After the blogs on defiance over the last week or so, I’ve been itching for a short and sweet blog. And Numbers 18 gives me the perfect opportunity for that. Nestled in amongst instructions to Aaron and the Levites about their priestly ministry in the sanctuary is this little nugget: "But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift." (vs 7)
That last sentence really stopped me in my reading tracks. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Of all the reading I’ve done about the priesthood, it never dawned on me to think of it as a gift. The priests had what appears to be an almost non-stop job. They had to be ready (ceremonially clean) at any time in order to receive the people who were coming to God with their sacrifices and offerings. Seems to me like it would have been a lot of hard (and probably thankless!) work.
So, what’s such a gift about that? Well, I think it starts with understanding that true happiness is a by-product of service. To live in service to others is not only to dedicate yourself to something worthwhile, but it is the closest we can get to what God is like. In asking the Levites to spend their lives tending to the needs of the people, He was giving them the opportunity to be like Him and to do the job He wanted to do.
What a privilege! What an opportunity! What a gift!