They are to . . . [fulfill] the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Numbers 3:8
When England’s Queen Elizabeth passed away in September 2022, thousands of soldiers were deployed to march in the funeral procession. Their individual roles must have been almost unnoticeable in the large crowd, but many saw it as the greatest honor. One soldier said it was “an opportunity to do our last duty for Her Majesty.” For him, it was not what he did, but whom he was doing it for that made it an important job.
The Levites assigned to take care of the tabernacle furnishings had a similar aim. Unlike the priests, the Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites were assigned seemingly mundane tasks: cleaning the furniture, lampstands, curtains, posts, tent pegs, and ropes (Numbers 3:25–26, 28, 31, 36–37). Yet their jobs were specifically assigned by God, constituted “doing the work of the tabernacle” (v. 8), and are recorded in the Bible for posterity.
What an encouraging thought! Today, what many of us do at work, at home, or in church may seem insignificant to a world that values titles and salaries. But God sees it differently. If we work and serve for His sake—seeking excellence and doing so for His honor, even in the smallest task—then our work is important because we’re serving our great God.
How might knowing that you’re ultimately serving God change the way you work? How can you do it with pride and excellence for His sake?
Father, thank You for giving me this opportunity to serve You. Help me to be faithful with the talents and strength You’ve given me to work for You.
Who were the Levites? Levi was the third son of Jacob (Genesis 29:34). The Levites were his descendants through his sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari (46:11). What was special about this tribe? They were a sacred “special forces” group within the nation who were assigned tabernacle duties. Because of their role in Israel, they were exempt from military service (Numbers 1:44–49). During the period of history that included the portable tabernacle, the Levites alone were tasked with its set up, take down, transport, and protection (vv. 50–54). Numbers 4:1–33 provides a breakdown of their specific tasks. What considerations were given to the Levites for their services? “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting” (18:21).