During my morning devotions on Sunday past, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit to learn about the significance of the tribe of “Levi”. This led me to prepare a short study on the “role of the Levite” and how much of what we do in church today, is rooted and grounded in the ministry of the Levite.
According to biblical history, Levi was one of the twelve sons of Jacob and Leah. Levi is the ancestor of the Tribe of Levi and the name is derived from the words “he shall accompany”. Unlike the other tribes Levi was not given portions of land during the occupation of Canaan, instead Moses by the divine guidance singled out the Tribe of Levi to serve as the nation's priests. Joshua who led the conquest of Canaan gave 48 settlements scattered all through the land of Israel, to the Tribe of Levi. His descendants played a roll in guarding and serving in the tabernacle [see Numbers 3:21-37]. I should mention here that both Moses and his brother, Aaron, were descendants of Levi. Levite is the name given to all descendants of Levi through his sons Gershon, Kohath and, Merari. The tribe was set apart to perform service in the temple [Numbers 18:14, Jeremiah 33:21].
From the aforesaid we can see how the developed into the role of accompanying the Divine Presence and serving in the temple as priest, psalmists and musicians. In addition to those functions mentioned, the Levite was also a teacher and pastor [meaning one in caring ministry]. With this revelation, I asked myself the question, am I a Levite, do I follow the tenets of the Levite? I pose the question to you the reader as well!
Looking at the organisation of the church today many of the ministries we hold dear are those, which God had appointed to the tribe of Levi. Worship ministry is one of the key functions carried out by the Levites. According to Exodus 32: 25-29 God chose the tribe of Levi to look after the affairs of Israel because they stood with Moses against the worship of the golden calf. My first impression concerning the Levite is that he or she is above all dedicated to GOD and his commandments. Further study opened my eyes to the fact that the Levities were involved in government, they were gatekeepers, judges, they looked after the royal treasury, they were craftsmen, musicians and as mentioned earlier they were also teachers and bakers. Although it appears that the role of the Levite ended during the postexilic period of Ezra [Nehemiah 12], I can see a form of the “Levite” in the service I give back to my Heavenly Father. I am a teacher [both spiritual and natural]; I am a psalmist and, Lay Reader as well as pastoral counsellor.
Following is a list of scriptures to study more about the tribe of Levi and the role of the Levite in God’s church:
Genesis 12:7-8; Genesis 34:54; Genesis 14:18; Genesis 49:6-7; Exodus 13:11-15; Exodus 28:1; Exodus 29:1; Exodus 32:25-29; Leviticus 8; Numbers 1:47-54; Numbers 3:5-9 and 11-39; Numbers 18:20-32; Numbers 35:1-8; Deuteronomy 10:6-9; Deuteronomy 12:12-18; Deuteronomy 16:11-14; Deuteronomy 17:9-18; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 33:8-11; Joshua 13:14 & 33; 1st Chronicles 6:31-48; 1st Chronicles 23:1-13 and 24-32; 1st Chronicles 25:1-6; 1st Chronicles 9:22-28; 2nd Chronicles 29.
As you study, pray for the heart and mind of a “Levite”. Throughout the study you will come to appreciate and understand that the Levites were loyal and risked there lives for service to God. Above all, they desired to serve God always in the Temple in Jerusalem
R. Cecilia Askew
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