“Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.”
Of the 12 tribes of Israel, God chose Levi to superintend His covenant nation’s religious system. Levi was privileged to manage every aspect of the tabernacle and Temple programs. A select group within the Tribe of Levi, the descendants of Aaron, managed and administered the sacrificial system, which was the very heart of religion in Israel. Though Levi was blessed with these amazing privileges and responsibilities, the behavior of the tribe’s progenitor was less than commendable. Genesis 34 documents how Levi and Simeon avenged their sister’s assault by killing her attacker. In bloodthirsty fashion, however, they slaughtered all the men in his city. They then proceeded to loot the city, taking the women and children captive. In Levi, the tribe was off to a poor start. Many years later, however, when Israel rebelled against God at the foot of Mount Sinai, it was Levi who came forward and identified with God’s man Moses (Exodus 32:26). For their faithfulness, the tribe was granted special religious privileges and responsibilities. In short, God responded in grace to the tribe’s step of faithfulness and obedience at Sinai, effectively erasing Levi’s violent, overreaching indiscretion at the beginning of their history. Part of Levi’s duties included the superintendence of the Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35). These were the cities where man-slayers, those who had killed others accidentally, without malicious intent, could flee for protection from those seeking vengeance. In the present New Covenant Dispensation, Christians are a new, holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9). Like Levi of old, our early histories, before we came to Christ, were less than commendable. Nevertheless, after we entered into a love-trust relationship with the Lord, we gained experiential knowledge of His saving grace. As with Levi, our past indiscretions were erased and we were given important duties to perform. Just as Levi was charged with overseeing the Cities of Refuge, Christians and their faith communities are to be a refuge for lost sinners. In us alone resides the knowledge that Christ the Lord is guilty man’s only protection from the holy wrath and justice of God. We “who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18) are charged with encouraging others to do likewise. As an expression of genuine love for God and man, may we faithfully discharge our special duties today!