Sunday, July 22, 2012

The privilege of being a Levite: No burden

Jesus said: [My] commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

But we don't believe Him.  They sure sound like a burden to us.  You mean I have to love God and love people?  That's hard!  You mean I have to pray and read my Bible to cultivate a relationship with God?  That's hard!  I'd much rather play a game, watch a movie, make money, phone a friend, read a book... etc.  I've gotta have my "me" time!  God doesn't want me to neglect myself, does He?

Actually, He does, in a sense.  He wants us to forget about ourselves and be lost in Him.  He wants us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24).  He wants us to put sin and self to death so that the Spirit of Christ might live in us (Colossians 3:5)!

Sounds scary, doesn't it?  But it's so good!

Because you know what else God wants?  He wants to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32)!  He wants to give us the Son (John 3:16)!  He wants to give us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)!  He wants to freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)!  He wants to give us treasures that won't rust or decay (Matthew 6:19)!  He wants to give us everlasting life!  He wants to give us Himself!

And still, we say it's not enough.  It seems poor and paltry.  We want the world.  We want to be free.  We don't want to be bound to Christ.  We want to do what we want to do.

Do you know that the Levites--the priests who ministered before God in His holy tabernacle in ancient Israel--did not receive an inheritance like the other tribes?  Instead, God said that He would be their inheritance (Deuteronomy 18:2).  And with that word, God made the Levites the richest among His people, because the one who has God for an inheritance has all things!

God is our inheritance if we follow Him--Paul said he counted all things rubbish that he may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).  If we then, by keeping the commandments of Christ, get more of Him in return, His commandments are not a burden but a joy!  They are an avenue of immense blessing to God's people!

Of course, it is not as the world gives that Christ gives to His people (John 14:27).  So if we look on it with worldly eyes, then it won't look like much.  We need the heart and mind of Christ!  Christ made it His food to do the Father's will, it was so satisfying to Him!  I have bread you know not of, He said (John 4:32).  And as He was sent by the Father, He sends us also!  As the Father sent Me, so send I you, He said (John 20:21).  His food can be our food!

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  Nor, dare I say, does a man live on the pleasures of this world.  They only kill and destroy in the end.  Our real pleasure, our real joy, our real happiness and peace are in Christ!  We must believe this!

His commandments are not a burden!  They are our great deliverance!

A man or woman enslaved to sin (Romans 6:20) has a cruel master--Satan--but those enslaved to righteousness (Romans 6:18) have the perfect Master--Jesus!  And the freest person in all the world is the one who makes himself a slave to the perfect Master!

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