Numbers 3:5-6 "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6“Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him."
Introduction to this week's blog series
This week I will be blogging on the significance of Deacon ministry in the life of today's church. The name of this series will be all about "God's Godly servants". I hope you find this series to be helpful, since its not just about Deacons, but something that is so fundamental to being a follower of Jesus Christ - namely serving Him. Our approach will be to show how the pattern of Godly servant hood was woven into the lives of God's people to benefit them. In seeing God's purposes of service in the tabernacle system in the book of Numbers, we will then see the principle recast in a far more richer way in the New Testament office of Deacon. May God bless you as you follow me this week into God's Word.
How the Lord designed ministry in His house
As we look at Numbers 3 and 4, we see a pattern laid out by God that describes the worship of His people in His house. In the nation of Israel, God made a distinction between the twelve tribes of Israel and the Levites. Furthermore, within the Levites themselves God made a distinction between the priests who were to serve in the administration of the sacrifices (Numbers 3:1-14) and the Levites aiding them in the caretaking of the tabernacle itself (Numbers 3:15-4:49). So no doubt, in the Old Testament, we see a pattern of administrators of the covenant and servants who aided them in maintaining the reverence and service to God before the people. It was the people in the remaining twelve tribes who were all called to be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy nation, serving God and displaying His glory to the nations. (Exodus 19)
Reflecting on our service to the Lord as a consistent theme in Old and New Testaments
This idea of God's house, and His people performing differing roles of service is a principle that appears in a different form in the New Testament. In commenting on Number 3:6-7, Matthew Henry in His Bible Commentary draws the following parallel: "The service for which the Levites were designed: they were to minister to the
priests in their ministration to the Lord (v. 6), and to keep Aaron's charge (v.
7), as the deacons to the bishops in the evangelical constitution, serving at
tables, while the bishops waited on their ministry."
Henry's observation has validity. When we read passages such as Hebrews 3, the parallel is drawn between the tabernacle as God's House and the New Testament Church as God's House. Other passages, such as 1 Peter 2 draw from Exodus and Numbers to connect certain parallels between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church. Though having different appearance and application in the New Testament, yet the similarity of pattern holds.
Similarities and Differences of God's people serving in the Old and New Covenant (or Testament) systems
In the Old Testament system, we had Leading Priests, serving Levites and the people of the congregation. In the New Testament, we can can see similar Divine design as God outlined the offices of Pastor and/or Elder, Deacons and the people in the local church. None is better than the other - just different in function. In the Old Testament a portion of God's people were charged to serve Him in distinct functions. In the New Testament all of God's people and a portion of God's people are charged to serve Him in distinct functions. The same Lord who called forth Israel in the Old Testament and formed the Church in the New Testament is the Author of both who delights to see His people serve and love Him.
Would it be that every Christian, whether Pastor, Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, or whatever station serve the Lord with gladness and thanksgiving. Would it be that we be His household of Godly servants.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012
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