Why did God command to Levites to kill their fellow Israelites?

Automatic Transcript Generated

Speaker 1

Alright. So Naomi is asking, why did God command the Levites to kill their fellow Israelites? Exodus 32:27 So let’s start at that verse.

Speaker 2

Exodus 32:27 And Moses, for context, is up in Mount Sinai on the Hill in the presence of God. He’s been there for 40 days. And it reads, and the Lord said to Moses, Go get down for your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. And it’s funny hear God’s saying, they’re your people. Now, sometimes when someone’s bad, it was just your son or your child. Now God saying, these are your people, they’ve corrupted themselves. Corruption. That’s a similar word we hear when God was looking at the Earth, when he was about to destroy it with the flood. It says the Earth had become corrupted, the people corrupted. So what is God referring to? The next verse, Exodus 32 eight. He says, they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them, Jesus is the way, and they have turned out of the way I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf and worshiped it and sacrificed it and said, this is your God of Israel that brought you out of the land of Egypt. And the next verse, Exodus, verse nine, says, and the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people.

Speaker 2

Indeed, it is a stiff necked people. And if we just think back, God had brought them out of Egypt, bringing the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, plague after plague after amazing plague. He parted the Red Sea so that they could cross on dry land and then let the waters destroy the Egyptian Army. They’re out in the wilderness now. They’re receiving Mana. God’s taking care of the food. Just go down the list of miracle after miracle. God is proven he’s a real God. He loves them. They’re God. And an important thing also happened. And let me just step back a little bit of context where I’m going to go with this. How would you feel or what would you think? Let’s say a of person who on the wedding night, on the honeymoon goes and cheats on the spouse he or she just married.

Speaker 1

That’d be pretty bad.

Speaker 2

Like that night pretty much don’t cheat very hurtful. So God compares idolatry, among other things, as adultery against him, as cheating on him, cheating with other gods which actually aren’t even gods. So it’s actually really ridiculous. But what did the Israelites do? Not much earlier, they had actually gone and committed themselves to God wholeheartedly. They claimed, if you go to Exodus 19, let’s start at verse six. It says, God is speaking to the Israelites and you shall be to me a Kingdom of priests and a Holy nation. This is God’s vision for his people. In verse seven, it says, So Moses came and called to the elders of the people and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, all the Lord has spoken, we will do. Let me repeat that all that the Lord has spoken, we will do. So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. So I’m a lawyer. I understand what’s going on is kind of a contract, almost like an exchange of vows, right, between a husband and a wife. This is what’s going on.

Speaker 2

God says, if you want to be my people, this is what I want you to do. And people said, Lord, what you want us to do is good, we’ll do it. And then next thing happens, verse ten. Then the Lord said to Moses, Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow and let them wash their clothes and let them be ready for the third day. Or in the third day, the Lord will come down from Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. So this is the closest thing you could come in the Old Testament, pretty much to baptism. These people, actually, I think Peter talks about how these people, when they cross to the Red Sea, in a sense, that was God baptizing them and the cloud was always over them. So again, that’s another way these people were baptized and now they’re washing their clothes. All this symbolizing sort of going through that baptism process like a Christian would do today. And then God does appear to them. God appears in person to hear his voice. They see his flames. Exodus 20, verse three. And then God proclaims his ten Commandments, including, you shall have no other gods before me.

Speaker 2

And then verse five, you shall not bow down to them or serve them. Have no Graving images could not be any more clear here as to his expectations. Could there be any doubt in their mind that God is God, that God is real? What more could God do at this point? Right. And yet we read that in Exodus 21, sorry, exodus 32, verse one, that Moses is up there in the Hill with Jesus and it says he delayed coming down from the mountain. And what happens with the people? Oh, no, Moses been up there 40 days or 30 days for a while. And what do they start saying? They come to Aaron and say, Come, make us gods that shall go before us. As for this, Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him. And then verse six is then they rose up early the next day, I should say a little bit more context. Aaron goes, and he makes these golden calfs with the gold from the Israelites and it’s the next day. They rose early in the day, offered burnt offerings which would have gone to these calves, these golden idols, and brought a peace offering.

Speaker 2

And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. I think the Bible here is very politely telling you about the level of debauchery that they reached so soon after promising pledging to become God’s Holy people after seeing God in person. And there’s this important concept in the Bible of we’re held to account for what we have. I lost that verse. But is it Matthew? Do you recall, Tina, where that is? Basically, for those who have much is required.

Speaker 3

Yes, that’s the story of the talons, right? Actually, in the previous chapter on my screen.

Speaker 2

Oh, I found it actually there’s Luke 1248. It says, he who did not know much, it probably shows up several times.

Speaker 3

He read off that’s fine.

Speaker 2

Yeah, but he who did not know yet committed things, deserving a stripe shall be beaten with you. For everyone who much is given from him, much will be required. And to whom much has been committed of him, they will ask the more. Take, for example, native and Baiju, the two sons of Erin who offer unauthorized fire to God. And God sends fire immediately consumes them. That was so harsh. Why did God do that? Later on we find out. Moses says, okay, this is what God must have meant when he said, I will be glorified in front of the people. When God puts people in high positions, he expects more from those people. Those people always had to offer a larger sacrifice. Even there are certain people who cannot just offer a little lamb or little goat. They had to go and bring a whole calf, a giant or a cow and offer that as a sacrifice because more was expected of them. And so these Israelites experienced something that few people ever did. They had so little excuse. They should have gone with God. And what they did was absolutely evil. It was equivalent of cheating on a spouse, having an affair with someone the night you just married your spouse.

Speaker 2

That’s what they did. And oh, one more thing. God gave them a chance to turn around. People had a chance to repent. And it says in Exodus 32, started in verse 25, it says, now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained, Moses stood in the entrance of the camp and said, Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me. So right there, Moses saying, okay, come to me right now if you want to repent and change your way. And then for those who didn’t say that, all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. Levi didn’t participate in this, but other people also came over to the side. But because the Levi’s as a whole group were there and did not engage in the debate tree. Then God says, Let every man put his sword on his side and go in and out of the entrance throughout the camp and let every man kill his brother, every man, his companion, every man, his neighbor. So the sons of Levi did, according to the word of Moses. And about 3000 men of the people fell that day. Because we know only 3000 men died that day.

Speaker 2

We know, therefore there was a lot of people who came to the side of God who repented. But those 3000 men did not repent. They did not come to the side of the Lord. They chose to stand firm in their idolatry, in their debauchery, and they suffered the consequence of that. And the consequence of sin is always death. It’s a sad story, but they had so many opportunities. They knew better, should have done better and didn’t repent.

Speaker 3

You know, I’m sorry, I can’t help but think that there’s a spiritual application to this as well. Every story in the Old Testament, it’s kind of almost a harsh, but I always thought there’s something deeper to it. It’s like, why did God even put that in the Bible? But there is always a lesson in everything we read. And I can’t help but think of something Jesus said in Matthew chapter Ten, verses 37 and 38. And basically it says in those verses Jesus says, he that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And verse 38, it says, and he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Now, Jesus isn’t telling you to be like, oh, your mom or your children are not converted, hurt them physically. But I think there comes a time when even you have to follow Jesus before your spouse, you have to follow Jesus before what your kids want or what your best friend thinks or anybody. God has to come first in your life.

Speaker 3

And it’s not saying, I think the application for us in this time is just something spiritual. It’s like, you know, what, if your friend is keeping you from God and is rebelling and causing you to fall into rebellion, you need to cut them off. Maybe this is something, a relationship you need to cut ties with. And I think that we as Christians sometimes this gets a little bit confusing because it’s like, well, I want to reach this person for the gospel and I want to witness to them. And I think that there’s definitely a place for that. Obviously, Jesus mingled with sinners and tax collectors, but he mingled with those who were willing to listen and had their heart open to the gospel. But I think that there comes a time when there are just relationships that are just hindering your walk with God. And you just have to be like, you know what? I love Jesus the most and I’m just not going to either keep feeding into this relationship or keep pursuing it or just not listening to what that person has to say. Like, if it’s your spouse, I’m not saying you’re divorced because your spouse is a different faith than you, but I’m saying you have to put God first, and that’s something that I’ve had to do in my life, and it’s hard, but I think that it’s just kind of maybe a spiritual.

Speaker 2

Present day application to this story and then that’s actually a really good point to flesh out what I didn’t bring up earlier, which is God is the shepherd of his flock. And if there’s these people who, after everything they saw, still turned against God, and if they were left to remain in the camp, they will continue to drag down God’s people. They will be like a thorn in the side. They will be like these Wolves amongst the sheep. And so God had to, like, almost out of mercy just remove these people from the group, from the camp, from the world. It was so evil.

Speaker 3

Yeah, it was a time of judgment. And I think that sometimes we think of judgment that’s scary. And it’s like, well, but sometimes it’s necessary. Like you think of people who are murderers and just evil, wicked people and it’s just like there’s only one way to stop them at some point as much as it’s terrible and I don’t like suggesting that, but to protect the innocent, there has to be some sort of consequences. There has to be judgment. So yeah, I agree.

Speaker 2

And there was two times when God was really strict that was around this time when the Israelites had just entered the Covenant with God, had just created a new Church, and it was really important everybody be in with the program. And then we see this again in the new testament with ananiasis of fire who were also cheaters, liars, greedy. Not with the program. And God gave the same judgment to them, too. And then it says this fear went through everybody and people realize it’s a big deal to sin and people get their act together as a result of God being Swift to execute judgment in those contexts. We don’t see that today because we are so far removed from, I think, really experiencing God’s love, God’s truth. God gives us a lot more flexibility, but there are still those of us who, the more we know, the more we’re going to be held accountable for.

Speaker 3

Exactly. And these people had just seen the ten plagues fall in Egypt. They passed through the red sea. Come on. There was no room for doubt. There was no room for doubt. Like, now we don’t really see those miracles. God, I think, just merciful. But. Yeah, and I sense of fire. They were part of the early Church. They saw the Holy ghost falling. People speaking of their tongue no excuse no.

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