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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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February 12, 2007

Numbers 3-4
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Numbers
Chapter 3
  1. These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spake with Moses in mount Sinai.
  2. And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
  3. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office.
  4. And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father.
  5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  6. Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.
  7. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.
  8. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.
  9. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel.
  10. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
  11. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  12. And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
  13. Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD.
  14. And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,
  15. Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.
  16. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded.
  17. And these were the sons of Levi by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari.
  18. And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families; Libni, and Shimei.
  19. And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
  20. And the sons of Merari by their families; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to the house of their fathers.
  21. Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites.
  22. Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred.
  23. The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward.
  24. And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael.
  25. And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
  26. And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof.
  27. And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites.
  28. In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.
  29. The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.
  30. And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
  31. And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof.
  32. And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.
  33. Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari.
  34. And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred.
  35. And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward.
  36. And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto,
  37. And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords.
  38. But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
  39. All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.
  40. And the LORD said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.
  41. And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the LORD) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel.
  42. And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel.
  43. And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen.
  44. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  45. Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the LORD.
  46. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites;
  47. Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:)
  48. And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons.
  49. And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:
  50. Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
  51. And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.


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Numbers
Chapter 4
  1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
  2. Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers,
  3. From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
  4. This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:
  5. And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:
  6. And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.
  7. And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:
  8. And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.
  9. And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:
  10. And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar.
  11. And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:
  12. And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put them on a bar:
  13. And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon:
  14. And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.
  15. And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.
  16. And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.
  17. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
  18. Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:
  19. But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden:
  20. But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.
  21. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  22. Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families;
  23. From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
  24. This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:
  25. And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
  26. And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.
  27. At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens.
  28. This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
  29. As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;
  30. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.
  31. And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof,
  32. And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.
  33. This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
  34. And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers,
  35. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:
  36. And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.
  37. These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
  38. And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers,
  39. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,
  40. Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty.
  41. These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD.
  42. And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,
  43. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,
  44. Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.
  45. These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
  46. All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers,
  47. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation,
  48. Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore.
  49. According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.


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Thought for the day:
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 Three thoughts come to me in reading this passage of Scripture. First, isn't the providence of God amazing? God tells Moses that the tribe of Levi is now going to be the one functioning as priests and taking care of the Tabernacle. Therefore, there is no longer a need for the firstborn male from every Jewish family to be separated unto the Lord's work ( Exodus 13:2). Had all the firstborns been entered into that ministry, their number would have been 22,273 ( 3:43). Isn't it amazing that after over 200 years of captivity, the number of the Levites who were eligible for service was 22,000 ( 3:39)? The remaining 273 were redeemed with money, which was given to Aaron and the Levites. I find it hard to believe that it was just by chance that after all those generations the number of men in Levi differed from the number of firstborn in all the other tribes by only 1%. God knew from eternity past what His plan was. He knew which tribe He was going to anoint as priests. He knew that their had to be an equity between the firstborn of the nation and the number of the Levites. And He made sure that everything took place to make it work.

 Second, I find it interesting that when God was numbering men for military service, he counted everyone from age twenty up ( Numbers 1:18). However, when counting men for the ministry of the Tabernacle, he started with men who were age thirty. Apparently the Lord knew that a certain level of maturity was required in order to be in that type of ministry. In the New Testament, one of the qualifications of a pastor is that he not be a novice ( I Tim. 3:6), because there would be a temptation for him to be overwhelmed by pride. I Timothy 5:22 warns,

"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."
This refers to the danger of ordaining an individual before he is ready, and states that when unprepared and unqualified men are put into leadership positions, the ones laying hands on them become partakers in their sinful behavior. In our churches we need to be careful not to put people into positions of authority before they are spiritually mature enough to handle them properly.

 Third, I see in this passage that God has specific tasks for individuals to do. Three groups of Levites were assigned the responsibility of moving the Tabernacle from place to place. Yet each group had a specific area of ministry. The Kohathites had the task of carrying the holy vessels of the Tabernacle, including the Ark of the Covenant ( 4:4-14). The Gershonites had the responsibility for the curtains ( 4:24-28), and the Merarites were to carry the pillars and materials that made up the court itself ( 4:29-33). Of course, none of these groups were permitted to do the work of Aaron ( 4:15-16). I think this shows us that God calls certain people to do certain things, both in life and in the local church. God has not called every Christian to pastor, nor to be a Sunday School teacher. He has not called all to "platform" ministries, or to leadership positions. I Corinthians 12:29 asks,

" Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?"
Of course the answer is "No." However, the same chapter tells us that
"there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal" ( vs. 6-7).
God gives particular gifts, or responsibilities, to different Christians for the purpose of glorifying Him and accomplishing His work. It is no less an honor to carry the pillars of the Tabernacle than it is to carry the Ark, and it is no less an honor to carry the drapes than it is to offer the sacrifices.

 May each of us find our place of service, prepare ourselves spiritually to accomplish the task, and carry it out in the power of our Almighty, Omniscient God.

Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery

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(412)822-7255
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