Levite Principle


The Levite Principle

Harold Forbis


God intends to fill the whole earth with His glory. What a glorious thought!

More incredible than that, He has chosen to give each of us a role to play in bringing that to pass, as we work together offering the gifts He’s given us to give.

No clearer picture of this is found in scripture than in II Chronicles 5, where the whole nation of Israel gathered to dedicate the temple of Solomon. As the leaders, priests, Levites, and nation were of one heart and one voice in worshiping the Lord, His glorious presence filled the place to the point that the priests could no longer perform their ministry.

Heaven had come to earth, and humans could do nothing but bow!

In the Old Testament, the Levites were the tribe of Israel who were descended from Levi, the third son Of Jacob, or Israel, and Leah.

Although the Levites represent a number of different theological ideas, for us they are the clearest example in scripture of those who serve in the area of worship in the House of God.

The name “Levi” means “attached” or “joined”. Leah thought her husband, who was deeply in love with her sister, Rachel, would become attached to her because she had borne him yet another son. This prefigures the work of Christ as our high priest, joining us to God, and also illustrates our priestly ministry, to see others joined to the Lord, always with the ultimate intent of bringing glory to God.

The Lord separated the descendants of Levi to Himself, as priests and servants in the tabernacle of Moses, and specifically prescribed the duties they would perform.

Key: The Levites were perpetually identified as serving families within the family of God.



A. Passion for the Honor of the Name of the Lord

B. Identity & Calling

C. Anointing

D. Appointing


A. God.

B. Priests, Leaders in the House of God.

C. The People of God.

D. Each Other.


A. In Consecration

B. With Preparation

C. By Working

D. As Family



A. Passion for the Honor of the Name of the Lord

Exodus 32:7-29

1. Vss. 7-10   God is passionate for the honor of His Name.

2. Vss. 11-14   Moses was passionate for the honor of God’s Name.

3. Vss. 25-28   The Levites were passionate for the honor of God’s Name.

4. Vs. 29   God chose them in that moment to be separate from all Israel to Himself.

(Numbers 3:43-44, 8:15-16, Deut. 10:8-10)

• Phineas gave example of this passion for God’s Name (Num. 25:1-15).

• Jesus gave us an example of this in the Lord’s prayer…”hallowed by Thy Name…”

As a worship leader, musician, or singer, you have a Levite passion for the honor of the Name of the Lord stirring in your heart – it’s just IN you!

B. Identity & Calling

1. I Chron. 15:2   Chosen for service by God.

• It’s a call from birth – if you were born into the Levite tribe, you were… A LEVITE.

• It’s a call by the choosing of the Lord (John 15:16)

2. I Chron. 16:41   Designated by name

• It’s who you ARE, not just what you DO

• It’s not a man-chosen PROFESSION, but rather a God-ordained EXPRESSION.

C. Anointing

1. Romans 12:6-8   God empowers us to do what He’s called us to do.

2. We are not CALLED because we’re GIFTED, we’re GIFTED because we’re

We aren’t “special” because we have gifts!

• The gifts we have were given to us by the grace of God to play the part He designed us to play. Each with different measure, making full use of the measure we’ve been given.

• The gifts we have are not to give us a “ministry platform” or a place of recognition.

• Rather, we are gifted by God to be able to SERVE in the place He has called us to, to build up the Body of Christ . (Eph 4:16).

D. Appointing

God appoints us to do the tasks He’s called us to do.

Leaders echo that God-ordination, separating those called to serve to their place of service.

1. Levites appointed by clan and by name to specific duties by Moses and Aaron,

Numbers 3:6-9   Appointed to attend to the needs of Aaron, attend to the work of the tabernacle.

Numbers 3:25-4:33   Prescribed duties regarding the moving of the tabernacle (noted by David in I Chronicles 15:2).

2. Levites appointed to specific duties by David and leaders of Israel.

I Chronicles 6:31-48   Appointed over the service of song, after the ark came to rest in the tent David erected to house it.

(also I Chronicles 15:17-22).

I Chronicles 16:4-6   Appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord.

a. To commemorate, to thank, to praise.

b. Using stringed instruments, harps, cymbals, and trumpets.

I Chronicles 16:37-43   Appointed both to serve in the Tabernacle of David and to continue to offer sacrifices in the Tabernacle of Moses.

I Chronicles 25:1   David and the captains of the army separated Levites for service.

3. Levites appointed to their posts by Solomon.

II Chronicles 8:14



A. God.

Our first and foremost ministry must always be to the Lord Himself, as sons and daughters of the Most High God.

1. Romans 12:1   Our first & highest sacrifice is to offer ourselves as a living sacri- fice to the Lord, which is only our reasonable service of worship.

2. Deut. 10:8   The Lord separated the Levites to minister to Him (I Chron. 15:2).

3. I Chron. 16:1-6   Levites appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord.

4. John 4:23   God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth
(II Chron. 16:9).

5. Psalm 34:1-3   When we live a life of worship, we are able to call others to worship the Lord with us.

B. Priests, leaders in the House of God.

1. Numbers 3:6, 9   The Levites were given by God to serve Aaron and his sons.

2. Num. 8:19, 18:6   Made a GIFT to leaders.

Are you a GIFT to your leaders?

3. II Chronicles 2-5, 11-14   Solomon and leaders leading, Levites serving them.

• Helping to prepare the house for the congregation of God to come and worship Him.

• Helping, in our case, to lead meetings, lead people to the presence of God.

• Important to consider our role here, guard our hearts. More in next section on this.

C. The people of God.

1. Num. 3:7-8   Levites were to attend to the needs of the congregation.

• Serving the people as they bring their sacrifices to the Lord.

• Ministering to the Lord in such a way that we help others to find Him, serve Him.

• Our passion for the honor of His Name, for all to know Him, demands this of us.

2. Num. 3:12   Levites served the other tribes by taking the place of their firstborn.

D. Each other.

II Chron. 35:14-15   No one had to leave their posts to provide for their own needs, they were served by their brothers.



A. In Consecration

1. Separation

Num. 8:5-15   The Levites were to serve in the tabernacle after (vs. 15) being
ceremonially cleansed, purified from sin, separated, offered to the Lord.

I Chron. 15:12   Levites’ work is holy, working in the Presence of God, must be carried out by those who deliberately set themselves apart to the Lord.

Romans 12:1   We are to live consecrated, separated lives, pure, holy.
(I Peter 1:15-16).

2. Submission

Num. 8:21-22   Not only were they supposed to consecrate themselves, they did!

I Chron 25:1-8   The Levites were called to live a life of discipleship

Hebrews 13:15-17   Our sacrifices of praise to the Lord are only offered in spirit and truth as we live submitted in love to one another and to our leaders.

3. Sacrifice

The Levites’ decision and action in Exodus 32:

a. Brought them something – separation for service to the Lord (Ex. 32:29).

b. Cost them something –

Ex. 32:27-28   Immediately. In that they had to go kill their friends and relatives!

Num. 18:20   Long term. No inheritance among the people of Israel.

We sacrifice in laboring at our appointed posts, by the grace God has given us, so others can meet with Him – so they can have Him, and so He can have them.

But it’s a sacrifice that’s only our reasonable service of worship – it’s what we were created for!

B. With Preparation

Both individual and corporate –

1. Numbers 8:5-15   Spiritual preparation of a consecrated life.

2. I Chronicles 15:22, 25:7   Practical preparation.

• Musical training and instruction.

• Practicing, rehearsing.

• Practical administration, scheduling of life to allow time to serve.

C. By Working

1. Numbers 3:6-8, 25-26, 31, 36   Key word: W O R K

The Levites worked in the House of God.

• Serving is work! Leading is work!

• Every practical serving group has work to do – practical, assigned tasks.

• Not just my gift, talent, ability

• Also my job, duty, responsibility (“responsibility” is the right response to ability)

2. I Chron. 16:37   Continually, as every day’s work required.

• We have to come with a heart to do the work required that day.

• This is a great time to remember that we’re doing what we were born to do!)

D. As Family

1. Numbers 3:14-20   Levites were a tribe, family of families, serving in the House of God.

2. I Chron. 25:1-8

Vss. 1-6   Fathers and sons, serving together.

Vss. 7-9  Older, experienced trained the younger inexperienced. All were schedule and served together.

Key: The Levites were perpetually identified as serving families within the family of God.

• We serve together, the greater with the lesser, the teacher with the student

o Living and serving together in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

o Doing what we’ve been destined by God to do.

• PULL TOGETHER – family bears the load together to do the will of God.

II Chronicles 5:1-14   The goal is realized – the glory of God fills the House!


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