Dedication of the Levites

Elizabeth Elliot tells in her book “Passion and Purity,” how on her first date with Jim Elliot (one of the five martyred missionaries in Ecuador), they went to a missionary meeting at Moody Church in Chicago, late in April. The speaker was one of the daughters of the fa … More


In this chapter we are examining the events that occurred in the camp of Israel at Mount Sinai on the day the tabernacle was erected. Everything that was done in the camp of Israel was ordered by the Lord. In the church today, God doesn’t speak audibly to His people as He did to Moses, but as they worship together, pray and study His Word, He reveals His will. God spoke to Moses about two important things: caring for the lamps (vv. 1-4), and dedicating the Levites (vv. 5-16).

It was the duty of Aaron and his sons to trim the wicks, replenish the oil each day and make sure the light was shining (Lev. 24:1-3). Without the light, the priests couldn’t see to minister in the holy place. Without Jesus (“the light of the world” - I John 8:12) we can not see and understand spiritual truth. Unless the people obeyed God and worshiped Him as He commanded, Israel’s light of witness would become dim and eventually go out.

If Aaron and his sons were the “official ministers” in the camp, serving at the altar and in the tabernacle, then the Levites were the dedicated laymen who assisted the priests in their ministry. Since they were serving God at the tabernacle, the Levites had to be set apart for the Lord. First they were cleansed by water (vv. 5-7), but unlike the priests, they were merely sprinkled (Ex. 29:4).

God says that when He killed the oldest sons of the Egyptians He decided that the first-born sons in each Israelite family would be His, as well as every first-born male from their flocks and herds. But now He has dedicated these Levites as substitutes for the first-born sons (vv. 17-18).


We serve the Lord by serving His people, but our orders must come from the Lord (II Cor. 4:5). No matter what task the Lord gives me to do, I must do it cheerfully and carefully.

Numbers 8:1-18 (English Standard Version)

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