Thought for Thursday

There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing, a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing. Leviticus 22:10

A young man who was admitted to the fellowship of an Assembly I once knew had a difficult time understanding that the Assembly has a within and a without. He could never seem to understand what was wrong with his participating in some of the activities of the denominations, nor in allowing those in the denominations to be allowed to participate in Assembly activities. One day, he brought a friend with him on the Lord’s Day morning, and insisted that his friend be permitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The elders refused, and the friend left in a huff. We found out later that the man was not even a Christian, and that he had made a bet with his friends that he could gain access to the Assembly fellowship. Such people are just one of the reasons for the principle contained in today’s text.

Although an Old Testament application, this verse has a valuable lesson for us today. One of the great advantages of a priest was his access to the offerings unto the Lord. Generous portions of the heave shoulder, the wave breast, and the meal offering were intended for the priest and his immediate family. This reminds us today that the worship that is part of the gatherings of God’s Assembly is not only for God but also of great blessing to the believer-priests who make their offerings. Like the priests of old, we participate in the offerings by receiving a generous blessing for ourselves. The Jewish priests were not permitted to share the offering portions with those outside their families – only wives, children, and slaves were permitted to partake. Visitors had no portion at all. And so it is today; the seat of the unlearned is for those who have not entered into their role of believer-priests.

Why were the guest and the outsider excluded from partaking of the offerings? Because they were not part of the family. They lacked the qualifications to participate. And so do those who would visit our Assemblies. Some are not saved, and are therefore outside the family of those who appreciate the sacrifice of Christ. Some are disobedient and have forfeited their right to participate. Some have not yet learned what they must know in order to participate, just like Levites of old who had not yet been trained in the service of the offerings.

There is nothing casual about the worship of God, whether in Old Testament days or today. This holy privilege is not something that God allows outside of His direction and control. – Jim MacIntosh

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