1 Chronicles 6:54-81 (Part 1) – God Was Pretty Smart There…I See It Now!

Posted: January 6, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 6:54-81 (Part 1 of 2)

Territory for the Levites

Yesterday, I preached a very important sermon in the life of our church. It was called “20/20 Vision 2020”. In that sermon, I assessed where are at in each of our church’s ministry areas (the 20/20 vision piece) and then set the vision, the goals, for each ministry area for 2020 (the Vision 2020 piece). You can’t get where you want to go unless you (1) know where you are starting from and (2) know where you want to go from there. During the first six months of our pastorate here, we have been reviewing, observing, and building toward this Sunday when we could lay out a real vision for the next year of this church as God has placed it in my heart. The key thing about yesterday’s sermon was about being where the people are and providing ways to engage them and keep them once they are inside our doors. We can’t be an effective church for the kingdom if we are not intentional about engaging the world around us.

We may well fall far short of our goals for 2020 but the message yesterday was about not having a defeatist attitude because (1) we live in an increasing anti-Christian world or a world that is increasing ambivalent or even hostile toward things of Christ or because (2) we are a relatively, small and aging church. The first step to greatness is belief. The first step to glory is believing that you can. In sports, there is a percentage of the total make-up of a team is that will to win, that belief that victory can be yours, regardless of what the outside world or the oddsmakers think. It is the same in church, you gotta believe than you CAN instead of believing that you CAN’T. You have already lost if you believe that you CAN’T. We must believe that we can be a growing and impactful church for the kingdom. When you look at the Roman Empire, they began to decline once they quit advancing the empire and began to get caught up with internal things. They quit advancing and began building walls around the empire. That’s when the decline began. They no longer had a WE-CAN attitude. They had a WE-NEED-TO-PROTECT-WHAT-WE-GOT attitude. My message yesterday was that we must engage and advance and we must believe that we can. We must be where the people are. We can no longer expect them to come to walls of the kingdom and knock on the door to be let in. We must leave the walls and go out and we must believe that we can advance the kingdom and we must believe that WE CAN.

When I read this passage, it reminded me of my sermon yesterday. This idea of the Levites being in each tribe’s region of allotted lands and not having a separate land of their own was what struck a chord with me this morning. Let’s read this passage, 1 Chronicles 6:54-81, for the first time this morning of two blogs on this passage:

54 This is a record of the towns and territory assigned by means of sacred lots to the descendants of Aaron, who were from the clan of Kohath. 55 This territory included Hebron and its surrounding pasturelands in Judah, 56 but the fields and outlying areas belonging to the city were given to Caleb son of Jephunneh. 57 So the descendants of Aaron were given the following towns, each with its pasturelands: Hebron (a city of refuge),[a] Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, 58 Holon,[b] Debir, 59 Ain,[c] Juttah,[d] and Beth-shemesh. 60 And from the territory of Benjamin they were given Gibeon,[e] Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth, each with its pasturelands. So thirteen towns were given to the descendants of Aaron. 61 The remaining descendants of Kohath received ten towns from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh by means of sacred lots.

62 The descendants of Gershon received by sacred lots thirteen towns from the territories of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and from the Bashan area of Manasseh, east of the Jordan.

63 The descendants of Merari received by sacred lots twelve towns from the territories of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.

64 So the people of Israel assigned all these towns and pasturelands to the Levites. 65 The towns in the territories of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, mentioned above, were assigned to them by means of sacred lots.

66 The descendants of Kohath were given the following towns from the territory of Ephraim, each with its pasturelands: 67 Shechem (a city of refuge in the hill country of Ephraim),[f] Gezer, 68 Jokmeam, Beth-horon, 69 Aijalon, and Gath-rimmon. 70 The remaining descendants of Kohath were assigned the towns of Aner and Bileam from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh, each with its pasturelands.

71 The descendants of Gershon received the towns of Golan (in Bashan) and Ashtaroth from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh, each with its pasturelands. 72 From the territory of Issachar, they were given Kedesh, Daberath, 73 Ramoth, and Anem, each with its pasturelands. 74 From the territory of Asher, they received Mashal, Abdon, 75 Hukok, and Rehob, each with its pasturelands. 76 From the territory of Naphtali, they were given Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kiriathaim, each with its pasturelands.

77 The remaining descendants of Merari received the towns of Jokneam, Kartah,[g] Rimmon,[h] and Tabor from the territory of Zebulun, each with its pasturelands. 78 From the territory of Reuben, east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho, they received Bezer (a desert town), Jahaz,[i] 79 Kedemoth, and Mephaath, each with its pasturelands. 80 And from the territory of Gad, they received Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, 81 Heshbon, and Jazer, each with its pasturelands.

In this passage, we are reminded that the tribe of Levi was not given a specific area of land as were the other tribes. Instead, the Levites were to live throughout the land in order to aid the people of every tribe in their worship of God. Thus, the Levites were given towns and pasturelands within the allotted areas of the other tribes (see Joshua 13:14 and 13:33).

As we can see here in this passage, it was part of God’s plan for his priestly clan, the Levites, to be among the people. He did not give them a separate land and force the other tribes to come to them. He placed the Levites among all the peoples. He wanted them to be in the communities and regions of the other tribes so that they could be the teachers and leaders of the worship of God to the everyday Israelites of the other tribes of Israel. God knows what He is doing. Even this ancient text screams out to us that we have to be out among the people and not withdraw into our churches. We must be out there among them so that they know of Jesus Christ. Our churches are to be the launching point for us to do ministry from. Our churches should be our filling stations for us to refuel and go back out amongst the people. We should view our churches as that rallying point from which we reach out into the world. Our churches should not be the end game, they should be the starting point. We have our church buildings as gathering places where we are equipped, encouraged, challenged, and led to reach out to the world around us both individually and corporate as members of the church. That was the embedded message of yesterday’s sermon.

But it all first begins with the belief that WE CAN do it. WE CAN make a difference in our community. WE CAN spread the gospel. WE CAN reach out to the world around us. WE CAN do things in new and different ways to engage an increasingly secular world. WE CAN because we believe in an awesome God through whom nothing is impossible. Just read His Word, even in how he structured the society of his chosen people in ancient Israel was … like wow … God thinks of everything. He wanted the Levites in and among His people. There was shrewd reason behind not giving them there own separate compartment of land. It was so that His priestly tribe could be in and among His people. That’s what we are supposed to do too and God with all his great knowledge will lead us in doing that as long as we believe that nothing is impossible with a great and mighty God – really, really, believe that!

Amen and Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s