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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:
Joshua 13:14 "Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said unto them."
When Joshua divided up the land of Canaan among the 12 tribes of Israel, he gave land to every tribe except one: Levi. Of the twelve sons of Jacob, two had been replaced in what came to be known as the twelve tribes of Israel. These two replaced tribes were Joseph and Levi. The tribe of Joseph, although unnamed, was present in his sons - which were the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
But Levi - the tribe of the priests - seems to be just left out and without an inheritance. Actually, Levi was not forgotten. The priests had an inheritance, it just wasn't of this earth. And herein lies a beautiful lesson for each of us (as we are called to be kings and priests in our Father's service - Revelation 5:10).
Joshua 13:33 "But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He said unto them."
At first it seems a terrible snub. Why didn't the tribe of Levi get an inheritance? But it only looks like Levi was snubbed until you read about what their inheritance was to be. Levi didn't inherit earthly land. Levi was to receive Yahweh God as their personal inheritance! Wow! What a "consolation Prize"! In fact, this Inheritance is far better than any plot of ground!
It reminds me of the story of Moses. He had struck the rock a second time. Since the rock represented Christ, striking it represented Christ's Death. But, as Scripture tells us in Hebrews 10:10, Yahshua died once, for all. This is why Moses was only to strike the rock once. But Moses was angry with all the grumbling people. And he struck the rock twice. Water gushed out to refresh the thirsty multitude, but the consequence was that Moses would now not be allowed to accompany Israel into the Canaan land. Because of his disobedience in this situation, God would let Moses see Canaan with his eyes, but not touch it with his feet. We read about this story in Deuteronomy 34:
Deuteronomy 34:1-7 "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the Word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."Like the tribe of Levi, Moses was not to receive the earthly inheritance. But his story doesn't end there... In Jude 9, we read that Yahweh sent the archangel Michael to raise Moses from the dead and bring him Home (1 Thessalonians 4:16). There was a brief argument when the devil contended that Moses shouldn't be raised, but we know how it ended. For Moses appeared with Elijah accompanying Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18, Matthew 17:1-6).
Some wonder if Moses and Elijah are alive today, because of the misunderstood Scripture in John 3:13. Consider the following link to get some perspective on this verse: Bible Question Archive. Also, see the chart below which fully translates John 3:13 from the Interlinear:
It says, "And no one has gone up (also means "will have gone up") into Heaven (This Greek word means the place of the Throne of God - or Eternity) if not (for the) One out of Heaven having come down: the Son of Man, Who is (was) in Heaven."
In other words, no one could have had the ability to be taken to Heaven if not for the redemptive Work of the Son, Who came down from Heaven to save us. Had it not been for Him, no one from earth could enter into Heaven - ever. It did not mean that humans aren't in Heaven. Rather it meant that because of Yahshua, humans can be in Heaven. This is why Christ mentions this to Nicodemus while speaking to him about Eternal Life. When one sees the real meaning of this misunderstood verse, there is no conflict with the many verses which reference people being taken to Heaven during Bible times. And with that brief deviation for clarification, I continue with my point about Moses.
So, Moses is denied physical Canaan, but taken to Ultimate Canaan... What a "consolation prize"! I mean, if you had asked Moses to choose between being admitted into physical Canaan, or the Heavenly, which would he have picked? I think the Heavenly Inheritance would have won - hands down!
The same was true for Levi - and us. Levi, the priests, were not given an earthly inheritance. They were given a Heavenly one! Their ties were not to be of this world - but the next! Far from being left out or snubbed, Levi gets the best part of the deal! And this message is meant for each of us.
We are all called to be priests and kings, in our Father's service (Revelation 5:10). Thus we see that, like the tribe of Levi, this world is not to be our home. We are but pilgrims passing through. We are to be among those who "desire a better country" - a Heavenly One. In this way, God is our inheritance! What a beautiful and encouraging thought! Let's live like it!
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city."