toddler helping with dishes February 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Numbers 3, 4

Note: In chronological order there was a census of the Levites taken, and assigned tasks were given to them before their dedication for service in the tabernacle.

God wants Helpers

Mom likes her little helper. She wishes as her child grows he would continue to want to be her helper, but alas, kids grow up and lose interest. Did you know that in the Bible there were appointed helpers for ministry? Usually when people think of ministers, they immediately think of pastors or elders. Yet what would be accomplished in the church if we did not have other dedicated servants to help? The burden would be too great to bear. The typical church has many unseen helpers like deacons, trustees, custodians, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, nursery workers, choir members, piano and organ players, and others. In Old Testament days from Moses to King Solomon the tabernacle was the worship center for the Israelites. In the days of Aaron and his sons they were the priests, but how could they possibly handle all the sacrifices for over two million people and take care of the maintenance of the tabernacle and all its furnishings?

God knew they needed help, so he told Moses to take a census of all the people in the Levite tribes. From that census they were to count all the firstborn males. The male Levites were chosen to replace all the firstborn sons of Israel that were dedicated to God. This had been done in remembrance of the time Egypt’s firstborn sons were killed, and Israel was delivered from slavery (Exodus 13:14,15). There were 22,000 males counted, one month old and above, just 273 less than all the firstborn sons of Israel. The remaining Israelite males were to give an offering of money as a value for each of them to make up for the difference. From these firstborn males, God told Moses and Aaron to choose males between 30 and 50 to do the work of the tabernacle and to transport it.* God chose the Levites - they were his for service and worship. Are you his? God chooses individuals for his service (Ephesians 1:3-14). Through the blood of Jesus Christ he forgives and cleanses them and sets them apart for service to him (i.e, he makes them holy, more...).

Our worship centers (churches) need workers. Pastors or elders and other church leadership should take stock of their numbers, pray, and then appoint suitable helpers for their church ministry. Then, the pastor(s) or other church leadership will not be overburdened and can fulfill their own duties.


Once people are appointed to positions of service in the church, they must be assigned specific tasks, and there must be someone who is responsible to oversee the work. In the days of Israel's wilderness journey there were 8,580 Levites, ages 30-50, who were appointed to help Aaron’s sons with the sacrifices (Numbers 4:46-49). They could not make the offerings, but they could assist in other ways. Levites were also responsible for the maintenance and transportation of the tabernacle, and each of Aaron’s sons had responsibility to supervise the work. The only other exceptions to their Levitical service were the Sanctuary (the Holy Place where the table, the lampstand, and the altar of incense were located) and the Most Holy place, where the Ark of the Covenant was located; only the sanctified priests could serve there.


Getting ready to move can be quite an arduous task. We have to carefully pack and mark valuables so that they will not be broken. We have to plan for the moving of furniture and everything we will need in our new place. Then we have to get workers and vehicles together to help us move. It would soon be time for the camp of Israel to move. The Levites had the duty of moving themselves and all the furniture and articles of the tabernacle. This could have been a strenuous task, but they were well organized. Each of Aaron’s three remaining sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, and their descendants were to supervise the task.

The Kohathites were responsible for carrying the most holy things of the Sanctuary after Aaron and his sons covered and protected them. The Ark of the Covenant was draped with the shielding curtain that separated the holy place from the most holy place and then covered with hides of sea cows (probably porpoise skin from porpoise found in the Red Sea) and blue cloth. The altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table of showbread and all their accessories were individually wrapped in blue cloth (the table was also draped with a scarlet cloth) and then protected from rain with porpoise skin. The bronze altar was emptied of the ashes from sacrifices, then draped in purple and blue and also covered with porpoise skin. Then the golden poles were inserted through the golden rings in the furniture so that the Kohathites could bear them on their shoulders. The articles were separated to God for holy use and were not to be touched. The penalty for looking at or touching them was death (Numbers 4:15, 20).

The Gershonites were responsible for the care and packing of all the curtains (except in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary) and their accessories used in the tabernacle and the courtyard. They too covered the curtains with porpoise skin.

The Merarites were responsible for all the framework, posts, bases, ropes, and accessories of the tabernacle and courtyard.

God dwelt first in the tabernacle, then in the temple, and now he dwells in the heart of each true believer in Christ (John 1:14). We are to assemble ourselves together and encourage each other (Hebrews 10:25). Though some assemble in homes or schools, most of the time Christians assemble in church buildings. How much attention do we give to the building of our worship center? Do the inside and outside of the building glorify the God whom we worship? Do we take care of it? Do we also maintain our furniture and articles of worship?

*Note that in Numbers 8:24 the ages for Levitical service were 25 to 50, but there is no mention of transporting the tabernacle. Perhaps those who entered service at 25 were to maintain the tabernacle for five years to appreciate the value of the articles and furnishings they would later be transporting.

Lessons to live by:

  • Do you want to be a helper to God? Then you need a personal relationship with him so that he can clean you up and make you separated for his service (more...)
  • Pastors or elders and other church leadership should take stock of their numbers, pray, and then appoint suitable helpers for their church ministry. Then the pastor(s) and other church leaders will not be overburdened and can fulfill their own duties.
  • Once people are appointed to positions of service in the church, they must be assigned specific tasks, and there should be someone who is responsible to oversee the work.
  • Take care of your worship center.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

1Timothy 5:17 “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (NIV)

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