Today we continue reading Moses’ prophetic blessings to the tribes of Israel with the blessing to Levi. Verses 8 reads,
And of Levi he said,
“Give to Levi your Thummim,
and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
The Urim and Thummin are mentioned in Exodus 28:30 to describe the garments Aaron as the high priest of Israel would wear.
And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron's heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.
But who is the godly one? Moses referred to the high priest, the one who would enter into the Holy of holies each year on behalf of Israel, but it also refers to Jesus, our high priest. Israel tested God with them at Massah and Meribah when they questioned if He was among them and Moses proved His presence and provision by having water spring from a rock (Exodus 17:1-7).
We are the priests and prophets now. The Lord has given us His Thummin as He gave it to Levi. The Thummin protected the high priest. It was placed over his heart and told Him the will of God as he entered into The Lord’s Presence. He has given us His Urim as He gave it to Aaron, Eleazar, and Jesus Christ. The Urim had a specific job described in Numbers 27:18-23
So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. 19 Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. 20 You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey. 21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”22 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, 23 and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the Lord directed through Moses.
The Thummim and Urim showed Israel God’s will. It is described in Jewish Literature as a stone or stick which was black on one side and white on the other Thummim on one side and Urim on the other. The priest would inquire of the Lord and toss the Urim like dice, casting lots and revealing the Lord’s answer (1 Samuel 14:40-42). Priests were not all prophets and without the Spirit, this was how God’s will was revealed. The Apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas before they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 1:26).
Believers have the Thummim and the Urim, the access to know God’s will because we have The Lord actually living within us! We do not have to question His presence, He is Emmanuel God with us.
Verse 9 reads,
who said of his father and mother,
‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
and kept your covenant.
In the wilderness, the tribe of Israel sided with Moses and God over Israel when Israel worshipped the golden calf. They carried out God’s command and killed their fellow Israelites in love of The Lord (Exodus 32:25-29). Following Jesus can’t be done with half a heart. He requires our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Levi proved they were worthy, they loved God more than they loved their relatives. They cared about the covenant they had made with the Lord and understood that loving God so fervently, even to the point of defending His Word with the sword was how Israel would be saved.
Following Jesus requires our entire being. We can’t be spilt. We are no longer part of the world concerned with worldly matters. We seek the Kingdom of God and trust God to be our provision (Matthew 6:33). We are not part of that world anymore. That is what Jesus meant when he answered people with excuses for not following him in Matthew 8:18-22.
Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
The Word of God is revealed to us, it is inscribed on our hearts and lived out in our lives. We are a royal priesthood and part of our service to God involves spreading the word, teaching it to people and thereby worshipping the Lord. Verse 10 reads,
They shall teach Jacob your rules
and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
Verse 10 is a concise summary of the priestly duties to teach the law, to worship and minister to the Lord through maintaining the incense, showbread and lamps, and to offer the sacrifices for forgiveness of sin. The aroma of the incense and the burnt offerings was pleasing to God. Incense represents the prayers of the people rising to God. The duties have not really changed except that now we do not make burnt offerings; we worship in Spirit and truth, we pray and offer our sacrifices of praise. Every believer can and should teach God’s word because every one of has been made part of the priesthood (Hebrews 5:12). Hebrews 13:12-16 describes our priestly responsibility of sacrifice this way,
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Our works do not save us. They cannot earn us salvation. But our works do glorify the Lord, reveal Jesus to the world, and bring the good news of Christ to the lost. Jesus defeated the enemy forever when He rose from the dead and each time we share that, each time we love someone as Jesus loved us, and each time He is glorified it is a defeat for the devil and he loses another slave. Verse 11 says it this way,
Bless, O Lord, his substance,
and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
of those who hate him, that they rise not again.
Believer, you are a priest, this blessing is for you! You live in God’s presence because He lives in you. He shares His will with you. He shares His word with you. He has made righteous. You are free to love Him zealously with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. The devil your adversary is defeated.