Numbers 16:41-18:32; Mark 16:1-20; Psalm 55:1-23; Proverbs 11:7
Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability
Throughout their years in the desert, God prepared the Children of Israel for their future as a nation. He did this, in part, through the stern discipline of the march, and, when they grumbled and rebelled, through severe punishments which included earthquakes and plagues. A special case was when the spies returned from their foray into the Holy Land with greatly exaggerated reports of the dangers ahead. For their grumbling about these false reports, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 more years.
As a central part of God’s “nation building,” He raised up military leaders such as Joshua, and a priesthood of Levites led by Aaron. In His first covenant with the Israelites, God also provided detailed laws and rituals that governed almost every aspect of their lives.
In today’s passage in Numbers, we read of God’s laws regarding tithing, and how Aaron and the Levites were given the authority and the responsibility to manage the tithes and to perform their special religious duties. In His charge to Aaron and the Levites with these responsibilities, God is clear that if His laws and the prescribed procedures are not followed, both Aaron and his Levite subordinates must suffer consequences. Stated another way, God charged Aaron with both authority and responsibilities, some of which could be delegated to subordinates. However, Aaron was to remain accountable for all, and since the accountability could not be delegated, if the Levites must be punished, so must be Aaron.
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