KINGDOM SERVICE AS A SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Moses had been commanded by God to ordain Aaron and his children as priest with Aaron as High priest. The tribe of Levi were the ministers. Levi had three children and they were to assist Aaron in the work of the tabernacle.
Num 4:2-3 KJV 2 Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers, 3 From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 4:23 KJV From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 4:29-30 KJV 29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers; 30 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites each had their service and burden. (See Num. 4:19; Num. 4:27; Num. 4:32) And “from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old” no man of either of these families was exempted from duty. “Aaron and his sons shall appoint every one to his service and to his burden.”
The Service of the Levites and their Numbering
1. The children of Kohath; their service (Num 4:1-20 )
2. The sons of Gershon; their service (Num 4:21-28)
3. The sons of Merari; their service (Num 4:29-33)
4. Their numbering for service (Num 4:34-49)
Their service was to carry the holy things of Jehovah through the wilderness.
The service of the Kohathites, Gershonites and Merarites is full of blessed instructions for us, at which we can but briefly hint.
In the previous chapter (Chapter three), Gershon stands first, as he is the first-born. Here the first-born has to take a secondary place and Kohath is put first. The lesson is that the divine appointment for service is not the matter of natural relation and endowment, but of grace.
1Cor 1:26-29 KJV 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Jas 2:5 KJV Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
The sons of Kohath had to carry the most holy things.
From the text we read, we have the following phrases “enter in to perform the service” – literally, as in the margin, “to war the warfare,” or, as the same phrase in part is rendered, Num 4:3, “enter into the host to do the work.” The words ‘to perform the service’ are, as the margin tells us, literally, to ‘war the warfare.’
The phrase in Hebrew is “tsaba” and it means:to go forth, wage war, fight, serve, to wage war, fight, go forth to war, to cause to go forth, muster and to war.
Look at other places where the same phrase is used.
Num 8:24 KJV This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation
The word “wait” is also the same Hebrew word “tsaba” which means to war
Num 31:7 KJV And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
Num 31:42 KJV And of the children of Israel’s half, which Moses divided from the men that warred,
The word “warred” in the two verses is “tsaba” in Hebrew which is the same “to enter into the host” or “to perform the service”
The language is military. The service of God is a sacred warfare (Num 8:24-25)
Num. 4:3., host, “signifies military service, and is used here with special reference to the service of the Levites as the militia sacra of Jehovah.”
These words occur in the series of regulations as to the functions of the Levites in the Tabernacle worship.
Why did they use such phrases and terms to describe the very prosaic and homely work as carrying the materials of the Tabernacle and the sacrificial vessels? The underlying suggestion is what I desire to fix upon now-viz
1. That work for God, of whatever kind it be, which Christian people are bound to do, and which is mainly service for men for God’s sake, will never be rightly done until we understand that it is a warfare , as well as a work.
2. It is important that we Christian people should elevate our thoughts of our duties in the world to the height of this great metaphor. The metaphor of the Christian life as being a ‘warfare’ is familiar enough, but that is not exactly the point which I wish to dwell upon now.
But it is another sort of warfare about which I am now speaking, the warfare which every Christian man has to wage who flings himself into the work of diminishing the world’s miseries and sins, and tries to make people better, and happier because they are better.
Paul likened christian life to a soldier
Phi 2:25 KJV Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
2Ti 2:3-4 KJV 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.3.
Phm 1:2 KJV And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
Christians and Christian ministers are compared with soldiers Phm 1:2; 2Ti 2:3-4 (refs2), because of the nature of the service in which they are engaged. The Christian life is a warfare;
Every faithful minister is a spiritual soldier, warring under Jesus Christ, his captain and chief commander.
What happens when we choose to become a member of the workforce?
1. When we labour we become co-labourer with God.
1Cor 3:9 KJV For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
2. We become channels of blessings through which God flows and whatever flows through you blesses you Lk 6: 38; Gen 12: 1-3
3. We become debtor to mankind
Rom 1:14 KJV I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
The Greek word used for “debtor” is “opheiletes”, it is pronounced: of-i-let’-ace. it means: one who owes another, a debtor, one held by some obligation, bound by some duty.
This does not mean that they had conferred any favor on him, which bound him to make this return, but that he was under obligation to preach the gospel to all to whom it was possible. This obligation arose from the favor that God had shown him in appointing him to this work. He was specially chosen as a vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles Act 9:15; Rom 11:13, and he did not feel that he had discharged the obligation until he had made the gospel known as far as possible among all the nations of the earth.
The apostle considers himself, by his apostolical office and call, under obligation to preach the Gospel to all people, as far as the providence of God might open his way; for this is implied in the Divine commission
1Pe 4:10 KJV As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We become debtors to the kingdom, people around us, neighbours, fellow workers, colleagues. When you see them suffering, rejected, depressed, humiliated, you owe them the duty of solutions.
What happens when you are engaged in God’s work which is warfare?
1. you are protected and secured. No evil is permitted to come near you because you are an asset to the kingdom
Act 18:10 KJV For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
2. You become indispensable. Heaven can’t do without you
3. You become custodian of other people’s lives. For your sake people are saved.
Act 27:24 KJV Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
4. You can never lack good things. You are provided for. The means to sustain you are made available. Paul prayed for the philippian church. Even though he was in prison, his need was met.
Exo 23:25 KJV And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
5. The Lord keeps you healthy for the sake of the kingdom. only healthy fit soldier work
Act 28:5 KJV And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
6. When you multiply what has been given unto more is given. in the kingdom, the king gives to who has but takes from whom who has nothing.
Mat 13:12 KJV For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
7. Heaven attend to your prayer with speed. When a soldier put up a call to his commandant, he responded quickly, so it is in the kingdom
8. Things people run for become additions to you.
Mat 6:33 KJV But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
9. Your life becomes fruitful, you don’t need to struggle, the Father does it effortlessly for you.
Joh 15:2 KJV Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
10. You bless your posterity:
1Ki 8:17-18 KJV 17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
God established the household of David forever
2Sa 7:16 KJV And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Num 25:11-13 KJV 11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. 12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: 13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
You may not be able to pray and shout, scream, bind and cast out but there is another warfare of joining the workforce in the kingdom, and when you become a worker with this kind of mindset and understanding, things begin to work effortlessly. God is your partner and He will see to it that all these and more blessings pursue, overtake and take over you.