Daily reading assignment: Joshua 19-21
Joshua 19 – A selfless, godly leader
After dividing the land according to tribe, Joshua was the last to receive his inheritance. Honoring him for his years of faithful service, the “children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua… [and]they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein” (19:49-50).
A word of caution: Don’t make the mistake of glibly passing over the names of cities and territories listed in Joshua 19 and miss an important lesson. Although the names of the cities may be foreign and difficult to pronounce, they remind us of an important truth: God fulfilled His promise, and Israel was settled in her land.
Joshua 20 – Cities of Refuge for the Innocent Accused of Murder
The LORD commanded Joshua to establish six “cities of refuge” in the land (20:1-2). Moses had already assigned three cities on the east side of the Jordan River (20:8; Deuteronomy 4:41-43). To those three remaining Joshua designated three cities west of the Jordan (20:7).
Reflecting the sanctity of human life and the principle of capital punishment established by God (Genesis 9:5-6; Exodus 20), the cities of refuge afforded a safe place for those who had unintentionally taken the life of another man (20:3-4). Because there was no law enforcement, the cities of refuge provided a place where a man’s case could be judged by the elders of the city and his life protected from those who felt compelled to avenge the death of a loved one (20:5).
Two regulations governed who might find refuge from an avenger (20:6). The first was the responsibility of the inhabitants of the city to determine if a man was guilty or innocent of murder. If guilty, the accused would be turned over to the avenger. If innocent of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, the accused must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest.
Joshua 21 – Cities Assigned to the Tribe of Levi
We have been reminded on several occasions that the priestly tribe of Levi would not receive its own land. Serving the LORD and the congregation, the Levites’ physical needs were to be met by the sacrificial gifts of God’s people.
The tribe of Levi requested the cities they had been promised for their inheritance in the land (Joshua 21:1-3) and were assigned forty-eight cities, by family, and scattered throughout the tribal lands (21:4-42). It was the ministry of the Levites to minister to the people and teach them the Word and Law of God (2 Chronicles 17:9).
I invite you to consider three affirmations concerning the faithfulness of God as we close today’s commentary.
1) The LORD gave Israel “all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers” (21:43).
2) He gave the nation victory over her enemies and “gave them rest” (21:44).
3) Not one “good thing” the LORD had promised failed (21:45).
What a great and faithful God we serve!
2 Corinthians 1:20 – 20 For all [every one of] the promises of God in him [Christ] are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Copyright 2020– Travis D. Smith