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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Shoftim 48-4


Deuteronomy 18:6-13

If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the LORD will choose, he may minister in the name of the LORD his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the LORD.

Deut. 18:6-7 NIV

What is the yearning of our souls?

The Levite priests didn't serve the Eternal the whole year. They had 24 shifts so each one of them would serve two or three weeks a year.

However, this text shows us that any priest could come at anytime to the chosen place to minister in the sanctuary and offer his own offerings even when it wasn't his turn. It also teaches us that a Levite priest could come to the Feasts and present additional offerings for the Feasts even if it wasn't his turn.

Besides, the text teaches us that what drives a Levite priest to perform the sacred service is a deep yearning from his soul. In this way, what motivates him to serve is not obligation but his own desire.

The one who serves out of obligation is in a low level; the one who serves out of his own will has reached a mature soul. There are moments in which our souls experience the service to the Eternal as something fastidious. It is because of the yetser harah, the evil inclination, who doesn't like serving the Eternal. Sometimes it can also be tiredness in our body or soul what makes it difficult for us to serve Him with joy.

However, the more the inner man the spiritual man, the good inclination, the spirit of our superior soul or yetser hatov grows, the more we will learn to suppress the feelings of nuisance from the sin that is in our body and inferior soul. The solution against boredom in our relationship with the Eternal is to seek intimacy and the spiritual and allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of the Eternal. The Spirit of the Eternal helps us in our weakness when we open up to Him. Nourishing our superior soul spirit with the Torah's food increases the desire to be close to the Eternal and serve Him joyfully.

The one who doesn't know how it is to be in the Eternal's presence and experience His Spirit, will never be able to serve Him with all the joy and will of his soul.

"Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing... As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?... My soul longs, yes, even faint for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Ps. 100:2; 42:1-2; 84:2 NKJV)

"With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early…" (Isa. 26:9a NKJV)

The same word that the Torah uses to express the desire of the Levite priest to come to the place where heaven and earth encounter is the one that appears in Psalm 132:13-14 in which it talks about the desire of the Eternal for Yerushalayim, His favourite place, as it's written: "For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place. This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it." (NKJV)

This teaches us that not only we can experience that deep desire of our souls of an intimate spiritual relationship with the living God, but that He also wishes to be close to us, as it is also written in Song of Songs 2:14: "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely." (NKJV)

He desires us more than we desire Him.

How wonderful is our Heavenly Father! Blessed is He for yearning for us so much!


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