THURSDAY JANUARY 17
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 21
BY: Joe Ligon
This chapter details the last and crowning act of the allocation of the land in Canaan. The leaders of the tribe of Levi made their claim for towns and the surrounding pasture lands that Moses had promised them. (See Numbers 35:1-8)
Once the distribution had been completed, the Levites had been given 48 towns (cities) including six cities of refuge. These cities were scattered throughout the new nation. It has been estimated that no one in Israel lived more than 10 miles from one of the towns given to the Levites. This meant that every Israelite had someone within easy walking distance who was supposed to be well versed in Scripture and could provide Biblical guidance for all the problems of life.
The distribution was done according to the three main branches or clans in the tribe of Levi. These corresponded to Levi’s three sons: Kohath, Gershon, and Merari.
Once these allocations had been made, we get to verse 43. The last three verses of this chapter are some most powerful words. We read where God kept His Word and fulfilled His promises.
Where I grew up, there were some unwritten rules that most people lived by. One of those was “a man is only as good as his word”. What we meant by that is if a man lied to you, he was not a good man. But if he kept his word, if you could trust his word, he was a good man. And a man who would keep his word even in difficult circumstances was even a better man.
I still operate under that premise. In fact, over the years, I have said this to a lot of people. But the point of the last three verses of this chapter is not to lend credence to the rules we lived by when I was growing up. The point of the last three verses of this chapter is to remind us that God is a good God. And one of the things that makes Him a good God is He keeps His Word.
If you are familiar with the story of Israel, you know they were a difficult people. They often let circumstances diminish their faith. They were known to rebel. They complained about everything. At one point, some of them actually tried to replace Moses as their leader.
When you think about the character of Israel, it would be understandable if we read here that God got fed up with the whole lot of them and didn’t give them the land that He promised. But when God gives us a promise, the fulfillment of that promise is based upon His character not ours. God will not, indeed cannot, go back on a promise.
That should give us great comfort and encouragement today. We can trust God’s Word. We can rely upon His promises. We can count on God to do exactly what He said He would do.