Numbers 8:5-22 Separation

Aaron performs the cleansing called for by God for His special servants.

We are still in the early days of the Tabernacle in our reading. God calls the Levites to stand in the place the first born should have taken; separated unto Him.

God has told Moses in several places that the firstborn of people belong to Him. He ransomed the lot of them from Egypt. But He chose a different way instead.

He chose the Levites instead. He didn’t choose them because they were the symbol of perfection. He didn’t choose them because they were the easiest bunch to work with. He didn’t even choose them because they were the tribe that was closest in number to the number of firstborn He was relinquishing exclusive right to. I believe He chose them because they were the tribe Moses was from.

Moses and Aaron had been acting as God’s spokespersons for some time. He could have used ANYONE from any tribe. But He chose to work with the little baby that was placed in the reed basket, saved by Pharaoh’s daughter, raised in the ways of Egypt, KNEW of his heritage, stood up for his people against their oppressor, hid his guilt, cried out “NOT ME”, and finally followed His commands with his whole heart.

I would not be surprised to learn that there were other reed baskets placed in that river during those dark days. I would easily believe other children were hidden away. But THIS child would be the one God would use. There was nothing special about him other than that his mother thought he was beautiful. God didn’t call him because He knew what he was going to grow up to be. He grew up to be that man because God called him from his birth.

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. This was Moses’ story and now it was the Levites’ story. God put Moses through his paces and created the man of God he finally became. Now it was time to start the process with the rest of Moses’ family; the Levites.

The first thing we are told that they had to do was to be “sprinkled with the water of purification.” The Catholics would be happy with this as sprinkling is one of their practices. Next we are told they had to “go with a razor over all of their body.” I’m wondering if this included their head and face. Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5 both speak of NOT cutting facial hair. Leviticus 21:5 specifically states that they are not to make bald spots in their hair or shave it off. However, when a man completes a Nazarite vow he is to shave his head and beard. So my question is, did the Levites in their consecration ceremony do a complete shave then regrow all their hair or did they shave only their bodies? And if they shaved only their bodies, was this a practice that they had to continue for the rest of their years of service or a one-time event? And finally, was this a requirement for ALL the Levites who would serve after them or for the first group only?

The next piece of their separation was washing their garments. Clean hands, clean hands, and clean clothes. Everything had to be completed before their final instructions were carried out. The process of ensuring clean hearts.

The final piece of their separation was the sacrifices. They were allowed to perform this as a group and didn’t have to do individual sacrifices. There was a grain offering, a sin offering and a burnt offering that they brought.

In these offerings they were not offering it only for themselves but the people were offering them in their stead. The people “designated” them as their representatives by laying their hands upon the Levites and then the Levites laid their hands upon the heads of their offerings. These final “recipients” were then taken in sacrifice in place of those offering it.

The cleansing didn’t flow back to the original group but stayed with the Levites. They were now the go between for the people. They stood separate as God’s anointed. Theirs would be the responsibility to speak to God on the peoples’ behalf and speak to the people on God’s behalf. The called had now been qualified or were entering the lifelong process of true qualification.

Father God, thank You that I no longer have to reach out to You through an intermediary. Thank You for opening the way for me to come to You directly with my prayers, concerns, questions, praise, and worship. Jesus is my High Priest and I can boldly go to Him. There is no man or woman that stands between us. I LOVE the personal nature of our relationship! I don’t have to ask someone else what they think You want me to know. I can come to You with that question instead.

Yes, I need to still listen to my brothers and sisters and the things that You tell them too. Those lessons are often applicable to me too. But I don’t have to wait while we “play telephone” to hear Your words for my life. Help me know who to listen to and know who can help me when bringing my needs to You. My “prayer partners” or “prayer warriors” are my brothers and sisters in combat with me not a line of separation from You. Thank You for allowing me on Your lap.

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