Thursday, August 8, 2013

With All My Heart

But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, 
since the offerings made by fire to the LORD, 
the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them.
Joshua 13:14

Clan by Clan the Israelites were allocated their inheritance, the promised land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 1 They were given the gift of rest.

The tribe of Levi inherited the gift of work, offerings made by fire to the LORD.

I think if I was Mrs. Levi, I would be a little unhappy with the retirement package.

I can't wait to retire to our 200 acres of "land" up north. I look forward to the day when my full time career gives way to full time tranquil idleness, my most arduous activity a stroll to my prayer altar deep in the woods to pray, meditate, dream, or blog.
I'm not really sure I would be pleased to learn my brothers had inherited the family homestead promising easy, carefree retirement living in a lush land of mountains and valleys that drank rain from heaven, while I was apportioned...WORK.

We've come a long way in 2000 years, haven't we?
What was once considered a privilege, is now considered a penalty. What was once accepted as an honor is now a hindrance.
Work?  No thank you.    Sacrifice? No thanks.   Worship? Rather not.

It has often troubled me to consider how much a part of early jewish life revolved around God compared to the 21st century of today. 
The lives of the ancient fathers, prophets, and people centered around expected encounters with the Lord. It was the rule, not the exception. 

God wasn't a by-product of a religious life in those days, He WAS life. 

Sadly, what was once embraced as a holy and devoted routine is now considered a radical fanaticism.
We would rather play, than pray. Pursue pleasurable agenda's rather than practice sacrificial obedience. Love self rather than the Lord.

In her book, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WOMEN SAY Yes TO God, Lysa Terkeurst aptly writes;
...radical obedience is not really that radical. It is really biblical obedience--but we've strayed so far from biblical obedience that it now seems radical.

Where in the world have we gone wrong? We have lost all sense of God, We have--
exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. 2

We might think we desire rest, but our souls long to labor in worship.
For the Levites, loving the Lord wasn't a burden, it was joyful obedience.

I have been awestruck recently by the Hebrew definition of Love as used in Deuteronomy 6:5: Ahahvah
"Ahahvah goes beyond emotions. Ahahvah can also mean to act lovingly toward or to be loyal to.When the Israelites were commanded to love God as part of their covenant, we can read it as not so much about passionate feelings as much as an utter commitment to loyalty toward God, the One they obeyed."3

Love, then, meant action!  And actions speak louder than words.

If sacrificing my rest for the work of worship =loving God through obedience, then I will take the inheritance of radical sold out faith any day.  I will love. I will obey. I will do what he says do!

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5

1  Deuteronomy 11:11
2 Romans 1:25
3 Lois Tverberg, WALKING in the DUST OF RABBI JESUS, Zondervan 2012, 44-45