Numbers can be divided into three sections:
1) At Sinai (chapters 1-9) the census of Israel underscores God’s presence and care. As he knows the very number of the hair on our heads, he knows exactly the number of people who belong to Him. They don’t move without him and when they move, He is there.
2) In the Wilderness (chapters 10-21) contains the stories of at least seven rebellions against God. Though God had every reason to desert his people, he did not.
3) As Israel prepares to enter Canaan (chapters 22-36), Moses tells Israel a story she would not have known had he not put it down. It is the story of an attempt to curse the people of God by a foreign nation. Through it all, unseen by Israel, God protected them.
The Levites were the smallest family in Israel and they were divided into three clans named for Levi’s three sons: The Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites. Aaron was a descendant of Kohath. Aaron was the High Priest. His sons served as priests. And the rest of the Levite family served as “Levites,” dedicated to the service of the sanctuary of God.
When the tabernacle moved, Aaron and his sons were responsible for packing all of the furnishings. There was a color-coding system. Furnishings used in the Most Holy Place were covered in blue. Those used in the Holy Place were covered in red. Those used outside the tabernacle were covered in purple.
The Lord’s service had an age limit: thirty to fifty years old. The Kohathites carried all the furnishings of the tabernacle, as well as the altar and Aaron’s son, Eleazar, was responsible for the packing. Aaron’s other son, Ithamar was responsible for packing the tabernacle itself. The Gershonites carried the cloth curtains and all the materials of the tent. The Merarites were responsible for carrying all the hardware of the tabernacle’s construction. Every man had a specific job.
As God’s priesthood today, every Christian has a place in the Lord’s service. There are no unnecessary workers – only workers who have not yet found their place, and workers who are unwilling to undertake the work God has assigned them.