Why is it important? I’m glad you asked. 😉
This whole chapter concerns the priestly line that God is establishing through Aaron and his sons. (Numbers18:1) A priest is simply a mediator between God and man. The events of the last few chapters have proven the truth of Numbers 15:39, that we are inclined to “whore after” the desires of our own hearts and eyes. If you take a ruthless look at your own heart, you will know the truth of this. An examination of my own heart reveals the same. Scripture says that those who fail to acknowledge this are deceiving themselves and making God a liar. (1 John 1:8, 10)
The sinfulness of man and the holiness of God revealed the need for mediators between God and man – and the priests were those mediators in the Old Testament, with the “high priest” (Aaron at this time) being the chief mediator. Aaron’s important role is revealed in Numbers 18 in the fact that God spoke directly to him (Numbers 18:1, 8), instead of through Moses. The priests would stand between God and man and bear God’s wrath on behalf of the people. (Numbers 18:5)
So what does all this have to do with the verse I asked you to underline?
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 makes it clear that Jesus assumed this high priest role forever at the cross. Read it. Jesus is now the high priest of all those whose hope is in Him and Him alone. And, further, those who recognize Jesus as their High Priest are now, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus is the new Aaron, and Christians are the new priestly line because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Okay, back to Numbers 18:20. This verse is saying that the priests would not share in the inheritance of the land when Israel came into the promised land. All of the other tribes of Israel would receive part of the land as an inheritance, but the priestly tribe of Levi (of which Aaron and his sons were a part) would not receive an inheritance of land. They get something better than a physical inheritance. Here comes the sentence I asked you to underline: “I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.” God is telling Aaron and his sons and their tribe, “everyone else gets land, you get a special set-apart relationship with me. I am your inheritance.”
Now go back up to what I said in the previous paragraph. Who are God’s priests today? Believers. Those who look to Jesus as their High Priest and for whom He bore God’s wrath on the cross, are now God’s “chosen race” and “royal priesthood” according to 1 Peter 2:9. So, Numbers 18:20 is God’s promise to believers today.
Read Ephesians 1:11. “In Him (Jesus) we have obtained an inheritance…”. What is this inheritance?
“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…” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
What, or rather Who, is this imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance? It is Jesus Himself. Believers do not get a physical inheritance. Therefore, it should not be surprising when things don’t always go well for Christians. When believers suffer or struggle, it is simply a reminder that the believer’s inheritance is not a physical one, but an imperishable, undefiled and unfading one.
Jesus is my portion and my inheritance. And He is enough for whatever life brings. I am pleading with Him to be yours as well.