“Then Hezekiah appointed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, each of the priests and Levites for their service […]”
~2 Chronicles 31:2
While reading this, you might ask yourself, weren’t all the priests Levites?
How is it that they were classified into two groups?
In many Bible passages the term “priests” refers specifically to males who descended from Aaron.
Though all of these priests belonged to the tribe of Levi, the term “Levites” refers to all of the other males in the tribe, the priests’ assistants.
The Levites were therefor organized into four groups:
- The priests, who descended from Aaron, who descended from Kohath.
- The other descendants of Kohath, who were in charge of the sacred furniture of the tabernacle.
- The descendants of Gershon, who were in charge of the linens within the tabernacle.
- The descendants of Merari, who were in charge of the framework of the tabernacle.
(Ge. 46:11; Nu. 3:25, 26, 30, 31, 36, 37).
All the Levites had to be familiar enough with Mosaic Law to teach it to others (2 Chron. 17:7-9).
Also, their tabernacle duties transferred to the temple once it was built (1 Chron. 23:24-32).
What I gathered from this reading is that whatever my personal assignment is within Jehovah’s organization, I should cherish the privilege of serving him and collaborating with brothers and sisters working in different capacities.
Our spiritual work should be free of envy or resentment because we are all working for the same God and the same cause.
“Of the tribe of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do, there were 200 of their headmen, and all their brothers were under their command.”
~1 Chronicles 12:32
In the time of David, the tribe of Issachar consisted of 87,000 men registered to fight in his army (1 Chron. 7:5).
200 of them, who were particularly wise, headed the tribe.
If we divide 87,000 by 200, it means there was one commander per every 435 men.
Yet, “all their brothers were under their command.”
The men of the tribe of Issachar acted in unity because they humbly respected their elders’ knowledge and intentions (Prov. 14:8; Eccl. 7:19).
Jesus said of the people he tried to teach: “[…] Why do you not know how to examine this particular time?” (Luke 12:56).
Today’s congregation elders try to make us aware of the times we are living in so we do not fall asleep in a spiritual sense and risk losing our spiritual battle (Ro. 13:11,12; Eph. 6:12).
Most congregations worldwide have much fewer than 435 members each, and they benefit from a body of elders who are wise in years of service toward God and Biblical insight.
If the tribe of Issachar was able to carry out their work in unison, we should be able and willing to do the same in our own congregations.
“[…] Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer was behind him; and the Philistines began to fall before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer was putting them to death behind him.”
~1 Samuel 14:13
By standing up to their people’s oppressors, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were demonstrating great faith in Jehovah, crediting him with the victory before it begun (1 Sam. 14:6).
There is another lesson in their actions: teamwork goes a long way.
They were obviously very coordinated, being able to carry out this extraordinary deed of striking and putting 20 men to death, despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 (1 Sam. 14:14).
Although as Christians we do not participate in deadly combat, we do need to collaborate extensively with other members in the Congregation on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.
The success we experience spiritually is directly related to our ability to subject to theocratic arrangements, which in turn is directly related to being humble (1 Cor. 14:40).
Like Jonathan’s armor-bearer, we need to be willing to sacrifice personal interests in order to demonstrate our unyielding loyalty toward God and our spiritual family (1 Sam. 14:7).
Then we will clearly see Jehovah’s blessings and his loyalty toward us (1 Chron. 16:34).
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.
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).