It is written:
“At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day.” (Deuteronomy 10:8)
The Prophet Moses declared that the Tribe of Levi had been commissioned by God to bear the Ark of the Covenant. There was no explicit mention condemning the other tribes from doing so, but only this statement authorizing the Levites in this work.
How did the Jewish people understand this?
Did they believe that because the other tribes had not been specifically forbidden to carry the ark, that they were therefore free to do so?
Let’s ask king David.
1 Chronicles 15:2-“Then David said, “No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.”
The Jewish people understand that by God specifically authorizing the Levites for this work, the other tribes were automatically prohibited from doing so.
Bible silence is prohibitive.
Another example of this Bible silence is found in the Book of Hebrews, where we are told:
Hebrews 7;14-For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
Speaking of this matter in regard to instrumental music in the public worship of the church, one author has pointed out:
“In response to quips like this, it has frequently been pointed out that the Bible itself recognizes that one can sometime infer God’s disapproval of a matter about which He is silent. One such case is identified by Hebrews 7: 12-14 where the writer argues that Jesus could not have served as a priest under the Old Covenant because He was from the tribe of Judah, not the tribe of Levi. In making the point, the writer says, “For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests” (v. 14). Nowhere in the Old Testament does God speak concerning priests being appointed from the tribe of Judah. The Old Testament is silent in this regard. However, the case does not rest merely on this silence. The fact of the matter is that God did speak concerning the tribe from which priests were to come, namely Levi. So the silence regarding priests from Judah has significance in the context of the positive instruction concerning priests from Levi. It was not the silence alone that excluded priests from Judah; it was God’s positive speaking concerning priests from Levi that excluded them. 27 Again I point out that the New Testament offers positive instruction concerning vocal music for Christian praise and mutual exhortation. There is no evidence in the New Testament for instruments ever being used for these purposes. There is no command to use instruments from an authoritative spokesperson in the New Testament. There is no example of instruments being used by Christians for praise and exhortation. There is no evidence for instruments; there is silence in that respect. There is evidence for singing; this is the positive instruction of the New Testament. Consequently, singing has New Testament authority; the playing of instruments lacks New Testament authority. Instruments are excluded, not merely by the silence of the New Testament, but by the positive instruction in the New Testament to sing….The absence of instruments in the religious gatherings of the early Christians is surprising when the prevalence of instruments in their culture would lead one to expect them to be present. However, when one considers the nature of the early Christian gatherings as focusing on the rational expression of thoughts to God and to one another, the absence of instruments is understandable. The instruments were not there because they had no function.” (Thomas C. Alexander, Music in Worship: A New Examination Of An Old Issue, 1166-1187 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company)
In our zeal to honor God, may we also respect His silence.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.