Numbers 4

Kohath & Sons Moving Company

“When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the sacred utensils, the Kohathites will come and carry these things to the next destination. But they must not touch the sacred objects, or they will die. So these are the objects of the Tabernacle that the Kohathites must carry. – Numbers 4:15 NLT

Have you ever helped someone move? It can be a bit stressful. There’s just something a little intimidating about taking on the responsibility for someone else’s belongings. This is their stuff and it means a lot to them. So more often than not, they tend to hover over you, making sure you load each piece into the moving van carefully. Because they know that even well-meaning friends can be a bit careless when the things they are moving are not their own. So can you imagine the stress level of carrying the dwelling place of God – the Tabernacle? This was not a job for the weak of heart or the cavalier of mind. So God chose a series of families or clans from within the tribe of Levi and gave them the sole responsibility of transporting the Tabernacle and all its contents from one location to another. If you recall the descriptions of the layout of the Tabernacle, this was not a small facility. It was a massive structure with a large number of parts, so every time the pillar of fire or the cloud of smoke moved, signifying the presence of God, the people were to carefully deconstruct the Tabernacle, pack away its contents and then carry it to the next site.

There were actually three distinct families of the Levites charged with the task of transporting the Tabernacle and its contents – the Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites. They were all the descendants of three sons of Levi, the third son of Jacob. And each of these families was given three distinct responsibilities regarding the Tabernacle and its contents. The Merarites were charged with carrying the boards, bars, pillars and sockets. The Gershonites were responsible for the curtains, hangings and coverings. But the Kohathites had the privilege and great responsibility of carrying all the contents of the Holy of Holies. They were to carry and care for the veil, screen, ark of the covenant, table of the bread of presence, the golden lampstand, all the dishes, and golden altar. These things were of incredible value and significance to the people of Israel. In fact, they were so holy, that the Kohathites were not even allowed to see them until they had been packed up by the priests – otherwise they would die. These were holy items that belonged to God Himself and He was very particular about how they were to be moved. To disobey His command was to court disaster. This is clearly illustrated years later when David was king of Israel and He attempted to move the ark to Jerusalem. Instead of having the sons of Kohath carry the ark by its poles as God had prescribed, it was loaded on a common ox cart. At one point it begins to fall and Uzzah, an innocent non-Levite bystander, reaches out to steady it. This well-intentioned act cost Uzzah his life because God struck him down. God’s will had been violated.

God took the transportation of His Tabernacle seriously. It was not to be treated lightly or flippantly. It was to be treated with holiness and reverential awe. Which makes me stop and think how I sometimes treat the things of God with a fairly cavalier attitude. Whether it is His Word, given to me by God Himself or the presence of His Spirit, who lives within me. I can treat both with a carefree and casual kind of attitude that borders on blasphemy. I do not live in fear that God will strike me down if I treat my Bible with disrespect, but I am reminded that the things of God are holy and not ordinary. His Word is powerful and not to be treated lightly. His Spirit is a member of the triune Godhead and not to be ignored or treated as if He isn’t even there. The things of God are important to God. He takes them seriously, and so should we.

Father, You have given us the privilege of having Your Word in written form. You have given us Your testimony and revelation of Yourself for us to read and apply to our lives. Yet we treat it so often with a casualness that borders on contempt. You have placed Your Spirit within us, but we sometimes act as if He is not even there. We ignore Him, and other times, simply choose to disobey Him. You have also given us the incredible gift of the Gospel to care for and share with all those with whom we come in contact. But instead we selfishly keep it to ourselves, hoarding the Good News and refusing to share it with those who desperately need to hear it. Forgive us Father and give us a greater respect for You and Your incredible gifts to us. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org