Help Wanted: Men to work in a top secret environment where others are not permitted. To labor on ground of such purity, and enveloped in such power, that a misstep could be your last step. Job has relatively little variety. Must be able to thrive within routine. Cannot be squeamish at the sight of blood. Expect hard labor slicing and dicing sacrifice after sacrifice. (Mandatory retirement set at 50 years of age.) Must be comfortable being set apart. Must be willing to wear provided work uniform, no street clothes permitted. Workplace will be confined to the inside of a tent and the area immediately surrounding it. Most job related tasks unable to be delegated to others. Even most meals will be eaten only with co-workers and immediate family. Mental toughness required as you will be constantly reminded of sin and the price required to atone for it. Must be willing to serve . . . to serve as subjects . . . to work for Another. And, by the way, it’s a gift.
This morning I’m chewing on a verse in Numbers 18.
And you and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”
(Numbers 18:7 ESV)
The LORD is speaking to Aaron, His inaugural high priest, about the expectation of the priests and of those given to assist them, the Levites. And what grabs me this morning is that this service should be considered a gift. The position recognized as a privilege. The role seen as great reward. The work a wonder.
And I’m reminded that I too have been called into a priesthood.
. . . you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
(1Peter 2:5, 9 ESV)
As God’s redeemed, we are to be a holy priesthood ready, willing, and able to offer up spiritual sacrifices. As God’s chosen possession, we are deemed a royal priesthood commissioned to “show others the goodness of God” (NLT).
Seen as a gift?
Viewed as a “get to” or as a “got to”?
A privilege? Or a pain?
Endured? Or embraced?
It’s a gift. A position we are blessed to possess. Not a burden we are forced to bear as the price of eternity. A calling divine, not some form of collateral damage.
O that God would revive within His people the high and holy calling of being believer priests. That we would view ourselves afresh as the lay priesthood we are. Blessed with access into the Holy of Holies. Rewarded with the message and means of reconciliation for those who are without.
It’s a gift.
By His grace. For His glory.