The Book of Numbers: Excerpts from Numbers 3 & 4
The LORD said to Moses, "Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the Tent of Meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. - Numbers 3: 5-9
At the Tent of Meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes--and everything related to their use. - Numbers 3: 25-26
They are to carry the curtains of the tabernacle...- Numbers 4: 25
The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary...They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use. - Numbers 3:28, 31
"After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting. - Numbers 4: 15
The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use, as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs and ropes. - Numbers 3: 36-37
At the LORD's command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry. Thus they were counted, as the LORD commanded Moses. - Numbers 4: 49
I Wish I Was a Priest!
They stand before God on behalf of the people.
They stand before the People on behalf of God.
It’s Show Time, The “Big” Important Things Priests Did
- Priests executed rituals, sacrifices to Thank God and sacrifices that expressed Sorrow on behalf of the People to God; atoning for their sins. Big jobs.
- They also led the festivals days that were so important to the people of Israel, that not only kept them in relationship with God but shaped its culture. Big roles.
- Example | The Day of Atonement - once a year, the priests would sacrifice an atonement Goat, killing it and using its blood to atone for the national sins of Israel. They would also place the sins of the community on a Scape Goat and send it away into the wilderness, thus removing Israel’s sins. Big jobs, important roles. But…
And Now We are Called to be Priests?!
“…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” - 1 Peter 2:9
- They (Gershonites) are to carry the curtains of the tabernacle
- The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting.
- The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases… as well as the posts… with their bases, tent pegs and ropes.
You Identity is Shaped by What You Choose to Be Responsible For
What you love and are responsible for you will build rhythms, routines, practices around.
- “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” - Jesus
“Responsibility does establish identity, but we are not responsible because of our identity; instead we have an identity because we are responsible.” - Vaclav Havel
- You are a Priest because you carry curtains and take care of God’s house, daily, weekly, earnestly.
- You are a Lover (Disciple) of Jesus because of the rhythms, daily routines, you’ve set. What mundane daily activities do you do with and for the ones you love?
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” - Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
First Commandment | “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” - Exodus 20:2-3
“Learning to love takes practice. You can't think your way to it… our loves are trained by the rhythms, routines, practices, and communities that we place ourselves in...that we submit ourselves to…” - James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation
“Liturgies aim our love to different ends precisely by training our hearts through our bodies.” - James K.A. Smith
But We Don’t Like Consistency, Repetition, Mundane Chores!
“So it is precisely our allergy to repetition in worship that has undercut the counterformative power of Christian worship—because all kinds of secular liturgies shamelessly affirm the good of repetition.” - James K.A. Smith
Consistent vs Occasional
“Successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally." - Craig Groeschel
+ “Priests do consistently what normal people do occasionally.”
+ “Mature Christians do consistently what Nominal Christians do occasionally.”
Susanna and Samuel Wesley had 19 children. Nine of her children died as infants.
Susanna was the 25th of 25 siblings in her family. After her marriage, her husband was absent for a year...and went to jail twice because of financial difficulties. She taught her children at home for 25 years. Her house almost burned down twice and almost killed her children.
The state of her children's souls, formed the focus of her education. Each child was taught early on that there was a supreme being to whom their gratitude and homage must be reverently rendered.
Susanna Made Them do the Little Things, Daily Routine, Rhythms, Practices
- study 3 hrs in morning and afternoon for 6 days a week
- began each academic day with praise
- babies fed on a schedule
- She was methodical in raising her kids
John Wesley & Charles Wesley with George Whitefield - Methodism
80 million people today in 133 countries (today).
They got their name of "methodists" from other people because of their methodical approach to spiritual discipline and doing missionary work…
For Wesley there were five spiritual disciplines he sought to practice as often as possible.
1 | Prayer: Wesley would spend time at the beginning of every day in prayer. He also liked to say a short prayer every hour, on the hour, and would begin every important action with prayer.
2 | Bible Study: He would use his travel time (on horseback!) to regularly read through the Bible. His love for the scripture was so great he could say, “Let me be a man of one book.” He knew the Bible very well.
3 | Journaling: He used a daily journal to record his experiences and conversations, and often kept a separate daily diary to list how he spent each hour of his time, and the different temptations he faced. He then regularly reviewed both, to see where he still needed to grow.
4 | Fasting: Wesley had a weekly rhythm of fasting breakfast and lunch most Wednesdays and Fridays. He would also occasionally do longer fasts when praying for something specific.
5 | Taking communion: Wesley believed in communion as a means of grace that could draw him closer to God, just as other spiritual disciplines could. He took communion weekly at Anglican services, and encouraged all Methodists to do the same.
George vs John Wesley
“a conversation between George Whitefield and John Pool, as it was related to him by Pool. “Whitefield: Well, John, art thou still a Wesleyan? “Pool: Yes, sir. I thank God I have the privilege of being in connection with Mr. Wesley, and one of his preachers. “Whitefield: John, thou art in thy right place. My brother Wesley acted wisely; the souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class, and thus preserved the fruits of his labor. This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand.” - Kevin M. Watson
God is Faithful in the Little Things
+ "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23
Every morning, God cooks up compassion (rice) for us.
+ Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions… The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
- Exodus 16:4,35
Every morning, for 40 years, God bakes bread for the Israelites. This is faithfulness in the little things.
We celebrate and love the most the person who was willing to do the least important job consistently.
The Inevitably of God’s Grand Sacrifice, Of Course He was going to Come and Die for Us
It was inevitable and true to his character that God would do something so drastic as coming in the flesh and offer his body up as the living bread because he had a habit of loving us by providing daily bread (manna).