May 13

Read 1 Chronicles 6 -- 7

In Today's Reading:

Descendants of Levi; Temple singers and keepers appointed; descendants of Aaron; cities of the Levites; numerous genealogies continued.

Verse for Today:

The number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men (1 Chronicles 7:40).

The long and seemingly uninteresting genealogy in these chapters reveals that God does not look on mankind as just a mass of human beings who populate the earth. The name of every individual priest and Levite, along with the family and tribe he belonged to, was carefully registered as well as the number of men who were qualified to be soldiers. We see a striking contrast in the character of the men mentioned in these chapters. Some were devoted to their God-given responsibilities while others profaned their holy calling.

Of first consideration in this listing was the high priest, who was to be chosen only from the family of Aaron (1 Chronicles 6:3). Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar were devoted to their calling as priests, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded (6:49); but Aaron's two oldest sons Nadab and Abihu were struck dead when they ignored the Commandments of God. Samuel was a godly judge, but the sons of Samuel . . . Vashni, and Abiah (6:28) were evil men. For years, Abiathar was a dedicated high priest, but later he became a traitor to David (1 Kings 1:5-7; 2:26-27).

As we look around us, we see some who, at first, seem to be blessed with remarkable spiritual beginnings but, when tested by material, social or physical advantages, they forfeited their spiritual opportunities.

In order to serve in the Temple, one's name had to be among those recorded as belonging to the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:6-7; 1 Chronicles 23:24). The Levites included the families of Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. They were responsible for all spiritual activities. Their responsibilities were regarded as a sacred trust. These included teaching the Word of God, presiding over worship, and maintaining the Temple, its shew bread, lamp, oil and incense. The Temple was also called the House of God (Ezra 6:16; Haggai 1:2; Zechariah 6:12-15).

The Levites were not given a territory when Canaan was divided among the tribes, but they were given dwelling places according to their settlements within their borders (1 Chronicles 6:54). Since there were 48 of these cities established throughout the land (Numbers 35:7), spiritual help would be near and available to all of God's people. In this way, the priests were to provide daily spiritual influence in the Temple Worship while other Levites had responsibilities among all the tribes. In gratitude for their spiritual leadership, the other 11 tribes were given the privilege of sustaining the Levites who lived within their communities through their tithes and offerings.

God is just as concerned with each of us today as He was with the Israelites. He [calls] His own sheep by name (John 10:3). Our loyalty to the One True Lord will soon be revealed. The Apostle John wrote: I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:12).

Christ Revealed:

By the cities of refuge (1 Chronicles 6:57). For a person to have protection from the avenger of blood, he had to flee to a city of refuge. God provided His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to be our Refuge from His judgment against sin. (Compare John 3:14-18; 10:24-30; Galatians 2:16; 3:1-14; Hebrews 10:1-18; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 1:5.) When, by faith, in obedience to His Word, we come to Christ, He becomes our Refuge (see Hebrews 6:18).

Word Studies:

6:32 waited on = performed service in; 6:66 the residue = balance; 6:74 suburbs = pasturelands; 7:23 it went evil with = tragedy had happened to his family; 7:24 nether = lower.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. John Kasich (OH) · Pray for your Church · Country: Dominican Republic (8 million) in the West Indies, occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic (many are spiritists); 2% Protestant; 1% Afro-American spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Confess and forsake all sin (Isaiah 59:12-13).

Optional Reading: Romans 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 3:16