Study from Numbers 3: 1-13; 8: 5-13; Num. 7; and Num 8: 1 - 4; Passage for Today’s Reflection: Numbers 8: 23 - 26 … NIV 23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 "This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. …26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites."
My Journal for Today: Okay, you type A Bible scholars, does it bother you when you come upon seeming discrepancies in Scripture? And if you’re way above my level of biblical scholarship, when you read the focus passage above; and maybe you’ve studied the setting aside of the Levites for the Priesthood in ancient Israel, you see that the ages of appointed duty to the priesthood in Numbers 8: 23 – 26 above don’t seem to jibe with the age range of the Levite priesthood in Numbers 4: 3, 23, 30 [Numbers 4 is linked here for your study]. In the passage above, the age range for the priesthood seems to be from 25 – 50; yet, in Numbers 4, the age range is tabulated from 30 – 50 in the three verses cited. Of course, there are other so-called inconsistencies in the Bible which skeptics love to point out to Bible Scholars, of whom I am not one.
However, though I don’t want to get into a long, worn-out discussion of such reported inconsistencies here, it is not difficult for even my simple level of scholarship to go along with F. LaGard Smith, my devotional book author, who today, discussing this one supposed discrepancy, speculates that the Levites could have gone through a five-year apprenticeship for priesthood, which would explain the age difference from 25-30. And it’s of interest to Smith to point out that when you take Numbers 8: 25 very literally, it would seem that a Levite Priest could not work past age 50; yet, in the very next verse (8: 26) it says that the “older” Levites (i.e., those past 50) could and did assist the younger Priests, thereby “working” in the Priesthood well beyond age 50.
My friends, when you come upon seeming inconsistencies or discrepancies in the Bible, it is a good discipline of scholarship to explore them; but I have a rule of thumb which I use when my brain power can’t explain these so-called “inconsistencies” or “discrepancies;” or when I can’t find a Bible Scholar of note whom I trust to help me. And maybe worldly unbelieving skeptics would consider my attittude a cop-out to my absolute faith that God’s word is inerrant. My rule is this. If I can’t explain God’s word to myself or others, I give it over to God, the Holy Spirit to help me; and if He can’t get through my density (which is certainly not hard for anyone to imagine ;>), then I’ll just have to wait for a private audience with the Apostle Paul or James, or maybe Jesus, Himself, in Heaven to clear up my confusions. I don’t dwell on my confusions. I dwell in my clinging trust in the truth of God’s word. And I go with my understanding as well as I can research it, trying my best to put together God’s montage of truth from His word. And then, the truths in Scripture are certainly powerful enough in my life to carry me forward and help be grow into Christlikeness.
The things I don’t understand, nor can explain, will just have to wait for God to reveal them to me later. If that is naiveté; so be it. I will have to be labeled a naïve believer by those in the world who think themselves smarter than God’s word who devote their lives in questioning the Bible, based upon the smallest of discrepancies.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I trust Your word for my life. Amen