I am currently preaching through the Book of Leviticus on Sunday mornings. This morning we found our study in Leviticus 8 where Moses was commanded to bring Aaron and his sons to door of the Tent of Meeting before the congregation of all of Israel. There they would be set apart for service to the Lord, consecrated to the Lord. As I was mulling over the teaching from this morning I am listening to my eldest son, Bryan preaching the gospel on our weekly radio broadcast and next week my youngest son will step up to the microphone before the congregation in his first time leading the congregation in worship. During our worship service today one of our young ladies, just barely graduated from high school told us that in October she will be leaving us for the south Pacific to serve with Youth With A Mission.
Our study in Leviticus today revealed how God had first called all of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt to become a nation of Kings and Priesthood unto the Lord. God reached into the heart of Egypt (which is a Biblical type of the “world”) to deliver Israel out of their captivity. He told them that He was going to establish them in their unique relationship to Him as kings and priest. Peter called it a “holy priesthood” in 2 Peter 2:9, for in the same way God has called the church out of bondage to the world that we might be that unique, holy priesthood before the Lord.
Having called Israel as a nation, he then called for the tribe of Levi to be called forth out of the congregation of the whole of the people, to be set aside or consecrated to service. They were literally to be a “tithe” from among the whole nation, who were to serve with special responsibility before the Lord in the Tabernacle. While we are all called to the holy priesthood, there are some who are called to special ministry in the midst of the church. In Ephesians 4 Paul says, “to some he gave apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers to equip the body for the work of the ministry.” In the book of Acts (chpt. 13) God said to the people who were worshiping and praying at Antioch, “Set aside to me Paul and Barnabas unto the work whereunto I have called them” One is not greater than the other, it is not a greater priesthood – but it is a distinct priesthood.
Then, out of the tribe of Levi, God called a family to very specific ministry before the Lord. Aaron and his sons were set aside, anointed for special ministry among the people and unto the Lord. They were given new garments, anointed upon their ear, their thumb, and their toe to demonstrate that they were called not only to a specific ministry, but to a specific life style as well.
Over the years, I have been blessed by God as a Pastor to send out numerous persons into ministry around the world as pastors, musicians, teachers, and missionaries. Our “tribe” has been blessed to see young men and women (and some not so young) take their place the ministry to which God had called them and set them apart. And, as the head of a family, I have been blessed to see some of my own children begin to find their place in the work of the Kingdom.
I call upon all of those in ministry in the Kingdom today to realize that God has not only called us to gather men and women unto ourselves; not only to raise our own children to love and honor the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He has also tasked us to release them into the heart of the battle. The word of God declares that children are “as arrows in the hand of mighty man.” The great martyr missionary Jim Eliot once proclaimed, “what are arrows for, but to loose into the heart of the enemy?” The great test of ministry in this generation is not the size of the crowd we can gather into our building, but arrows that are released into the heart of the battle.
As I bring this short essay to an end, my son’s voice is beginning to wind down in the message on the radio and as I am listening I do so in wonder, “Where did this guy come from?” Where he came from is a ministry that does not hold its children tight to itself, but prepares them as arrows, straight and true; pulls the bow back with confidence and releases them straight into the heart of the enemy.