Feeling Imperfect? Good News...God Uses Imperfect People!
by Shelley Hitz
As I started my journey into Leviticus, I wanted to look back and see the history of the Levites and the heritage they came from...their family history.
Why was I interested in this? Well, God chose the Levites to be priests in His tabernacle. He chose Aaron and his sons and those after them. The Levites.
So who are the Levites anyway?
I just got done with a Beth Moore study on the Patriarchs, so we studied this in depth. As I look back, the Levites come from the line of Levi.
Levi was Jacob's third son from Leah (Gen 29:34) and his name means "joined to" because Leah said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons."
Did it work? Did Leah finally have Jacob's attention and attachment because of the sons she bore? Not really. Rachel still won Jacob over time and time again.
I wonder if Levi ever felt this. Felt that he didn't fulfill his mother's hopes for him, felt that he wasn't as valued and important as Rachel's children.
Levi's Defining Moment
Have you ever had one of those moments where you did something you regretted, but people never seemed to forget? They seemed to define you or your family by that moment, that decision?
Even if people don't forget, there is forgiveness in Jesus. I've needed a lot of that. And so did Levi.
Levi's defining moment was shared with his brother Simeon. It happened in Genesis 34 and is a heart wrenching story. You see, their sister Dinah had been taken advantage of sexually by Hamor's son Shechem. It was wrong and Levi and Simeon were angry. Not just a righteous anger, but an avenging anger. They wanted justice at their own hands.
And so they manipulated Hamor and his son Shechem to agree to have all the men in their city of Shechem circumcised before they would inter-marry or give Dinah to Shechem for marriage. Then, Levi and Simeon came on the third day when the men were still healing and killed them all.
Some pretty heavy stuff! And something their father, Jacob never forgot. When Jacob was giving out his blessings to his sons, he did not give a favorable blessing to either Levi or Simeon because "their swords are weapons of violence." (Gen 49:5-7)
Not a very happy ending to Levi's story, huh? And yet that's not the end of the story for the Levites.
God chooses Moses, a Levite, to rescue the Israelites from Egypt
Incredible. God chooses from one of the least likely tribes the person who will be in the spotlight and remembered for generations to come...Moses.
Not only was Moses a Levite, but his past was also haunted with violence. He killed an Egyption, avenging him for the way he was mistreating an Israelite. (Gen 2:11-14) Sounds a little like Levi and Simeon, huh? Taking matters into their own hands and using violence to solve their problems. Maybe it was a learned generational pattern?
Now, we know that in the end violence doesn't really work. And Jesus taught us differently. But, I find it interesting that the Levites had this theme of using violence to solve their problems. Many people today still believe that lie that violence can solve their problems. But, it never works. Jesus' way doesn't always make sense, but it always leads to true life in the end.
Back to the Levites...
The Levites strike again
Oh boy, here we go again! In Exodus 32:26-28 we see that the Levites take the sword again to kill 3000 of the Israelites as Moses commanded them. This time, they were avenging the wrong done by the Israelites. If you remember, the Israelites decided to make a golden calf and turn away from God.
More violence, more murder in the line of the Levites. And the worse part is that Aaron, Moses brother, was the one who led the Israelites in making the golden calf and then lied to Moses about it afterwards.
I don't pretend to understand why all this violence happened in the Levites history and why 3000 people had to die that day. I think there are certain things that we won't fully know the answer to until we reach heaven. I wish I could give you all the answers, but right now, I have chosen to trust in a Soverign God that will explain it all to me one day.
One thing we can see from these events is that the Levites were not the "picture perfect" family.
And yet God chooses Aaron and his sons to be the priests in His tabernacle.
Amazing. Even after all the imperfections we've seen with the Levites and the mistakes Aaron made when Moses left him in charge, God still chooses him to have the important role of priest.
Talk about carrying around emotional baggage! The Levites definitely had a lot of baggage from their past. And yet God used them.
How about you? Do you feel less than perfect?
Maybe you have a long family history of mistakes and failures. Or maybe you've made mistakes yourself. The good news is that God has a long long history of using imperfect people. Using the least likely people.
Aren't you glad God uses imperfect people? I sure am!
I have seen Jesus take my brokenness and imperfections and bring healing and freedom in my heart. I have then seen Him use this broken and imperfect, but healed vessel to influence others through my life and my story.
I still marvel at it all.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7