Numbers 2:1-3, 10, 17, 18, 25, 33 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall
they pitch. And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: On the south side shall be
the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies: Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of
the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards. On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim
according to their armies: The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies: But the Levites were not numbered among the children of
Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses."
Chapter two is a list of tribes of Israel with their families and where they were placed
around the tabernacle. Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun were placed on the east. Reuben, Simeon, and Gad were seated at the south. Ephraim,
Manasseh, and Benjamin were placed on the west and Dan, Asher, and Naphtali set up camp on the north. The Levites were placed inside the other tribes, closer
to the tabernacle. It is noted at the end of the chapter that the Levites were not numbered with the rest of the children of Israel.
Each tribe had their own standard. A standard is a flag, banner or ensign used to represent a nation, chief of state, city, organization or, in this case a tribe.
Some believe each tribeís ensign was colored with the stone used to represent them in the priestís ephod. Other opinions on the standards say there were animals
painted on each one to match the animals in Ezekiel's vision: Judah Ė lion, Dan Ė serpent, Naphtali Ė hind, Benjamin Ė wolf. When Jacob blessed his sons in
Genesis 49 he called Judah a lionís whelp, Dan a serpent, Naphtali a hind and Benjamin a wolf so thatís one possible theory. Still others believe that each tribe
wrote their name on their standard. Whatever they did, each flag was different and could be seen by every tribe member. Everyone knew where they belonged.
Itís important to know where you belong. You should always be able to find your way home!
Numbers 3:1 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spake with Moses in mount Sinai.
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.
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.
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.
The first section of chapter three reminds us that the tribe of Levi was set aside to minister in the priestís office. It names Aaronís sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. These were
the original four priests who were anointed and consecrated, or set apart as sacred, to minister in the priestís office. Verse 4 tells us that Nadab and Abihu died when they offered
strange fire to the Lord. See Leviticus 10 for the whole story. All the first born of the children of Israel belonged to
God, just as the first fruits of the crops and the first born of the livestock. Instead of actually taking the first child born to each family, God took a whole tribe to serve Him. The tribe
of Levi took the place of the first born of each family member in Godís eyes.
Numbers 3:14 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.
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.
The Levites were counted differently from the way the rest of Israel was counted. The other tribes had been counted by the males
from the age of 20 and older according to all that were able to go to war. The tribe of Levi was counted by their families,
every male from a month old and older. The tribe was counted by Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari. These tribes
were positioned close around the tabernacle. Gershon on the west, Kohath on the south, Merari on the north with Moses,
Aaron and the gate being on the east side. The total number of the tribe of male Levities from the age of one month and older
Numbers3:40 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
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:)
This was the third numbering in the book of Numbers. This time it is all the first born males of the tribes other than Levi
that were to be numbered from the age of one month and older. There were 22,273. This meant there would be that many Levite
males needed to take their place but there were only 22,000 Levites so they were 273 short. In order to fill this quota, God
told Moses to collect 5 shekels for each male they were short and give the redemption money to Aaron and his sons. It came
to 1,365 shekels.
Numbers 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.
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
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
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,
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
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,
From the age of thirty to fifty was considered the prime of life for a Levite male and this was the age they were to serve in the temple. The only ones who were allowed to view the articles
placed in the Holy of Holies were Aaron and his sons. They were to cover those articles for transport by the sons of Kohath whose job it was to carry them. If any other went in to the
Holy of Holies besides Aaron or his sons and saw the things that were inside, they would die. Therefore, before the things inside were transported, they had to be covered, they
couldnít even be touched, they had to be covered with clothes and transported on staves. See Exodus25 for pictures.
Each of the three families of the sons of Levi had their own jobs in moving the tabernacle. Can you imagine the chaos if everyone just started grabbing stuff with no special order? We
moved from one state to another once - about 700 miles. Someone else rented a house for us, one I had never seen so I had no idea how the rooms were laid out or where I wanted things
put. When we arrived we had been traveling two days and were tired. There were a lot of people waiting to Ďhelpí us unload a huge truck and 2 cars full of belongings. There
was no order and bedroom things were put in the living room, bathroom things wound up in the kitchen and I finally found my kitchen stuff in bedroom closets. It took me weeks to sort
things out. Without organization thatís how things turn out even in small situations, I canít imagine how it would have been with a nation as large as Israel moving through the
The sons of Kohath were to take care of the things in the Holy of Holies, the sons of Gershon were to carry the all the curtains and hangings and the sons of Merari were to take care of
all the harder surfaces - boards, bars and sockets. Each one had their job to do and each job was important right down to every tent post that was driven in the ground. Just imagine if
one or two people decided one day that they were tired of carrying their burden and they were going to stop. When they went to set up the tabernacle they would be missing some
parts and couldnít finish the job. What job are you doing? What part in Godís master plan are you playing?
Sometimes we may think what we are doing is not important but God has shown me over the years that everything we do in life is important - right down to the lunch you pack for your
child in the morning or the bed you make every day. The kind word you speak to someone who has a frown on his face, the door you hold open for someone with a heavy load, the box you lift off the top shelf for
someone or the carton of milk you get out of the case for someone in a wheelchair - no one else may notice but God sees all that. Itís all important and itís all needful, there is no job that is small in Godís eyes.
He gave each of the children of Israel a job to do as they trekked through the wilderness. Some had a lot of responsibility, such as watching over items in the Holy of Holies while others
only carried boards. Did that make the ones who carried the boards less important? Not in Godís eyes! Donít ever feel like you are not important. If you are a child of God and serving
Him, in His eyes you are just as important as Billy Graham or anyone else in His service! Just keep on keeping on for Him!
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