God has reconfirmed His choice of the Levites as the ones to stand before Him. Now He shares the full cost/benefit analysis.
Because of their position the Levites will carry a burden that the rest of the people won’t. They will lose some of the benefits afforded to the other tribes but will also receive some special benefits that the others won’t.
God addresses the burden that will be placed on their shoulders. The burden I’m referring to is that of carrying the people’s sin to the Lord. They would be the ones who ultimately would stand before God wearing the people’s sins. The people would bring their sacrifices to atone for their sins and then the priests would submit that petition to the Lord. That sin was counted against the priest offering the sacrifice. If it wasn’t offered properly the sin was not removed from the priest’s shoulders through forgiveness.
I was hesitant to say this because I didn’t understand the implication of what this set in motion. The priest and ultimately the high priest carried the weight of the people’s sins as his own. He then had to atone for it with the blood of the sacrifices to remove it from his own life. Jesus proved this out with His sacrifice.
God required that all sin come through the priesthood. The regular people could not enter the temple or approach the altar where atonement was made. They had to give their burdens over to the one who could. Jesus took on all the sin of the world. Not because He had sinned but because He was operating as our High Priest. He alone approached the altar where He sacrificed Himself for our atonement. Without assuming our sin He couldn’t stand in our place. And because He was the perfect High Priest He was able to complete the full work required for our forgiveness; removing the sins from Himself AND us.
This was a heavy price for the Levites to carry but it was not without compensation. They received the BEST of everything. When a person brought their sacrifices and offerings to the Lord they had to be of the BEST quality. They were the first fruits. They were without spot or blemish. They were the finest quality. They were the tithe of the people. And they were the Levites payment for the services rendered. God received His portion first, and then what was left belonged to the priest who had carried the person’s sins on his shoulders.
Parts of the “salary” of the priests were to be eaten in specific places; holy places. But the remainder was for their family’s use; any in their home that was clean. But before anything could be considered as their own they also were to offer a portion to the Lord. They were to tithe on the tithe they received. Everyone was to give from what they had received from the Lord back to Him, no matter the source.
One of the main things that the Levites give up in this exchange is their “inheritance” in property ownership. God would give all the tribes land to divide between their people. The Levites would be given none. They would have land where they worked the fields and vineyards during their “off time” but those lands wouldn’t belong to them. They would belong to God. Everyone else could pass their lands down to their children but the land where the Levites lived stayed as the property of God. Nothing was passed down in property but what was passed down far exceeded it; the inheritance of being God’s chosen ministers.
I’m not certain if Moses has explained yet where the Levites’ final inheritance lies but we know. Their inheritance lies in the Kingdom of God. Jesus again fulfills this promise. His home is with His Father. He held no earthly possessions as they are temporary only. What He received for His “service” FAR exceeds what the world has to offer.
Something that the Levites couldn’t do was “adopt” or “allow” others direct access to God. They even had limited access. Only a select few could enter the tent of testimony. The rest were to serve as protection to keep the rest of the people from coming too close. Their own lives depended on it. Jesus, however, was given the right to bring any and all those He wanted into His Father’s own home. Through His work He was given the right to offer His bloodline to any who would agree to His terms. The Levites had to adhere to the physical bloodline where Jesus employs the spiritual bloodline.
PRAISE GOD I’m a child of the King! I am adopted into Jesus’ family through His blood. My inheritance lies in His house. I am free of sin because He took it ALL for me. And I offer Him the BEST of my life.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being my High Priest. I would have no access to the Father without You. I wouldn’t even know Him the way I do. You made it possible for me to be in a PERSONAL relationship with the Creator of the universe!!!
I want my life to be a continual “Thank You” card for all You have done for me. This means that I want to live a life pleasing to You. I want to keep sin as far away from me as possible. With my actions, that is not always very far. For those times I want to thank You again for carrying them to the altar for me. Help me always give them to You for Your perfect work instead of holding onto them a bit longer. NOTHING is worth putting a clog in our relationship. I Love You and want to always give You my best.