What’s your prize?

That’s the question that kept popping into my head as I read through Numbers over the last week. While this section of the Bible may not be the most famous, it is rich with God communicating His heart and desires to His people. And that’s good! Because the best relationships begin with clear communication about expectations, right?

But what happens when God communicates something that reveals the true state of your heart?

That’s what happened to me when I read Numbers 18. 

In Numbers 18, God is giving specific instructions to Aaron and his descendants, who are set apart as the priests and Levites. It’s a big job, as God explains to Aaron in verse 2, “Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the tent of the covenant law.” Then He goes on in verses 6-7, “I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift.”

You can sense the weight of responsibility that this role will hold. And because God is so generous, the next several verses are full of promises for how God will care for the priests. Any time a word, phrase, or idea is repeated in Scripture, it’s God’s way of saying this matters. And Numbers 18 is no exception:

“I give to you…” (Numbers 18|8)

“This also is yours…” (Numbers 18|11a)

“I give this to you and your sons and daughters…” (Numbers 18|11b)

“I give you…” (Numbers 18|12)

“…will be yours.” (Numbers 18|13)

“Their meat is to be yours…” (Numbers 18|18)

“I give to you and your sons and daughters…” (Numbers 18|19)

But then, verse 20 hit me like a ton of bricks:

The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.

You will have no inheritance, but I will be your inheritance. You will have no share among the people, but I am your share.

I wonder what was happening in Aaron’s heart when he heard that. Sure – God had generously promised so much in the preceding verses, but He sets the priests apart in a different way in verse 20. And it begs the question: what is your prize? 

If you get no accolades, no prestige, and no visibility for the ways you serve… if you just get God’s presence… is that enough? Is God’s presence your prize?

You may not be a descendant of Aaron, but 1 Peter 2|9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” God’s presence is the greatest treasure we can hold. My prayer is that we will see Him as our prize, focusing on the intimacy we receive from Him rather than earthly possessions or inheritance.

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About the Author: Maggie Johnson
Maggie grew up in the South where she learned to love Jesus and the local church. She took that love to Chicago where she attended Moody Bible Institute and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Biblical Studies. Now as the Communications Director at 2|42, Maggie gets to help people take their next steps with Jesus and the church. Maggie and her husband Will have two kids who take up all of their free time, and they wouldn’t want it any other way.

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