Over the weekend, I caught up on my One-Year Bible reading. Truth be told, I got behind during the less-than-riveting Book of Leviticus. As I made my way through the beginning of Numbers, a passage in Chapter 8 stood out to me in a way that continues to preoccupy my mind.
Picture this: The tabernacle has finally been completed. Moses and Aaron are going through the process of anointing and consecrating the tabernacle and the leaders of Israel. God sets apart the Levites for Himself from among all others in the nation. He calls them to complete service of Aaron and the tabernacle, to perform priestly duties for the whole congregation of Israel and to care for the tabernacle itself (Numbers 1.50) In short, the Levites were called to specific service in the place of worshiping God. The Lord said that they shall be Mine (Numbers 3.12 & 13).
Then comes Chapter 8. The Lord instructs Moses to cleanse the Levites and have them make offerings before Him that they would be consecrated for their service. Verse 11 states, “Aaron then shall present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the sons of Israel, that they may qualify to perform the service of the Lord.” What struck me so powerfully about this passage is this: this tribe had already been called by God to specific duties in the tabernacle. They had already been called to a priesthood, to serve in unique ways in the sacrifices and worship before God. YET they still had to cleanse themselves, make offerings (symbolic of confession) and prepare themselves to be qualified to fulfill their role in serving the Lord in the tabernacle.
How tempting would it have been for the Levites to feel a sense of superiority over the nation of Israel?! How easily could they have felt somewhat entitled to the position given them? “We’ve been called. We’ve been given such and such responsibilities in the tabernacle. We’ve been set apart to serve in this specific way.” But as verse 11 reminds us – though they had been called, they still had to be qualified to serve the Lord. This did not reflect on their physical ability to perform the duties assigned to them but on their spiritual condition before God.
As one who serves from the platform with the worship team, this greatly resonated with me. Countless times in my life, I have heard others say and at times felt within myself, “I know I’ve been called to sing, to lead, to serve on the worship team (or whatever position applies to you)” This may be valid but it must be taken a step further. While God does place callings on His people, so often we jump from receiving the call to feeling entitled to that position of service without qualifying ourselves to walk in the path prepared for us. We focus more on the position we feel obligated to rather than our condition before God. As I read Numbers 8, I sensed God say to me, “Being called to something and being qualified to walk in that calling are two different things.” The Levites were called to serve but they still had to act in humility and obedience to cleanse themselves, to confess their sins and to consecrate themselves before the Lord in preparation of that service. They had to take ownership of their own condition before God rather than proudly assume they were good simply because of their given status.
Thank You, Lord, for this timely reminder! I pray it be true for Journey’s worship team and for anyone who has a calling of service placed on them (in essence – anyone who calls themselves a Christian. God has a calling on your life!) May we walk humbly before the Lord. May we never disqualify ourselves from the calling He has placed on us because of our own sin, lack of obedience or pride. Every time we step up on our “platform” (be it a stage, work, your family, any audience, or simply alone before the Creator of all things), may we assess the condition of our heart and bodies to make sure we are qualified to walk in the calling He has placed on our lives.
We have been called. The question is: are we qualified?