Tuesday, April 12, 2011
DAUGHTERS, SONS, AND PRIESTS
1 Peter 2:9 But 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 marvellous light.
When the Israelites went into the Promised Land, God gave each of the tribes their own territory -- a portion of the collective inheritance. All of the tribes received a portion of the land, except for the tribe of Levi. The Levites were a special, holy, sanctified group, set apart especially for service unto the Lord. As such, they did not receive a portion of the land like the other tribes, but rather, the Bible says that their portion was the LORD.
At first, it might seem that the Levites got a raw deal. Unlike their brethren, they did not receive any land. As such, they could not own livestock, or plant, or build for themselves -- no land, no possessions, no livelihood. Even so, the Bible says that the inheritance of the Levites was much, much better!! The Levites may not have had any ownership rights, but they had a spiritual possession which far outweighed any parcel of land.
The Levites’ portion was not some piece of land – their portion was God Himself. They were set apart as priests of the Most High God. As such, they had prominence among God’s people, and enjoyed privileges that others – even the king – did not. They were dispersed among the other twelve tribes, to minister to God and intercede among them.
Deuteronomy 18:2 tells us:
Therefore they (the priests) shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the LORD is their inheritance, as He said to them.
Also, in Numbers 18:20:
Then the LORD said to Aaron “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”
And Deut. 10:9:
Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren: the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God promised him.
For the Levites, their inheritance was God Himself. What a beautiful truth – not only for them, but for us today, as well...for like the Levites, WE are a royal priesthood, God’s special people.
So, what special privileges did the Levites have? They were God’s intercessors and representatives, and enjoyed a deeper intimacy with God than the rest of the people. It was a great honour to serve as a priest of the Most High God. Only a select few of God’s people, those who were born into the tribe of Levi, had this privilege. Not only were they sanctified and “set apart” from the rest of the nation, but they had a special place, or “inheritance,” in the things and person of God. They were the men chosen to intercede for the people, and minister personally to God Himself.
The fact that we are priests means that this same truth applies to us. Indeed, we do not have out portion in this life, but God is our portion. God has given us so much more than material possessions which are fleeting and will fade away, but He has given us of HIMSELF. He truly gave of Himself to us when He sent His only begotten Son to die upon the cross. Because of His sacrifice, we are able to serve before His throne, enjoy unbroken fellowship, and intercede for those who do not know Him.
We are able to enter into the presence of the Most High God and lay our spiritual sacrifices upon the altar of His mercy. Jesus is our faithful High priest, who has entered the Holy of Holies and sits at God’s right hand, making intercession for us.
Since they had no land on which to grow food, or to build, the Levites had to rely on God completely for their sustenance. Their food was provided by the daily sacrifices and offerings of the people. They owned no livestock or other property, but God completely supplied all of their needs. They did not own any land, but they still reaped in the temporal and material things, such as the offerings and the tithes (which they always received a portion of), and their needs were always supplied. God always gave a portion of His offering to the priests who served Him. Likewise, God has promised to supply all of our needs.
Luke 12:29 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.
All of us know that we are sons and daughters – children – of God, but we don’t normally think of ourselves as “priests,” but God’s word tells us that we are His own special people, redeemed and sanctified for service unto God (Titus 2:14). It was none other than Jesus Christ who redeemed us, so that we may have the privilege of serving Him. We have been set apart as representatives and intercessors.
Intercession is a vital aspect of our royal priesthood. The priests were to represent God to the people. Likewise, we also represent God to those whom God puts in our lives. Just as the priests offered up incense to God, so also out prayers rise up to heaven as sweet incense to God.
2 Cor. 2:15, 16 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
The Levitical priesthood was a birthright – a sacred and holy privilege. Like the Levites, our priesthood is also a birthright. When we are born again spiritually, into the body of Christ, we become descendents of Abraham, joint heirs with Christ, and partakers in this “royal priesthood.”
I just love the idea that their inheritance and portion was God Himself.
Lam. 3:24: The LORD is my portion, says my soul, Therefore, I hope in Him
It is so easy to get caught up in the cares and worries of this life. We look around at those who seem to have everything, and believe that we have somehow “missed out.” We wonder why God has not blessed us, and why life is such a struggle. We grasp at the material, and leave the spiritual untouched. We keep reaching and grasping until both hands are full, and our arms are so weary from reaching that we miss out on the spiritual blessings that are right there in front of us. We do not have to flail and grasp at them, for God is handing them straight to us.
The Bible says that we have a spiritual portion which far outweighs any material portion that we could ever hope to accumulate. In the long run, all the material possessions in the world weigh nothing compared to even a fraction of our spiritual portion -- the infinite God.
I spent most of my life searching in vain for my own portion. These were my hopes, my dreams, what I thought would make me happy. I saw my portion as success, love, and a comfortable life. I was not looking to be rich, but I was looking to be happy. In reality, I did not know what I was looking for, although I thought that I could find it, amid the clutter and the rubble and the chaos. What I didn’t realize was that my portion was sitting in front of me the whole time. I just didn’t reach out to take it. I didn’t even know it was there.
I was once a sinner, lost and confused – now I am a priest and a daughter of the most high God. My portion is my God, and my soul is more than satisfied.