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).
Unlike all the other tribes of Israel, Levi was not given separate territory (Joshua 14:3). Unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He said unto them (13:33). But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance (18:7).
The Levites were divided into three groups according to the descendants of Levi’s three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. But only those Israelites who were descendants of Levi through Kohath’s grandson Aaron could be priests and serve in the Tabernacle. However, even some of these descendants were physically disqualified to be ministers at the altar because of disabilities and defects. Others were spiritually disqualified because they violated one or more of the Commandments (Leviticus 21:1-23). The priests were responsible for preserving, transcribing, teaching, and interpreting the Law. They were also the civil officers responsible for the administration of the Law (Deuteronomy 17:9-12; 31:9,11-12,26). All the Levites, not merely the ones who were responsible for the worship at the Tabernacle, were to receive an equal share of the tithes from the other tribes. Each tribe was to provide for the physical welfare of the priests within its own territory. This was not left up to the goodwill of the people but was a command from God. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils (Heb. 7:4).
God devoted 42 of the 45 verses in the 21st Chapter of Joshua to emphasizing the Israelites’ obligation to support the ministers of His Word. God's principle, set in motion with the Levites, is still applied today. No one is too poor to be exempt from giving his tithe which is proportionately equal for all and is designated to the ministry of His Word.
The Apostle Paul illustrated this saying: For it is written... Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. . . . If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal (material) things?. . . the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:9-11,14).
Thought for Today:
Gossip often causes barriers that keep us from being the blessing we want to be.
20:3 avenger of blood, the nearest relative of a slain person who was to avenge his death by destroying the slayer; 21:2 suburbs, pasturelands; 21:32 refuge, protection
Optional Reading: John 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 14:11