The Tribe Of Levi
A Curse Turned Into A Blessing
Our God has a way of turning the curses into a blessing for us. That is what I want to talk about,
I am not going to quote you as much scripture as what I am going to describe to you some of the stories in the bible. I believe we can find great strength and encouragement in these stories. The first 4 people I want to talk about today are…
Dinah – Daughter of Jacob and Leah
Simeon and Levi – Sons of Jacob and Dinah's brothers
Shechem – Son of Hamor a Hivite, a prince of the country
Shechem and Dinah
Shechem soul clave (meaning longed for or clung to) for Dinah, he loved her and spoke kindly to her. When Shechem saw Dinah, he took her and defiled her through rape, then afterwards he sought to marry her (Genesis 34). Simeon and Levi were Dinah’s brothers and they devised a plan, this plan brought them a curse. The plan was…tell the man in order to marry their sister Dinah, and it not to be a reproach to them, every male of them would have to be as they were (meaning they would have to become circumcised). Then the 2 groups of people could be as 1. When Shechem heard this, he was anxious to agree and the men of that country became circumcised, Shechem being the 1st of those men to be circumcised. While these men were recovering from their surgery 3 days later, Simeon and Levi (Dinah's brothers) went in and slew them, that was their plan.
Jacob, did not approve of what his son’s had done, instead he said it would cause a great problem. Later on when Jacob was on his death bed (Genesis 49) he called unto his sons that he may tell them what would befall the in the last days. When he got to Simeon and Levi they were described in the bible as brethren who were instruments of cruelty, it is also stated cursed be their anger because it was fierce and their wrath was cruel. And their punishment for the killing, it says in verse 7 “ I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Isreal” Their futures were going to begin under a curse. This word came true for both of the two tribes, they both became scattered.
From here I am going to start off talking about 2 separate families beginning under a curse.
Simeon’s family and Levi’s family.
When studying on this I found it easier to track the family of Levi than the family of Simeon. I had to search through the bible as well as other sources and then go back and see if they could be confirmed with the bible, from what I can find from searching through these sources on the tribe of Simeon and his family and their inheritance, Simeon received no blessing from Moses. In fact, he does not even mention the tribe! When dealing with their allotment, two passages seem to be the most descriptive. These passages can be found in Joshua 15:20-32, and Joshua 19:1-9. Yet only the passage in Joshua 19 specifically mentions this tribe. The reason for this is because the allotment of this tribe lie within the borders of the tribe of Judah. These two tribes, together with the tribe of Benjamin, are known as the Southern Tribes. In Joshua 19 it says that they (the tribe of Simeon) were among the children of Judah. This tribe received as their portion a part of the territory already allotted to Judah (Josh. 19:1-9). It lay in the south-west of the land, with Judah on the east and Dan on the north. As the curse stated, the tribe of Simeon was indeed scattered and dispersed over the course of time just as the tribe of Levi was scattered. Levi was scattered throughout all of Israel whereas Simeon was scattered in towns only within Judah. Where Levi had no land, Simeon did have an inheritance SOUTH of Judah. When Judah separated from Israel, Judah occupied that territory, yet Simeon went with Israel! There no new territory was assigned to the tribe of Simeon. Also, the tribe of Simeon became small during the wilderness wanderings. They started out from Egypt being the third largest tribe Numbers 1:23 records thier people as being 59,300 in number, but some 35 years later, at the second wilderness census of Israel, 63% of the tribe perished and they became the smallest tribe. Numbers 26:14 records their new number as being 22,200 people in number. As I mentioned earlier Moses pronounces no blessing on this tribe, it is passed by in silence in Deuteronomy 33. I would have liked to have found more information on this tribe and their future in the bible but these comments and facts were the best I could find and search out. Sometimes my understanding in bible history is not as strong as in other areas of the bible and I admit I could use a little more knowledge in these areas. But this is not the tribe I want to focus on as much today. I want us to focus more on the tribe of Levi, because there was a blessing pronounced on them.
As for the tribe of Levi, during the distribution of the land you will see that the Levites were given no land to possess. The Levites became scattered through all of Israel, in Exodus 32:29 you will also see Moses spoke a word of a blessing to them. He told them to go and consecrate every male, that a blessing was coming their way. Moses said they had sinned a great sin, but he also went up and made an atonement for their sin. A people once scattered in the land because of sin, has now been given another promise... the promise of a blessing. I want you to notice both words spoken over the Levites came true, they were scattered through out all Israel and they also became blessed. The scattering curse that had them bound was about to become the blessing that would not only bless them, but the whole nation. God turned that curse into a blessing and the Levites became the priests of that whole nation. Think about it, the people once living under the curse, scattered through out all Israel has now become the priests of that whole nation, I like that, the cursed people scattered abroad are now the go between for the remainder of the Israel and God. What a blessing that was. That story is good news for us. It is a picture of God’s ability to swallow up the curses of sin and the shame that comes with it with a blessing, that not only affects our lives but the lives of those around us. That is the way our God works. He has a way of taking the curse and turning it into a blessing. Listen to this, if you think your situation has you held captive, it is not hopeless, you are not hopeless. I want to tell you our God is a mighty God, not lacking in power and strength, and he can give us a name amongst the people we once had shame before.
Zephaniah 3:17- 20 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
The Levites (who were once cursed) becoming the priests of that whole nation shows us the type of love and compassion that our God has for us. We don’t know what God has in store in each of our lives but what we do know is he is no respecters of persons, and his hand to deliver, heal, and help is ever present to those who turn to him and call upon his name. If you looked at each thing that I have underlined or made bold or put in italics individually in the above scripture and took a moment to think on each one of them, you would find blessing after blessing after blessing. That’s what God has instore for our your lives, blessing after blessing.
I know life gets hard at times, and sometimes it feels as if all hell has come at us. We look at our problems and our situations, the troublesome storms and things taking place in our lives, and can find no good in it, we see no way out, no hope, and some can easily feel consumed by those troubles and problems, the curse can quickly surround us on all sides. All we can see is a sea of troubling waves sent out to devour us, and it looks like an overwhelming, consuming mess in our eyes. Those times are hard times and as if that wasn't enough then fear, discouragement and hopelessness quickly begins to set in. It can torment your mind and your heart can become faint. If you are in that kind of mess, and feeling those kind of emotions this is not a time to give up, I want us to remember our God is a God who is able and also willing to take that curse and turn it into a blessing for us just as he did for the Levites.
Most of the time when we think of the story of Lazarus we think of Jesus raising his good friend from the dead, but remember how Lazarus came forth when he raised him from the dead. He came just as he was. We have to come to Jesus as we are, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he came forth wrapped in grave clothes, the first thing Lazarus had to do was come to the voice that was calling out to him. Then look at what Jesus did next, he spoke to what had Lazarus bound. John 11:44-45 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. First you must turn to Jesus just as you are, and he will cause the crave clothes that have you bound to be loosed just as he caused them to come off of Lazarus. Sometimes we get our selves bound up in chains and bondage and we don't have the power to free ourselves from. But Jesus said I came that you might have life more abundant. The longer you wait the more you are giving Satan to kill, steel and destroy of your life. The bible says in 1 John 4:4 ...greater is he(Jesus) that is in you, than he(Satan) that is in the world. If we will turn to Jesus he will give us the power and strength to overcome.
The 3 Hebrew Boys
You can be set free in the midst of the fire like the 3 Hebrew boys. Same thing there in that story, going into the fire was definitely not a blessing for them. I am sure they weren't looking forward to it any more than I have looked forward to going into the problems I have had through life. But they called on their God, and they held on through the storm and stood firm, and they prevailed. Those 3 boys went in that fire bound up, most of us want to be rescued out and away from the fire, I like that kind of deliverance, but our God also has a way of delivering us through the fire. The King was amazed when he saw not only the 3 men walking around in the fire but they were also loosed and a 4th man was with them, who looked like the Son of God. Jesus will walk with you through the fire, you just have to hold on to his hand and keep walking as he leads you from where you are into a better place. He created an atmosphere around them in that fire, and not even the smell of smoke was on them. The fire didnt hurt them. After that took place, the Kings heart was changed and he made a decree about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The King took notice of the God who had the power to be a mighty deliverer, others will also see that power of God through you if you will walk through that storm with Jesus. (that story is in Daniel chapter 3)
The Parting Of The Red Sea
Jesus is amazing and he has a way of bailing us out of impossible situations. We don’t always see the full path that God has laid out for our victory from where we are today. Neither did Israel when they got to the Red Sea, it looked like all hope was gone. There was nowhere left to run, nowhere to hide, but the path was there all the time and there was a way out, God created them a way out and he can make us a way out even if he has to do it supernaturally. The Red Sea was another blessing for Israel, it was a blessing that swallowed up the curse. That blessing had a curse that was following close behind, there was an army pursuing after Isreal wanting to keep them in bondage, (Exodus 14). Satan likes to keep us in bondage but that was not Gods plan for Israel, his plan was to lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey, a promise land. Bondage was not Gods plan for Israel and that is not God plan for us. Our God has a promise land for us to, where we can spend all eternity with him, but we don’t have to wait till we get there, strouggling through this life just taking what ever comes along our way, he gave us his spirit with the power to help us in our times of need, he has left us great and precious promises through his word. We can bring a piece of that promise land into our lives here and now, today.
Repentance, An Unlikely Leader And The Red Sea
Sometimes we miss Gods plan in our life. Thank God for a thing called repentance. Some think of that word as a bad thing, a shameful thing, but I think of it as a blessing that can swallow up the curses. Thank God for making a way that when I miss it and mess up or go astray, I can come to him and call upon him through something as simple as sincere repentance and he will take care of me and lead me back into a better place than where I have fallen. His love doesn’t hold a grudge, it forgives, he is merciful. When Israel cried out to God, he had mercy upon them. God parted the sea for them and they crossed on dry ground. Moses didn’t even look like a likely leader, he was an old man who couldn't speak well and now they are at a sea and their enemy is persuing after them from behind. They looked like they had reached their end following Moses, all hope would have ended when they reached that sea, until Moses streched forth his hand and the waters divided. The ground wasn’t even damp, it says they crossed on dry land. When they had fully crossed, Moses streched forth his hand again and the sea closed up and swallowed up their enemy. Come on…now if you and I were there walking with Israel following Moses at that time… would you have for saw that one coming, the parting of a sea. A wall of water standing up on both sides of you with a dry path inbetween. Our God still moves with that same kind of deliverance, strength and power today. He will part that seas you are facing and make a way out for you as well, you may feel unlikely for God to move with that kind of power in your life, but that is just the kind of God Jesus is.
Elijiah and David
I want to discuss a couple more characters in the bible. They are Elijiah and David.You know what I like about these two men, they were not supernatural people, they were just everyday people like you and I, and guess what… they made mistakes. If you read through some of the stories of Elijiah and King David, you will see some of their great and amazing accomplishments but you will also see their mistakes, shortcomings and downfalls. The word of God shows both sides of Gods greatest people in the bible. They are not great supernatural men with supernatural ability, they were ordinary human beings just like you and I, it was God working and moving through them that made them great, it was their God that was supernatural, powerful and mighty in strength. Their greatness came through the accomplishments of their God on behalf of their lives, the lives of others and those whom they prayed to their God for. It was God who was supernatural. Look at the amplified translation of this next scripture.
James 5:17 Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have with feelings, affections, and a constitution like ours; and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months.
When David followed God, God was with him. Lets look at what david said…
2 Samuel 5:20 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim
There is a song we sing sometimes in church. It goes... "There's a river of life flowing out of me, it makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, it opens prison doors and sets the captives free, there’s a river of life flowing out of me".
God is able and willing to break forth in you life and flow through you like a breach of waters. Remember Hurricane Katrina, that swept through the Golf coast lands, when there was a breach and they levy was broke the waters came forth and overwhelmed the land, no man could stop it and no man can stop the blessings of God on your life. Gods Spirit in us is a river of living water that will flow from us like that, with power to affect the things in our lives as well as the lives of those around us. That is power, and the spirit in us is greater than anything that all of hell can throw at us. Praise God, he has already won, we’re fighting on the winning side of the battle, all we have to do is press through and keep moving as the Spirit leads, God will do the supernatural. This is how Paul could say I can do all thing through Christ. It was because he knew that greater was the one who was working from inside of him, that it was the spirit that was dwelling inside that was doing the work, I know I haven't quoted you a lot of scripture today and most of what I have said has been bible Stories, but I believe that these stories are still for us today, there is power in Gods word and if we will read and learn these stories we can find great strength and encouragement there to press through hard times.
The Apostle Paul
The last charecter I want to discuss is the Apostle Paul. If you are facing trouble and trials, consuming fires, destruction and devastation in your life at this present time, I want to tell you what the apostle Paul said to the men on the ship with him when the ship had hit a disastrous storm,(Acts 27:25) BE OF GOOD CHEER, I BELIEVE GOD! That is what I want to tell you CHEER UP! I BELIEVE GOD AND YOU CAN TOO. You can believe him, you can trust him and you can rely on him and on his mercy. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, then you have every reason to cheer up, you are not like the rest of the world. You are not battling life alone, there is hope for you yet. You have a savior who will come to your aid and to your rescue. It is not a time to give up and give in but it is a time to rise up and overcome.
Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. That is your God, the one who will lift you up when you fall and be a light to you.
If you don’t know him, you can, the choice is yours. He is waiting with out stretched arms to receive you and be your help. You know what I like about this scripture, This is about a man who has fallen. It says WHEN I FALL, not when God falls. Our God doesn’t fall, but we all know man does. Have you ever fell in life or fallen spiritually? Have you ever missed it or got off track. I think most of us can say we have, and this is generally when we find we can get ourselves into a mess, if that is where you are today it is a good time to cheer up and Turn to the Lord if you haven't already. Jesus cares about you, your life and what has your heart feeling faint.
Look at the rest of this scripture
Micah 7:9-10 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
I am thankful that when I fall, and I earnestly and sincerely repent, that i can turn to him, and call upon his name and he will bring me through the mess I get my self into. I want to tell you something about repentance, its not just a simple I am sorry, although an apology to the Lord may be a good thing, but it also means to turn from, to have a change of heart and begin to move in a different direction. Don’t get me wrong I believe in living a consecrated life to God, but lets be honest we all fall, we all make mistakes and we all miss the mark. As Christians we are not to condemn one another but to help one another, we all have faults.
Galations 3: 3-5 (Amplified Translation) For if any person thinks himself to be somebody (too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load) when he is nobody (of superiority except in his own estimation), he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable in itself alone without resorting to boastful comparison with his neighbor. For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own little load of oppressive faults.
We are all learning and running the same race. Don’t get discouraged in the mistake, give up and get stuck there. Turn to Jesus, Rise up and let the Lord be your light. Follow his direction from where you are. If we will turn to the Lord, repent and follow him, he will faithfully lead us out.
There is a way out and a hope in your situation just as there was with Israel. Our hope is in Jesus, the one who shed his blood and died for us. He still holds the power to deliver us from those fiery trials, and consuming waves and the storms of this life, if we will turn to him, call upon his name we will see the saving strength and the favor of our Gods hand upon our life just as the people in these stories did. Lets face it, life is hard at time, we all get discouraged and we need to know that there is still a God with strength and power to pull us through the pains of life. I know what it feels like to be swimming in a sea of devastation and consuming destruction, just trying to keep your heads above the water, when there appears to be no land in sight, it feels impossible. I’ve walked through those kind of hard times and I want to tell you today it is not hopeless, you are not hopeless, and your situation is not hopeless I don’t care what the situation is. You have a help and a hope if you have accepted Christ as your savior. God can part a sea, bless a cursed people and make them priests, and he can fix what ever mess you are in. we serve an all mighty, powerful God who’s pleasure it is to give us the kingdom and deliver us from the powers of darkness.
I hope I have been of some encouragement to you today. If your heart is faint, and the pain, hurt and devastation of life have drug you down into a place of discouragement and hopelessness. You can be cheered up today, because you can believe in, trust in, rely on and hope in your God, who loves you beyond all you can imagine and is a mighty deliverer.
Isaiah 33:13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.
Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.