Don't Forget the Sacrifices

Today's bible passage is Ezekiel 44:15-31.   Yesterday I had this thought that more rules were to follow, and today I discover that is correct. 

The sons of Zadok, part of the Levitical priesthood, stayed true to God.   As a result, they get to minister TO God.  In the holy part of the temple, bringing the choices bits of the sacrifices before the Lord. 

  “But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God. 16 They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge.
 Ezekiel is given a list of what they are to wear (or not wear) when in the sanctuary and without, how to cut their hair, who to marry (virgins only or the widow of a priest),
  17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments. 20 They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads. 21 No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 
Their responsibilities are to teach the people the difference between the holy and common, the clean from the unclean, Act as judges, Keep God's laws, statutes, feasts, and keep the Sabbath holy.
 23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. 24 In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy.
Unless it is for family, they are not to go near a dead person for fear of defilement.  For family they can be defiled but it's a seven day waiting period to become clean again. On the day of his return to duty the priest must bring a sin offering.   
  25 They shall not defile themselves by going near to a dead person. However, for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister they may defile themselves. 26 After he has become clean, they shall count seven days for him. 27 And on the day that he goes into the Holy Place, into the inner court, to minister in the Holy Place, he shall offer his sin offering, declares the Lord God.

Normally families have an inheritance, but those in the priesthood do not have an earthly inheritance.  God is clear.  HE is their inheritance.  They have no possessions. Their food is the sin, grain, and guilt offering. They are to be brought the first fruits.  The food they eat is all the offerings from the people.  It's how God is going to take care of them. 
28 “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. 29 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, that a blessing may rest on your house. 31 The priests shall not eat of anything, whether bird or beast, that has died of itself or is torn by wild animals.

You know I'm amazed by this.  Really.
As a Pastor's wife I can hardly imagine being sustained on the food the people bring.   Not having to go out to the grocery store to buy my food.   And here, whole families, lived in the temple, and all their food came from what people brought in as sacrifices to the Lord.

I know we live in a different time now.  I get that.
People don't bring sacrifices to the Lord.
They bring in money.

Oh...hold on.....I suppose it's no different eh?
Pastor's continue to be sustained by the people they care for.  Instead of food coming in, it's actual money.  Money people sacrifice to give to the church. 

At least they should be. It's the model that God set up isn't it.

So when I hear of pastor's having to take second jobs just so they can support their families WHILE ministering to a full time congregation... that would be wrong.   It's not God's model for his people.

The minister SHOULD BE cared for by his flock.  Not as a job, but like one ministering to the Lord and his people.  Teaching them, showing them, making the way clear to how to obey the Lord. Taking care of your pastor and his family is not like paying someone to do a job, there should be a different emotion involved there.

And for me.. ME.. I need to remember the sacrifices people make so that I do have food on my table and a place to live.   This is important.  May I never forget this.  NEVER.

You can read more in my Ezekiel Studies here and here.


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