“Unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance” (Joshua 13:33).
Did God shortchange the Levites? While all the other tribes are getting a portion of the Promised Land, the Levites stand in the wings with no tangible inheritance of their own. It wasn’t that the tribes were getting something evil. They were getting something good, something promised to them for centuries!
Jesus provides some insight in Matthew 20. While the laborers worked a different number of hours, they all received a penny. In the heart of the disgruntled laborers, you will find the dangerous word. “But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more” (Matthew 20:10). They supposed. This word seems harmless, but it can be a trap. The word in Greek is related to the word “law.” It speaks of something believed so strongly it must be!
We err when we suppose. It’s our right. We believe it so and so it should be! Oh, the danger when we suppose. Mary and Joseph “supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey” (Luke 2:44). They carried on in life assuming something to be true, but in actuality, they had lost the Son of God! Could it not be true of us? Could we not suppose to be right with God and actually have grown distant from Him? Could we not suppose our due blessing and when we don’t receive it accuse God of deceit? This act of supposition is the expectation that God must answer to our law. However, Jesus asked the question, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? (Matthew 20:15).
When we suppose, it reveals our heart. As in Jeremiah’s day, they supposed they were on good terms with God and discounted the preaching of punishment with the message of “Peace, peace!” “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31). Jeremiah tells them to halt in their ways of supposition, honestly assess their self-deceit and ask for the ways of goodness. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: (Jeremiah 6:16)!
Sadly, many echo the response of Judah, “We will not walk therein…We will not hearken” (Jeremiah 6:16-17). In Paul’s day, he recognized, many would suppose “that gain is godliness” (1 Timothy 6:5). David provides the wholesome alternative in Psalm 145:16-18: “Thou openest thine hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, And holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth.”
Pursue godliness as great gain.