K is for the Kohathites
Numbers 7:9 "But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders."
Numbers 3:29-31 "The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.
30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
31 And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof."
Numbers 4:4 "This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:"
Numbers 4:15 "And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation."
I once heard a sermon preached about the Kohathites that really was an encouragement, especially to a family that has given itself to the work of the Lord in the ministry. I am going to try to explain here why the Kohathites were special.
In the Old Testament, the Levites (people of the tribe of Levi) were set apart to take care of all the things that pertained to the Jewish religion, namely the tabernacle (or later, the temple), the sacrifices, the priestly duties, and, during the Exodus, to maintain and transport the Tabernacle items. These things were precious and very special. They were a valuable part of Jewish identity, and were considered most holy. In fact, one Scripture tells of someone who was not a "chosen one" who touched the Ark, and was struck dead on the spot.
Of all the Levites, the family of Kohath was chosen and set apart to care for the "most holy things". They were the only ones charged with the safekeeping of the Ark and items used in the sacrifices. While it was a burden, it was also a blessing. Of all the Levites, the Kohathites were different.
Here are some special things about the Kohathites:
- They worked in the dark, when others were asleep, setting up the holy things to be ready for daybreak.
- They got to lead the way (often the Ark would go before the people, such as at the Jordan River when God led the Ark out first to cross into the Promised Land)
- They got to see God move in a way that no one else did. They were closest to him, following right after the pillar of cloud/fire.
- They were extremely attentive to the task God gave them.
- They had the privilege of working right inside the cloud of the presence of God. Numbers 9:15-16 "And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night."
- They did their job with precision. The results of them carefully following God's plan and doing their job right was that God showed up and made His presence known to all the congregation every time they finished.
- They never gave up.
- They set the pace for the entire congregation.
- Because of their special burden, they got to know God and feel His presence in a way that most never did!
There are a number of places where this particular family is mentioned, and it is always in a positive and faithful way. When others went astray or departed from the Lord's command, they remained true and faithful. When others decided to sin or depart, they refused. They had the mentality that "others can do that, but I cannot, because I have been chosen and set apart to bear the most holy things." Because of it, they are recorded for all time in the Bible as being faithful and holy and blessed.
From the Kohathites, I can be encouraged that in the ministry, God has set apart His servants to complete a holy task, and that this burden is a very big and special privilege and blessing!