Summary: What I at first thought was a dry and boring book with no relevance to my life, turned out to be one of the most profound and exciting books in the bible, full of application to my life! Learn how to make it successfully through the 'wilderness' of this
Practicing God’s Presence
Series: Biblical Guide to Wilderness Survival
Sept. 4, 2011
Read Numbers 3:1-20
You know, most people don’t have jobs that can mean life or death if you make a simple mistake. If you’re a teacher or work on a computer, you might get mixed up on a student’s name, or enter a wrong number…but nobodies going to die! Yet, there are some people who have jobs that are dangerous. You might have one! Where everyday, you lit. take your life (or somebody else’s life in your hands…i.e. airline pilots, air traffic controllers, surgeons and parachute packers!) In fact, I did a little research this week and found what I’m calling…the
“Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs & Causes of Death”…
10. Alaskan Crab fisherman –Drowning
9. New York Taxi Cab Driver -Homicide
8. Ice road trucker – Hypothermia & drowning
7. Chinese coal miner – Suffocation, last year
2,631 died in Chinese mines — 7 people a day!
6. Bomb disposal expert – do you have to ask?
5. Tower Dog (tower climbers – Falling
According to O.S.H.A Tower Climbers have more
fatalities per 100,000 workers, than any other job in
4. HV Cable Inspector –electrocution (show video)
3. Afgan Police force - Homocide
2. Kadafi’s body guard –Homocide
And the number #1 most dangerous job…
1. O.T. Levitical Priest – Cause of death? Vaporization!
As we get to Numbers chap.3 &4 this morning, we’re going to see that the ministry and job of the priests was lit. “do or die”! If they didn’t do their job exactly as God told them…it was a one way trip to the morgue. Now lest you think that their job is ancient history, I’m here to inform you this morning that God hasn’t changed, and that we STILL need someone to perform that “do or die” ministry on our behalf! This morning as we skim over these two chapters about the Levitical priests, I want you to see exactly what their job was, who does that job for us today, and what that means.
Vs. 1 starts out with these words…”These are the generations of Aaron and Moses” –Num.3:1. That’s an important transitional sentence, because it’s introducing us to focus on a new group of people. The last two weeks we’ve been focusing on the tribes of Israel, but now we’re going to turn our center of attention on the descendents of Aaron and Moses. They were to become the Levite Tribe, and were given the job of caring for the tabernacle (that tent of Meeting, where God dwelled in the middle of the camp).
According to vs.12-15…All of the little Levite boys were to be counted, and from one month old, they belonged to God! As a Levite, they had two tasks… 1. Guard duty around the tabernacle. That’s what chapter 3 is all about. Remember the square formation of the Israelite camp around the tabernacle from last week? Well, one thing I didn’t mention was that on the inner part of that square, the Levites were to camp, between the tabernacle and the people, to keep the ordinary Israelites at a safe distance away. Because if you accidently came to close to the Tent of Meeting, it was certain death. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
The 2nd job of the Levites was to carry and care for all the parts of the tabernacle when they were on the march. That’s what chapter 4 talks about… moving the sacred objects of the tabernacle from one camp to the next. For example, the clan of Kohath, camped on the south side of the tabernacle, and their job was to carry the most sacred and important objects…like the ark of the covenant, (the box that contained the two stone tablets with the 10 commandments). Chap.4 vs.4-20 goes into intimate detail about just exactly how that needed be done. For example, they weren’t even allowed to LOOK at any of the holy objects…they had to cover it immediately.
The rest of the chapter goes into detail about the other Levite clans and what part of the tabernacle they were to carry and care for. The Gershonites were to carry and care for the ‘soft parts’ of the Tabernacle like the curtains inside, and the Merarites job was to carry and care for the heavy cumbersome pieces like the bars, pillars, poles and furniture of the tent.
You say, “Well, why is all of this detail and attention given to the Tabernacle? And why does it take so many to do it? (Chap.4:48, tells us that “all the men from 30-50 years of age who came to do the work of serving and carrying the Tent of Meeting numbered 8,580”! 8500 to do this job? Wow! Let me tell you why all the detail and labor…It has to do with what the bible is revealing about WHO our God is! See, our God is both TRANSCENDENT and IMMANENT at the same time. (catch that? Look in notes). To be “transcendent” means that God is so far beyond us, so far above us, so much more intelligent and holy than we are… so superior in quality and achievement than us…that we don’t have a snowballs chance in “H.E.- double toothpicks”, of ever knowing Him! He so far exceeds the limits of our experience…that He’s unknowable. On the otherhand, God is also IMMANENT… in otherwords He’s like us, He’s close to us, we can know Him personally!