We studied Genesis 49 in Bible Study tonight. The chapter details Jacob's blessing to his 12 sons. Two of them, Simeon and Levi, are told that they were cruel and brutal. Jacob remembered the massacre of men in Shechem in revenge for the rape of Levi and Simeon's sister Dinah. The two brothers talked Shechemites into accepting circumcision as a means of integrating the two cultures including intermarriage. Then when the men were particularly vulnerable the brothers took their own men and slaughtered everybody and looted the town.
Much later God blessed the Levites at the golden calf incident. While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Law Aaron and others were busy building the golden calf as their god. Moses came down from the Mount and was furious. Aaron lamely said that he didn't do much. He threw the gold into a fire and a calf came out. Exodus 32: 24: I [Aaron} said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” Aaron shifted a bit of the blame.
It was the Levites who stood for the Lord and killed some 3000 men who had so grievously sinned against the True God of Israel. Exodus 32: 25- 29: Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies— 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”
God blessed the Levites by choosing them as the priestly line. These people carried the Ark of the Covenant, ministered later in the tabernacle and temple and the High Priest was chosen from among their ranks. God in His grace took a curse and made it into a blessing. How comforting to know that God can relent and take our bad circumstances and use them for our good and the good of others. When we repent, God can do marvelous things in our life.