The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel…
God here lays down the lines along which men may rise to the dignity of the true priesthood. The ordinance did not secure the ideal reality. "The Law was weak through the flesh." Human choice and endeavor were requisite to attain to God's ideal priest. It is his privilege to receive from God, and to reveal to men.
I. DIVINE CHOICE AND HUMAN DESIRE MUST COMBINE TO MAKE A REAL PRIEST. The man, though born a Levite, must "come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose" (ver. 6). The human will must co-operate with God's will. This is the product of the second birth. In this ancient arrangement, we see the forecast of the Christian life - the true priesthood.
II. THE PRIEST'S OFFICE IS, NOT FOR HONOR, BUT FOR SERVICE. "He shall minister in the Name of the Lord his God." In other words, he shall serve in the stead of God, and by his authority. This is the hardest work, yet the most honorable. No toil or self-sacrifice can he decline while appearing in the stead of God, for he serves the noblest part of man. In God's kingdom there is no honor apart from character; and character is attained by service.
III. THE PRIEST'S EARTHLY NEEDS SHALL BE MET WITHOUT ANXIETY ON HIS PART. "They that minister at the altar shall partake of the altar" (vers. 3, 4, 8). While we are employed on the King's errands, the King will provide our rations. We have a Divine guarantee that bodily wants shall be supplied, for God himself is our inheritance. It is surely better to trust the Fount rather than the stream, the First Cause rather than the intermediate channel, the Creator rather than the creature. The priest shall be supplied before other men, for the firstfruits of corn and wine and oil are his. They that serve God without stint shall never be forgotten.
IV. THE TRUE PRIEST OCCUPIES THE APEX OF THE SOCIAL PYRAMID. The true priest really rules. For him all other orders of men toil. For the priest to possess any earthly inheritance would be a burden, a care, an injury. Others till the ground for him, thresh his corn, and winnow his grain. As a god, he receives. For other men the inferior creation toils and groans. The unreasoning animals bear his burdens and do his will. Yet these men, served well by the subordinate orders of life, wait upon the priest, and minister to his human wants. And in return, the real priest ministers to the hunger of the soul, and supplies light and guidance and hope. The real priest is the greatest benefactor to the human race; the counterfeit priest is a pest. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.