The great enemy of contentment is comparison. We do it almost every day in a thousand different ways. We see others on TV, social media, the next lane over in traffic or even a meal across the lunch table. We are by nature people of comparison. It is the resident sin inside us causing us to measure ourselves against one another. Remember the first two brothers became one brother when jealousy became uncontainable hostility in Cain’s heart. You could drive yourself mad comparing your life to that of other people.
What to do, Christian?
When the people of Israel are dividing up their territory in the Promised Land, God tells Joshua to give portions to all the tribes save one: the Levites. Here’s how that goes down.
Joshua 13:14 (ESV) To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the LORD God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him.
Could you imagine being Levi during the land allotment? I can hear it now. “What gives? Everyone gets something to call their own except us?”
Yet instead of focusing on what they do not get, look at what they do get! They will have the “offerings by fire to the Lord God.” What exactly is this gift?
“Offerings by fire” meant many very good things for Levi. Whenever any worshipper wanted to come before the Lord, the Levites were to be there to make sure the entire sacrificial process was handled properly. These offerings were to be the best of the entire nation’s produce including their first born flocks.
The book of Leviticus describes them:
Leviticus 1:17 (ESV) And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.
I don’t know about you but I love the smell of cooking meat. It feels like home. This was part of their inheritance.
Second, Leviticus stipulates the burnt offering fire was not to go out.
Leviticus 6:12 (ESV) The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall arrange the burnt offering on it and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.
The Levites had light continually before them. In the ancient world long before electricity, this would have been one of the most attractive blessings of Levi’s inheritance.
Third, the burnt offerings were made to the Lord for three things: food – Leviticus 2, peace – Leviticus 3, and forgiveness of sin – Leviticus 4. God had the Levites living in a fine smelling, well-lit location filled with food, peace, and forgiveness in the presence of God.
No, the Levites did not receive a plot of land. Instead, they had the most incredible gift God had to offer: Himself. Scripture describes the presence of the Lord as a better portion than land and possessions.
Psalm 16:5 (ESV) The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
Psalm 119:57 (ESV) The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.
Psalm 142:5 (ESV) I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Finally, there was one more blessing given to the tribe of Levi in Deuteronomy 33:
Deuteronomy 33:8 (ESV) “Give to Levi your Thummim, and your Urim…
The Urim and Thummim were ancient stones used to discern the will of the Lord. They were to be kept on the breast piece of the high priest who belonged to the tribe of Levi.
Deuteronomy 33 continues: Deuteronomy 33:10 (ESV) They shall teach Jacob your rules and Israel your law; they shall put incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
The Levites were not only to know God’s will and law, they were to teach it to the nation. What a sacred opportunity. What an incredible responsibility.
So let’s recount the “inheritance” of Levi: They were to be always in God’s presence discerning God’s will and enjoying the light, food, and forgiveness of God continually.
Since the New Testament identifies Christians as a Spiritual priesthood (1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10), this is the inheritance of every Child of God who calls on the Name of Jesus Christ. Can you think of anything better? He brings you home, He gives you light, He offers you peace and forgiveness AND THEN directs you in His will through His Word. There is no offer of this Earth that stands a chance against this precious inheritance that is our in Christ.