Photo by Chirag Nayak
At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in His name to this day. Deuteronomy 10:8
We see here the distinct job given to the Levites. They had been set apart by God for the purpose of carrying the Ark of the Covenant, they were also to stand before the Lord as His ministers and they were to bless the people in His name.
These aren’t light duties; they were set apart to do business with and for God. To do business with God required a certain way of living.
One thing that is highlighted for us in this verse is that the Levites were set apart. To be set apart means to be separated for a special purpose, it means to be consecrated for God. There was a need for separation for the Levites for the task of serving the Lord. We are all Levites in the New Covenant. we are all priests, some more than others. We are called to be ministers before the Lord.
The Levites couldn’t live like everyone else, they had to live with the consciousness that they were for God. Everything they did had to represent Him. Their lives became living sacrifices. It is a sacrifice to serve God. We bring our lives to the altar and continuously keep bringing our lives back on that altar. Every. Single. Day.
Becoming a living sacrifice will require dying. There is an element of death that has to be in our lives if we are going to serve God like the Levites. They died to their wants, they died to their preferences. They died to how they wanted their lives to go. They died to God. Their whole lives became living sacrifices on the altar.
This is what God asks of anyone who He calls and separates to Himself. There is such wrestling that takes place inside of us because we do not want to die. We don’t want to die to ourselves. Yet, this is the thing that qualifies us to be Levites- set apart for Him and Him only.
Carriers of His presence
The Levites were given the intricate job of carrying the Ark of the Covenant from one place to the next. The Ark of the Covenant represented the very presence of God. God was saying… They get to carry me. This was no light matter. Sinful flesh had no way of touching a holy God. If they did it carelessly they were going to die. Because they carried God’s presence, they had to live holy. Holiness was a non-negotiable. Anyone who longs to be a carrier of His presence must be consecrated in holiness.
Most believers don’t understand this. The measure of the presence you carry will be directly tied to the measure of consecration in your life. The deeper you go in your consecration to Him, the more of Him you will carry.
God will not jest with His presence; His presence is extravagant and costly. We pay the cost through consecration. God will put you to the test to see what you are willing to give up for the gift of His presence. He will come for everything, absolutely everything. He will ask, ” Will you lay down this for more of me?” The choice will be ours. The more loosely you hold unto things, the more of Him you can access.
Anyone who carries His presence must live accordingly. We want to lead people into the presence of God without private consecration, you will just sing songs. We want to preach and change lives without living holy in private, you will preach and people will leave the same way they came. We want to bring God’s presence in dark places without making room in our lives for His presence. You will not see it. The people who carry God’s presence are the consecrated ones.
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Malachi 3:3
God says He will deliberately (it’s not accidental) put the Levites- the consecrated, set apart ones- through the fire. Intense fire…The kind of fire that allows everything that isn’t like Him to come to the surface so it can be purged. He gives the example of gold and silver. The way these metals are purified is through melting by fire, which allows the impurities in them to come off and the end result is pure gold or silver.
God will use the fire of circumstances and difficulties to refine and purify us. If you will serve God there is no exemption, you will go through the fire. It will be painful. It will feel like death, though, in hindsight, you will see the things that God was looking to remove from you. He will put your idols through fire. He will put your desires through the fire. He will purify and purge your motives. He will put your flesh through the furnace until He can have you.
The intention for the fire is so that the Levites can bring Him offering in righteousness. God is after righteous worshippers. He is after righteous marriages. He is after righteous preachers. He is after righteous servants. Any offering we bring before Him without going through the fire of refining is unacceptable.
There is a distinct difference when you have been through the fire. You worship differently. You talk about God differently. You treat people differently. Your whole life becomes an offering unto Him. And people can sense the righteousness that’s coming off your altar and offering.
I pray that God will find a Levite in you. I pray that you will become a living sacrifice for Him, and that you will be a carrier of His presence everywhere you go. My prayer is that you will submit to the refiner’s fire so you can come out as pure gold.