Dr. Dave Burnette
Numbers 3 - The Church
1These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spake with Moses in mount Sinai. 2And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office. 4And 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. 5And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 6Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. 7And 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. 8And 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. 9And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. 10And 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. 11And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12And 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; 13Because 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. 14And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15Number 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. 16And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded. 17And these were the sons of Levi by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari. 18And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families; Libni, and Shimei. 19And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20And the sons of Merari by their families; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to the house of their fathers. 21Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites. 22Those 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. 23The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. 24And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael. 25And 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, 26And 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. 27And 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. 28In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary. 29The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. 30And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31And 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. 32And 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. 33Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari. 34And 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. 35And 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. 36And 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, 37And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords. 38But 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. 39All 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. 40And 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. 41And 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. 42And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel. 43And 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. 44And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 45Take 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. 46And 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; 47Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) 48And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. 49And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites: 50Of 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: 51And 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.
Today's Scripture Meaning
The sons of Aaron, The Levites taken instead of the first-born. (1-13) The Levites numbered by their families, Their duties. (14-39) The first-born are numbered. (40-51) Verses 1-13: There was much work belonging to the priests' office, and there were now only Aaron and his two sons to do it; God appoints the Levites to attend them. Those whom God finds work for, he will find help for. The Levites were taken instead of the first-born. When He that made us, saves us, as the first-born of Israel were saved, we are laid under further obligations to serve him faithfully. God's right to us by redemption, confirms the right he has to us by creation. Verses 14-39: The Levites were in three classes, according to the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and these were subdivided into families. The posterity of Moses were not at all honoured or privileged, but stood upon the level with other Levites; thus it was plain, that Moses did not seek the advancement of his own family, or to secure any honours to it. The tribe of Levi was by much the least of all the tribes. God's chosen are but a little flock in comparison with the world. Verses 40-51: The number of the first-born, and that of the Levites, came near to each other. Known unto God are all his works beforehand; there is an exact proportion between them, and so it will appear, when they are compared together. The small number of first-born, over and above the number of the Levites, were to be redeemed, and the redemption-money given to Aaron. The church is called the church of the first-born, which is redeemed, not as they were, with silver and gold; but, being devoted by sin to the justice of God, is ransomed with the precious blood of the Son of God. All men are the Lord's by creation, and all true christians are his by redemption. Each should know his own post and duty; nor can any service required by such a Master be rightly accounted mean or hard.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 3 and in today's text we see the Lord instructs the Numbering of the priests and gives them instruction for service. In making application we see that the Lord gives instruction through His house as he has a plan for Ministering to others. We, as Christians, need to seek our service for the Lord in His House, the Church. Today many Christians feel like they do not need to attend Church but the truth of God's Word is that we are to serve the Lord working through His Body, the Church. Here we gain instruction and where 2 or more are gathered in His name - He will be in the midst. How about you? Do you belong to the Church? Do you seek the Lord in His House, the Church? If not let us learn from today's text and seek Him in His House to do His will for our lives.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.