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Numbers 8:15-22

Wholly Given

15 And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. 16 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. 17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary. 20 And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them. 21 And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the LORD; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.


After the Levites were cleansed and made fit for their service in the tabernacle, they were allowed to enter and perform their assigned duties. God said to Moses, "They are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel." The emphasis should be on the word "wholly." God does not want His servants to be part-timers. They were wholly given to Him. They had no inheritance among the land when it was later divided between the tribes. God was their inheritance and reward. He was to be everything to them.

They were taken to be God's servants in place of the firstborn of the children of Israel. We are reminded that God killed the firstborn of every family in Egypt but spared the firstborn of all the Israelite families who had put the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts. In so doing, He claimed the firstborn of Israel who had been saved for His own possession. Then, He traded His claim to the firstborn for the family of Levi.

"And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons." The High Priest received those who were called and committed to the Lord's service as a gift from God. Jesus, our High Priest, was also given God's chosen for Himself. He prayed, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word... I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them." (John 17:6, 9-10) And these were also wholly given to Him. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16) God's servants should burn with the desire to serve Him.

The Levites were also given to God and to Aaaron and sons for the benefit of the children of Israel. First, they were given "to make an atonement" for Israel. The Levites did not perform the sacrifices. That was the ministry of the priests. However, their being separated from their brethren as an offering before the Lord served to make an atonement for the sins of Israel. They were also given so that there would be no need for anyone else in Israel to come near or to touch the holy things of the tabernacle. Such an action could result in the whole congregation being punished by a plague. Their sins had separated them from their God.

God's infinite love for Israel is expressed in verse 19 as He states His reasons for separating the Levites to serve in the tabernacle. The phrase "children of Israel" is repeated 5 times in that verse alone. God is love and He never commands His people to do anything that is not for their benefit.

Moses, Aaron, Aaron's sons, the Levites and all the congregation did as God had commanded. The Levites were separated, sanctified, cleansed and put to their assigned duties in the service of the tabernacle.

Before The Throne:

Are you wholly given to Christ or just a part-timer? Find out what the Lord thinks. Keep silent before Him today and listen for His small still voice. What ministry has He separated you from the word to perform? Hear Him and obey Him, just as Moses and the congregation of Israel obeyed.

For Further Study:

(v.15) ** go in. Num 8:11; Num 3:23-37; Num 4:3-32; 1Chr 23:1-32; 1Chr 25:1-26; ** and offer. Num 8:11, 13-12;

(v.16) ** Num 3:12, 45;

(v.17) ** all the. Num 3:13; Exod 13:2, 12-15; Luke 2:23; ** on the day. Exod 12:29; Ps 78:51; Ps 105:36; Ps 135:8; Heb 11:28; ** I sanctified. Exod 13:14-15; Exod 29:44; Lev 27:14-15, 26; Ezek 20:12; John 10:36; John 17:19; Heb 10:29; Jas 1:18;

(v.19) ** I have given. Num 3:6-9; Num 18:2-6; 1Chr 23:28-32; Ezek 44:11-14; ** that there. Num 1:53; Num 16:46; Num 18:5; 1Sam 6:19; 2Chr 26:16-20;

(v.21) ** were purified. Num 8:7; Num 19:12, 19; ** offered. Num 8:11-13; Num 3:12;

(v.22) ** after that. 2Chr 30:15-17, 27; 2Chr 31:2; 2Chr 35:8-15;

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