The Levites, as a tribe, were not assigned a territory like their brethren. They were allotted, however, towns within each tribe’s territory. Forty-eight towns in twelve territories were given to them along with limited pasture land surrounding the town. Since their primary role was to serve in the Tent of Meeting why does the Lord spread them throughout the land?
The duties of the Levitical priesthood include:
The teaching of the Law - “That you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses” (Leviticus 10:11). “They shall teach Jacob Your judgments, and Israel Your law” (Deuteronomy 33:10).
Offering the sacrifices - Leviticus 9
Maintaining the Tabernacle and the Temple - Numbers 18:3
Regulating accuracy of weights and measurements used in Israel - Leviticus 19:35-36
Scattering the Levites throughout the territories reminded all of Israel of their obligations to God and to one another. Their presence and activity held Israel accountable before God in the areas of Bible literacy and spiritual, physical, and social welfare.
"In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasture lands" (Numbers 35:7).
Commenting on the results of a recent study measuring religion in America reporters say "Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state." (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,506849,00.html ).
Many churches in the Northeast are now tea rooms and many towns are without churches in their midst. The Northeast is also noted for its extreme liberalism. Is there a connection? You bet.
In the reign of Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 17) when the priests actually functioned as they were supposed to function the Bible teaches that three things happen:
Proclamation - they taught the Word of the Lord to the people
Protection - the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdom's around the revived people
Peace - the reign of Jehoshaphat was marked by peace
In the same way, lively churches establish a biblical standard in the community. Proclamation of the standard brings about a right walk and thus protects the community against the world's encroachments. Then God's people experience peace.
The current religious climate of America reflects the poisonous fruit of dead churches. When God's Word is not proclaimed there is no power in the pulpit and the flock experiences famine. Once famine occurs in the church house there is no peace nor protection throughout the land. As goes the church so goes the community.
Lively churches rooted in sound doctrine are a boon for communities. In fact, years ago many land developers set apart tracks of land for community churches; now prime corner lots are sold for a premium to Walgreens. Medication and convenience characterizes our communities--no wonder there is such a spiritual vacuum!
Every community needs a lively church.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
What do you learn about the boundaries of modern Israel when you compare a recent map with the boundaries given by God in Numbers 34?
Why was it important to God that Levites have towns in every tribal land?
Why were cities of refuge established for the people and on both sides of the Jordan?
What does this tell you about God?
What is significant about the Lord's ruling regarding the inheritance of Zelophehad's daughters?
Turning truth into prayer:
Pray for your church. Pray for the proclamation of the Word of God from its pulpit and witness of its members to the community.