Leave a LEGACY behind by ‘INVESTING’ in OTHERS: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "This is what pertains to the Levites: From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting; and at the age of fifty years they must cease performing this work, and shall work no more. They may minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of meeting, to attend to needs, but they themselves shall do no work. Thus you shall do to the Levites regarding their duties." (Num 8:23-26)
This concluding paragraph of the book of Numbers chapter 8 gives us a good summary of this chapter as well as provides us a report on the actions of the priests and the people in obedience to God’s word. The first ten chapters of the book of Numbers details a significant pattern as it starts with an announcement of God’s word followed by the details of that word, and finally ends with a report of compliance. We would then naturally expect that obedience by the priests and people will regularly follow God’s commands as they make their way in their journey to The Promised Land.
In this summarized statement for the Levites, God announces that the Levites were to serve from twenty-five years of age to the age of fifty (v. 24). However in Numbers 4:3, the starting age was thirty years. It may be possible that the lower age limit of thirty years (in 4:3) would apply to those who carried the tabernacle through the wilderness, and the lower age limit of twenty-five years (8:24) apply to those who would provide their services at the tabernacle after it had been set up in the Promised Land. It is also possible that the additional five years may be some sort of apprenticeship or a time of preparatory training. In 1 Chr. 23:24–26 David lowered the age of Levitical service to twenty because transportation of the tabernacle was no longer necessary. Still later on, the age was lowered to twenty (see 2 Chr. 31:17; Ezra 3:8), probably because of different circumstances.
On the other end, God set an age limit of fifty years for retirement, after which those retiring would not engage in active duty or heavy work, but could continue in some kind of supervisory capacity doing ministry through overseeing the work of others (vv. 25, 26). The upper age of fifty marked the point of retirement from active tabernacle service, but men older than that were to continue as watchmen guarding the premises. Even after they retire, the Levites were told that they should minister to their brethren and attend to their needs. Even though their retirement ago was fifty, but after that they were to serve others with hearts of love!
It can be pointed out that the Levites are pictures of Christian believers, who are redeemed, cleansed, and set apart to serve the Lord, having no inheritance on earth. In fact, our lives take on a new meaning when we invest in others. Someone has said that we should aim for success until we are forty years old, and thereafter we should aim for significance! Through our years upon this earth, we attain a lot of wisdom and practical knowledge, and we should be willing to share that with the younger generation who are closely following our footsteps. Let’s leave a legacy behind by investing in the lives of other people!