role here, and to guard our hearts. There is a great divide at times in contemporary Christianity between ‘the leaders’ and ‘the artists.’ The artists have their role and their time in the service, leading music and other artistic worship activities, then the meeting is turned over to the pastor or leaders for their time of preaching, teaching, and ministering.
We do not see this type of separation in the example of the Levites and the leaders of Israel, however. The Levites were humbly offering their gifts and talents to serve the purposes identified by God, the king, and the spiritual leaders of the nation.
Num. 8:19, 18:6
“And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons…”
Are you a gift to your leaders? Our service should be a blessing to the leaders God has given us to, freeing them to fulfill the service He’s called them to perform.
C. The People of God.
Thirdly, the Levites were to serve the congregation. They had practical duties to perform on their behalf, including caring for the tabernacle and furnishings, and receiving and processing their sacrifices and offerings.
(NASB) “They shall perform the duties for… the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle.
Num. 3:8 (CEV) “The Levites will serve the community by being responsible for the furnishings of the tent.”
Numbers 3:12 tells us that the Levites also served the other tribes by taking the place of their firstborn in service to the Lord.
Our calling is to serve God’s people in both spiritual and practical ways, caring for them by laying our lives down to serve them. There’s an aspect of taking their place in serving, so they can be free to worship unhindered.
(CEV) “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.”
D. Each other.
Fourthly, the Levites were called to serve one another.
II Chron. 35:14-15
(NLT) “Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests…because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations.
“The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites.”
In this passage, the Levites did whatever was necessary to ensure that the priests and also their brothers were taken care of, free to serve as the day required.
A quick review of this list makes it clear that there’s a priority to who we serve, but not a limit. Our calling is to serve everyone, with God first!