With the time required and stress level with work and all the business of getting settled and starting a church, I haven’t written one of these in a while. I always want to make sure that I’m fulfilling my role as worship leader, but sometimes it’s a little fuzzy as to what those responsibilities are, so I did a little research and here’s what I saw…
Taking Care of the Tabernacle
The role of worship leader and musicians in today’s church is comparable with the role of the Levites in the OT (Old Testament). The Levites were one of the 12 tribes that made up Israel. The Lord gave this tribe responsibilities that were unique. You see the beginning of this in Numbers 1:
50 Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony—over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and encamp around it. 51 Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who goes near it shall be put to death. 52 The Israelites are to set up their tents by divisions, each man in his own camp under his own standard. 53 The Levites, however, are to set up their tents around the tabernacle of the Testimony so that wrath will not fall on the Israelite community. The Levites are to be responsible for the care of the tabernacle of the Testimony.
So what’s so special about that? The tabernacle was the center of spiritual life for all of the Israelites. God gave the Levites a gigantic responsibility – taking care of this tabernacle. They set up, they tore down, they cleaned, and they prepared. They were the first in and the last to leave. More of their responsibilities are described in Deuteronomy 10:
Carrying the Ark
8 At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.
The ark of the covenant was IT. I think it’s hard for us to grasp what it was like for the Israelites without the presence of the Holy Spirit. The ark of the covenant symbolized the very presence of God. With the ark, the Israelites were powerful and victorious, without it, not so much. It was the job of the Levites (musicians and priest) to carry the ark on their shoulder and to safe guard it for the entire nation of Israel. It was also their job to minister in the name of the Lord. It was their job to be the vocal box of God himself. What a serious, awe-inspiring, and humbling task. They were given the authority to bless in the name of the Lord. Wow!
Calling the People
I think the most amazing responsibility that the Levites has was calling the people. It was the job of the Levites to sound the trumpet to assemble the people for worship – and for war.
2 “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out. 3 When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 4 If only one is sounded, the leaders—the heads of the clans of Israel—are to assemble before you. 5 When a trumpet blast is sounded, the tribes camping on the east are to set out. 6 At the sounding of a second blast, the camps on the south are to set out. The blast will be the signal for setting out. 7 To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets, but not with the same signal.
8 “The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come. 9 When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies. 10 Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, [a] and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”
So what does all that matter to you, huh? It matters because we’re the modern day Levites. It’s our job to take care of the facilities and make them ready for both people and for the Lord. It’s our job to go ahead of the people and prepare by practicing and praying. It’s our job to call the people in with worship and to lead them to move to the next place (spiritually). We have a high calling that we must take seriously. We must be prepared weekly to facilitate worship within the body of Christ. We must stand before the Lord and bless His people. We “blow the trumpets” to let people know that Spiritual Warfare is approaching.
Does that mean we have to be miserable – NO! Being worship leaders every weekend is a blast! I don’t know that someone can have a better job than what I do, but there is little doubt that while we have a good time, we must also take seriously the responsibility given to us. I’m going to write a little more next time about the results of not treating the job of a Levite seriously.