Numbers 3 … Consider His “Instead Of”

Originally posted: 05/26/2019

Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine,” (3:11-12).

The LORD calls to Himself the tribe of Levi, appointing them to the service of the tabernacle, to assist Aaron the high priest and to perform duties for the whole congregation (3:5-10).

The work was vital and called for workers consecrated unto the LORD to execute the required tasks.

In Exodus 13, the LORD called for every firstborn to be consecrated, after He spared Israel’s firstborn from the death plague, claiming the firstborn as belonging to Himself.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me,” (Exodus 13:1-2).

Now the LORD was sanctifying the Levites for Himself “Instead Of” the firstborn.

Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. 13 For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the Lord,” [emphasis added] (3:11-13).

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Number every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names.41 You shall take the Levites for Me, I am the Lord, instead of all the firstborn among the sons of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the cattle of the sons of Israel,” [emphasis added] (3:40-41).

His “Instead Of,” this principle of substitution, is seen throughout Scripture and is clearly demonstrated here as the LORD claimed the entire tribe of Levi for Himself “Instead Of” the first issue of every womb. Rather than requiring the firstborn from every family to enter the tabernacle service, they would remain in the households of their families. “Instead Of” the firstborn, now the Levites were to be sanctified and given to the LORD.

This theme of substitution is critical to our understanding of God’s plan of redemption and His heart of grace and love. “Instead Of” being required to give up their sons, families would remain intact. However, not so with the LORD, He gave up His Son that the world might be saved.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, (John 3:16).

Consider His “Instead Of”

We see it throughout all of Scripture… His “Instead Of”:

  • “Instead Of” Adam and Eve covering themselves with fig leaves, the LORD God covered them with animal skins, the first shedding of blood to cover man in his sin.
    • Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings… 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them, (Genesis 3:7, 21).
  • “Instead Of” the death of the firstborn of the Israelites, they would be spared because of the blood of the Passover lamb.
    • “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt,” (Exodus 12:12-13).
  • “Instead Of” bearing the due penalty of sin, the Law provided atonement through the blood sacrifice.
    • “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement,” (Leviticus 17:11).
  • “Instead Of” receiving the wages of sin, eternal separation from Holy God, the free gift of eternal life is given to all who place their faith in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ through His virgin birth, crucifixion and resurrection.
    • But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
      He was crushed for our iniquities;
      The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
      And by His scourging we are healed.
      All of us like sheep have gone astray,
      Each of us has turned to his own way;
      But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
      To fall on Him,
      (Isaiah 53:5-6).
    •  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).
    • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— (Galatians 3:13).

How do we respond to His “Instead Of?”

Prayerfully consider the following Scriptures:

  • Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 2:38).
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (John 1:12).

Please make sure you have no doubts regarding your relationship with God. If you’re not sure about your salvation, talk to a pastor or friend, or you can email The Planting Place at I will be honored to discuss it further with you.

Let us live consumed with thanksgiving and trust as we keep His “Instead Of” at the forefront of our thoughts. How can we not worship and praise Him with everything we are and have?

  • “Instead Of” sparing His own Son, He gave Him for us; how can we ever doubt His provision?
    • He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
  • “Instead Of” a cursed eternity in the darkness of Hell, we will be with Him, as our very Light in Heaven, forever.
    • There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever, (Revelation 22:3-5).

Let’s Grow Together!

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