*Charts and other Visual Aids are included in The Life of Joseph Lesson 15 Chapter 49 Reuben File
Birth order: 3 (Genesis 29:34)
Hebrew name: לוי
Transliterated: Levi (pronounced lev ee)
Meaning: “attached” (Genesis 29:34)
Color: black, red, & white
Stone: bareqet (emerald?) (Exodus 28:17)
Associated symbol: chosen
Position around tabernacle: around (Numbers 2:17)
Banner: the color of his flag was a third white, a third black, and a third red; embroidered on it were the Urim and Thummim
Order of Birth :
- Third Born
Genesis 29:34 34 Then she [Leah] became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi,[d] for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
Genesis 29:34 34 Then she [Leah] became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
- Where: Canaan, Egypt
- Occupation: Shepherd
- He took 3 sons into Egypt
Genesis 46:11 11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Strengths and Accomplishments:
The Bible does not tell us a whole lot about Levi the man. I could not find anything about his strength and accomplishments.
The progeny of Levi were called the Levites. Perhaps the best know Levites are Aaron and Moses. The ancestors of Levi were chosen to assist the priests. Aaron was a descendent of Kohath, Levi’s son, but he and his descendants were given the office of priesthood. Aaron and the firstborn son of the descendants of Aaron were dedicated to the service of the Lord. A special ceremony was performed to anoint the man dedicated to this special task or privilege. Their duties were to officiate before God on behalf of God’s people as priest. (Exodus Chapters 28-29)
Weaknesses and Mistakes:
- Simeon and Levi had terrible tempers. They were violent men who disregarded law and life. Genesis 34:24-31
- Levi (with his brother Simeon) slaughtered the men of an entire city to avenge his sister, Dinah. Genesis 34:24-31
Genesis 34:24-3124 So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25 But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp.
Jacob Last words:
- Jacob’s last will and testament contained a curse on Simeon and Levi. Jacob calls them murderers and animal abusers. He does not want to have anything to do with their meetings or plans. He was not proud of these sons.
Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence.6 May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. 7 A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel; I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.
Moses’ blessing on descendants or tribe:
8 Of Levi he said,
“Your [f]Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man [Aaron],
Whom You tested and proved at Massah,
With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;
Who [g]said of his father and mother,
‘I did not consider them’;
Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,
Nor did he regard his own sons,
For the priests observed Your word,
And kept Your covenant.
“The priests shall teach Your ordinances (judgments) to Jacob,
And Your law to Israel.
They shall put incense [h]before You,
And whole burnt offerings on Your altar.
“O Lord, bless Levi’s substance (ability),
And accept and take pleasure in the work of his hands;
Crush and shatter the loins of those who rise up against him,
And of those who hate him, so that they do not rise again.”
The Urim and Thummim were objects used like lots or dice at critical moments in the history of God’s chosen people when special divine guidance was needed to seek out His will for the people. (Exodus 28:30 ; Leviticus 8:8 ; Ezra 2:63 ; Nehemiah 7:65 ; Deuteronomy 33:8)
Massah is an unidentified place in the Desert of Sinai. It is the location where the Israelites tested God because they were thirsty. (Exodus 17:1-7) A similar incident took place approximately 40 years later in Maribah. (Numbers 20:1-17)
Land assigned by Moses:
- The Levites did not receive a portion of land. The Lord alone was their inheritance as outline in Numbers 18:20-21; Deuteronomy 18:1-8; Hebrews 7:5.
7 “The Levites, however, will not receive any allotment of land. Their role as priests of the Lord is their allotment. And the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh won’t receive any more land, for they have already received their grant of land, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave them on the east side of the Jordan River.”
20 And the Lord said to Aaron, “You priests will receive no allotment of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your share and your allotment. 21 As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel.
18 “Remember that the Levitical priests—that is, the whole of the tribe of Levi—will receive no allotment of land among the other tribes in Israel. Instead, the priests and Levites will eat from the special gifts given to the Lord, for that is their share. 2 They will have no land of their own among the Israelites. The Lord himself is their special possession, just as he promised them.
3 “These are the parts the priests may claim as their share from the cattle, sheep, and goats that the people bring as offerings: the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach. 4 You must also give to the priests the first share of the grain, the new wine, the olive oil, and the wool at shearing time. 5 For the Lord your God chose the tribe of Levi out of all your tribes to minister in the Lord’s name forever.
6 “Suppose a Levite chooses to move from his town in Israel, wherever he is living, to the place the Lord chooses for worship. 7 He may minister there in the name of the Lord his God, just like all his fellow Levites who are serving the Lord there. 8 He may eat his share of the sacrifices and offerings, even if he also receives support from his family.
5 Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel,[a] who are also descendants of Abraham.
I think it is worthy to note in Deuteronomy 33, that each tribe received a different blessing. The blessings included land, strength, safety, priesthood, etc. God gives each of us a unique gift too. However, we tend to covet others people unique gift or compare our lives with others. We compare our children, homes, appearance, clothes, etc. Because of this, we have a tendency to think God may love one of his children more than the other. GOD DOES NOT LOVE ONE CHILD MORE THAN ANOTHER. That is a human failing. God gives each person a chance to come to salvation. God gives each of us unique talents and gifts. We are to use our gifts as the body of Christ outlined in 1 Corinthians 12. Each gift or blessing given by God is special and unique. All these gifts are needed to complete his plan and purpose in your life and the lives of others. All gifts bring glory, honor, and praise to God. All gifts bring others to salvation.
I will be honest and tell you I have to stop myself from comparing my gift of teaching with some of my close friends. My dear sisters in Christ, Cristel and Christy, have the gift of uplifting and encouraging others. God seems to give them the unique ability to love and encourage people. Their sweet gentle spirits and loving nature always leaves those around them feeling better. I am envious at times of this, especially when I am talking with a person who is very depressed or broken.
As a teacher, when I see someone who is hurting, I tend to point out certain scriptures or promises for them to hold on to, or explain a lesson I have learned similar to the same thing I do with these lessons. Let’s be honest, when you are hurting you may not be receptive to this approach. Sometimes, as a teacher, I have to point out a behavior that is misguided or correct a person. I feel like I am kicking a person when they are down when I have to do this. It seems their gifts flow easily but mine involves planning, writing, researching, WORK!
Some people have told me they are envious of my gift or teaching and writing. To them, my gift seems to come easily. It appears I am confident, well-read, etc. However, they do not see all the times I have to pray and ask God for wisdom, guidance, and direction to teach a lesson. They never see how difficult it is for me to try and accommodate each learning style. They never see how my heart breaks for each one of the people who come to me for advice and guidance. They never see how I cry for them behind closed doors for God to give me the right thing to say to people before I visit or answer a question. Honestly, sometimes I flat do not have an answer for the person.
I am human too. I am learning too. Just because I know a truth from God’s word and know the answer does not mean I know how to practically apply it to my own life or do not struggle with sin. They do not realize it takes a whole team of prayer warriors behind me doing spiritual warfare on their behalf and on my behalf. I have to go to these women and say, “My soul is weary. My heart is broken because of what I had to deal with this week. I am a fallen warrior. Please stand the front line in prayer for me because I am a wounded soldier in God’s army.” To many, I look strong, courageous, and confident. Only those chosen few I surround myself with, know my weaknesses and my heart.
During these moments, I have to seek counsel or encouragement from them. I have to seek tech advice since this is an online Bible Study. I have to seek advice from those who have the gift of administration and organization because I could not possibly complete all these tasks myself. Sometimes, they have to step forward and correct me. Maybe I am being prideful. Most times, I am so wrapped up in the technical aspects of my gift of teaching; I forget my job is to notice what others are not saying. I may not notice a person is hurting. A remark I made off-hand may have been taken wrong and I hurt a person. Because I tend to be a blunt matter-of-fact person, I often forget it is not what I say sometimes but how I say it that may offend people. Then, I look at Cristel or Christy and it is very easy for me to go to God and play the comparison game! Then, God reminds me that I am being silly. I do not have to have all these gifts. His grace is sufficient. He has surrounded me with these other women for a reason.
We also need to say thank you to those whose gift may not be as glamorous. I hate finance meetings! Numbers and budgets, make my head spin. However, they are a necessary part of any church. Even though I am a published writer, I have never been paid any money for my articles. However, I have been blessed to spread the gospel through my column Southern Mama because Christy allows me this privilege and honor in her magazine Brooks and Company. She pays for it out of her own pocket! I have never been good at remembering dates or sending cards and encouragement. That is Cristel’s responsibility.
While I have spoken mostly of the women who make this ministry possible, there are men behind the scenes as well. Matt, Christy’s husband, handles a variety of things that make B&C magazine possible. My husband who works 45+ hours a week to support our family to allow me to be a stay-at-home mom and he attends Liberty University to receive his degree in theology and doctrine is always there for me. I can always draw upon his wisdom knowledge of the scriptures to help me. A.J, my son provides tech support. Y’all have no idea how quickly I can crash a computer! I am talented like that! These women, men, and many others I have not named are all at work behind the scenes in my life. They get little recognition but they serve where and when they can. I simply use these people as an example of how much of ministry work is not seen. I am envious of Christy’s beauty and her sweet personality. I am envious of Cristel’s level headed common sense and her ability to minister to others as she does. These men’s gifts of administration, information technology, and wisdom astound me. It is easy for me to get jealous when A.J. performs nothing short of a miracle to resurrect my computer back from electronic death! Then God reminds me, that He gave each of us a certain gift. All our gifts combined are what makes the Life of Joseph possible.
My point is this; do not be envious of someone else’s blessings or gifts. Instead, I and you need to look for our gifts and decide to do the job he has assigned for us to do. He has a unique plan and purpose for each of our lives. He has called us to be faithful and serve others with our special gift. Jealousy and comparison are weapons of the Devil. We need to recognize them as such and guard against this. As Christians, we lift and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ in whatever their unique gift may be. (Ephesians 4)
Please remember to lift the ones up who are the head of the church. Your preachers and teachers are the ones under greatest spiritual attack. If Satan can destroy their witness, he can discourage many believers or those who are weak in spiritual maturity. Do not envy these gifts. Please know that we are human and have great responsibilities and greater consequences. Our gift comes with limitations just like your unique gift. We are all broken creatures trying to serve a great God who is full of grace, compassion, and mercy. Guard your hearts against jealousy and comparison. Rejoice and be glad in your brother’s and sister’s gift. Praise God that in his sovereignty, He brought each of us together.
1 Corinthians 12 (NLT)
12 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. 2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice[b]; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.[c] 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,[d] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[e] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[f]
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seems weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.
But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
Ephesians 4 (NLT)
Unity in the Body
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift[a] through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say,
“When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.[c] 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[d]Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[e] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.