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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Set Apart (Holy)

In my last post, we looked at the twelve tribes of Israel being counted for their army.  It not only gave us the size of their army, but it also gave us a sense of the total number of Israelites who were set free from slavery in Egypt.  All men age 20 and older were counted across the twelve tribes.

Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to Me, for all the firstborn males are Mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are Mine; I am the LORD. (Numbers 3:12-13 NLT)

Now you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, Pete.  I thought we already counted the twelve tribes of Israel.  Are you saying there are thirteen?”  Well, no.  Well, kind of.  You see, when they counted the tribes, they counted Joseph twice.  They set up one group for Joseph’s son Ephraim and another group for Joseph’s son, Manasseh.  That way there were twelve groups that surrounded the tabernacle when they set up camp.  They represented eleven of the original twelve boys, though.  The twelfth boy, Levi, was represented in a special way.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. And take the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to Me; I am the LORD. There are 273 more firstborn sons of Israel than there are Levites. To redeem these extra firstborn sons, collect five pieces of silver for each of them (each piece weighing the same as the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs). Give the silver to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for the extra firstborn sons." (Numbers 3:44-48 NLT)

The Levites would do the work of the LORD.  Their job would be to set up, tear down, and maintain the Tabernacle where the LORD dwelled.  A sub-group of the Levites (Aaron’s descendants) would serve as Priests, doing the animal sacrifices and such.  The Levites and Aaron’s descendants were set apart as Holy for God.  People in the other eleven/twelve tribes could be set apart as Holy, too.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. "If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the LORD in a special way, they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must not use vinegar made from wine or from other alcoholic drinks, they must not drink fresh grape juice, and they must not eat grapes or raisins. As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine--not even the grape seeds or skins. "They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they are holy and set apart to the LORD. Until the time of their vow has been fulfilled, they must let their hair grow long. And they must not go near a dead body during the entire period of their vow to the LORD. (Numbers 6:1-6 NLT)

Holy means “set apart” or “different” for the LORD.  So, how about you?  Do you see yourself as set apart or different for the LORD?  Do others see it?  Are you Holy?