In Joshua 21 we find recorded a series of land transactions between the people of Israel and the Levites. Now that the land has been successfully settled, the Levites, those families who served in the tabernacle, desire to have their lands and homes as well. They request what God has promised them and are given it. What stands out to me in this chapter is the location of the Levites within the land. They are interspersed among all twelve tribes according to the throw of the Lot.
God wanted his ministers to live with the people, in their midst and so he took special care to make sure that every tribe had the presence of the levites in their midst. Why? For no other reason than that God intended the preaching of the word to be held out to all the nation. He was seeking a way to ensure that no one from the promised people missed out on hearing the word and the sacrifices taught and displayed in their midst.
Isn’t this the very concept of incarnation at work. God dwells in the midst of his people in order to teach them, call them, guide them and direct them? Isn’t this what Christ did when he called the 12 and sent them out to the nations in order to send the Christian, now a minister of the gospel, into the midst of all people in order that every one might hear and have the chance to respond to the gospel story of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection?
And if my reading is correct, then the statement of Joshua 21:45 is also true, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” In Christ, all the promises of Scripture are yes and Amen we are told in 2Corinthians 1:20 and Ephesians reminds us that we lack no good thing in Christ but instead have been given every spiritual blessing in him.
And so, like the Levites and then Christ and the 12 apostles, we live in the midst of the world proclaiming the wonders of God to a people in need of the message of God’s love and redemption.