devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2321
Num 18:21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the conference tent,
Num 18:22 so that the people of Israel do not come near the conference tent, lest they pay for their mistake and die.
Num 18:23 But the Levites will do the service of the conference tent, and they will bear their violation. It will be a permanent prescription throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they will have no inheritance.
Num 18:24 Because the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to Yahveh, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they will have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
Num 18:25 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 18:26 “Moreover, you will speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you will present a contribution from it to Yahveh, a tithe of the tithe.
Num 18:27 And your contribution will be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and like the fullness of the winepress.
Num 18:28 So you will also present a contribution to Yahveh from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you will give Yahveh’s contribution to Aaron the priest.
Num 18:29 Out of all the gifts to you, you will present every contribution due to Yahveh; from each its best part is to be dedicated.’
Num 18:30 Therefore you will say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest will be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and like produce of the winepress.
Num 18:31 And you may eat it in any place, you and your households, because it is your reward in return for your service in the conference tent.
Num 18:32 And you will pay for your mistake by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you will not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, or else you will die.'”
The commands from the LORD seem harsh to our sensitive ears. He tells the Levites that the other Israelites cannot come near the conference tent, or else they will die. So, it is the Levites and priests who must do the work associated with the tabernacle. For their salary, the Levites will receive a tenth of the offerings. They, in return must contribute a tenth of those offerings back to the priests. If the Levites fail to do this, they too will die. An underlying truth behind both these commands is that fellowship with God is costly for sinful humanity. He sets the price.
LORD, thank you for paying the extreme price for our eternal fellowship with you.