“At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The LORD is his inheritance, as the LORD your God said to him.” Deuteronomy 10:8-9
It always strikes me as remarkable that this tribe was set apart in such a way that they did not receive a portion or inheritance with the other tribes of Israel. God made conditions in the law to provide for them and ensure their well-being, but their lives did not look like the rest. The Lord made it clear that He was their inheritance.
I think it could be easy to look at this and think that He treated them unfairly. That He withheld good from them from the very beginning and they would have to just settle for less. But I think that God, in His wisdom and perfect love, was watching out for them. He didn’t want them to miss the glory and beauty and sufficiency of Him by getting distracted by the things of the world. He wanted them to be constantly reminded of their need for Him and very aware of His unending faithfulness to provide and sustain. He wanted them to know He was enough, and I believe this can be a great example to us of the all-sufficiency of our God.
David wrote in Psalm 16:5, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” He also wrote in Psalm 17:14 of the men of the world “whose portion is in this life,” stating in verse 15 that “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” I think David saw the supreme treasure that is our Lord. He recognized that to have the Lord as your portion is abundantly greater than anything this world has to offer.
Those whose portion is only in this life miss out. That’s why when we set our eyes and hearts on anything other than Christ, we’re left unsatisfied. So we keep searching and working toward an unattainable goal. Because the Lord is our portion. When we surrender to Him and see that He is our ultimate desire and delight, we find that beholding His glorious face, worshiping Him in the splendor of His majesty, we are satisfied to the very depths of our soul.
As contrary to the world as it is, as much as it goes against our prideful human nature, the truth is that when we lay ourselves down (ourselves, our lives, our family, our future, our past—everything) before the cross of Christ and humbly come into the presence of the God who reigns over all, we then know fullness of joy and the peace that passes all understanding.
Asaph wrote in Psalm 73:25-26, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” His focus wasn’t on pleasures that this earth offers. It wasn’t even on the splendor of heaven itself—streets of gold, walls of jewels, a sea of glass, and a lack of pain and sickness and death forever. It was on the One who makes heaven glorious, the One whose glory fills the earth and makes life worth living. The One whose steadfast love is better than life. The One who gives us strength even when we feel ourselves failing in every way.
“‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:24). We have hope because the Lord is our portion. Our hope doesn’t stand on what this world gives, because all of that can be taken away. Nothing really is certain. Nothing except Christ. It’s amazing that the God who is our portion is the one thing we can never lose. Because He never lets go of us. In Jeremiah 10, the Lord is speaking of idols and false gods, saying that they are worthless and a work of delusion. He then says, “Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name” (Jeremiah 10:16).
There is a clear distinction between our God and idols of any sort. Idols will fail us. Everything else is going to let us down at some point. But our true portion never will, “for He is the One who formed all things.” And He has chosen us as His inheritance, which just astounds me. The Lord of hosts has chosen to draw us near, to cover us with grace through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, and to make us His inheritance. So we have a hope that never lets us down and a portion that will always satisfy, because our God is that great and that faithful.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4