Levi means attached or joined. He was named by his mother Leah, who longed to be attached to Jacob her husband. Levi speaks of the striving that comes with those longing for acceptance. Out of this son, came the tribe of Levi and the Levitical priesthood. They were a people that strove for acceptance through excellence, accuracy and justice. This was part of the Levitical order and the keeping of the legislations regarding offerings, purification etc.
It was this heart for accuracy and justice that led Levi to act in judgement (Gen. 34:25,26). Such a heart resulted in self-will, fierce anger and cruelty (Gen. 49:5-7).
Judah in contrast, means praise. It is out of this tribe that Jesus came as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is our King and He is our high priest. As such our priesthood now springs from the tribe of Judah (praise). To have a heart of praise is to have a heart to see God honoured. It is not focused on position, accuracy or acceptance, but upon love and honour. It’s focus is not on the activity of man, but the glory and honor of the Lord.
Out of this tribe flows not only praise but also authority (Gen. 49:10) and the ability to withstand the enemy (v.9). This authority and might flows out of relationship with the Lord. It is not rooted in judgement or the anger of man, but in the supremacy and honor of Christ.
Those who stand before the Lord to minister to Him, need to minister out of the heart of Judah not the heart of Levi. It is so easy for those who minister up the front during worship to look out over the people and judge where they are at in God. This is the heart of Levi. It evaluates others in accordance with its own standards, all the time striving for its own sense of acceptance and worth.
In contrast, Judah seeks to draw others closer to the Lord and to see Him exalted. As such Judah carries an authority and an anointing that magnifies Christ and thwarts the enemy. We need to ensure that our priesthood flows from Judah - to see that the Lord is exalted, people are touched, and the kingdom is advanced.
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