That High and Holy Calling

It could be this new opportunity for ministry that made me more sensitive to this blessing that Moses pronounced on the tribe of Levi in Deuteronomy 33. The leader of Israel is coming to the end of his earthly days. He has brought God's people to the edge of the Promised Land. He will not cross over with them. His duty is done and it is time to take that final journey.

But before he climbs the mountain to take a long, last look at the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel, he blesses each of the tribes that have been such a joy and a sorrow to him over the many years since he led them out of captivity in Egypt.

This is what Moses prays for the tribe of Levi, to the priestly tribe, to the spiritual leaders whose task it is to guide Israel in the ways of God.

"About Levi he said: 'Your Thummim and Urim belong to the man you favored. You tested him at Masah; you contended with him at the waters of Meribah. He said of his father and mother, 'I have no regard for them.' He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he watched over your word and guarded your covenant. He teaches your precepts to Jacob and your law to Israel. He offers incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Bless all his skills, O Lord, and be pleased with the work of his hands. Smite the loins of those who rise up against him; strike his foes till they rise no more" —Deuteronomy 33:8-11.

The Thummim and Urim were one of the means by which the Levites would discern the will of God. To them God committed the sacred stones, and through the stones and the Levites God would speak.

God tempered his servants, a process of refining that would better prepare them for their task.

The first priority of the Levites, above all other commitments or relationships, was their service to God.

I like this phrase in particular: "…but he watched over your word." There is a sense of being both a student and a protector of God's Truth—an essential in spiritual leaders.

The Levites were both teachers of the Word as well as penitent worshipers. No teacher is above those he teaches. He comes to God just as all those who look to him for leadership and instruction come to God.

Moses's prayer was at once a blessing and a last reminder.

He has given me insight into his Word, favoured me with that privilege. He has tested me and matured me through the years. I have put aside all else to serve him, though that is so little compared to what he put aside for me, and how much he has blessed me.

And I'm still working on being a student of his Word, and living it out in my own life and holding it in highest honour before others. I have taught his Word though never as it deserves to be taught, which makes my time at the altar in repentance and worship all the more important.

God, who knows the frailties of this particular servant still delights in blessing the skills he has given her, in showing his pleasure in her in wonderful ways and in protecting her from her own folly and the evil intentions of others.

I take to heart Moses's prayer and add my own. "Lord, I will never be worthy of any of this, but I thank you that in Christ, you count me worthy of such blessing. Make me every day more conscious of the privilege and more committed to being all that you want me to be."


  1. Isn't God amazing - that He knows our frailties, yet He delights in using us as we submit ourselves completely to Him! Amen and amen to the prayer of your tender heart!


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