1 Chronicles 6:54-81 (Part 2) – Meaningless To Us Now; Important To Us Later

Posted: January 7, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

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

Territory for the Levites

I remember when I was in high school back in the late 70’s which was before the medical world and parents became extremely concerned about heat exhaustion and heat stroke for football players. Now, high schools in South Carolina actually have to monitor the combination of temperature and humidity levels all afternoon before the typical 7:30pm kickoff times of high school football games on Friday evenings. It is not a factor so much after September but those games in August and September, it sure is. If it is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit and over 50% humidity at kickoff, the kickoff of the game will be delayed until those numbers come down. Every high school in South Carolina is required now to have the equipment to monitor the heat and humidity at football games. Even at practice during the week, coaches have strict regulations as to how much and how intense of physical activity that they are allowed to put the players through during those hottest months of the year in South Carolina (August and September).

Not so back in the day when I was a high school football player. I remember pre-season practices, particularly those before school started up. When practices began for the new season, it was usually about 2-3 weeks before school started for the new school year. During those weeks, we would have two-a-day practices. One practice in the morning. You had to be dressed and ready on the field at 9am. Morning practice would run to noon. We would get a three hour break and then have another practice from 3pm-6pm.

Those August two-a-days were horrid. If you are familiar with South Carolina in August, it is hot and it is humid. Temperatures even in the dead of night do not dip below the mid-70s. So, even at 9am in the morning it is already in the low 80’s. In the afternoon session it would be in the mid-90’s most days and sometimes even in the low 100s. August in South Carolina is like a sauna from which you cannot escape. You start sweating just by walking outside for no more than a minute. The air is heavy. There is an old joke that the air is so thick that you can cut you a piece of it and chew on it during the dog days of August and September.

Usually, that morning session was dedicated to physical conditioning. Running the track around the practice field. Running the hill at the end of the practice field up to where the property of the Presbyterian church next door began. Running the steps in the football stadium (that was the worst – our football stadium was built in a depression in the topography so you had to walk down into the stadium from the gates. It was surrounded by pine trees. All that combined with the reflective heat coming off the aluminum seats fastened to the concrete rows made for even more of a sauna effect). Doing calesthenics for what seemed like hours on end. I hated the exercise called “six inches” where you are laying flat on your back and you have to raise and hold you legs up off the ground by six inches and hold it til the coach’s whistle blew. Morning practices during two a days were an exercise in pain and sweat. The afternoon practice was just as bad but it seemed more fun though because we were running plays and hitting each other.

During those two-a-day practices, you sometimes wondered why you went out for football in the first place. And you wondered if the coaches had like some sadistic streak in them and that they were literally trying to kill you by overwork and heat exhaustion. It all seemed kind of pointless during two-a-days. But we loved football and we put up with it. We didn’t understand why it was so freaking demanding but we loved football and did it anyway. It was only during those August and September games where the heat and humidity are high that it really came into focus. In the heat and humidity of those ball games which comprise about 60% of the high school football season, it is often that the team in the best condition wins the game – provided of course the teams are reasonably equal in talent.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through the passage a second time. I thought about those two-a-day practices where it seemed that our coaches just wanted to see when we would fall over dead. But there was a purpose in their requirements. We had to have the stamina for the football games of August and September that went a long way toward determining which team would be in position to win the conference title. A lot of times, it is that way with God’s instructions and commands. Let’s read this passage, 1 Chronicles 6:54-81, for the second 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 God had told the tribes to designate specific cities of refuge (see Numbers 35). These cities were to provide refuge for a person who accidently killed someone. This instruction may have seemed unimportant when it was given – the Israelites had not even taken possession of the Promised Land yet. Sometimes, God gives us instructions that do not seem relevant to us at the moment. Later, though, we can see the importance of those instructions. Therefore, when we read the Bible let us not discard certain lessons that it teaches us because they seem not to apply to us at this phase of our lives. We must obey God now even when we do not understand the significance of complying with His Word at the moment. Clarity, as to why God expects us to obey His commands, will come in the future – and we will have already established our pattern of behavior of obeying God’s Word in this area.

Amen and Amen.

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