Old Testament reading: Numbers 3-4
Today’s text provides instruction concerning the priestly responsibilities to the tabernacle. When we read Numbers 3:5 and following, we see repeated reference to the exclusive work of the Levites concerning Aaron and the things pertaining to the tabernacle. This truth is repeated in Hebrews 7:11-19, particularly verses 13-14, wherein the writer is clear that Jesus could not serve as any priest, much less high priest, as it was evident that He arose from Judah, “of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. The law of specificity, or inclusion and exclusion, is on full display here. Namely, where God specifies a thing, He does so to the exclusion of all other things (e.g. the command to sing congregationally in the New Testament). Chapter 4 is an interesting text when considered in light of future events (coming in chapter 7). Of note is Numbers 4:15, specifying that the Kohathites, to whom was given the responsibility to transport the ark, were not allow to touch the ark (see Uzzah – 2 Sam 6). Moreover, they weren’t even allowed to watch the preparations for transport, which was to be done by Aaron and his sons.
New Testament reading: Acts 5-6
“If we practice church discipline, everyone will leave.” In Acts 5 we see the ultimate in “church discipline” exercised upon Ananias and Sapphira, not by the church, but by the Holy Spirit Himself. The matter of discipline in Acts 5 did not pertain to covetousness (unless we are speaking of coveting the admiration of the church), but rather the simple matter of honesty. Peter made this clear when he said to Ananias concerning the land sold, “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?” After the death of this lying pair, “great fear came upon the church and upon all who heard these things.” Moreover, “believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” We are thus reminded that the exercise of church discipline not only keeps the church pure, it causes reverence and godly fear among the members and those without. Finally, we see that the practice of church discipline does not harm the church, but rather contributes to its growth.