Read 1 Chronicles 24
The Divisions of Priests
24 These were the divisions of the descendants of Aaron:
The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father did, and they had no sons; so Eleazar and Ithamar served as the priests. 3 With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelek a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering. 4 A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. 5 They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar.
6 The scribe Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded their names in the presence of the king and of the officials: Zadok the priest, Ahimelek son of Abiathar and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites—one family being taken from Eleazar and then one from Ithamar.
7 The first lot fell to Jehoiarib,
the second to Jedaiah,
8 the third to Harim,
the fourth to Seorim,
9 the fifth to Malkijah,
the sixth to Mijamin,
10 the seventh to Hakkoz,
the eighth to Abijah,
11 the ninth to Jeshua,
the tenth to Shekaniah,
12 the eleventh to Eliashib,
the twelfth to Jakim,
13 the thirteenth to Huppah,
the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 the fifteenth to Bilgah,
the sixteenth to Immer,
15 the seventeenth to Hezir,
the eighteenth to Happizzez,
16 the nineteenth to Pethahiah,
the twentieth to Jehezkel,
17 the twenty-first to Jakin,
the twenty-second to Gamul,
18 the twenty-third to Delaiah
and the twenty-fourth to Maaziah.
19 This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the temple of the Lord, according to the regulations prescribed for them by their ancestor Aaron, as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded him.
The Rest of the Levites
20 As for the rest of the descendants of Levi:
from the sons of Amram: Shubael;
from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah.
21 As for Rehabiah, from his sons:
Ishiah was the first.
22 From the Izharites: Shelomoth;
from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath.
23 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.
24 The son of Uzziel: Micah;
from the sons of Micah: Shamir.
25 The brother of Micah: Ishiah;
from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah.
26 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi.
The son of Jaaziah: Beno.
27 The sons of Merari:
from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zakkur and Ibri.
28 From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons.
29 From Kish: the son of Kish:
30 And the sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth.
These were the Levites, according to their families. 31 They also cast lots,just as their relatives the descendants of Aaron did, in the presence of King David and of Zadok, Ahimelek, and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites. The families of the oldest brother were treated the same as those of the youngest.
Once again, don’t be dismayed by the lineages and names through 1 Chronicles 24. This interesting chapter tells us of the history of David dividing the offices of ministry of the Levites into 24 groups. Further into the chapter, the divisions were also done for the Priests of Aaron and his descendants. In his last days, David (as the king) had within his heart the God-breathed order for both in the Temple. Re-read verse 19 which tells us, “Their jobs commanded from God and given thru Aaron, their father.” The first theme to see is how David, “a man after God’s own heart” is used by God to bring order and service to the Temple which his son Solomon would complete. It sounds similar to God’s plan in Christ for the Jews and ultimately, us. God gave the Law which would ultimately be met and completed in his son, Jesus Christ.
Verse 5 tells us that these divisions were done by casting lots. As we read this we might ask, “Why would God use chance for things this important?” EarlyChurchHistory.com wrote an interesting article about the casting of lots. Many important decisions were made by casting lots for a simple reason. The early church believed that God’s will would prevail through this system. You may read about the casting of lots and be reminded of Jonah and how his fate (Jonah 1:7) from the ship was decided by the casting of lots. It is obvious throughout Jonah that the providence of God was in every part of the story, and it worked for Jonah’s good and the Glory of God. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Further in this chapter, lots are cast for the relatives of the households of both Aaron and the Levites so we can see that we can trust God in this ancient methodology. The message for us is as we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, we can fully trust Him with our lives and our circumstances.
Charles Ryrie, theologian and author of the Ryrie Study Bible, wrote on this passage saying, “Dividing priests into 24 groups meant that each group would serve two weeks out of the year. This service would gradually move around the calendar per the way the Jewish year was divided.” A fitting story to this chapter we are reading shows the value God places on submission and service. In Luke 1:5-13, Zechariah was descended from Abijah of the Levites. His wife, Elizabeth, was of the lineage of Aaron. When Zechariah was performing his duties in the temple of burning incense, God spoke to him that He would answer their ongoing prayers for a child who would be John the Baptist. The faithfulness of God never ceases from generation to generation–and we know the significance of John the Baptist as the prophet who prepared the people for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. What an answer to their prayer!
The lessons for us today are clear. First, God gives order and timing to all His commands and desires. Whether it is the church or our individual lives, we can trust that He is doing everything with order and purpose. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind, that you will prove what the will of God is: that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.” This verse along with this chapter tells us we can trust God and believe in His perfect plans for us individually, and as a church body. Surrender to Him will result in His will being done in our lives. This is the platform for peace, strength, and order. As David was giving God’s commands and divisions for a worship filled and orderly Temple, we can have the same in our churches and individual lives as we seek His will in everything we are doing. Our daily events and effort in our lives, our families, our workplaces, our communities, and our churches are sacred and with order and purpose. Even the most mundane of tasks have value in God’s economy. Our leading and serving have holy meaning and value.
- How important was the division of ministry in the temple? Why was it important? How does it relate to today’s church?
- How important is your daily work to God after reading this devotional?
- Whether leading or serving, how should we view our works and the works of others?
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