Bible reading for May 1.
"...Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD." (Num 8:11)
DEDICATION OF THE LEVITES. The Israelites are wrapping up a year at Mt Sinai and preparing to hit the road. The tabernacle has been consecrated for service, as were the priests, and now those carrying the tabernacle are dedicated to that service.
NO RETIREMENT? I've often heard it said that the concept of retirement is not biblical. I would respond to that -- yes, and no. No, we never stop loving the Lord, walking with him, serving him, serving others, and generally, being useful to God and community. But our usefulness varies with life stage and ability. There are seasons to life and ministry. Verse 25 says, "And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more." These men could serve guard duty, but would not be assigned other duties. Personally, I'm thankful to be retired from full-time pastoral duties. I was struggling (physically, mentally, emotionally) to keep up with the wide range of duties required and felt I needed to narrow my circle of ministry. So, in a sense I'm semi-retired, and not receiving financial support from the church. But now I am free to write more, read more, teach a class, and mentor a dozen or so men in the Lord. I'm not required to preach, attend meetings, do marriage counseling, or oversee people and ministries in general. Like the older Levite, I too can stand guard by the door of God's house and help preserve the integrity of the gospel for the next generation.
"All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant." (Psalm 44:17)
SONS OF KORAH. Most of the first eight psalms of the second collection in the Psalms are attributed to the sons of Korah. These were the descendants of Korah, a Levite who rebelled against Moses and perished in a judgment from the Lord (Num 16). His family line, however, remained faithful to God and served in the temple for many generations, primarily by singing in worship (1 Chron 23:30; 2 Chron 20:19). What a valuable service! What a privilege it is to lead God's people in worship.
THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING. At first reading it would seem that the Mosaic covenant promised freedom from suffering, sickness, and poverty for those who obeyed the Lord. So then, why do God's people still suffer? Often, of course, suffering can be traced back to our own sinful actions. But sometimes it seems God's people are suffering due to no fault of their own. In fact, the Apostle Paul quotes verse 22 of this psalm in Romans 8:36. The Bible does not explain the reason for every occasion of suffering. Sometimes we are tested with difficulties, and are humbled, in order to reveal our hearts, whether we will obey God or not (Deut 8:2-3). Sometimes we suffer persecution because we are followers of Christ and his righteousness (Matt 5:10-12). Sometimes we experience the groaning that all creation experiences, awaiting future redemption (Rom 8:22-23). A big lesson from the book of Job is that we may never know in this life why we experience the pain we do. One thing is for sure, and here is God's promise: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev 21:4). Every tear. Every! And no more death, mourning, crying, and pain. No more!
Are you and I willing to not know the reason or cause for every painful thing we experience in life? We may inquire of the Lord, but like men and women of faith throughout history we should be at peace and able to say, "Lord, you know."
Photo above by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.