The Holy Priesthood - A Generation Changed
What does it mean to be a priest exactly? Has God really called believers to be a Kingdom of Priests? If so what does that entail? I hope as the weeks go by in this study that we can answer all these questions and learn everything that God would reveal to us in His word about this. God will never ask us to do anything that He will not make provisions for us to succeed! In this lesson I feel led to look at the choices we make and how they can affect our family for generations to come. Also, I pray we can point out just how God honors those who love, trust, and obey Him to a thousand generations!
Handout: The Holy Priesthood – A Generation Changed
Our study begins in God’s word in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 9. We are going to cover a lot of Bible history today in the Old Testament so I humbly ask you to stay patiently with me and know that God has a message in it for us all.
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.”
As I began to meditate upon God’s word this week and study for this lesson, I began to think of the scriptures that tell us of those that have obeyed God’s voice and changed the whole course of their lineage and made things better for the generations after them. I thought of my dad as well. You see his parents, my grandmother and grandfather were both alcoholics. They were divorced when my dad was a young boy. My grandmother had to work to support them and my dad and his brother who was only a year older than he, were basically on their own from the time my dad was about 13 or 14 years old. My grandmother wasn’t a bad person, but she was unsaved at the time and alcohol was very much a part of her life. She owned a tavern in another state and that kept her away most of the time.
My dad had never really heard about Jesus or that He had come to save those who are lost. However, when he was 29 years old God began to reveal Himself to my dad. The Holy Spirit began to deal with his heart. He had no idea what was happening because he wasn’t raised in church and did not know about Christ. He did know however that his soul was troubled for about a year and he wanted peace so he decided to go to a revival service that was held in a local church in our community at that time. There a preacher preached Jesus and my dad accepted Christ. That started my dad on his journey and walk with Jesus and it began a change.
God called him to preach the word years later and I thank God everyday that he listened and obeyed, so thankful that he answered the call of God on his life and let the Holy Spirit do a work in Him. After my dad was saved, then God wonderfully saved my grandfather a little time before his death. Many years later, my grandmother accepted Christ as well. My dad prayed for his mother for over 25 years, and one day God’s promise to save her came to pass. You see what happened here is a wonderful miracle of God.
A generation was changed from a course of death and destruction through alcoholism to a course with life in Christ. Today in God’s word we will study some different instances where this very thing has happened. I pray that this encourages all hearing this message and reading it, that it does not matter where you are now, or where you have come from. No matter how desperate the situation may seem, no matter how hopeless you may feel, when you and I received Christ and became God’s children, we were called to be a Holy Priest of God and God will honor His promises to those who love Him and who trust and obey what He says to do. He keeps His convenient to those who will answer the call. He has proven Himself over and over and over and He will not fail! Praise the Lord You can be the one to change the course of your generation and lift the curse of your family line through Christ! Praise His Holy Name!
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”
We are going to be looking at the tribe of Levi today. In order to do that we must begin with Levi and his father Jacob. In the book of Genesis 32 we read about Jacob who God later named Israel after he had wrestled with the angel and would not let him go until he (the angel) blessed him (Jacob).
Genesis 32:28 “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed.”
Jacob had twelve sons. From these twelve sons came the 12 tribes. They are known as The 12 tribes of Israel. In Genesis 29 we see the names of these sons of Jacob. Jacob had two wives. One was Leah and the other was Rachel. They were sisters. Some of his sons came from Leah and others from Rachel. Later, Jacob’s two wives also give him their handmaids as wives to produce children. These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob.
The Twelve Tribes of Israel
Now we know from reading Genesis 29 that Leah and her sister Rachel were in a competition for their husband Jacob’s love. Jacob loved Rachel and Leah was unloved. God saw this happening so Rachel was barren at first but Leah began to have these sons for Jacob. Each time she had a son, she would pray and wish that her husband would love her. So each of the names of these sons had great meaning and insight into how Leah was feeling. Today we will not get into the meaning of all of the names but I do want us to look at the third son, Levi. This next verse we will read is referring to Leah who is unloved and looking so desperately for love from her husband Jacob.
Genesis 29:34 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.”
In other words Leah was saying here, Well maybe my husband will not love me but I have born him three sons so he will be attached to me! The name Levi in Hebrew means, Attachment. (Please keep this in mind.)
How many times in life do we as humans want so badly for someone to love us or accept us that it becomes the most important thing in our lives be it a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a friend. Could be a co worker or school mate. We are a people created by God for companionship and relationship. It is natural to want that and desire it. However, our main attachment should be to God. Where God is pleased with healthy Godly relationships in our lives and fellowship of brethren, we must be very careful that we focus our main attentions on God and not on man. We cannot force another person to love or accept us. That does not mean that God cannot change their heart but we cannot manipulate the situation to go the way we wish for it to go. We must fall our on faces before God and pray for His will in such matters and be happy with what God chooses for us.
In Biblical culture and in many cultures today, the name given to a child is very important. Also important was the blessing each child received from his father. With this name, Levi was known as the name given in desire of human attachment. Leah’s desperate cry out for love and attachment to her husband.
Jacob and Leah also had a daughter. Her name was Dinah. She was the full sister of Levi and Simeon. In Genesis 34 when she was older we see a tragedy take place.
Genesis 34:1 “And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.”
Reading on we learn that Shechem loved Dinah and he wanted to marry her. His father Hamor, talk to Jacob and ask him give Dinah’s hand in marriage to Shechem. Because Shechem had defiled Dinah, Levi and Simeon were very angry and spoke dishonestly with him. They told him that if all the males of their village would be circumcised then they would give their sister to Shechem to be his wife. Shechem and his father agreed to this and all the males of their village were circumcised but three days later when they were all still in pain from the circumcision, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They killed Shechem and his father and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. Jacob’s sons came upon this city and they seized their flocks and herds and everything they could and carried off all of their wealth and their women and children. When Jacob found out what had happened he was upset.
Genesis 34:30-31 “And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.” And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?”
Moving on to Genesis 49 we read that Jacob is now an old man and is about to die. He sends for his sons so that he can speak the blessing upon their lives. Remember now that the blessing a father gave to his sons was of most importance and what he said upon his children would come to pass. Because of what Simeon and Levi did, they received a rigid blessing from their father. Jacob blessing was this.
Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council: Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”
So here we have Levi with a name that tells of his mother’s desperate attempts to attach Jacob to herself and now these words from his father for what he had done. Things were not looking well for Levi and his descendents. Sometimes the sins of our fathers haunt us just as his good deeds will bless us, and we can follow in the same footsteps of sinfulness and curse if we do not do something to change. That something is to trust God and obey Him and follow in His footsteps. Would this generational curse ever be lifted from the tribe of Levi?
Moving forward many years later in the book of Exodus chapter 2 we see two other sons born to a husband and wife who were from the descendents of Levi and their names were Aaron and Moses.
Exodus 2:1 “And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.”
This begins a different story of how the baby Moses was hidden and then later discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the palace as her own. Later in the scriptures we find that Moses brother’s name was Aaron and he was 3 years older than Moses. God had a special plan for Moses to lead the people of Israel out of bondage from Egypt. Going further in scripture, Moses is grown up now and God tells him to go and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses doesn’t want to go because he says he can’t speak well. (Exodus 4)
God tells Moses to take his brother Aaron with him that he could speak for him. So all this has happened, God has used Moses to lead the people out of bondage and He has provided for them and fed them and now we skip forward to where God is giving Moses the 10 commandments of the law. God also told Moses that He had called Aaron and his sons to be holy priests unto the Lord, on behalf of the people of Israel. They would perform the rituals and sacrifices to atone for their sin unto the Lord. Under the law sacrifices had to be made because Christ had not come and died yet for the sins of the world. Blood had to be shed to atone for sins. These sacrifices all pointed to Christ who would come much later as the supreme sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 9 and 10)
From the Levite lineage God called some men into the priesthood and set some of them apart to be in service to the Priests. The Bible tells us that Aaron and his sons were the first of the Levitical priesthood called into office by God. Of course the Levites were tribal descendants of Levi, Jacob’s son. Let us go to Exodus 28. God is speaking to Moses.
Exodus 28:1 “And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.”
So Aaron and his sons were called by God to be holy priests. Keep in mind that they are from this tribe and generation where their father Levi had such a curse upon his head, but God had a plan. However, it wasn’t happening yet. While Moses was on the mountain with God, Aaron was down with the children of Israel who had gotten restless waiting for Moses and asked Aaron to make them a idol! These people had seen the goodness of God and witnessed His presence and still they wanted to worship a false god. Aaron tells them to give him their gold and he will make an image that they can use as an idol. He made an image, a molten calf.
Exodus 32:1-7 “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 6And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 7And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:”
God was so angry with these people that He told Moses that He was going to destroy them and instead make a great nation from him. (Moses). Moses began to talk to the LORD and be a mediator for the people. He was acting in a priestly role. God decided to spare them because of Moses. Moses went down from the mountain and he was so angry when he saw the sin that was going on and when he saw the golden calf he threw the tablets in which the commandments were written and they were broken. He then took the golden calf image and he ground it to powder, he threw it on the water and made them drink it! Aaron tells Moses what happened. Moses then stood in the gate of the camp and asked an extremely important question. A question that we need to be asking ourselves today. Who is on the LORD’S side?
Exodus 32:26 “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.”
Did you notice that? “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.”
In that moment when the sons of the tribe of Levi, (about three thousand men), chose the LORD’s side, they were choosing to break the generational curse of their father’s name and what he had done. They were breaking the curse of their father’s name.
The sons of Levi were now choosing to be Attached to God and not to man! Praise the LORD. The LORD had called them and they were answering that call! In that moment, a generation was changed!
Remember the blessing that was given to Levi by his father Jacob/Israel? It was a very hard blessing. Now let’s look at the blessing the tribe of Levi received from Moses after they had chosen to answer God’s call and had made the choice that they were indeed on THE LORD’S SIDE!
Deuteronomy 33:1 “And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.”
Deuteronomy 33:8-11 “ 8And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; 9Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. 10They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. 11Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.”
Praise the LORD! The Levites had been called into service as a Holy Priesthood unto the Lord and by choosing to answer the call, the Lord honored His promises and a generation changed!
Psalm 105:8 “He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.”
Just like the sons of Aaron we are called to be a Holy Kingdom of Priests unto the Lord. Whose side are you on? Are you on the LORD’S side? Will you answer call of God on your life? Have you been under a generational curse that seems to have you bound down? Know dear one that God can and will turn it all around for you and for your descendants after you! He longs to change you! He longs to be the lifter up of our heads! (Psalm 3:3) His ear is sensitive to the cries of those who have been oppressed and under a stronghold of sin! Praise the Lord His promises are true and He will keep covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations! You can be the one to change your lineage. You can be the one to lift the curse of your generation! Amen. Choose this day, who you will serve! Will you attach yourself to this world, putting human relationships ahead of your attachment to God? Or will you be on the side of truth, the side of God and attach yourself to Him? The choice is up to you. He waits with outstretched arms to welcome you and to draw you close to Himself if you will only choose Him! Choose Christ and Salvation. Choose life and truth. Choose Jesus and become, A Generation Changed.
Joshua 24:15 “ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father,
We bow before You once again thanking You for all that You are. Thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. Father we thank You that You have chosen us to be a Holy Kingdom of Priests to serve You. Father what an honor and a privilege to be chosen to spend our lives in service to You! Father we thank You today for Your promises and that they will always be truth! LORD we thank You that You keep your covenant to those who love, trust, and obey You to a thousand generations and we thank You that we can be the one to change our lineage no matter what curse of sin it has been under in the past and no matter how long it has been in bondage to satan. Father we ask today that if those who are reading or hearing this message is under a curse of sin, that You enlighten their hearts and give them hope in Christ so that they can answer the call You have on their lives and be the one to begin A generation changed according to Your love and Your will. We ask You to protect, and supply our need so that we can spread the good news of the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth for Your glory. In Jesus Lovely, Righteous, Holy name. Amen.
June 5, 2016