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Numbers 3:40-51, Levites Become Substitutes for Firstborns

There is one topic I cannot approach with a few members of my family. You guessed it – it’s politics. Part of the problem is that we have fundamentally different goals for the future of our country. At the core, there are polar viewpoints. One suggests that a strengthened country is better for me. The other suggests that a strengthened country is better for all of us. Personally, I am more concerned with what’s best for all of us. I mean, sure, I would love to make a ton more money and pay fewer taxes. I would love to live in a secure country where I can feel safe anywhere I go. But in reality, striving for more money and security for me means less money and less security for others. And I just can’t desire that.

This story sounds to me like a redistribution of money. God has required an offering. But God has also allowed the Israelites to substitute where needed so the offering could be met. I believe God is more concerned with what is good for all of God’s children, not just a chosen few. Feel free to disagree. Many of my most beloved family do. And we love each other just the same.

Numbers 3:40-51

Then the Lord said to Moses: Enroll all the firstborn males of the Israelites, from a month old and upward, and count their names. But you shall accept the Levites for me—I am the Lord—as substitutes for all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for all the firstborn among the livestock of the Israelites. So Moses enrolled all the firstborn among the Israelites, as the Lord commanded him. The total enrollment, all the firstborn males from a month old and upward, counting the number of names, was twenty-two thousand two hundred seventy-three. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Accept the Levites as substitutes for all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for their livestock; and the Levites shall be mine. I am the Lord. As the price of redemption of the two hundred seventy-three of the firstborn of the Israelites, over and above the number of the Levites, you shall accept five shekels apiece, reckoning by the shekel of the sanctuary, a shekel of twenty gerahs. Give to Aaron and his sons the money by which the excess number of them is redeemed. So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those redeemed by the Levites; from the firstborn of the Israelites he took the money, one thousand three hundred sixty-five shekels, reckoned by the shekel of the sanctuary; and Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.