Num 1:47 But the Levites were not mustered along with them by their ancestral tribe.
Num 1:48 Because Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 1:49 “The tribe of Levi is the only exception you will not muster, and you will not take a head count of them among the sons of Israel.
Num 1:50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furniture, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furniture, and they will take care of it and will camp around the tabernacle.
Num 1:51 When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites will take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites will set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he will be put to death.
Like conscientious objectors during a war-time draft, the Levites were excluded for religious purposes. But unlike them, the Levites were not excluded because they opposed war. No, the Levites were actually charged with the responsibility of protecting the tabernacle. If anyone who was ceremonially unclean dared to enter the tabernacle, the Levites had to put them to death.
The Levites were conscientious affirmers. They affirmed the holiness and significance of their presence of God among their people — as symbolized by the tabernacle. Unlike the tribal armies, the Levites were not just called to defend during time of war. They always had to maintain the tabernacle structure.
LORD, give us the diligence of the Levites — always ready to affirm your presence, and defend your holiness among us.