We learn about the Levitical family which was set apart to do the work of the Lord. They were not to be paid, they were not to till the land, they were not to do any work except the work of the Lord. This is a bit of the model that we use in the Presbyterian Church, but we are open to the Anabaptist model of bi-vocational servants of the Lord. They are not to receive any inheritance, any land, or anything else like the rest of the tribes of the Israel received, simply because they did not need it since they were full time at work for the Lord.
It progresses in this chapter from lifting up the Levites to underscoring that the people of Israel asked for a prophet to give them wisdom and insight into what God was doing. Other people groups around them had sorcerers, diviners, people who could see the future through means which often became perverse. Not the people of Israel. They were to rely upon the mouthpieces of the Lord and know that the words which they spoke were given to them by the Lord. Once again, as Presbyterians we do take this model. There is a tremendous amount of pressure and responsibility when we take this approach.
The responsibility is two-fold as we have the people who are listening are required to heed the words of the prophet. If they do not, then they will be held responsible. We don’t know what that means, we don’t know what kind of responsibility that would look like, we just know that they will be held responsible if they do not do what the prophet says. Well, how do you know that what the prophet says is actually the words of God and not their own agenda. Again, they will also be held responsible, but this time we see how they will be held responsible. Look at vs.20. Anyone who presumes and is considered the mouthpiece of the Lord and does not speak the words of the Lord will die. They will die. Now that is serious responsibility.