Duties of the Priest

Pause: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Malachi 2:7, Numbers 18:1-7, Exodus 30:1-10, Hebrews 5:1-4

I always chuckle when I see the fridge magnet that says, “When mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” It points to the underlying truth that we as women have influence in our households. In fact, Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands,” which echoes the truth that we each have an important role in the wellbeing of those in our household. Our duties as women include calling our people together, nurturing and caring for each person, creating a sanctuary for those who enter (not a perfectly clean household, but a peaceful household), and being advocates and intercessors on behalf of household members. Sometimes our role as homebuilders also means doing the hard and holy work of calling out or shaping the character of the hearts in our homes. 

The tabernacle could be considered the household of God with the priests playing a role similar to that of the Proverbs 14:1 woman. The priests’ duties in the tabernacle were to call the people to a right worship (Deuteronomy 6:1-9), to shepherd and guide those in the flock (Malachi 2:7), to prepare and to care for the sanctuary space (Numbers 18:1-7), and to be advocates and intercessors for the people before God, doing the hard and holy work of sacrifices for sin (Exodus 30:1-10) as they build up the household of God. Although this list of duties could sound overwhelming, they were given to the priests as a gift from God. It was a gift to love and to serve the people as God did them. It was a gift to be a part of God’s work and to be a light to a dark world. May we, too, embrace the calling that God has given us today to be part of His work and to spread His light and hope to our households and the world around us.

Ponder: How does the passage in Deuteronomy help the Israelites worship rightly? What should motivate our worship? What about a priest’s duty would be easy for you and what would be hard? One of the main roles of the priest was to perform sacrifices for the sins of the people. Since we do not have a tabernacle, how are our sins dealt with? 

Pray: Father, You are a perfect and holy God who chooses to use sinful humans to do Your work on this earth. I confess that I do not always consider my duties a gift from You, and I complain about them, thinking they are tedious or too hard. Instead, help me to be rooted in You to find my strength and perspective to live out the gift of my calling. Amen. 

— Jamie Harms