And All the Levites Rallied to Moses

32: 25-29

    DIG: Who points the finger at whom? Why? What characterizes a life without restraint? What was the main concern for Aaron? For Moses? Who kills whom? How were the Levites blessed that day? How did obedience save their lives?

    REFLECT: Most of us, at some point, have winked at sin in our lives. We are human. We fall short of the mark. How can we be real with ourselves about the extent of our sin? What standard do we hold our sin up against? How are you being blessed by your obedience to God?

    Obviously, not all of the people were guilty, but those who were had to be punished. Moses saw that the people were naked and running wild, committing sexual immorality (First Corinthians 10:8). They were indulging in what they had seen so many times in Egypt. The Hebrew word running wild, means broken loose, uncovered, or without restraint. It is the same word used in the testing of a woman accused of adultery in Numbers 5:18, so the two themes of idolatry and adultery are once again tied together.677 Aaron was condemned as the one who had allowed the Hebrews to get out of control and so become a laughing stock to their enemies the Amalekites who lived in the area (32:25). Only Moses' presence stopped their orgy. The situation called for drastic action.

    So Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and said: Whoever is for ADONAI, come to me. No matter how Aaron had attempted to justify himself, what had been going on was unacceptable, and Moses called for a separation. And all the Levites, who were Moses’ tribal relatives (2:1-2, 6:19-20), rallied to him. Out of twelve tribes, they were the only ones to do so. The Levites were not ones to be provoked. When the prince of Shechem once raped Levi’s sister Dinah, he and his brother Simeon tricked the men of the city into thinking they were going to allow her to marry him. As part of the marriage arrangement they deceived the men of Shechem into getting circumcised. The result of the plot was both tragic and cruel. Three days later, while all of them were in the greatest amount of pain, both Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and went from one house to the next, attacked the unsuspecting city, killing each and every male until they were all dead (Genesis 34:24-25). So as far as Levi’s descendants were concerned, the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree. This was one tribe you didn’t want to fool with.

    Simeon and Levi were kindred spirits. They were always together and thought alike. They took vengeance on Dinah’s rapist and the men of Shechem together. But at some point Levi had a change of heart. He and his descendants decided to obey ADONAI whereas Simeon and his descendants decided to worship the golden calf.

    Then Moses spoke directly to the Levites and invoked the divine formula by saying: This is what ADONAI, the God of Isra'el, says, which signified that the very words of God were being spoken. So this is what the LORD said through His servant: Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor who was involved in that sin. The Levites volunteered to be one of the instruments of divine judgment, and that day about three thousand of the people died (32:26-28). God must have known the three thousand people who, like Pharaoh, were beyond repentance. That was not very many when you compare it to the millions of Israelites in the desert. Nevertheless, the LORD was not, and is not, and will not be casual about sin.

    As a reward for their willingness to undertake so difficult and tragic an assignment, they were set apart to God. Then Moses said: You have been set apart to ADONAI today, for you killed your own sons and brothers, and He has blessed you this day because of your obedience (32:29). They were later made responsible for the care of the holy objects in the Tabernacle (Numbers 1:50-53). But obedience was required first.

    On July 18, 1984, a woman came into McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California with her five year-old daughter. While they were in line, James Huberty walked in with an Uzi semi-automatic machine gun and started firing. He killed twenty-two people that day. Boys were gunned down as they tried to ride away on their bikes. People were killed huddled under tables and hiding in storage rooms. In her panic, the mom instinctively started running. The next thing she knew, she found herself outside next to a very large storage bin on the side of McDonald’s. She could see through the glass siding where the bathrooms were. It was then that she realized that her little girl wasn’t with her. When she looked back inside, her daughter was standing inside the glass behind a very large trash container with the food trays stacked up on top. When their eyes met, the mom could see the look of terror in her daughter’s eyes. She wanted to run outside to safety. But just then her mom saw Huberty walking toward her with his Uzi ready to fire. The mom put the palms of her hands up in front of her as if to say, “Stop.” Then slowly she lowered her hands, signaling for her daughter to squat down. Going against all instinct, that was exactly what the little girl did. When Huberty came up to the trash container, he didn’t see her squatting behind it. He looked, turned, and walked away. Once he was gone, the mother motioned for her daughter to come to her. She opened the glass door and ran into her mother’s waiting arms. So like the Levites, obedience had saved her life. This is the spiritual principle: rebellion leads to death and obedience leads to blessing.


< previous page
next page >

Genesis | Exodus | Isaiah | Ruth | Esther | Jeremiah
Life of David | Jonah | Jude | Life of Christ | Hebrews | Revelation
News & Updates | Links & Resources | Testimonials | About Us | Statement of Faith
Home | Español | Our FAQ

The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2019