The King and the Priest.
“Only Aaron and his descendants served as priests. They presented the offerings on the altar of burnt offering and the altar of incense, and they performed all the other duties related to the Most Holy Place. They made atonement for Israel by following all the commands that Moses, the servant of God, had given them.” – 1 Chronicles 6:49 NLT
As the people of Israel once again stood on the land promised to them and provided for them by God, the writer of Chronicles wants to remind them of two important facts: The role of the king and the importance of the priesthood to their lives. In his careful, if not boring, list of genealogies, he has spent a great deal of time outlining the lineage of Judah, the tribe through which not only David the king and his descendants came, but through which the Messiah would come. Now he methodically presents the lineage of the tribe of Levi, the tribe appointed by God to serve as priests to Him. While the people have been in exile, the priesthood has effectively been suspended. They could only serve as long as Israel remained in the Promised Land, and as long as the temple where God’s presence dwelt remained standing. One of the most significant benefits of returning to the land was the reinstitution of the sacrificial system. This would have been suspended as long as the people were in exile. The priesthood was essential to the restoration of community life and the peoples’ covenant relationship with God. The priests and the Temple were central to life in Israel and had been missing for more than 70 years. This chapter reemphasizes their importance.
This list also reminds the people that it was God who had chosen Aaron and his sons to serve Him as priests. When God rescued the people out of captivity in Egypt, He had claimed the firstborn son as His by right. They were to be dedicated to His service for their lifetimes. But instead, God had chosen to allow the Levites to serve in their place. They were His hand-picked representatives and this chapter clearly indicates their importance in the covenant community.
Remember, this book was written to a people returning from Exile. Many, if not most, had been born in exile and were ignorant of the history and unique relationship that God had with the people of Israel. This is the writer’s attempt at reminding them of just how unique they were as a people. God was intimately involved in the history and daily life of the people of Israel and these newly released exiles needed to be reminded. Sometimes we need a refresher course on just how unique we are as the people of God. Tainted by the world and numbed by constant contact with the things of the world, we lose sight of the reality of our unique position as God’s chosen people. Christ is to serve as priest and king in our lives. He is our savior and sovereign Lord. He is the one we are to worship and obey. We are not like any other people group on earth. We have a High Priest who has offered the ultimate sacrifice for our sins – His own life. We have a King who rules and reigns from His throne in heaven and who is one day going to return to reestablish His rule here on earth. Those two facts should change the way we live and think.
Father, never let me forget the reality of the fact that Your Son reigns as king of my life and serves as the High Priest of my life. His sacrifice is what gives me access to the throne of God. His sovereignty and power give Him the right to rule over my life. He is the Son of David, the rightful heir to the throne. He is the great High Priest, the one who offered the final sacrifice for my sins. May I willingly obey Him. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men