The word “hood” has come to be identified largely as shorthand for “neighborhood.”  It’s yet another example of African-American culture taking over the American lexicon.  Fair is fair.  If their ancestors had to endure 250 years of oppression on this continent, I can stand being ridiculed for saying “bro” when the everyone else has advanced to “brah.”

At its etymological core, though, a “hood” is a collection, a set of similar individuals.  Neighbors join to form a neighborhood.  Women join to form a “sisterhood” — a community from which I am excluded by virtue of what I am and what I am not.

A “priesthood” works the same way.  Under the Law of Moses, certain ones from the tribe of Levi and the clan of Kohath were accepted.  Others were not — including most Levites and many Kohathites.  This seemed unreasonable to Moses’ cousin Korah (Numbers 16:1-4).  He wanted “the priesthood” (Numbers 14:10) to a greater degree than he was entitled.  And God struck him dead as a result.  The next chapter describes how the rod of Aaron, and no other, bore buds, flowers, and eventually ripe almonds — a clear sign from God who He wanted as His priest.

We should remember this when we are tempted to welcome outsiders into the “hood” of which only blood-bought Christians are to be members (1 Peter 2:5).  It is presumptuous for us to offer such an invitation, and presumptuous for others to accept it.

First we find grace.  Then we are permitted the honor of spiritual service and worship (Romans 12:1).  Not the other way around.

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