Numbers 3 / 1Peter 2:9-10

Our Identity & Our Destiny


Intro: As Amazing as animals can be they don’t compare w/ Humans Unique Creatures Created in the Image of God

A)We have been given the ability to make decisions & to form Judgments about things


B) We know Right from wrong / we can discern between good & Bad / Love & Hate / Beautiful & Ugly


C) And best of all we find all these wonderful human Capacities caught up in Knowing / Loving & Serving the Greatest being in the UNIVERSE

1)   Our Maker & Savior the Almighty God


Animals just don’t have that same Capacity / As wonderful as Animals are they have not been created in the image of God

A)Animals are fun / cuddly / gentle / sense of Loyalty/ but animals have no capacity to really discern –


B) A dog doesn’t reflect on its identity / doesn’t wonder who he is / what he is here for/ doesn’t have any concept of where he going


A dog thinks:

Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... They must be gods!

A cat thinks:

Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... I must be a god!


C) But a Dog doesn’t wonder about his Eternal Destiny – they have no Concept of that

1)   Animals don’t think about things like that but Humans do –


D)And deep in the heart of every person is a Curiosity – what is my Identity / Why am I here / where going / Destiny

Often times – In Counseling you will here People say – I need to find myself / I need to figure out my Purpose / Where I am going

A)Those questions are Uniquely answered for us in the Word of God !!!!


B) And here in the Book of Numbers we see an example of that as God is arranging & ordering the Destiny of His People Israel !!!!


The Big Picture is that he is taking them to the Promised land – but there were things to be done & put into Place along the way

A)We find here in the Book of Numbers that the People were ordered or Arranged into 4 groups – Warriors / Workers / Worshippers & the Walkers


B) In Ch. 1&2 we saw the numbering & the arranging of the WARRIORS

1)    Moses was told to # all the males 20yrs old & above from each of the 12 tribes who were able to fight { Total 603,550{WARRIORS


C) Now Those men Knew their Identity & Destiny was to Fight for the Nation of Israel – to Possess the Land of Promise{ Calling & Purpose 



In Chapters 3& 4 we see the Numbering of the Worshippers & the Workers { The Priest & the Levites { read v.1-13

A)Now here we see that God singled out the Family of Aaron to be the Priest & the Family of the Levites to serve  the Priest


B) Now Aaron was the High Priest or the Head Priest – he had 4 sons

1)   But 2 of His Sons Nadab & Abihu were killed ( Lev.10) When they   

   ignored the way God said that He was to be approached { Scene


C) They ignored God’s way & tried to Rush into the Tab. Their own way offering Profane Fire – God struck them Dead

1)   Warning to all that – His ways were to be taken Seriously / So only Aaron’s Sons Eleazor & Ithamar were left to serve as Priest


Under the priestly family was the family of the Levites – they were Chosen to assist the Priest in the Ministry of the Tabernacle & Worship

A)The Levites were Divided into 3 families : Gershom / Kohath / Merari

And each Family had specific Responsibilities to the Tab.{Detail Wed. night


B) So The ministry to the Tabernacle & in helping the Priest was Exclusive to the Levites !!!! 

1) In fact if someone from another Tribe or if a Stranger tried to help out or fulfill one of the Duties or even touched part of the Tab – they would die


C) Now it is interesting to me that God would have picked this tribe for this Special & holy Job especially considering their family Background

1)Levi was the 3RD Son born to Jacob by his wife Leah/ And in Gen 34 when Jacob & his family were camped near Shechem { Dinah ….Raped by Prince


D) Now the King of Shechem & the leaders came out to apologize & to express their desire to enter marry w/ Jacob’s family

1)   The Kings Son really wanted to Marry – Dinah – So the Sons of Jacob said we will agree to this on One Condition – All males Circumcised


E) Once they all had been Circumcised  Levi & Simeon went into the City and Massacred all the Men { Jacob was Disgraced – never forgot

1)   End of his life – over 40yrs later – this is what he said about his Sons


Gen.49: 5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.6 Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger & self-will they slew men 7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide their descendants  in Jacob And scatter them in Israel.


F) SO Levi by nature was Self-willed / fierce & Cruel


And Jacob declared that they would be Cursed & they would be Scattered but here we see some 400 yrs later the Curse is reversed

A)The Family of Levi is given this special appointment by the Lord – which was a total sign of His grace

B) But that is the way of the Grace Of God !!!

1) God’s grace stoops to the Lowest depths & gathers up the worst of Sinners { Making them His Brightest Trophies


C) God Took this family that had been Known as an instrument of Cruelty & Self Will & allowed them to Posses & take care of  the very instruments used in Worship of God


But there was another Reason that the Lord Chose this tribe & Singled them out for this Special Service –

A)In Exodus 19 the Lord said that He was calling Israel a nation of priests


B) It was God's intent that the first born of EVERY home would have the Privilege of having a Son        serve God in the priesthood{ HONOR


C) BUT in Ex.32 - While Moses was on Mt. Sinai, the Israelites were involved in idolatry and gross immorality{Golden Calf

1) When Moses came down he saw the people Dancing naked before the golden calf


D) Moses said: "Whoever is on the Lord's side, come over here to me to execute judgment upon the sin of their brothers" ONLY the Levites came

1) They went throughout the nation executing their brothers who had committed Idolatry


The other tribes said: No way..... We can't go around executing our friends and neighbors and brothers... They won't like us any more

A)ONLY the Levites were willing to lay down personal popularity and personal reputation to carry out the task of God


B) ONLY the Levites were willing to undertake that very difficult task

1)   From that time forward, God Decided that ONLY the Levites would be allowed to serve directly in the Tabernacle


Gal. 1:10   For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.


C) The Levites were willing to serve God & Not Man - SO - Instead of taking the first born from every family the Lord says:

    "I am going to take the entire family of Levi"


D) From that day forward they served GOD  in that Unique Position/ it was then that they discovered their Identity their Purpose / Destiny


Now Maybe you are thinking Ok that is a Interesting Story – Interesting History But how does that relate to Us / ME Personally { turn 1 Pet.2:9

9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.


A)In these 2 simple verses Peter reveals the Identity / Purpose & Destiny of every believer in JC

   1)  he gives five ways of describing your identity, as a Believer  .


C) #1. Verse 9: You are a chosen GENERATION or RACE.

1)    I know that this is a corporate identity,/ he's talking about the church -- But the implication is individual, because this race is not racial.


D) Listen The chosen race is not black or white or red or yellow or brown.

1) The chosen race is a new people from all the peoples -- all the colors and cultures – ALL NATIONS


E) So What gives us our identity is not color or culture. But our chosen ness.

1)   Your identity is that you are chosen. God chose you. Not because of your race -- or for any other qualification anything you did to earn it

2)   1 Jn. 3:1 Behold what manner …….


2nd  You are pitied. Verse 10b: ". . . you had not (obtained) or received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

A)I choose the word "pitied" because the word for mercy in Greek here is a verb and the closest word we have in English like "mercied" is "pitied."


B)So It's not a bad translation. -See When God chose us, he then saw us in our sin and guilt and condemnation and he pitied us. Compassion on us


C) We are not just chosen. We are pitied.

1) We are the not just the objects of his choice, but the objects of his mercy.


D) God saw us when we were at our Worst / Our Ugliest – Loved us anyway

  1) Choosing your Bride – Curlers / Cold Cream / Cherry Bon Bons 


3rd  You are God's possession. This is expressed twice. Verse 9: "You are . . . a people for God's own possession." Verse 10a: "You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God."


A)You are chosen by God; you are pitied by God; and the effect of that pity -- that mercy -- is that God takes you to be his own possession.


B) When God says (in 2 Cor. 6:16), "I will be their God and they will be my people (my possession)," what he means is that "I will dwell in them and walk among them."


C) Given his name – ADOPTION – Picks the worst & says I am going to make that Guy that Girl a part of my family


1 Cor 6 9Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers,  prostitutes, homosexuals, 10thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.

11There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away,and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.


S0 You are chosen; you are pitied; you are God's possession -- the ones he will walk among and reveal Himself to in a personal relationship

A)You are the ones he aims to spend eternity with.


B)But How do I know if I have been Chosen ? Simple – Do what the tribe of Levi – did – Respond to God’s Call

1)   Come out from among them ….separate says the Lord


C) Make a Decision to go against the mindset of this world – Stand for God


When you do you will discover that God has made You Holy - #4 – You are Holy nation = Set apart

A)You have been chosen and pitied and possessed by God; and therefore you are not a part of the world any more.


B) You are set apart for God. You exist for God. And since God is holy, you are holy. { Positonally / Wants to make you HOLY practically

1)   You share his character, because he chose you, pitied you, possessed you. You are holy.


C) Now when you do not act in a holy way, you act out of character with who God has made you to be.

1) You contradict your essence as a Christian. For your identity is holiness to the Lord: you are holy.


D) So You are chosen by God and pitied by God and possessed by God and holy like God


5th  And finally, you are a royal priest. Verse 9: "You are a ... royal priesthood."

A)Which first of all means that you have immediate access to God -- you don't need another human priest as a mediator.

1)God himself provided the one Mediator between God & man, Jesus Christ.

     through Him You have direct access to God!!!!


But it is also here in our Identity as Priest that we find the Purpose of our Identity – why you are here / Why you have been called

A)See As a Priest you have an exalted, active role in God's presence.


B)You are not chosen, pitied, possessed, and holy just to fritter away your time doing nothing.

1) You are called now to minister in the presence of God. So All your life is for priestly service.


C) Now does that mean that you are to live at Church or a Monetary ? No!!

 1) See You are never out of God's presence. You are never in a neutral zone. You are always in the court of the temple.


And your life is to be an act of spiritual service of worship to the Lord

A)Peter is specific when he tells us the precise reason for our existence. He says in verse 9:b that we exist for this reason: "that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."


B) This is the full-time destiny of a royal priest -- to make the glories of the king known.


C) Now We can do it in church services with preaching and singing and praying and reading.

1)   We can do it in our small groups as we tell each other what God has been for us, or what we need him to be for us.


D) We can do it at work as we tell people what we love about God and why we think he is great.


There is a lot of discussion in our day of self-concept or self- identity. How do we view ourselves? It is an important question.

A)And what I hope you hear this morning is that the specifically Biblical angle on this question is that Christian selfhood IS NOT  defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves.

B) It's defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship he creates with us and the destiny he appoints for us.

1) What really matters is who we are in God !!!!!


C) The relationship of God with you and the purpose of God for you. So The Biblical understanding of human self-identity is radically God-centered.


D) And God made us who we are so that we might proclaim the excellency of his SAVING US – CALLING US OUT OF DARKNESS 



E) The excellencies of his authority and power in possessing us. The excellencies of his worth and purity in making us holy.


In other words he has given us our identity in order that his identity might be proclaimed through us.

A)God made us who we are so we could make known who he is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity.


B) The meaning of our identity is that the excellency of God be seen in us.{ Trophies of his Grace !!!!!

1)    Therefore being a Christian and making the greatness of God known are almost identical.


C) And we can do it in a thousand different ways of love that suit our situation and personality.


I'll close with this wonderful story of how Doug Nichols, the International Director of Action International Ministries, made the excellencies of God known in a tuberculosis sanitarium in India in 1967 -- he was a missionary with Operation Mobilization and got TB. He was in the sanitarium for several months. He tried to give tracts and copies of the Gospel of John away, but no one would take them. They didn't like him and assumed he was a rich American.

At one point for several nights he would wake up coughing at 2 AM. He noticed a little old emaciated man trying to get out of bed. The man couldn't stand up, and began to whimper. He lay back into bed. In the morning the stench in the ward was terrible and everyone was angry at the old man for not containing himself. The nurse who cleaned up even smacked the old man for making such a mess.


The next night the very same thing happened. Doug woke up coughing with his own terrible sickness and weakness. He saw the old man try again to get out of bed. Again he couldn't stand, and began to cry softly. Doug got out of bed went over to the old man. The man cowered with fear. But Doug picked him up with both arms and carried him to the bathroom which was just a hole in the floor, and then brought him back. The man kissed him on the cheek as he put him down in bed.


At 4 AM another patient woke Doug with a steaming cup of tea and made motions that said he wanted a copy of the booklet -- the Gospel of John. Through that whole day people kept coming to him and asking for his booklets even though he could not speak their language.


In other words one way to declare the excellencies of God is to act them out. When we act out the excellencies of God, people will hear them with even greater eagerness. Which is just another way of saying that our identity -- who we are -- is for the sake of God. God made us who we are to show the world who he is.