Read Joshua 20
Six cities of refuge appointed; forty-eight cities given to the Levites; Israel possesses the land.
And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the Commandment of the Lord, these cities and their suburbs (Josh. 21:3).
Aaron and his family were chosen from the tribe of Levi to be priests. They were responsible for performing the Tabernacle ceremonies, offering the sacrifices, and taking care of spiritual matters.
The families of the three sons of Levi were chosen to be the priests' helpers — Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites. They were responsible for erecting, transporting and preserving the Tabernacle.
Since the Levites received no inheritance in the promised land, the other tribes gave them forty-eight cities and a tithe of their income, produce, and cattle each year (see Num.18:21-28; Deut. 14:27-29). These cities were equally distributed throughout the tribes in order that every tribe would have spiritual guidance.
Nearly two-and-a-half centuries before this allotment, Jacob had prophesied of Levi: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel (Gen. 49:7). Without any reference to Jacob's prophecy, the ancient utterance became fact.
Each tribe was to provide for the financial welfare of the priests within its territory. It was not left up to the goodwill of the people but was the Command of God. This freed the Levites from being distracted by secular interests. It also made it clear it was not the will of God that those whom He called for spiritual service should be involved and distracted by temporal and material interests.
The Lord devoted the entire 21st chapter of Joshua — all 45 verses — to the necessity of supporting the ministry of His Word. When Israel was faithful in this responsibility, God mightily blessed them. When they failed to do so, the nation suffered.
This same principle holds true today. Every Christian is obligated to share in the support of those who are in full-time Christian service. The Apostle Paul illustrates this, saying: Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? . . . it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. . . . Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel (I Cor. 9: 7-14).
Thought for Today:
When you take from man the privilege of giving, you rob him of one of life's greatest pleasures.
By Eleazar, the chief priest (Josh. 21:1; Num. 3:32). Jesus Christ is our High Priest. The . . . High Priest of our profession (confession), Christ Jesus (Heb. 3:1).
20:2 Appoint out, Choose, Assign; 20:3 unwittingly, without premeditation, unintentionally; 20:4 declare his cause, state his case; 20:5 hated him not, was without malice; 20:9 stranger, foreign resident; sojourneth, temporarily dwells; at unawares, by accident; 21:1 heads, leaders; 21:4 lot, share.
Pray for International Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Edward Mantych • Staff: Gina Lesnefsky • Country: United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, & Wales) (59.4 million) off the coast of western Europe • Major languages: English and Welsh • Religious freedom • 55% Anglican; 16% Catholic; 6% Other Protestant; 2% Muslim; .9% Sikh; .8% Hindu; .6% Jewish; .2% Buddhist; 10.5% Other; 5% Unaffiliated • Prayer Suggestion: Make everything you do a matter of prayer (I Thess. 5:17).
Optional Reading: John 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:15