There were two groups of priests in the temple – those whose compromised lives made them fit only to minister to the people and the faithful Zadok priests who ministered to the Lord. This is a longish passage but it describes the distinction between the two groups.
Ezekiel 44:10-16 And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it. But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.
You would think that these Zadok priests would have lives so very prosperous and blessed because of their faithfulness to God. Perhaps the very windows of heaven would be open over their lives, pouring out blessings and wealth they couldn’t contain. Blessings surely must be chasing them down and overtaking them. Shockingly, this was not the case.
Ezekiel 44:28 It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.
They had no land of their own, nothing they could say was theirs …except for God. He was their portion.
The Lord provided their food from what was His:
Ezekiel 44:29-30 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering; every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs. The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest’s; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house.
The Lord provided their housing from what was His:
Ezekiel 45:1 Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the LORD, a holy section of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand.
Ezekiel 45:4 It shall be holy throughout its territory all around. It shall be a holy section of the land, belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to minister to the LORD; it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary.
They ate what was holy. They lived in a holy place. The presence of God and ministry to Him was the center of everything- literally.
I wonder if others thought it was a restrictive life, feeling sorry for these Zadok priests who did not have a possession of their own. Meanwhile, these priests lived near the very presence of God and spent their days serving Him, feeling sorry for those who did not have Him as their possession.