Numbers 18:1,5,814-16,20,30,32 (NIV) The LORD said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood... “You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again"... Then the LORD said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion, your perpetual share"... “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours. The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs"... The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites"... “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress"... "By presenting the best part of it you will not be guilty in this matter; then you will not defile the holy offerings of the Israelites, and you will not die.’”
The generosity of God to Aaron and his family of fellow Levites is astounding but as in many blessings, God's goodness seems to come with great consequences. Why is that?
At the start of the chapter, God cautions Aaron and his family about the great responsibility they are given of managing the Tabernacle and their role as the priesthood of the people of Israel.
The role of the Levites seems one of great power because they were God's conduit to man and served Him up close. This great power came with great responsibility.
After instructing them about their great responsibility, God offers the Levites all the tithes and offerings of Israel as their provision and that is again much considering the sacrifices and offerings the people were called to give God.
A little while ago, when the Israelites were called to give towards the making of the Tabernacle, they gave so much that they had to be requested to stop because there was way too much and God was blessing the Levites with the much giving offerings of these same people.
Next we are reminded of the firstborn and how God has set aside the first fruits of man and animals for His service. Each firstborn including Jesus was redeemed for a preset price just as the firstborn of Israel was redeemed by the male Levites (Amazingly the same number) back in Numbers 3.
Is it not amazing that God has given us in abundance all we need to live and all He asks in return is our first and the best?
As we read further, we see something shocking in God's instructions to the Levites. He informs them that they will have no inheritance in the land He is taking Israel to.
This is a real surprise when you consider that this whole journey from slavery in Egypt was to take these people to a land that God was going to bless them with, a land flowing with milk and honey, a promise God made to their ancestral father Abraham.
How could God deny them an inheritance when He did so much for them? The answer is in the same verse 20 where God reminds them that He is their all-sufficiency and their inheritance.
Sometimes we are lost wondering why God seems to have withheld His blessing to us in certain areas of our lives and that is when we should remember that our real inheritance is not here but in eternity in God's presence and He alone should be our joy and hope for He is our eternal inheritance.
Finally God's completes His instructions to the Levites by reminding them of their duty to tithe their best to God also just as all of Israel was called.
Presenting their best was the only acceptable offering God would receive from them because anything short of their best was credited as a mockery of God.
It seems clear today that God has taught us about how generous He is to those whom He choses to bless and His expectation is that we will bless Him with the first and best of what He has blest us with.
The best of our resources, abilities, time, thought, words, etc. are all for His glory alone. Are you grateful and giving the first and best of all you have to Jesus Christ, God's only son who gave His life for our redemption?
In His Loving Service,
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