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March 16, Day #76 – No Greater Honor

In chapter two of the book of Numbers, God reveals to Moses and Aaron the arrangement He wants for the entire Israelite camp around the tent of meeting – each tribe “under its standard and banners” (verses 1-2). Our readings today in Numbers 2:10-3:51 begin with the continuation of these instructions. So far, the Israelites in the book of Numbers are off to a good start; three times – once at the end of each chapter of our readings – we read “The Israelites did all this just as the LORD commanded Moses” (cf., Numbers 1:54; 2:34; and 3:51). Chapter three gives us an account of Aaron’s family – the tribe of Levi. The Levites were assigned the tasks of “performing duties for Aaron, the whole community, and the tabernacle” (verse 6). We see that their services were exclusive – anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death (verses 10 and 38). Moreover, the chapter addresses leadership at least four times (verses 24, 30, 32, and 35); it focuses on responsible leadership – the word “responsible” appears at least five times (verses 25, 28, 31, 32, and 38); and it makes reference to the “firstborn” in the sense of headship repeatedly. In an age when so much corruption pervades our culture, it is especially important for Christians who are called to serve the Lord – whether in full-time ministry or not – to know that God considers our call to serve Him all-important. The call to discipleship is not trivial or ordinary; we are His ambassadors (cf., 2 Corinthians 5:20), and we need to live like His representatives. In addition to what belongs to God, belonging as a theme is also stressed in Numbers 3 (repeated in verses 23, 27, and 23). In the same way that God could say of the Levites, “the Levites are mine” (verses 12 and 13), He means the same for us – we belong to Him.

Psalm 34:1-10 speaks especially to my heart. In my life, I earnestly desire to “extol the LORD at all times;” and it is my prayer that His “praise will always be on my lips” (verse 1). Personally, I know that I seldom achieve this goal, but as a follower of Jesus Christ, I desire to live like this. As created beings – who are part of God’s handiwork - we have a responsibility to recognize His sovereignty over all creation and honor Him. Sooner or later, we all will bow before Him and honor Him - whether we want to or not. As Christians, we should desire to praise, honor, and glorify Him out of our love for Him - not merely out of our responsibility or duty to Him. He has mercifully withheld from us what we truly deserve, and He has graciously showered on us incredible blessings that we do not deserve. We can offer Him no merit of our own. I will never properly comprehend His unfailing love - my mind simply cannot grasp it. In verse 6, David says, “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him.” That’s me. If I try to understand this, it overwhelms me. I can only agree in awe - “blessed are those who take refuge in Him” (verse 8).

In Luke 1:39-56, we read about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Significantly, the Holy Spirit informs us through Luke that Mary’s greeting of Elizabeth caused John the Baptist to leap in his mother’s womb (verses 41 and 44), and that “in a loud voice” (verse 42), Elizabeth "blessed Mary among women because she was to become the mother of her Lord" (verse 43). Here we see these two women who clearly understood the high responsibility that was theirs for the honorable roles that God had bestowed upon them in their forthcoming motherhood. Today, once again, we see that our culture has minimized this honor and profaned it by making of it something less than it is. In Mary’s song (verses 46-55), we see one of the most beautiful statements of praise to God in all the Scriptures. Mary echoes almost the same exact words of her father and ancestor, David, when she proclaims, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (verse 46; cf., Psalm 34:1). Yes … we have a responsibility to praise and worship God … but there is no greater honor.

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