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Volume 25 - Page 165 of 190 Index | Zoom | |
Symbols of Service.
Joints and bands.
pp. 59 - 61
It is written of the Good Samaritan that "he came where he (the injured man) was".
There is need for us to remember that all true service is blended with sympathy. Because
this sympathy has, alas, sometimes been missing from charitable schemes, we find that
the word "charity", which in the days of the A.V. could stand for love in its fullest sense,
has now been set apart and is often viewed with suspicion. We even have the common
phrase "as cold as charity". We therefore feel no hesitation in giving prominence to that
aspect of service that is likened to a "joint" in the human body, a figure that demands
unity as a first necessity.
Of all the tribes of Israel one, namely, Levi, was chosen to serve the tabernacle. The
name Levi means "Joined". The origin of the name, speaking humanly, is pathetic.
Leah, who was married to Jacob by an act of deception, must have felt her position badly.
The Lord saw that Leah was hated, and to compensate, He granted to Leah that she
should have several children, while Rachel, the beloved wife, remained barren. Leah's
first child she called Reuben: "See a son", for she said, "Surely the Lord hath looked
upon my affliction: now therefore my husband will love me." Again, she had another
son, and called his name Simeon (that is, "Hearing") "Because", said she, "the Lord hath
heard that I was hated". Again she had another son and called his name Levi, that is
"Joined", saying, "Now this time will my husband be joined unto me". Her hopes do not
appear to have materialized, for upon the birth of her fourth son, Leah said, "Now will I
praise the Lord", and called his name Judah, meaning "Praise", and ceased bearing
children (Gen. 29: 31-35). It is not our purpose to pursue this theme; we have
considered it only in so far as it throws light upon the name Levi. The tribe whose name
means "Joined" is the tribe that stands for the service of God and man. That we are not
drawing upon our imagination a reference to Numb. 18: will show:--
"Thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring also unto thee, that
they may be joined (Heb. lavah as in Gen. 29: 34) unto thee, and minister unto thee
. . . . . before the tabernacle of witness . . . . . and a stranger shall not come nigh unto
thee" (Numb. 18: 2-4).
Here we not only see that the two phrases "joined unto thee" and "minister unto thee"
are used together, but that the reverse is true--"a stranger" shall not come nigh. The
word "stranger" is in the Hebrew zar, from zarah, "to sow, to scatter, to disperse"; so
that it is just the reverse of the word "join". We do not feel that our readers require any
elaboration of this point; it is obvious enough. We turn therefore to the N.T. parallel:--
"The Head, even Christ: from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and
compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love"
(Eph. 4: 15, 16).
"Holding the Head, from Which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment
ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God" (Col. 2: 19).