Saturday, March 1, 2014

Help Wanted

I’ve got to that part in my Chronological Bible reading that can feel more like slogging through than reading the ‘active, living’ Word of God.  Leviticus and Numbers can bog a person down.  It’s easy to look back from this side of the cross, and think, Well, that’s all just old laws that don’t apply anymore.  There’s nothing much to learn. 
Honestly, I’ve felt that way at times.  But, one of the reasons I keep reading through the entire Bible each year is because I believe that if God didn’t intend us to read it, it wouldn’t be there.  And, because it is living and active, each year I discover something I hadn’t noticed before. 

This week I began reading Numbers, and wow, it was awesome!  Did you know there are job descriptions in the Bible?  
Here’s how I imagine one of the Job Descriptions Moses might have handed out to the various branches of the Levites after God gave him and Aaron instructions (as found in Numbers 4):

Name:  Kohathite Branch
Purpose of Position:  The care of the most holy things
Job Duties:  The Kohathites must be available to perform the following job duties whenever the camp is ready to move:
1.  After the High Priest and his sons have covered it, carry the ark of the covenant, using the approved carrying poles.
2.  After the High Priest and his sons have covered it, carry the table of the Presence, using the approved carrying poles.
3.  After the High Priest and his sons have covered it, carry the lampstand, using the approved carrying frame.
4.  After the High Priest and his sons have covered it, carry…
Well, you get the idea!  Oh, and then, at the bottom would be the following:

I, ________________, member of the Kohathite branch of the Levites, have read and understand these job duties.  I further understand that touching, or looking, even for a moment, at the holy things before they have been covered by the High Priest will result in immediate death.

I have to say, my little HR heart soared as I read, and realized that our God truly is a God of order.  He gave specific instructions so that those who served would know exactly what to do – and not do. 
Many years later, when David brings the ark back to Jerusalem, Uzzah dies for touching it (II Samuel 6).  It seems harsh, but when we read these earlier words, we see why it was such a big deal. 

God had given a detailed job description, one which didn’t say anything about putting the ark of His covenant on an ox-cart as if it were some common cargo like a sack of grain.  David and those with him got all gung-ho without respecting God's commands.

It can be tempting to act as if the God of the Old Testament is an old fashioned, grumpy version who has become the kinder, gentler Jesus. This is false and dangerous.  Yes, through His sacrifice we can enter the Holy of Holies without penalty.  But, this is because we have been cleansed by Jesus' blood, not because God is somehow less worthy of our reverence.  We have been changed, not Him.
I’m thankful that God has given us His Word.  That He has shown us ‘what is good’- doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). 

I’m thankful that He has provided the way we can actually fulfill His commands – the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 

I’m thankful that because of the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I have the right to come to the Throne of Grace and call the King of Kings, Abba, Father. 

And, I’m thankful that God loves order, and that I can see glimpses of Him in the work that I do.  It sometimes feels as if I’m not doing “real” mission work by writing policies and developing processes to hopefully make SI a more effective ministry. 
No, I’m not outlining the job duties for those carrying the holy things of the tabernacle.  But, the work I am doing is a small part of the holy task that God has given to each of us to share the Good News of the Gospel.  If God thought it was valuable, I pray that I will, too.

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