And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him. They shall keep guard over him and over the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, as they minister at the tabernacle. They shall guard all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and keep guard over the people of Israel as they minister at the tabernacle. And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the people of Israel. And you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall guard their priesthood. But if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death.”
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine, for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD.” (Numbers 3:5-13 ESV)
Aaron and his sons cannot accomplish all that needs to be done in regard to approaching God with sacrifice, so Yahweh gives Aaron’s tribe, the Levites, to Aaron to serve him and all subsequent high priests after him. The high priest in effect becomes the clan leader.
The responsibility of the Levites is to guard Aaron and the people as they minister at the tabernacle. When they are making sacrifice the Levites maintain God’s proscribed decorum or order, killing any who wrongly approach Yahweh. This is what the Jews were claiming to do when the apostle Paul brought, they thought, Gentiles into the Temple area (Acts 21:27-29).
The Levites also serve as Israel’s firstborn in place of each individual family’s firstborn. When God killed the firstborn sons of Egypt to move Pharaoh to release Israel from bondage, he required every Israelite firstborn to be dedicated to Him. Now He accepts this whole tribe as the dedicated ones, serving Him in the sanctuary.
God calls some as leaders and some as servants to the leaders. Each is a high and necessary calling.
A chisel is a lifeless piece of steel, but controlled by the hand of the sculptor, it can aid in producing wondrous statuary. Who can estimate the blessing caused mankind because of yielded obedience to Christ’s call by Peter, James, John, Paul, Luther, Livingstone, Carey, Hudson Taylor, Moody and a host of others? Who can estimate the catastrophe to all concerned had they not obeyed? [Gospel Herald]