Numbers, chapters 7-9

You must separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites will become mine.
~Nu. 8:14

All the families in Israel received a type of inheritance.
In most cases, the inheritance constituted of land, but in the Levites’ case, it was a spiritual inheritance.
The Levites had the privilege of carrying out Jehovah’s service in matters of worship.

God said to them, “In their land you will not have an inheritance, and no portion of land among them will become yours. I am your portion and your inheritance in the midst of the Israelites,” (Nu. 18:20).

Today, Christian ministers are not born into their service.
It is a conscientious choice each one of us makes.

However, being a dedicated servant of God still calls for a modest lifestyle which involves economical sacrifices.
It is a vow we take that requires a lifelong commitment.
A dedicated Christian no longer belongs to him or herself, as in the case of the Levites.
We belong to God and his higher purpose (Matt. 16:24; 1 Pet. 2:21).

Although we are not born into our ministry, each one of us has innate gifts that we can use to serve Jehovah.
Within the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ministers may use their talents in various fields.

For example the Kingdom Hall or Bethel construction work calls for a wide range of abilities, including demolition, cooking, interior design, landscaping, carpentry, electrical work, and technical support, as well as more administrative roles.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

Our website JW.org is the most translated website on earth and is maintained by volunteers who have a technical inclination.
At a branch level, there are translators, musicians, fashion designers, housekeepers and logistic experts, among others.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's WitnessesChristian Congregation of Jehovah's WitnessesChristian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

Then there are also the disaster relief groups which are composed of brothers and sisters with their own unique set of talents.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

At a more localized level, we have our Christian elders and ministerial servants who sacrifice their after-work hours to prepare public talks and individual counsel, carry out administrative duties and organize our conventions.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

All of us come from different walks of life but we strive to collaborate as the Levites would, as one family.

Personally, I have always enjoyed the field ministry aspect of our service since I started participating in it at the age of 12.

In the field ministry, one has to be able to hold a meaningful conversation with any type of person, from professors and church leaders to felons, foreign language speakers and the mentally ill.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

I turn 32 today. I began serving as a full-time Pioneer exactly 16 years ago (volunteering an average of 70 hrs./month).
When compared to others, I am not particularly knowledgeable in any one field.
I do not have good physical nor emotional health.
I am not an energetic people-person, nor am I detail-oriented and goal-driven.

But what I am today, God has made me.
To the extent to which I have allowed him, he has made me his.
He has made ‘his joy my stronghold,’ (Ne. 8:10).
Serving Jehovah in the field ministry is my spiritual inheritance.

What is yours?

 

 

Numbers, chapters 4-6

[…] In the case of a man who becomes jealous and suspects his wife of unfaithfulness; he should make his wife stand before Jehovah, and the priest must carry out toward her all this law.

~Numbers 5:30

This passage stirs up negative feelings in me, so this post might come off as more subjective than others.

When an Israelite man suspected that his wife had been unfaithful to him but there were not enough witnesses, he had to bring her to trial before the priests and Jehovah.

There he was to offer “a grain offering of jealousy,” his wife had to publicly swear that she had been faithful to him, calling a curse upon herself in the case that she was lying, and then the priest would pick up dust from the tabernacle floor, put it in clean water and have her drink the water (Nu. 5:14-26).

I have read this passage a few times but have a hard time reconciling why God would put a woman through what seems to me an abuse of power and public humiliation when it was just as likely that she was innocent.

I therefor decided to investigate this law in more detail in order to gain a better understanding of it.

The law called on God to act as ultimate judge. The water she drank did not have special powers; it simply symbolized that the oath had been taken before Jehovah in a sacred place.

It was normal back then, even more so than it is today, for a sexually active woman to bear children.

But the curse the woman called down upon herself asked God to intercept this natural process by making her barren.

If the woman’s ‘abdomen swelled and thigh fell away,’ she would henceforth be incapable of having children, meaning God had found her guilty and he had punished her himself (Nu. 5:27).

This act of divine intervention would be the equivalent of a miracle- a negative miracle, seeing it from the woman’s perspective.

Now, obviously for this curse to be tested out, the husband had to have sexual relations with his wife. If she did not swell up and eventually ‘conceived and produced offspring,’ that would be testament of her innocence (Nu. 5:28).

I still have trouble assimilating the trauma and social stigma this exposed a woman to, the frustration she must have felt if she suspected him of being unfaithful, not having a law to process that, plus the lack of a way to identify the male adulterer in cases where the woman was in fact an adulteress.

However I have to note that there is a great deal of wisdom behind the law which basically required the man to lie down again with his wife.

From a marriage perspective, when a couple lies down together after a serious argument, it triggers something in one’s psychology that presses one to forgive the spouse and move past that obstacle in the relationship. It is what is colloquially called “make-up sex.”

Also the time that passed while trying to conceive allowed the couple to try to work their problems out over several months, instead of just recurring to divorce or stoning.

At this point I would like  to note that jealousy in itself is and always has been a sin, so if the accused woman bore a child, her husband was publicly regarded as having been wrong (Gal. 5:19,20).

And that can be pretty hard on a guy’s ego.

There are a lot of ‘what-if’ scenarios that must have arisen when this law was enforced, questions that modern fertility tests would answer for us impartially and without the need for divine intervention.

Certainly Mosaic Law did have its limitations, and where these laws fell short, justice became a matter of faith (Rom. 8:3).

For “there is only one who is Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy. But you, who are you to be judging […]?” (Jam. 4:12).

 

 

 

 

Numbers, chapters 1-3

They [Moses, Aaron and his sons] were responsible for taking care of the sanctuary as their obligation in behalf of the Israelites. Any unauthorized person coming near would be put to death.
~Numbers 3:38

God has assigned responsibilities as he sees fit within the congregation.
Or as Ephesus chapter 4, verse 8 puts it, “he gave gifts in men.”

Isaiah chapter 32 verse 2 describes the role these men play:
[…] Each one will be like a hiding place from the wind,
A place of concealment from the rainstorm,
Like streams of water in a waterless land,
Like the shadow of a massive crag in a parched land.

In order to shepherd the flock and oversee worship, these imperfect men make decisions and arrangements which are not always popular with the entire congregation.

However, as the aforementioned text highlights, when a person encroaches the responsibilities and decision-making power of those whom God has chosen to lead, either by manipulation or physically taking matters into their own hands, God views it as a very serious sin.

We do best to submit to God’s arrangement, cultivating patience and humility, contributing to the congregation’s well-being by demonstrating a cooperative spirit, even when we do not fully understand all the underlying factors or dynamics that affect the congregation’s functioning  (Eph. 4:2,3; Phil. 2:2-4).