Numbers 3

Talks for Growing Christians

The Provision and the Responsibility of the Levites

Numbers 3

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Lesson Number 3

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Lord provides the laborers for His work.
  2. The Lord divides the laborers for His work.

Practical Application

  1. Watch out for strange fire.


  1. Where did the tribe of Levi camp within the camp of Israel?
  2. What is the distinction between the Levites and the Old Testament priests?
  3. How did most of the Levites function?
  4. Why did all the firstborn of the children of Israel belong to the Lord?
  5. Why does the Lord say here that all the Levites belong to Him?
  6. What were the responsibilities of the three divisions of Levites?


  1. The Levites camped right around the tabernacle, inside the circle of the other tribes.
  2. All priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. Levi, a son of Jacob, had three sons. Thus there were three divisions of Levites, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites. Aaron and Moses were Kohathites, and Aaron and his descendants were designated by God to be the priestly line in Israel.
  3. They helped the priests with the work of the tabernacle. Most of the Levites were tabernacle workers.
  4. Because the Lord had delivered the firstborn during the Passover in Egypt (See Exodus 13:1-2).
  5. Because the Levites stood as substitutes for all the firstborn
  6. Gershonites – coverings of the tabernacle and courtyard hangings Kohathites – tabernacle furnishings Merarites – boards and pillars of the tabernacle and posts and sockets of the courtyard


  1. There was a lot of work involved in the functioning of the tabernacle. God provided the Levites to help the priests in the work of the Lord. The Lord will provide the laborers for His work today. If you are heading up a ministry that is truly doing the work of the Lord, God will answer your prayers for workers. “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38
  2. In the work of the tabernacle, the Levites were divided and given specific responsibilities. Each had an important role to play. Imagine for a moment if the Levite in charge of tent pegs decided his job was not important enough to do! Likewise, in the church today the Lord divides the laborers for His work. Refer to 1 Corinthians 12. If we were all gifted to work the same ministry, problems would arise and many vital ministries would go undone. God has given the members of the Church a variety of spiritual gifts for the edification of the body of Christ. Have you accepted God’s sovereign division of labor? Do you appreciate your spiritual gift and use it? Do you respect and value the spiritual gifts of your fellow believers?


  1. Nadab and Abihu were struck dead for offering “strange fire” to the Lord. They did not do things God’s way, and were therefore guilty of idolatry. Idolatry is not only worship of false gods; it is also false worship of the true God. Worship of God that is not Christ-centered is idolatry. Watch out for strange fire. Don’t tolerate it in your church fellowship, and don’t be drawn into it yourself.

Key Verses

  • “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him.” Numbers 3:6
  • “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel…The Levites shall be Mine.” Numbers 3:45

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