Numbers 8:14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine.”
Throughout the Old Testament we read of the priests and the Levites. These men were chosen by God for service in the tabernacle. God called them His own possession. They were to be separated from the rest of the nation and their lives set apart for total consecration to God. In this high position they served as those through whom sacrifices were made to God on behalf of the people, and through whom God spoke to the nation. They were cleansed and set apart in an elaborate ceremony in full view of the entire nation. They couldn’t do as they pleased. Theirs was a life of total commitment to be entered into with the utmost seriousness, for the welfare of the nation depended on it.
So, what does this tell us today? Is there any relevance to us? I think the Bible would answer this question with a most definite “Yes!” In 1 Peter 2:9-10 we are told this: “But 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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Just as the Levites and priests of the Old Testament were the very possession of God, so believers today are “a people of His own possession.”
It took me many years to come to grips with this. You see, as a young Christian I knew that I had asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I knew that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” Though I had some vague understanding of my responsibilities in light of this, I viewed my salvation as something I possessed, something that God had given me, but that was about as far as it went. It was a self-centered view of things. It was something for which I was thankful, but for which I saw very little obligation. As such, my faith was very weak. I spent very little, if any, time in the Word of God and in prayer. I pretty much just ran with the crowd, and although I was often indistinguishable from my friends who were not Christians, I had that inner awareness that I had been forgiven and that everything would be alright in the end, no matter how I lived.
But then I learned some things, some very hard things, about what Christianity really is. In God’s incredible patience, He allowed me to drift along with this attitude for a number of years, but then He put me to the test to reveal to me the misconceptions of my own heart and mind. He allowed me to be tested with some trials that shook my faith to the core, and one night in my bedroom, when I was all alone, the Lord impressed on me what Christianity really was. It was at that moment that it finally dawned on me that Christianity was an “all or none” proposition. Jesus had given His all for me, and to follow Him meant He wanted all of me. Christianity isn’t an add-on, something we tack on to a life lived otherwise as we pleased. No, Christianity was an “all or none” thing. Jesus wanted all of me – or none of me. There was no middle road.
And so I came to realize, that just as the Levites were the possession of God, so the Christian is as well. As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 asks us “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” And that’s exactly what true faith is. It’s an all or none thing. We are not our own. We are Christ’s possession. He is the master and we are the slave. What He says goes. As the psalmist said, “Know that the Lord, He is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3).” Similarly, Paul wrote to Titus about “Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:13-14).”
So, what about you? Do you see your faith, and Christ, as something that you possess as a part of your life, or something that possesses you – all of you? There’s a big difference between the two, and it’s a difference that makes all the difference in the world.
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