The Covenant of Levi

Two passages of Scripture “collided” for me this morning. One, I was reading . . . the other, I believe, my Teacher brought to mind as I was read the first. Bam! Instant application. While I was reminded of an Old Testament structure, I came way with a renewed desire for a New Testament dynamic. While I read of a “shadow” contained in an ancient covenant, I was reminded of a reality that should be evident in today’s church.

Here’s the scripture I read . . .

“So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that My covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared Me. He stood in awe of My name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 2:4-7 ESV)

Here’s the Scripture that came to mind . . .

” . . . you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Peter 2:5, 9 ESV)

I don’t think the term “My covenant with Levi” has ever really hit me before. Levi, the tribe of Israel redeemed of God to minister in and around His holy sanctuary. A people chosen from among their brethren to bring sacrifices before the living God. A people chosen by the living God to bring the things of God before their brethren. Given great responsibility as it pertained to serving amidst His glory . . . given great privilege as it allowed opportunity to “rub shoulders” with that glory.

It was a covenant of life and peace and privilege . . . but also a covenant that commanded reverential fear and responsibility. To be a priest was to stand in awe of the name of the LORD of hosts. It was to speak truth . . . to walk in uprightness . . . to turn others from iniquity . . . to guard knowledge . . . to dispense instruction . . . to be “the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” And this, not so that they might prove their holy worth and merit being priests . . . but this as a response to having been Sovereignly called to this high calling, apart from any merit on their part. Called, by the purposes of God, to a place of privilege . . . and then promised the tools to dispense the responsibility that came with such privilege.

So, isn’t there a reminder here for this “priest” sitting in this chair this morning? As one brought into a covenant relationship by the blood of the Lamb . . . given access into the very presence of God through the finished work of the cross . . . called, apart from any merit, to offer spiritual sacrifices and to proclaim the excellencies of the Him who has brought me into marvelous light? As I consider afresh my calling and the precious covenant binding me to the LORD of hosts, I too would stand in awe . . . bow in reverence . . . offer up worship . . . guard the truth . . . . . . walk, by His gracious enabling, in uprightness . . . and speak, with humility, the word of God. Mine, in this covenant relationship, is the desire to live out my part in this holy priesthood . . . His, is the enabling and enduring power of the Spirit within me. The result? . . . life and peace.

Hmmm . . . the collision of scriptures . . . the covenant of Levi . . . the call of the believer. By His grace . . . for His glory . . . amen?

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