The Priests’ Duties and Privileges
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 43:13-27, Ezekiel 44:1-31, 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 5:10
One of the things I loved most in my grandmother’s house was an old spinning wheel. It sat in the room that I always stayed in when I slept over. It wasn’t really usable anymore—it was an heirloom from the Civil War era. But, even as a little girl, I was fascinated by it. I wanted to know how it worked and who had used it in the years before I laid eyes on it. I would think about the women in my family who in previous generations had spun yarn on it that would be turned into blankets and clothes and table linens. I hoped that when I got older and my grandmother passed, it might one day be left to me to have in my own house. There were many things of my grandmother’s that I loved, but for some reason, that is one of the things I treasure most. It doesn’t have the greatest financial value, I just love it because I associate it with her and the time I spent in her home.
There is a rich meaning in the idea of an inheritance. Whether it is a small but meaningful knick-knack or a beloved family heirloom, an inheritance reminds us of the legacy that extends past a single life.
In Ezekiel 44 the priests from the line of Zadok were given the richest inheritance of all—God Himself. All the other Levite priests had violated their calling and the temple of God, but Zadok and his descendents remained faithful even in the face of rampant rebellion. In a scene reminiscent of Moses on Mount Sinai, as Ezekiel envisioned a new temple and a restored Israel, he received God’s directions for how the future temple would be structured and maintained in both building and practices. God gave specific instructions for how the Zadokite priests should live and minister (Ezekiel 44:15–27). These weren’t just so the priests could appear holier than thou, but for the purpose of teaching the Israelites the difference between the sacred and secular—the holy versus the commonplace (Ezekiel 44:23). As a reward for the work, their inheritance was different than everyone else. They received no land or special portion. God alone was their inheritance.
Let that sink in.
God could have given them anything they wanted—all the land, wealth, or possessions they ever dreamed of. But He didn’t. God gave the priests everything they needed. He was more than enough. In the midst of a people who had pushed God away, He was drawing these faithful priests even closer—His nearness, their reward. What seems like God withholding from the priests at first glance was actually a provision of abundance. He opened up His own table to them, giving them the best of the best—the firstfruits of everyone’s offering. This is the abundance that we are invited to partake in during the season of Lent—the kind of abundance we find only when everything but Christ is cleared away.
This was but a foretaste of the inheritance that has been given to us in Christ. The God of the universe saw fit to give us His only Son. He is enough. As the Great High Priest, He has called and commissioned us to be a royal priesthood, inheriting the very kingdom of God, and becoming temples of the Holy Spirit—His nearness, our greatest reward.