As I think back . . . for the most part, when I was a kid, I did ok in those lines. You know those lines where everybody was against the wall while “second captain, first pick” and “first captain, second pick” selected individuals for their teams? For a lot of kids those lines could be pretty stressful . . . “please, don’t let me be on that team!” . . . or “please, don’t let me be picked last!” But I did ok . . . not very often was I among the top picks . . . but I don’t recall being last very often either . . . kinda’ middle of the pack . . . and that was ok. But as I’m reading in Numbers this morning, I’m thinking about the team He’s picked me for.
What’s got me thinking about this “being picked thing” is that in the first two chapters of Numbers the census has to do with counting all males, one by one, who are twenty years old and above and able to go to war (Num. 1:3) . . . let’s call them “The Warriors.” And so all the tribes are counted . . . except for one . . . the tribe of Levi. Instead a different census is taken of the Levite males . . . actually a couple of counts.
The first, in chapter 3, is the count of every male from a month old and above (Num. 3:14). The purpose of this count was so that God could claim the Levites as the redemption price for all the firstborn in Israel. Then, in Numbers 4, another count is taken . . . all males from the tribe of Levi who are between 30 years old and 50 years old, all those who could “come on duty, to do the work in the tent of meeting” (Num. 4:3). We’ll call this team, “The Worshipers.” Doesn’t sound as exciting as the first team, does it?
And so the males are counted . . . the teams are picked. On this side, numbering six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty, dressed in battle gear, “The Warriors” . . . and, on that side, numbering eight thousand five hundred and fifty, clothed in white tunics, “The Worshipers.” There they stand . . . 603,550 to 8,550 . . . the warriors looking over at the worshipers . . . the relatively few white tunic guys looking over at the hoard of grunting men in armor. And I’m thinking, “If I was there, what team would I have wanted to be picked for?”
Certainly the more “popular” team was the army . . . that’s where the majority were . . . more action . . . more macho. But as I think of what it meant to be a Levite . . . to be picked of God for service in the tent of meeting . . . the place where men were brought to God . . . the place where God determined to dwell with men . . . I think of what a privilege it was to be part of the tribe that was chosen for the service of God. A special people . . . with access to a special working place . . . with a special set of duties . . . the kind of work which, if any one else where to do it, they would die (Num. 1:51).
And what comes to mind is that I too have been “picked” to be part of a “team” . . . a team that not only enters into the holy place, but is itself being made into a holy place . . .
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 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. (1Peter 2:4-5 ESV)
Now, I know that, in Numbers, the Warriors and the Worshipers were all from God’s chosen people. And that, in a sense, I’m called to both be a warrior, or at least a wrestler (Eph. 6:12), as well as a worshiper. But as a worshiper of God, in the world we live, I also know that I’m not part of the most popular team. It’s not the biggest team . . . not the team that so many around me want to be part of. And, while it may not be considered the most exciting side to be on, by His grace and through His Son, I’ve been numbered by God to be on a very, very special team. A team that is allowed access into the Holy of Holies . . . a team that is privileged to serve the God of Creation . . . a team which competes for a prize which, literally, is out of this world.
Why me? I really don’t know. That He would have called my name from the line . . . that I would have heard His voice and responded in faith . . . all a work of His wonderful grace. But here I am . . . on the “few-are-chosen-and-narrow-is-the way” team . . . The Worshipers . . . in service to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And it kind of puts a smile on face . . . and gratitude in my heart . . . and praise on my lips!
Believer, thank God for the wonderful call He has placed on our lives. Thank Him for giving us ears to hear and a new heart to respond. May we never look at the “other team” with longing . . . but let us be satisfied, content, and committed to this team . . . The Worshipers . . . for the glory of God . . . amen!