The Israelites were composed of twelve tribes, that is descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob (renamed Israel by God), hence the name, Israelites.  Aaron and Moses, being brothers, were descendants of Levi.  It was determined by God that the tribe of Levi would be the priestly class.  The priests were set apart from the other tribes, to serve the LORD in worship and to help the people grow in holiness so that when they entered Canaan, the promised land, they would show the Canaanites that the LORD was the true God.  The name of the book, Leviticus, means ‘that which pertains to the priests’ contains many laws for how the unholy Israelites could grow in holiness and acceptably approach the LORD to worship Him.  We see in Leviticus 21: 5-7, “The priests shall not make bare the crown of the head, nor shave the edges of the beard, nor lacerate the body.  To their God they shall be sacred, and not profane His Name; since they offer up the oblations of the LORD, the food of their God, they must be holy.”  Also in Leviticus 22: 1-2 The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to respect the sacred offerings which the Israelites consecrate to Me; else they will profane My holy Name.  I Am the LORD.”

Let us pray for our priests that they may be pleasing to the LORD. A prayer for priests:

Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord, keep them, for they are Thine – Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world, though from the world apart; when earthly pleasures tempt, allure – shelter them in Thy heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain, when all their lives of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and O remember, Lord, they have no one but Thee, yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress; their every thoughts and word and deed, Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.  Amen.

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