The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward, and their number by census of men was 38,000. … David divided them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
1 Chronicles 23:3,6
It is interesting to me that this numbering of the Levits follows so closely on the heels of the disaster associated with David’s numbering of Israel generally. There is a key difference between the two numberings. In the first instance, David numbered the people out of a sense of pride and wanting to see how many people he ruled over. In this second instance, David is numbering the Levites so he and their leadership can figure out how to redistribute their service when the temple is built and carrying the tabernacle around is no longer a necessity. There are those who serve in the temple, offering sacrifices and such. There are those who praise God and prophesy — which might have involved singing scripture as well as speaking of future events, but I am not sure — to music which modern, Western Christians often erroneously refer to this as the ‘worship’ team. There were the gatekeepers and all sorts of other jobs. Everyone had work to do. No one was left unemployed.
All of this reminds me that God is interested in things being orderly. I know that modern, Western Christians tend to go too far to either extreme with this one.
On the one side, there are well-meaning Christians who forbid any deviation from the schedule. Things will happen when they happen and there will be no straying from the schedule. Only appointed persons will speak or sing and everyone else will sit quietly by or sing along as appropriate. These people mean well — they are just trying to be orderly — but they do not leave room for God to change the agenda. They do not even provide Him with a means to do so.
On the other side, there are well-meaning Christians who believe that any sort of structure hinders the move of the Holy Spirit. These are the ones that have cacophonous meetings which beggar comprehension. They mean well. They just want to leave room for the Holy Spirit to have His way.
To make matter worse, there are fellowships wherein there is no clear division of labor between servants. People who have been called and stepped into leadership of a particular ministry find themselves, by choice or otherwise, laboring in or leading other ministries to which they received no call. It is not intentional. And that is the problem.
David and the leadership of the Levites were intentional. They got together and figured out how many servants there were and what needs they had to fill in the new organizational structure. They then cast lots for who would do what. It was a primitive and sometimes inaccurate method of trying to discern the will of God. But it worked. And the work of the temple was divided up into manageable portions that were divvied up among the various families of Levites.
I would do well to take to heart that even the work of the temple needed to be divided into manageable bits and parceled out. I should add to my reckoning a healthy dose of prayer and time spent seeking God’s input on how things are divvied up, but the breaking things into appropriate bits and making sure that those bits are taken care of is good insight for both the sacred and the mundane.
Father, thank You for being orderly. Were You not, this cosmos in which I live would likely be a very different and likely terrifying place. Please work in me to create an orderly person and life. Teach me, please, how to organize and to portion things out so they are manageable.