What qualifies a person for God’s service? Confidently stepping into opportunities within our gifts and calling is a work of God’s grace. Many tools are available to help us identify our spiritual gifts, but how can we know for sure the specific calling God has placed over our lives?
Christ has established us in His kingdom and “freed us” as “priests to serve” God, the Father. Priests fulfilled the highest level of God’s service.
To him who loves us and has freed us
from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom
and priests to serve his God and Father —
to him be glory and power
for ever and ever! Amen.”
Satan, our accuser, relentlessly heaps guilt and shame upon us for past failures. With expertise, he convinces us we neither fit, belong nor quality.
Only the descendants of Levi could serve in the temple. However, any “defect” nullified that opportunity and disqualified many from God’s service.
The term “blemish” refers to physical “defects” and “defects” of conduct resulting from sin.
“No man who has any defect may come near:
no man who is blind or lame,
disfigured or deformed;
no man with a crippled foot or hand,
or who is a hunchback or a dwarf,
or who has any eye defect or
who has festering or running sores
or damaged testicles.”
Let’s examine these disqualifying factors more closely:
- Blindness, either total or partial, also figuratively referred to the blinding of official’s eyes to injustice through bribes.
- Being lame, resulted from injury to the leg or foot, causing hindrance to the priest’s walk. Metaphorically, it refers to anything that quenches a person’s faithful devotion to God.
- Disfigured literally means “blunt nose” — one rebelling against God, doomed to complete destruction or severe judgment of God.
- Deformed referred to an overextension or “stretched out” part or purpose — one member stretched out of proportion, overdeveloped, or a sixth finger or toe.
- Broken-handed or broken-footed was a badly cured fracture — also crushing, ruin, affliction, or breach. It implied an ability to “grasp” the word of God or walk in obedience to it.
- Hunched back also means “eyebrows descending over one’s eyes.” Unable to face forward, vision was obscured by a person’s own eyebrows while bent over.
- A dwarf represents failure to grow to mature stature. It also indicates weakness, malnourishment, gauntness, or leanness.
- Eye defects were cataracts or fusions of the white and black of the eye, symbolizing confusion or obscurity.
- Running sores include scabs, festering wounds, and eruptions of the skin, representing unhealed wounds of the past.
- Finally, damaged testicles refers to unfruitfulness, or inability to reproduce, because of crushing or breaking.
Such defects did not limit a person from the provision and blessing of the priestly office but restricted their ability to approach the Presence of God.
“…he must not come near
to offer the good of his God.
He may eat the most holy food
of His God,
as well as the holy food.”
When I am honest, I clearly see spiritual parallels in my own life. I identify with each “defect” in one way or another.
So how do we get from disqualified to qualified? How do we move from the select few in the Old Covenant to an entire “kingdom and priests” in the New Covenant?
In modern day terms, under these restrictions worship and prayer would be off limits. It is difficult to imagine such an isolated spiritual experience watching others participate in an intimacy with the Father, while being banned from entry yourself.
Our hope is Jesus! He miraculously heals and delivers people completely from these same ailments — then and now.
“Great crowds came to him,
bringing the lame, the blind,
the crippled, the mute and many others,
and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.”
There was the woman bend over for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17), the man with shriveled hand, (Matt12:9-14), and those with leprosy (Mark 1:40). Whether a result of birth, accident, or sin, He approached each with mercy and grace. He also forgave their sins (Mark2:5). He forgives ours, too!
Forgiveness is part of God’s complete benefit package.
“Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits —
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases.”
Every disqualification removed! Through Christ, we become qualified for God’s service.
Paul prayed that the new believers in Colosse would fully grasp this amazing truth.
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
The “Father…has qualified you!” By grace we are saved. By grace we are qualified. God made a way over every barrier, past every offence, through every hindrance.
“Qualified” means to be “sufficient, able and competent.” Every dis-“able”-ity reversed through Christ’s death and resurrection. Qualified to now enter freely into His Presence and into God’s service!
Believing God for salvation is the first “grace” step. The second “grace” step recognizes He also qualifies us.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.”
By God’s grace, we experience the privilege of His Presence and the equal privilege of “good works.”
“Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked.
“Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”
Though Aaron and Miriam were called, anointed and set apart for high levels of leadership, there were not qualified to serve like Moses. Wisdom and humility help us to recognize God-ordained boundaries.
Jesus commanded the disciples,
“Do not leave Jerusalem,
but wait for the gift my Father promised,
which you have heard me speak about.
For John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized
with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus Himself trained, equipped, and commissioned these men to lead His church. However, even they could not proceed without the seal of the Holy Spirit.
After their first missionary thrust, Barnabas and Saul returned to the teachers and prophets at Antioch.
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting,
the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.”
These first century labourers for Christ constantly surrendered to the will of God through Holy Spirit, even though they were already powerful, active servants.
The seal of qualification comes through the entire Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are all called to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” (Mark 16:15) By God’s grace, He equips and sends us into this vast mission field. God alone chooses the capacity. He also chooses the timing.
Let’s face it! Most of us feel “blemished” in some area of our lives. But the truth stands — by grace alone we are qualified for God’s service.