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Numbers 3:40–4:49 (LEB)

40 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Muster every firstborn male from the Israelites from one month and above and count their names. 41 And you will receive the Levites for me—I am Yahweh—in the place of all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the animals of the Levites in the place of all the firstborn among the animals among the Israelites.” 42 So Moses mustered all the firstborn among the Israelites just as Yahweh commanded him. 43 And all the firstborn males among the number of names from one month and above, the ones counted, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

44 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Receive the Levites in the place of all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the animals of the Levites in the place of their animals; the Levites will be mine. I am Yahweh. 46 And the ransom of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the Israelites who are excessive over the Levites, 47 you will receive five shekels a person, in the sanctuary shekel; you will collect twenty gerahs per shekel. 48 You will give the money to Aaron, and to his sons the ransom of the ones who are excessive among them.” 49 And Moses received the money of the redemption from the ones who were excessive from those redeemed of the Levites. 50 From the firstborn of the Israelites he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, in the sanctuary shekel. 51 And Moses gave the money of the ransom to Aaron and to his sons according to the word of Yahweh just as Yahweh commanded Moses.

The Census of the Kohathites

4 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, Take a census of the descendants of Kohath from the midst of the descendants of Levi, according to their clans and their families, from thirty years old and above, up to fifty years old, everyone who comes to the service to do the work in the tent of assembly. This is the work of the descendants of Kohath in the tent of assembly, concerning the holiness of the sanctuary: When setting out the camp, Aaron and his sons will go and lower the curtain of the covering and cover with it the ark of the testimony. They will put on it a covering of fine leather, and they will spread a cloth of perfect blue over it, and they will place its poles. And over the table of the presence they will spread out a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes, and libation bowls, and the pitchers of the libation; and the bread of continuity will be on it. They will spread over it a scarlet cloth, and they will cover it with a covering of fine leather, and they will place its poles. They will take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand for the light source, its lamps, a pair of its tongs, its small pans, and all the vessels of its oil with which they attend to it. 10 They will put it and all its vessels inside a covering of fine leather and put it on the carrying frame. 11 Over the altar of gold they will spread a blue cloth, and they will cover it with a covering of fine leather and place its poles. 12 They will take all the vessels of the cultic service with which they serve in the sanctuary and put them on a blue cloth, and they will cover them with a covering of fine leather; and they will put them on the carrying frame. 13 They will remove the fat-soaked ashes from the altar and spread a purple cloth over it; 14 they will put on it all the vessels with which they serve, the fire pans, forks, shovels, and bowls—all the vessels of the altar. They will spread on it a covering of fine leather; and they will place its poles. 15 And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the vessels of the sanctuary when the camp sets out, the descendants of Kohath will come after to carry these, but they must not touch the sanctuary, or they will die. These are the load of the descendants of Kohath in the tent of assembly.

16 “Eleazar son of Aaron the priest is to supervise the oil of the light source, the incense, the regular grain offering, the oil of anointment, the supervision of all the tabernacle and all that is in it, in the sanctuary and in its vessels.”

17 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 18 “You must not cut off the tribe of the clan of the Kohathites from the midst of the Levites. 19 Do this to them and they will live and not die when they come near the most holy things. Aaron and his sons will go and appoint them, each one to his task and burden. 20 But they must not go and look for a moment at the holy objects.”

21 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 22 Take a census of the descendants of Gershon also, according to their families and clans, 23 from those twenty years old and above until fifty years old; you will muster them, all who come to help to do the work of the tent of assembly. 24 This is the work of the clans of the Gershonites: to serve and to carry. 25 They will carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tent of assembly and its covering and the covering of fine leather, which is on top of it, and the curtain of the doorway of the tent of assembly, 26 and the curtains of the courtyard, and the covering for the doorway of the gate of the courtyard, which is all around on the tabernacle and altar, and their cords and all the vessels of their work; and all that is done to them they will do. 27 And all the work of the descendants of the Gershonites will be at the command of Aaron and his sons, for all they are to carry and for all their work, and you will appoint to them responsibility for all they are to carry. 28 This is the work of the clan of the descendants of the Gershonites in the tent of assembly, and their responsibility lies under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

29 For the descendants of Merari according to their clans, according to their families, you will muster them; 30 from those thirty years old and above until fifty years old; you will muster them, all who come to do the work of the tent of assembly. 31 And this is the responsibility of those who are to carry, all their work in the tent of assembly: the frames of the tabernacle and its bars, pillars, and bases, 32 and the pillars of the courtyard all around, and their bases, pegs, and cords, with all their vessels and for all their work. You will appoint by name the vessels that they are responsible to carry. 33 This is the work of the clan of the descendants of Merari, for all their work in the tent of assembly under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”

34 And Moses and Aaron mustered the leaders of the community according to the house of their families, 35 from those thirty years old and above until fifty years old; everyone who comes to the service to work in the tent of assembly, 36 the ones counted were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. 37 These were those counted of the clans of the Kohathites, everyone who served in the tent of assembly whom Moses and Aaron mustered according to the command of Yahweh by the hand of Moses.

38 And the descendants of Gershon counted according to their clans and according to their families, 39 from those thirty years old and above until fifty years old, everyone who comes to the service to work in the tent of assembly; 40 the ones counted, according to their clans, according to their families, were two thousand six hundred and thirty. 41 These were those counted of the clans of the descendants of Gershon, everyone who serves in the tent of assembly whom Moses and Aaron mustered according to the command of Yahweh.

42 Those counted of the clans of the descendants of Merari according to their clans, according to their families, 43 from those thirty years old and above until fifty years old, everyone who comes to the service to work in the tent of assembly, 44 the ones counted, according to their clans, were three thousand two hundred. 45 These were those counted of the clans of the descendants of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron mustered according to the command of Yahweh by the hand of Moses.

46 All those counted of the Levites whom Moses and Aaron and all the leaders of Israel mustered according to their clans, according to their families, 47 from those thirty years old and above until fifty years old, everyone who comes to the service to do the work of the service carrying in the tent of assembly, 48 the ones counted were eighty thousand five hundred and eighty. 49 According to the command of Yahweh by the hand of Moses they were mustered, each man according to his service and according to their service and according to their burden; and so they were counted by him just as Yahweh commanded Moses.


John 12:20–50 (LEB)

Greeks Seeking Jesus

20 Now some Greeks were among those who had gone up in order to worship at the feast. 21 So these approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and began asking him saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man will be glorified. 24 Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and​ dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 The one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world preserves it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me, and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Jesus Predicts His Death

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, deliver me from this hour’? But for this reason I have come to this hour! 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have both glorified it,​ and I will glorify it​ again.” 29 Now the crowd that stood there and heard it​ said it had thundered. Others were saying, “An angel has spoken to him!” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not happened for my sake, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world! Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out! 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 (Now he said this to indicate by what sort of death he was going to die.)

34 Then the crowd replied to him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever! And how do you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “Yet a little time the light is with you! Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness does not overtake you! And the one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.” Jesus said these things, and then he went away and​ was hidden from them.

The People Still Refuse to Believe

37 But as many signs as he had performed before them, they did not believe in him, 38 in order that the word of the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled, who said,

“Lord, who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 For this reason they were not able to believe, because again Isaiah said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes

and hardened their hearts,

lest they see with their​ eyes

and understand with their​ hearts

and turn, and I heal them.”

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him.

42 Yet despite that, even many of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it,​ so that they would not be expelled from the synagogue. 43 For they loved the praise of men more than praise from God.

Jesus’ Final Public Appeal

44 But Jesus cried out and said, “The one who believes in me does not believe in me, but in the one who sent me, 45 and the one who sees me sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, in order that everyone who believes in me will not remain in the darkness. 47 And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,​ I will not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has one who judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken from myself, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So the things that I say, just as the Father said to me, thus I say.”


Psalm 5:1–12 (LEB)

Hear my words, O Yahweh.

Give heed to my sighing.

Listen to the sound of my pleading, my king and my God,

for to you I pray.

O Yahweh, in the morning you will hear my voice.

In the morning I will set forth my case to you and I will watch.

For you are not a God who desires wickedness.

Evil cannot dwell with you.

The boastful do not stand before your eyes.

You hate all evildoers.

You destroy speakers of lies.

A man of bloodshed and deceit Yahweh abhors.

But as for me, through the abundance of your steadfast love

I will enter your house.

I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.

O Yahweh, lead me in your righteousness because of my enemies;

make straight before me your way.

For there is not anything reliable in his mouth;

their inner part is destruction.

Their throat is an open grave;

with their tongue they speak deceit.

10 Treat them as guilty, O God;

let them fall because of their plans.

Because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,

for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take shelter in you rejoice.

Let them ever sing for joy,

because you spread protection over them;

And let those who love your name exult in you.

12 For you bless the righteous.

O Yahweh, like a shield you surround him with good favor.


March 4: A Prayer for Guidance (Rebecca Van Noord)

March 4

When we feel downtrodden, it’s easy to lash out at those around us. Too often, caught in the injustice of our circumstances, we might begin to feel an unhealthy amount of self-justification. It’s difficult to see where the lines of right and wrong fall when anger and hurt overwhelm us.

The psalmist presents an alternative to this: turning to the God of justice for guidance, protection, and insight. Psalm 5 records a heartfelt cry. This cry is directed at the God who acts justly in a world where evil seems to win (something not always easy to comprehend). Before making a judgment, the psalmist says, “I will set forth my case to you and I will watch” (Psa 5:3). Rather than push forward with his own agenda, he calls out for God’s justice because Yahweh is “not a God who desires wickedness” (Psa 5:4).

The psalmist acknowledges God’s sovereignty and love, which is the basis for his confidence: “through the abundance of your steadfast love I will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you” (Psa 5:7). Before calling out the evil actions of his enemies, he prays for direction: “lead me in your righteousness because of my enemies; make straight before me your way” (Psa 5:8). The psalmist prays; then, he acts with God’s justice in view.

In John 12, Jesus states that utter and complete devotion to God and His kingdom should be the focus of our lives: “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor” (John 12:25–26).

How can you pray for guidance in a world that often seems cold and uncaring? How can you trust God to lead you to act in ways that please Him?


Rebecca Van Noord is editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. She has developed content for several Bible reference products, including Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible.


Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.