And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, said the LORD.
Under the Gospel dispensation God will select both out of Jews and Gentiles a chosen people, who shall stand before Him spiritually as the priests and the Levites stood before him typically. The connection leads us to see that not only a great promise but likewise a great privilege is herein implied. It is that we shall be priests and Levites. Now, the priests or Levites were persons set apart to be God's peculiar property. Being thus set apart they lived only for Divine service. Further, they enjoyed the privilege of drawing near to God — nearer than the rest of people in that typical dispensation. In like manner there is a people to be found on earth at this day whom God has chosen to draw near unto Him. But priests and Levites had two works to do. They were engaged to do something towards God for men, and so they offered the sacrifices that were brought to the door of the tabernacle, whether according to the general ordinances, or to any special vows. Spiritually minded, they much engaged in intercession for the rest of Israel. So there is a people to be found this day who offer unto God acceptable prayer and praise, and in answer to their prayer, unnumbered blessings come down upon the sons of men. Another ,part of their office consisted in speaking for God to the people: "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge." As for the Levites, they were as ushers in the schools and tutors in the families of Israel. Amongst the Levites were found those scribes who became the instructors of the people, the copyists of the law, and the expounders of its statutes and ordinances; ministers who opened up to the people, as Ezra did, the knotty points of the old covenant, and expounded the Word. So, not all of us in the same degree, but all of us in a measure, are to be teachers of God's revealed truth, even as He has taught us. The great point is this. It seems to be mentioned here as a matter of surprise that God should take any of the persons here mentioned — of the sinful, backsliding, transgressing Jews, or of the blinded, dark, benighted, heathen Gentiles — and make them to be priests and Levites before Him. That is parallel to the fact that God does take some of the most unlikely persons, who seem to be the most unsuitable of all, and make these to be His faithful and honoured servants among the sons of men.
I. THE FACT. According to the text, men have nothing to do with the selection; for it is said, "I will also take of them" — not, "their parents shall bring them up to it;" not, "those who shall be. looked out as the most fit and proper men on account of some natural bent and bias, or gift and talent," but, "I will take." God's priesthood in the world is a priesthood of' His own choosing, of His own setting apart, of His own anointing. "He hath made us kings and priests unto God. ' In their case, it appears that whatever was unfit in their character has been overcome by Divine grace. If God takes them for Levites, He makes them Levites; if He chooses them for priests, He makes them priests.
II. THE REASON OF THE FACT. Does not He do this to display His infinite mercy? And His power? And His sovereignty? Does He not thereby secure to Himself the most loving service? Another reason why the Lord takes the vilest of men to make them the saintliest is, that He might openly triumph over Satan. And do not you think this is done very much for the encouragement of the Church of God?
III. WHAT IS THE LESSON FROM THIS? Remember what state you were in before God's grace took you in hand. Then consider what you are called to be; you are made priests and Levites. Then ask yourself what you would soon become if His grace were to depart from you. And what humility this vocation of God should produce! However high we may be raised, we must remember whence the honour cometh. And since He hath taken us for priests and for Levites, let us do every office heartily as unto the Lord. Let us serve Him with great thankfulness and joy.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.