If any book is skipped over in our personal reading, it is Leviticus, literally 'About the Levites'. And on the surface with good reason; it is full of details of a culture and system to which we cannot relate or understand. It's boring, and so detailed that after we read a chapter we don't even know what we read.
Yet it is anything but boring if we know what to look for, including the fact the Levites were not God's 1st choice. That is good for those who wonder what the Father thinks of them, or feel they have let Him down by life choices. It is an example of the Lord's big picture perspective on our lives, His ability to adjust, and His grace.
The Levites - not God's original choice
In Exodus 19 Israel arrives at the foot of Mount Sinai, 47 days out of Egypt. For 3 more days they fast and prepare themselves to hear directly from the Lord. On the 50th day, which was the original Day of Pentecost, God speaks to them. Verse 6 says He wants to make the whole nation "a kingdom of priests". The whole nation of priests!
They weren't sure what that was about, and in 20:18-21 when they saw the lightning and heard the thunder from God's presence on the mountain, they rejected their whole-nation priesthood: (To Moses) "You speak with Him, don't let us speak with Him or we will die." They rejected their whole-nation priesthood right then and there.
The Lord is flexible, for them, and for us
With their rejection of His call on their lives, He adjusted. He stated He had legal claim to the first born through the blood of the lamb shed on Passover, but found resistance with that too. So He provided a way for parents to buy back their firstborn from the Lord if those chose, using a sliding scale offering based on their income.
You may recall Mary and Joseph gave the minimum offering of 2 pigeons/doves to buy back their firstborn, Jesus, from the Father. That is in Luke 2:22-24. I hope no one misses the humility of the Father and beauty in that irony: The Father so loved the world He gave His only Son to mankind, who was a firstborn. Then He allowed Joseph and Mary to 'buy back' their son so that He could become the Son who would 'go into ministry anyway', and to the cross.
You may also recall in I Samuel 1:11 that Hannah promised God through her tears to give her firstborn to the Lord to be raised as a priest, if only she and her husband could conceive. In other words, she vowed not to use the 'escape clause' and let the Lord have her firstborn.
Eli the priest assured her the Lord heard her prayer, and the boy Samuel was the result. When he was weaned she kept her word and obeyed the Law of the firstborn, giving him to ministry in the temple. He became the last Judge of Israel, a Seer and prophet to Kings Saul and David.
Enter Aaron and Moses' family: The Levites
Israel had rejected being a nation of priests, and they didn't like being forced to give their firstborn to the Lord. So the Lord provided yet another alternative:
In Numbers 3:12-13 God says this: "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of the firstborn that opens the womb; therefore the Levites will be mine. However, the firstborns still belong to me for on that day I struck Egypt I set aside all the firstborn in Israel...Mine they will be, for I AM."
This was how they transferred responsibility for the priesthood from the whole nation onto the Levites:
"You will bring the Levites before the Lord in front of the tabernacle, and you will gather the whole nation of Israel together with them. You will bring the Levites directly in front of the tabernacle, and the children of Israel will lay their hands on the Levites for the work of the Lord. And Aaron will offer the Levites to the Lord on behalf of Israel for service to the Lord, that they may execute the service of the Lord." Numbers 8:9-11
And that is how the Levites ended up being in the ministry. God's 3rd choice.
If you are your own worst enemy....
Church culture can make a person feel that if they 'missed it' then it is all over, maybe they've even lost their salvation. Many feel like God called them to this or that in years prior, but then life happened when they were busy doing other things. Now looking back over their life they feel they've let God down, and wonder how He feels about them. Here we see a whole nation rejecting the call of God on their lives, and what did the Father do? He adjusted.
Part of the answer is that you and I are already in eternity, so nothing in Him is lost. You don't die and then enter eternity. You are now alive forever. Forever. We are in eternity right now. His Word doesn't return void, so that means you may fulfill your call in the Millennial age, perhaps 50, 200, 500, 7,000 years from now or more - you're already living in 'forever', so there is time to enter into what was missed in this life.
His Word WILL happen in you life
I've shared many times about the couple in our church years ago who had great prophecies spoken over them, but things went poorly and they ended up divorced. In a visitation I asked the Lord about that couple. His answer stunned me:
"They will fulfill their call the age to come. When I asked for chapter and verse, He said: "There are many prophecies given in the Old Testament which jump over this time of the Gentiles to speak of the Millennial age to come. So why is it hard for you to believe a Word given to someone in this age can't come to pass in the next?" So I take the big picture approach to my life, He does too: "So that in the ages to come (the Father) will continue to show the riches of His kindness which is towards us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:7)
God's flexibility to Israel:
"The whole nation will be a kingdom of priests to Me!"
"Uh...no. You talk to Moses and then he can talk to us and tell us what you are saying."
"Then I will make the firstborn my priests!"
"Uh...no, our firstborns are too important to us to be forced to give them to you, give us a buy back program."
"Then I will take the Levites to be my priests!"
LOL but that is the essence of what happened. He isn't an ogre in the sky, inflexible and insensitive to us. He's our Father, He is God, and we are His family.
The Father still got His way about having a kingdom of priests
You can't out-smart the Lord for He sees the end from before the beginning. The Revelation 1:10, 5:6, and 20:6 say that the Father has made us, that is you and I, "a kingdom of priests". In fact 20:6 says we will be that kingdom of priests in the millennial age, ruling over the earth with Him, and serving as His priesthood.
In I Peter 2:9 he says: "You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, specially set aside for the Lord who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
That means no matter how you have 'missed it' on this earth as a believer, you're still part of the nation of priests in Christ. Your destiny will be fulfilled for we have now been made a kingdom of priests to the Lord. You can't make more mistakes than He has grace and provision. Amazing grace, more from Leviticus next week! Blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org