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The line of Levi. 1 Chronicles 6
The line of Levi
1 Chronicles 6

Last week we began our study of the book of 1 Chronicles together. 1 Chronicles begins with 9 chapters devoted to tracing the line of David from Adam through the return of the exiles from Babylon to about the year 450 BC.

The reason the line of David is the pre-eminent focus of these 9 chapters is because as for his human nature, Jesus is of the line of David. Jesus is the ultimate object of the genealogies of Chronicles and more than that- he is the focus of the entire Bible.

A little review

-Chronicles written by Ezra around 450 BC and spans 3500 years of history (beginning with Adam)
-Written to encourage the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon- that they still God's people and that God not done with them
-The genealogy traces the history of the Jews
-The genealogy exists in part to stir up the Jewish hope for the promised Messiah
-The genealogy belongs to us who are in Christ- for as ones in Christ and so grafted into the promises of God, the history of 1 Chronicles 1-9 is our history too.

Today's focus: 1 Chronicles 6

This morning we are going to take a look at 1 Chronicles 6. 1 Chronicles 6 is a very long chapter that is entirely focused on Levi (one of the sons of Israel/Jacob)

The amount of ink given to Levi and his descendants in chapter 6 and in the Book of 1 Chronicles (for chapter 9 and all of chapters 23-26 are all about him and his descendants) indicates the importance of him, his family, and the place of the ministry they had)

For those of you who are wondering who Levi was and why he was such a big deal- know this: He was one of the 12 sons of Jacob (who was renamed Israel) who formed the tribes of Israel. From him his descendants served as the priests and caretakers of Tabernacle, the Temple. They were charged with leading the people to God, teaching them His ways, preparing the people for the coming of Jesus the Messiah, setting an example in the holy living that God requires.

The structure of 1 Chronicles 6

1. The line of priests traced from Aaron to the time of the exile v.1-15
2. The line of Samuel (the last Judge of Israel - he also a prophet-before the time of the Kings) traced v.16-30. Though he lived in Ephraim, Samuel was of the line of Levi
3. A tracing of the lines of Levi responsible for worship and the care of the Tabernacle and Temple v.31-49
4. The land allotted to the Levites throughout the 12 tribes of Israel v.50-80

Note: A total of 48 towns were allotted to the Levites. They were equally dispersed throughout every tribe of Israel

A peculiarity of 1 Chronicles 6

It features ascending and descending genealogies of Levi. Verses 1-15 feature a descending genealogy, tracing the line of priests from Levi to Aaron and on down to the exile. Verses 31-49 feature ascending genealogies (going from the person in focus and then tracing their way back to Levi)

Note: I'm not totally sure what the spiritual significance of this is, but its interesting for the fact that Levi's line is traced front to back, back to front, left to right, right to left, showing how important the Levites and their service to the Lord was.

Read 1 CHRONICLES 6:1-15 which traces the priestly line of Levi from Aaron to the exile

As I read pay attention to the names and see which ones you can recognize.

LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT AND AS IT RELATES TO THE LINE OF LEVI

1. Levi is a great example of going from being CURSED by God to being BLESSED by God. Such is our experience in Christ

Levi's story: It starts out badly

In Genesis 34 we are told that one of the daughters of Jacob (father to Levi) is raped. Weirdly enough, the man is also said to have loved the girl and was intent on marrying her. After approaching Jacob to find out what he needed to do to marry her, Levi and Simeon tell the man (Shechem) that they only would agree to the marriage if he and all the men in his family were circumcised. They agreed. While in the midst of recovering from their surgery, Levi and Simeon showed up at the city were Shechem and his family was and killed every last male they could find and then proceeded to take their women and children as plunder.

This act of Simeon and Levi upset their father.

Years later, just before Jacob died, he called his sons to himself and prophetically said these words to Simeon and Levi ""Simeon and Levi are brothers- their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel." Genesis 49:5-7

Jacob's words came to pass: The tribe of Simeon was absorbed but for the tribe of Levi, there was a different turn.

THE BIG TURNING POINT FOR THE LINE OF LEVI occurs in Exodus 32

Moses is on Mount Sinai with God. To Moses, God gives the 10 commandments (the basis for the relationship between God and the people of Israel). God then tells Moses that he better get back down to the people because they had turned away and were worshipping an idol in the place of God. Moses goes down the mountain, sees a golden calf and the people dancing around it, freaks out, breaks the 10 commandments and then we read these words....

Verse 25-29 says; "Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the Lord, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. 27 Then he said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'" 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."

How incredible for Levi! What a testament to the mercy of God- who turned their curse into a blessing-- for now they represented the people to God and stood as examples of holiness in his sight.

Application for us:

Apart from Christ we are dead in our sins and trespasses and under the judgment of God.

In Christ we have the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the indwelling Holy Spirit, every spiritual blessing that can be had

How is such received? By faith in Christ!

The text that captures it all: Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesha and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do

TURN TO CHRIST FOR SALVATION!

2. Aaron and the priests after Him were a type for Christ who is THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek

Priests and High Priests: Offering sacrifices to God (for sin, as worship). Problem: They sinners. Blood of bulls and goats not sufficient for the forgiveness of sin. There intercessory ministry was always being cut short by their eventual deaths.

High Priest: Special role of entering into Holiest of Holies to sprinkle the mercy seat with blood for the forgiveness of sins of the nation.

In his role of Savior, Jesus holds 3 offices: PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING

Jesus in his office of Great High Priest: He offered the ultimate sacrifice for sin- Himself.

All other sacrifices the priests offered from the time of the Tabernacle to when he died, had to be repeated endlessly-- for the blood of bulls and goats is not sufficient for the forgiveness of sin. What is required is a perfect sacrifice. This is why Jesus came and lived a sinless perfect life-- that He might offer himself as a once for all sacrifice for sin

A great verse about Jesus as our great High Priest: Hebrews 4:14-16

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

As our great High Priest Jesus continues to intercede for us

Hebrews 7:23-25 says; "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."

1 John 2:1-2 also says; "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."


3. A STRANGE AND WONDERFUL THING: By the grace of Christ we who are the followers of Jesus are now regarded as a Royal Priesthood, a chosen people, a holy nation, and God's special possession-----WOW!

In 1 Peter 2:4-5 it says; "As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him- 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Then in 1 Peter 2:9-10 it also says; "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

To what do we owe this high standing before God?

It is not our works. It has nothing to do with our deeds or intentions. This honor and precious standing owes itself to the mercy of Christ who has lifted us up.

As a royal priesthood and people belonging to God, we have, by pray, unhindered access to the throne of God- that we might present our petitions, praises, and intercessions to God.

I'm also reminded of the song: I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God.

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God, I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I'm part of the family, The Family of God.

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King, No longer an outcast, a new song I sing; From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I'm not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!


4. The clans of Levites whose job it was to lead the people in the praise and worship of the LORD, remind us of that priority in our lives. See v.31-32

In Revelation 4:11 it says; "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Psalm 100 says; "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

God is worthy of our praise and worship. It's a very important part of following God. He inhabits our praises and draws near when we do so in Spirit and in truth.


5. The Levites- living amongst the tribes of Israel- remind us our calling to be SALT and LIGHT in this spiritually dark world

As noted before, the Levites, as ones set apart to the Lord and specially belonging to Him- with He being their inheritance (a good reminder to us for their is not our home), received no tribal allotment of land as did their brethren. Rather they received 48 towns spread throughout all of Israel. When not on duty at Jerusalem they lived here, farming the land, setting a godly example, and teaching the locals about how to follow God

There function was much akin to what ours is to be in our culture, country, city, neighbourhood.

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said; "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are to be known for our good deeds and godliness- all done in the name of Christ.


CLOSING SONG: Greatly blessed, highly favored.