God goes into GREAT detail with the tribe of Levi’s genealogy. Here’s hoping I (we) can follow it.
Just looking at the list of names, verse after Verse after VERSE scares me! Even the tribe of Judah didn’t have this many names in it. Maybe that means there won’t be any big gaps or logic leaps. Maybe God traced down each branch with the author in Levi’s genealogy.
The tribe of Levi was the one tribe God claimed as His own; separate and set apart even more than the nation He chose. When the people were numbered God said that the men of Levi were His portion and stood as the redemption price for the rest of the nation of Israel. They received no inheritance as a tribe for He said HE was their inheritance. They were given cities to dwell in and provision was put in place for their support by the rest of the nation.
Levi was also sprinkled throughout the nation of Israel, on both sides of the Jordan, to lead and care for the people. EVERY TRIBE gave up cities, with their pasture lands, to the Levites to have as their inheritance on earth. This brought the presence of God into the midst of ALL the people. These cities included the cities of refuge where a person who had accidentally killed another person could escape to for protection from the avenger of blood.
The Levites were divided by clan, originating from Levi’s own loins. Levi had three sons; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. God divided the work of the Tabernacle among these clans and passed down that division throughout the life of the nation. Our author maintains these lines very nicely for us in our reading. I can actually follow them; both the top down and the bottom up lines! What a pleasant surprise.
In following the line of Levi we see that Samuel was of the tribe of Kohath. I didn’t know this before. I had figured that Samuel was of the tribe of Levi because he was raised in the Tabernacle but I didn’t have concrete evidence until now. Here it stands before us. We don’t see the line of Eli who raised Samuel though. This is because not EVERY branch is traced out in this family tree. God chose to follow one father and one son format so we miss the rest of the children and their children. This list is long enough! I can’t imagine tracing out the full tree.
God even shows through His author that the Levites were in residence with the people at the time of exile. They went WITH the people into captivity. The people were not bereft of God’s representatives, even while in captivity. “Jehozadak went into exile when the Lord sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar” (verse 15).
God doesn’t leave us alone either. We don’t need the Levites to be our connection or intermediary any longer. We have Jesus and the Holy Spirit for that work. Those of us who have asked Jesus to be our Savior and intermediary to God are never without His presence in our lives. He promised to be with those who chose to follow Him. We gentiles are the sheep of the other flocks and pastures that Jesus spoke of. We are His as surely as Israel was in the days of Moses, David, and even Zedekiah. God will not walk through the filth of sin with us but neither does He leave us to walk it alone. The Holy Spirit calls to us, even in the mud, and holds out His hand for us to take it again. Once we grab hold He can pull us back out again and begin the cleaning work once again. The filth is only skin deep at this point. It may be between your toes and under your fingernails but it isn’t oozing from the pores of your soul because that belongs to Him. He gave you a NEW LIVING soul when you first came to Him. We don’t kill that gift with our occasional trips through the mud but we can starve it with willful and habitual sin. I don’t know if there is a point where we can ‘starve it to death’ but I never want to find out either.
God turned Israel over to exile but He brought them back time and time again. But they were smaller and smaller with each returning. Today I wonder if they can even trace their genealogy back to their roots. Are all twelve tribes still in existence? How many clans are missing from the rolls because of willful and habitual sin? Only He knows for certain the toll sin took along the way.
Father God, thank You that I am not left alone to my own devices. Thank You Holy Spirit for calling out to me daily and especially during the times I’m wallowing in the muck of sin. Thank You Jesus for washing me clean again and Again and AGAIN! Thank You for never giving up on me. Keep changing me into what You want me to be. Make me a reflection of You and Your love. Teach me to show mercy as You want it; without throwing out standards and expectations. Mercy, grace, and love that comes along beside a person who is struggling and wraps them in love and helps them move towards where You have planned; towards You.
I’m SO grateful You do this for me. Help me do it for others around me.