As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;
From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof,
And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.
This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers,
From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:
Just some brief data about the Tabernacle here:
- External Courtyard 150 x 75 feet. Outer walls 7 feet high.
- Tabernacle tent itself. 45 x 15 feet, covered by an external tent structure.
- Made of animal skins, ropes, poles and pegs, really a huge tent.
- The Israelites were led by the Shekinah Cloud of Glory by day and the pillar of fire by night. When the cloud or pillar moved, so did the camp
- It would have taken many wagons, oxen, and men to move all of the different parts of the Tabernacle, and God as was His habit, specifically assigned duties to different people. They did not simply pick and choose who did what, God assigned it.
That is even how it is today, God has a plan for all of us, every single one of us. This plan is specific to each of us and includes the tiniest details of our lives. God made this plan for each of us in eternity past and knows how us following or not following His plan will affect His ultimate plan for eternity future. And yes, we can exercise our God-given free will and choose not to follow His plan for our lives.
Some of us are Kohathites and some of us are Merarites. That is, in the service of God, some of us get to do the “important” jobs and some of us get to do the “Not so important” jobs. That was also the case for the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years, One of the assigned responsibilities of the sons of Kohath was to carry the Ark of the Covenant, and lead the procession as the people moved from one place to another. The sons of Mera were assigned to carry the frames of the Tabernacle: the ropes, bases, and tent pegs. There is little doubt that carrying the Ark of the Covenant was seen as much more glamorous and “important” than carrying a tiny little tent peg!
The 4 men who each carried the four corners of the Ark of the Covenant were literally one in a million men, while men who merely carried tent pegs may have been barely noticed as they trudged through their lives diligently doing their duty and carrying their tent peg.
Imagine being Joe the Merarite, carrying your little unimportant tent peg year after year for forty years of wandering in the desert. Imagine packing up your peg year after year after year as the Tabernacle was moved from on place to the next as the Pillar of Fire moved. Imagine seeing how everybody noticed and fawned over the men carrying the Ark, or the altars or the contents of the tabernacle such as the lampstands and so forth.
It’s easy to imagine how Joe the Merarite might feel or what he might say as time marched on and he carried his little unimportant tent peg. “This tent peg can’t be very important, there are dozens of them!”,;” Why hasn’t Aaron the Priest ever come by and patted me on the back?”: “Look how everybody notices Bob the Kohathite and his stupid Ark!” It’s easy to see how over years Joe could become disillusioned.
What if Joe just got fed up one day and decided he was simply done carrying that little tent peg? It’s easy to picture one day as, the Pillar of Fire moved onward signifying that the camp was to move, that Joe the Merarite might just say to himself that he might just sleep in that day, since nobody would even miss his little unimportant tent peg. It’s easy to imagine the whole camp packing up, traveling through the desert, and setting up wherever the Pillar of Fire settled down. But, what might have happened when the Camp arrived at the new location, set everything in place, and then discovered that all was ready except for that one little, unimportant tent peg? Is it possible that the entire congregation might have been prevented from properly worshipping God just because of one small tent peg? After all, the design of the Tabernacle was very specific, down to the smallest detail; the truth is, without that one little unimportant tent peg the Tabernacle was in fact not complete the way God designed it.
Are you called to carry an Ark or a tent peg? Are you called to Preach? Are you called to sing in the Choir? Are you called to teach Sunday School? Are you called to clean the Sanctuary after Sunday service? Are you called to mow the Churchyard? Are you called to clean the bathrooms? Not everyone is called to carry an Ark. Some of us may spend years doing no more than carrying a tent peg.
But, whatever it is we have each been called to do, every task is ordained and designed by God. Each and every task is part of God’s design and the Tabernacle we call our Church is not complete without every single component in place. And, without every single component in its proper place, God’s design for our worship is not complete. What that means to us in our everyday lives of Christian service is that, whatever we have been called to do, every job is important. In fact, no job, no matter how “important” or “not so important” is actually of equal importance in the eyes of God. And we are to do our called and assigned tasks for as long as God requires it of us and to the best of our ability for that assigned duration