Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 21:1-2 (NIV)
Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, “The Lord commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock.”
Joshua 21:1-2 (MSG)
The ancestral heads of the Levites came to Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the other tribes of the People of Israel. This took place at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. They said, “God commanded through Moses that you give us cities to live in with access to pastures for our cattle.”
“Then the heads of the households of the Levites came to Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” -AMPLIFIED
Every tribe had received their inheritance; their land allotment. All except for the Levites; they were the last. The Levites did not receive a large piece of land like all the other tribes. They were to be different. They had been set-apart by God to serve Him in a particular way. Because of this designation, instead of receiving a large mass of land they received cities provided to them by the God through the people. “The Levitical priests and the whole tribe of Levi will not have any inherited property within Israel. They will be supported by the sacrifices and other offerings that are burnt and set aside for the Eternal. They won’t have any share in the land, as the other Israelites do, but the Eternal Himself will be their share as He promised.” -Deuteronomy 18:1-2 (VOICE)
This was a special arrangement and provision made by God only for the Levites. He would provide for them and take care of their every need so that they could focus wholly on Him and serve Him fully. Basically, the Levites inheritance was God Himself. “But the Levites have no portion among you, because the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance.” -Joshua 18:7a (AMP)
Numbers 18 explains what the Levites position was to be and why. “Behold, I have given the Levites all the tithe in Israel as an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle). The Israelites shall never again approach the Tent of Meeting [the covered sanctuary, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies], or they [who do] will incur sin and die. Only the Levites shall perform the service of the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle), and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that the Levites shall have no inheritance [of land] among the children of Israel. But the tithe of the Israelites, which they present as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the children of Israel.’” -Numbers 18:21-24 (AMP)
“They were blessed and chosen because their actions signified their loyalty to the covenant. Thus, the prophecy of Jacob that Levi’s descendants would be scattered throughout Israel was fulfilled, not as a curse but as a blessing. Their zeal for the Lord caused the male Levites (except for Aaron’s family, who were already designated as priests) to be set apart as caretakers of the tabernacle and as aides to the priests. Each clan in the tribe now had specific duties related to the tabernacle.” -Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary
Though they did not receive a land inheritance they still needed somewhere to live. So God had the Israelites set aside 48 cities, scattered throughout the land, as places for them to take residence. It averaged out to be 4 cities given by each tribe. “The Levites were not the sole possessors or occupiers of these cities. They were simply allowed to live in them and have fields to pasture their herds. These cities did not cease to belong to the tribes within which they were located…Six of the 48 were asylums for those guilty of manslaughter (Kedesh, Schechem, Hebron in Canaan, Bezer, Ramoth-Gilead, and Golan).” -Holman Bible Dictionary
This difference and distinction between the tribe of Levi and all the other tribes some may look on as a curse; when in fact, it was a blessing. God Himself had promised to take care of their every need. God had hand-picked these people to give service to Him. He provided for them in a unique way too; by giving them a place to live that would not detract or diminish their attention given to Him. Most importantly, the Levites were selected by God Himself because He was to be their inheritance. Stop and think about that for a moment. This was a unique blessing and a distinct relationship from all the other people. It was to be their honor to serve God Most High.
As a child of God our relationship with Him should also be much like the Levites relationship. Do not ever feel like you are missing out on something else; for the Lord God is your inheritance. You have been blessed and chosen for a purpose, to give service to the Most High God. Do not be enticed by the things of this World, which are just temporary. Instead, remember this, “Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is a shortsighted practice—don’t undertake it. Moths and rust will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your home sand steal your precious trinkets. 20 Instead, put up your treasures in heaven where moths do not attack, where rust does not corrode, and where thieves are barred at the door.” -Matthew 6:19-20 (VOICE)
My Prayer: Lord, help me to remember who I am in you. I have been set-apart to do good in order to bring glory to you. This is a blessing and not a curse. I am overwhelmed by the fact that you handpicked me to be your child; this is both humbling and astonishing. Help me to live my life in such a way that you are blessed, Lord. Thank you for choosing me!