Introduction: As part of David’s final words, he divided and gave structure to the priesthood. Today, every believer in Christ is part of His Holy priesthood. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;.” (1 Pet. 2:5). “[A]nd He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-- to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6). Through David’s instructions to the priest, God reveals seven fruits of a faithful believer. These include: (1) obedience, (2) holiness, (3) unity, (4) being Spirit-led, (5) accountability, (6) humble service, and (7) mentoring others.
First, Aaron’s two eldest sons died because of their disobedience. God wants your faith to be evident through the fruit of obedience. Second, the descendants of Aaron’s two remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, were a contrast in holiness. While Eleazar’s descendants mostly acted with integrity and holiness, the descendants of Ithamar were largely motivated by corruption and greed. God also wants your faith to be evidenced through the fruit of holiness. Third, David appointed co-High Priests under the lines of Eleazar and Ithamar to serve together, despite being natural rivals. God also wants your faith to be evidenced through unity of purpose for the greater Body of Christ. Fourth, David instructed the priests to use lots to guide the selection of priests for service in the Temple. Lots were used in the Bible to allow the Holy Spirit to guide a person’s decisions. Today, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you and can guide your decisions when you read the Word and pray. Fifth, David ensured that the selection process for priests was above reproach though a selection process that was witnessed by others and publicly recorded. God also wants you to ensure that you stay on the right path through transparency and accountability before other believers. Sixth, David gave all of the Levites the opportunity to humbly serve under the High Priests on a rotating basis. God also wants you to serve Him with humility wherever He directs you. Finally, the selection process before the priests did not give preference to elder priests over the younger ones. They served together as equals before God. Yet, by serving together, the elder priests could mentor and encourage the younger priests. God also wants you to mentor and encourage others who are younger in their walk to grow in Christ.
The death of Aaron’s two eldest sons. God selected Aaron’s family to carry the line of the High Priests. Yet, of Aaron’s four sons, only two survived: “1 Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron were these: the sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no sons.” (1 Chr. 24:1-2(a)). Nadab and Abihu died because of their disobedience. They further died without any children. Without Aaron’s two youngest sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, the line of the High Priests would have died out. Only by God’s mercy and grace did it survive.
Nadab and Abihu’s sins. Aaron failed to raise his sons to fear the Lord as future priests. Aaron’s sons Nabad and Abihu died for burning “strange fire” that God “had not commanded” (Lev. 10:1-3). Nabad and Abihu may have deviated from God’s Word regarding how they were required to prepare the incense (Ex. 30:34-38; Lev. 16:1-2). Or, they may have been drunk when they performed their duties. Although we cannot know for certain, the latter explanation appears to be the most likely one. God’s first words to Aaron following the death of his sons was a warning that neither he nor his sons drink wine or “strong drink” when entering into the Tent of Meeting (Lev. 10:8-9). Whatever their specific sins were, they stemmed from disobedience towards God.
God’s holy fire destroys Nabab and Abihu1
Obey God’s Word. God wants you to study His Word. Yet, He does not want you to merely be filled with head knowledge. He also expects you to obey His Word. For the doers of God’s Word, God promises peace and prosperity, which may or may not take a material form: “O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Dt. 6:3). Throughout the Bible, God reminds His people that vows of obedience must be followed by action. e.g., “And the LORD said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them.”’’ (Jer. 11:6). In case anyone believes that these are relics of the Old Testament, they are repeated even more often in the New Testament: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24-25). “[F]or it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.” (Ro. 2:13). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (Jam. 1:22; see also, Rev. 14:12; 22:14). Are you obeying His Word?
Aaron’s two remaining sons. Aaron’s last two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, were left to carry on the line of the High Priests: “So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests.” (1 Chr. 24:2(b)). The descendants of these two sons, however, were a contrast in holiness. While one line mostly tried to stay holy, the other line was mostly corrupt and wicked.
God’s eternal covenant through Eleazar’s righteous descendants. After God judged Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, the line of the high priests passed to Eleazar, Aaron’s next oldest son. Through Eleazar’s son Phinehas, God formed an eternal covenant. Unlike Levi, Aaron, and Eleazar’s brothers, Phinehas was a faithful and obedient High Priest. For example, God commended Phinehas for his zeal in aggressively rooting out sin by slaying the Jewish man Zimri and the Midianite cult prostitute Cozbi (Nu. 25:10-15). Phinehas was not a vigilante engaged in an “honor killing.” He was instead an appointed “judge” (Nu. 25:5) given authority to judge sin (Ro. 13:3). He also was measured in his punishments. He prayed for God’s guidance when the tribes of Israel needed to decide whether to go to war against Benjamin for their sins and rebellions (Jdgs. 20:28). He was also an intercessory prayer warrior for God’s people: “Then Phinehas stood up and interposed, and so the plague was stayed. And it was reckoned to him for righteousness, to all generations forever.” (Ps. 106:30). Phinehas was also a man of peace. As the High Priest, he resolved a conflict between Israel’s tribes when the tribes that lived outside the Promised Land built their own unauthorized worship altar (Josh. 22:10-33). He was further remembered as a hero amongst those who resisted foreign conquerors and their influences (Ecc. 45:23-24; 1 Maccabees 2:26).
Phinehas killed Zimri and a Midianite cult prostitute2
God’s perpetual covenant with Phinehas and his descendants. Because of Phinehas’ righteousness, God established His covenant for a perpetual priesthood though Phinehas and his descendants: “11 Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’” (Nu. 25:11-13).
Phinehas taught his children to serve the Lord. Phinehas also raised his children to know and follow God’s law. Following his example, his son Abishua (Ezra 7:1-5), his grandson Bukki and his great grandson Uzzi were righteous high priests (1 Chr. 6:4-6). Yet, for reasons that are not recorded in the Bible, the Uzzi’s descendants lost the right to be High Priest for generations.
Phinehas foreshadowed Jesus. Like Phinehas, Jesus was zealous in seeking to save God’s people from sin. He was so zealous that he gave His own life so that we might live (Jo. 3:16). One day, like Phinehas, Jesus will also judge the enemies of God (Is. 11:4; Rev. 9:6). Like Phineas, Jesus is also our peace (Eph. 2:14, 17). Like Phinehas, Jesus became our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15). Like Phinehas, Jesus is an intercessory prayer warrior intervening on our behalf: “who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Ro. 8:34). Like Phinehas, God the Father gave Jesus an “everlasting covenant” (Matt. 26:28; 2 Cor. 3:5-6; Heb. 7:22; 8:6-10; 12:24). Jesus is also the fulfillment of God’s covenant of eternal peace (Eph. 2:14, 17).
The corruption of Ithamar’s descendants. Following Uzzi’s death, the line of High Priests transferred to the line of Eli. Eli was a descendants of Ithamar, Aaron’s youngest son (1 Chr. 6:3). In Samuel’s day, God judged the priesthood under the High Priest Eli for their wicked practices. The sons of Eli used God’s gifts to indulge themselves (1 Sam. 2:11-17). The sins of Eli’s sons included claiming to represent God without really knowing Him: “they did not know the Lord. . .” (1 Sam. 2:12). They also took the sacrificial offerings for themselves (1 Sam. 2:13-14). Eli’s sons also “despised” the offerings to God (1 Sam. 2:17). The sons of Eli represented a counterfeit priesthood because they failed to repent even when their father confronted them over their sexual sins (1 Sam. 2:22-25). Because Eli’s sons would not repent, God ultimately judged them (1 Sam. 2:26-34). While the Jews were camped in front of Mount Horeb, God appointed the tribe of Levi the privilege of forever serving as the priests for the nation of Israel (Lev. 7:35-36; Nu. 25:13). Yet, because the priests of the house of Eli could not atone for their sins against God, He had to judge them (1 Sam. 3:13-14). Under King Solomon’s reign, he removed a wicked High Priest named Abiathar, who descended from Eli. Abiathar sided with Solomon’s older brother Adonijah over Solomon in a contest for power. Solomon then appointed Zadok as High-Priest (1 Kgs. 2:26-27, 35; 1 Chr. 6:8, 12). This restored the High Priest line through Phinehas (Nu. 25:10-13). This also fulfilled God’s prophesy in favor of Phinehas and against Eli’s descendants. These events show that God’s Word always comes true.
Many of Phinehas’ descendants followed in his example of righteousness. After the High Priest line reverted back to the line through Eleazar and Phinehas under the High Priest Zadok (1 Kgs. 1:7-8, 44-45; 2:26-27), the line then continued with Phinehas’ descendants (Ezek. 44:15; 48:11). After the High Priest line was restored, many of the High Priests tried to serve as an example of righteousness. For example, the High Priest Azariah guided Solomon in the dedication of the Temple to allow God’s glory to again dwell in Israel (1 Chr. 6:10; 1 Kgs. 8:3-11). Amariah, as High Priest under Jehoshaphat, attempted to guide him in his actions as king (1 Chr. 6:11). Because Jehoshaphat mostly followed Amariah’s advice, God blessed him (2 Chr. 17:3). Another High Priest risked his own death to confront King Uzziah when he tried to merge the roles of king and High priest under himself (2 Chr. 26:18-20). Hilkiah was another righteous High Priest (1 Chr. 6:13). He was the High Priest who discovered the last copy of God’s law hidden in the Temple during Josiah’s reign (2 Kgs. 22:8-13; 2 Chr. 34:14-21). During Josiah’s reign, he helped to restore God’s Word as the standard for righteousness. The Babylonians murdered the High Priest Seraiah (1 Chr. 6:14; 2 Kgs. 25:18-21). Jehozadak, however, then kept the priesthood alive during the exile (1 Chr. 6:15). His son Jeshua returned from the exile with Zerubbabel and helped to guide the Jews (Ezra 3:2, 5:2; Neh. 12:26). They served as a continuing light to the Jews. This does not mean that every single High Priest was righteous. There were plenty of cowards who refused to speak out against idolatry and other sins. Yet, they mostly served as a righteous and holy example.
Phinehas’ and Zadok’s descendants will lead worship during the Millennial reign. The descendants of Phinehas and Zadok will also play an important role in leading God’s people to worship during the Millennial reign: “but the chamber which faces toward the north is for the priests who keep charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who from the sons of Levi come near to the LORD to minister to Him.” (Ezek. 40:46) ‘“You shall give to the Levitical priests who are from the offspring of Zadok, who draw near to Me to minister to Me,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘a young bull for a sin offering.” (Ezek. 43:19) ‘“But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood,’ declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek. 44:15). “It shall be for the priests who are sanctified of the sons of Zadok, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the sons of Israel went astray as the Levites went astray.” (Ezek. 48:11). God’s Word again always comes true.
Be holy and be consecrated for God at all times. God calls upon every believer to follow the example of the Levites when they walked in holiness and righteousness: “you . . . are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood . . .” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As part of God’s nation of priests, you are meant to be a light to the lost: “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14(a)). To be a light, however, you must be holy: “‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44; 19:2; Ex. 22:31). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48; Jam. 4:17). Are you living a holy lifestyle and serving as a beacon of light to others?
As Jesus’ ambassador, walk with righteousness and integrity. You are also Jesus’ ambassador (2 Cor. 5:22). You further represent His light (Matt. 5:14). Thus, He calls upon you to be blameless and righteous: “so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:11). Do your actions reflect fairly upon Jesus’ righteousness?
David employed High Priests from competing lines. Even though the priest lines competed for power, David ensured that they worked together by appointing co-High Priests from each line: “3 David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for their ministry.” (1 Chr. 24:3). Zadok was a descendant of Eleazar, and Ahimelech was a descendant of Ithamar. They were natural rivals for being High Priest. David, however, had them work as co-High Priests for the good of society. One served at Jerusalem where the Ark was kept, and the other served at Gibeon at the Tabernacle (1 Chron. 15:11).
The unity of the priests helped David to reign with justice and righteousness. The Bible records that David succeeded in reigning with both justice and righteousness in part because Zadok and Ahimelech served together in unity: “15 So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people . . . 17 Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, . ..” (2 Sam. 8:15-17; 1 Chron. 18:14-17). Even though it meant that both men were less influential because they shared power, they succeeded when they cooperated for the good of the country.
Work together as one body for Jesus. Just as Levities had to work together, believers are called upon to act with one accord as the Spirit leads the body to help build the Church. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9). “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Ro. 12:5). “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17). “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12). “But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Cor. 12:20-21). “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4). Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Col. 3:14). Is your church working with other churches for the good of the Church, even if its members might change churches?
David divided the priests by lot according to the Holy Spirit. As guided by the Holy Spirit through the use of lots, David also divided the priests to serve in specified roles: “4 Since more chief men were found from the descendants of Eleazar than the descendants of Ithamar, they divided them thus: there were sixteen heads of fathers’ households of the descendants of Eleazar and eight of the descendants of Ithamar, according to their fathers’ households. 5 Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar.” (1 Chr. 24:4-5). The descendants of Ithamar and Eleazar were equal in God’s eyes. The use of lots minimized feelings of bias, pride, and rivalry. The lots also allowed God to control the process.
In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit guided the Jews through lots3
The Holy Spirit guided the process in appointing roles for the priests. Throughout the Bible, God’s people used lots to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them in their decisions: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov. 16:33). “But the land shall be divided by lot. They shall receive their inheritance according to the names of the tribes of their fathers.” (Nu. 26:55). “So Moses commanded the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This is the land that you are to apportion by lot among you as a possession, which the LORD has commanded to give to the nine and a half tribes.”’ (Nu. 34:13). “by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.” (Josh. 14:2; 18:8). “And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:26). In both the Old and New Testaments, believers had faith that God was guiding the process.
Let the Holy Spirit guide your actions. Today, instead of using lots, the Holy Spirit speaks directly to believers: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (Jo. 16:13). “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jo. 14:16). God wants you to seek His guidance through prayer and the Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19). Are you reading the Word and praying on a daily basis to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your steps?
Shemaiah the scribe publicly recorded each’s duties. To ensure that the Levites continued to follow David’s Spirit-led directions, Shemaiah recorded them in the presence of both the king and high priest for future generations to follow: “6 Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites; one father’s household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar.” (1 Chr. 24:6). Shemaiah recorded the results of the drawn lots. Two priests also witnessed the drawings. The public recordings and witnesses ensured that the process was fair and transparent. These reforms were so important that these procedures for the priesthood continued through the time of Nehemiah (Neh. 10:2-8; 12:1-7; 12:12-21) and even Jesus’ time on Earth (Lk. 1:5-9).
Be accountable for your actions. Like the Levites, God wants believers to be transparent and accountable to each other to ensure that members of the Body of Christ stay strong in the face of temptation. Believers are commanded to “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;” (1 Pet. 5:2). “Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’” (Jo. 21:17). “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28). “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15). “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds;” (Prov. 27:23). “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Eph. 5:21). “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; . . .” (1 Pet. 5:5). Are you transparent and accountable for your actions before a small group of believers in your church?
The 24 divisions of priests chosen by the Holy Spirit by lot. David then divided the priesthood by lot into 24 sections to ensure that each would have the privilege to serve: “7 Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8 the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9 the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10 the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11 the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12 the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13 the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, 14 the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15 the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, 16 the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17 the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul, 18 the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. 19 These were their offices for their ministry when they came in to the house of the Lord according to the ordinance given to them through Aaron their father, just as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.” (1 Chr. 24:7-19). Of the 24 divisions of priests, 16 were descendants of Eleazar and 8 were descendants of Ithamar. As a result of their faithfulness, God blessed Eleazar’s line with a double blessing of descendants and opportunities to serve at the Temple or officiate worship. Each division served for either two weeks every year or for a month every two years. When they were not at the Temple, these priesthood units served in their local regions or towns. As one commentator explains: “David knew that because there were so many descendants of Aaron by this time, the priests should be divided so they could fairly be assigned the privileged service of the temple.” (David Guzik on 1 Chr. 24).4
The priests quietly served in humility. Of the 24 priests listed here, only two appear in passing genealogy references in either Chronicles, Ezra, or Nehemiah. These include Jehoiarib, the first head of a section of 24 priests (1 Chr. 24:7; 1 Chr. 9:10; Neh. 11:10) and Jedaiah, the second head of a section of 24 priests to serve (1 Chr. 24:7; Ezra 2:36; Neh. 7:39). The other 22 priests listed here do not appear anywhere else in the Bible. They all quietly served God in obedience to His ordinances given to them (1 Chr. 24:19). They also assisted the High Priests under Aaron (1 Chr. 24:19) without seeking distinction or notoriety. They performed the quiet tasks of maintaining the Temple, like cleaning and repairs. Their joy was in serving God, not in their own self-recognition. Another commentator observes: “When everyone has, knows, and keeps his place and work, the more there are the better. In the mystical body of Christ, every member has its use, for the good of the whole. Christ is High Priest over the house of God, to whom all believers, being made priests, are to be in subjection. In Christ, no difference is made between bond and free, elder and younger. The younger brethren, if faithful and sincere, shall be no less acceptable to Christ than the fathers. May we all be children of the Lord, fitted to sing his praises forever in his temple above.” (Matthew Henry on 1 Ch. 24).5
A priest from the order of Abijah would later be the father of John the Baptist. By Jewish tradition, only four of the 24 orders of priests returned from exile. Abijah, the eighth order of priests, was one of them (1 Chr. 24:10). A priest from this order would become the father of John the Baptist: “In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” (Lk. 1:5). Through his own life of service and humility, he set the example for John the Baptist to live in humble service to Jesus. “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” (Jo. 1:27).
The Jews had no reason to boast about their status. Before giving the Jews the Promised Land, Moses reminded them that they did not deserve the honor that God gave them: “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Dt. 7:7-8). The Jews first left Israel as a clan of only 70 people (Gen. 46:27). They then spent approximately 400 years in captivity (Gen. 15:13- “400”; Ex. 12:40-“430”). The Jews were only freed from captivity because of God’s power. They did not have any reason to boast about being God’s select people. They also were not a virtuous nation of people. Yet, if God had selected one of the stronger nations to be His people, He would not likely have received the same credit. The same was true with His priests. They had to serve in humility without believing that they were superior.
Don’t take pride in what God has done in your life. Every good and perfect thing that you have also came from God (Jam. 1:17). Your acts of righteousness are but filthy rags before Him (Is. 64:6). All have sinned before Him (Rom. 3:23; 1 Pet. 2:22; Ps. 14:3). If your righteousness came through keeping the Law or your good works, then Christ’s death was unnecessary (Gal. 2:21). God wants to use you in His spiritual army to root out sin. But He cannot use you if you are filled with pride: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Prov. 16:18). “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12). “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). When God blesses you with success, do you take the credit or give it back to Him?
The Holy Spirit’s selection of the other descendants of Levi. David also ensured that other descendants of Levi, not belonging to the descendants of Aaron and Moses, had equal opportunities to serve: “20 Now for the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. 21 Of Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, Isshiah the first. 22 Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. 23 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24 Of the sons of Uzziel, Micah; of the sons of Micah, Shamir. 25 The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. 26 The sons of Merari, Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah, Beno. 27 The sons of Merari: by Jaaziah were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28 By Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29 By Kish: the sons of Kish, Jerahmeel. 30 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their fathers’ households. 31 These also cast lots just as their relatives the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites—the head of fathers’ households as well as those of his younger brother.” (1 Chr. 24:20-31). These were members of the tribe of Levi who did not descend from Aaron. This list includes the descendants of Kohath’s son Amram (Ex. 6:18-27). This list also includes descendants Shebual (aka “Shebuel”), the grandson to Moses (1 Chron. 23:15-16). His name was also the name for a Levitical class of individuals. During David’s reign, Jehdeiah was the head of this subgroup (1 Chr. 24:20; 26:30). Others were descendants of the Merarite clan (1 Chron. 24:26-30; 23:21-23). These individuals also served at the direction of the High Priests. As led by the Spirit and lots, David ensured that they were not relegated to a less important role in service simply because of their genealogy or pedigree. They would be given opportunities to serve like the other 24 orders of priests. When many of the 24 orders of priests failed to return from exile, this helped to ensure that service could continue without interruption in the rebuilt Temple.
The elder priests and the younger priests were equal before God. The list concludes with the statement that the elder priests were selected by lot with equal opportunities with the younger priests: “31 . . . and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites—the head of fathers’ households as well as those of his younger brother.” (1 Chr. 24:31). This implies that the selection by lot was also without regard to seniority. The elders also worked together with the younger brothers of each group serving in the Temple. Although they were equal before God, the elders mentored the younger priests.
Mentor and encourage others as they grow in their walk. Just as Jesus did for the Church, believers are called upon to develop and encourage other believers: “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11). “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25). “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42, 46).
Guide those who serve under your authority. Your encouragement should include guiding new leaders to serve Jesus. Jesus said: “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” (Lk. 6:40). This suggests a close relationship between the leader and the person the leader is training. If you have people who serve under you, you must mentor and guide them. The shepherd carried a staff to keep the sheep together and safe from predators (Prov. 23:12). If you have been walking with the Lord for a period of time, are you encouraging and mentoring someone else to grow in their walk with Jesus?