Daybreak: Joshua 20:1 through 21:45
“There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:45)
There was a time in my life when I needed the blessing of the Lord in a very tangible way. Although I was working long hours, the money was going to pay for rent, and there was not a lot left over for essentials such as food. My teenage daughter questioned when we were going to go grocery shopping, since we had little left in the cupboards. I told her that I did not have the money to buy food and did not know when I would, but that the Lord would help us somehow. I poured my heart out to the Lord, saying that I needed His help. I also reminded Him that my children needed to see that trusting the Lord for every detail of our lives really worked!
In just a few days, my daughter called me at work, wondering who had told the man from church that we needed food. When I told her no one had, she said that one of the brothers had just left ten sacks of food at our house. I told her that the Lord was behind it, and He had answered our prayers. We cried together when I got home from work that day, thanking the Lord over and over again for His provision. You can be sure, that is one day that gets brought up every time we start reminiscing about the blessings of the Lord and the prayers that He has answered!
The Children of Israel had that privilege as well. Surely, there were nights spent around campfires telling stories of how God had kept His promises to them. I can imagine one of the elders talking about hearing his father tell the account of how the people left Egypt. No doubt another chimed in, telling of the miracle of the manna and quail. I am sure they told of the crossing of the Red Sea, and how their families made it across by the hand of the Lord.
We can experience the continued blessing of the Lord too. All we have to do is follow His directions exactly and trust Him to do what He has promised.
Years before today’s text, God had instructed Moses that the Children of Israel were to establish cities of refuge when they came into the land of Canaan. Six cities were established — three on each side of the Jordan River — and their purpose and use was rehearsed. Without a police force to research and punish crime, those responsibilities fell to the families of the victims. To prevent an emotional and perhaps incorrect reprisal, a person accused of murder could flee to a city of refuge until the circumstances were investigated. If he was found to have killed accidentally, he was given protection in the city of refuge.
The Levites were to help the Children of Israel serve God by teaching them the Law and aiding in their worship. Therefore, the Levites were given an inheritance of cities and pastures that were scattered throughout the land. This made religious instruction close at hand for all the inhabitants of the land.
The last verses of today’s text contain a short summary of how God had fulfilled His promises. Often, we think of the last words of someone as carrying a great deal of importance. Some of the last words Moses spoke before he died included a challenge to the people of Israel to do what God had commanded, and then God would fulfill His promises. Under Joshua’s leadership, the Children of Israel did follow God’s commands, and they knew from experience that obeying God’s instructions paid off. The proof is listed here — God gave them the land; He gave them victory over their enemies; and He gave them rest.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The land divided
D. The assignment of the cities of refuge (20:1-9)
1. The purpose for the cities (20:1-6)
2. The location of the cities (20:7-9)
E. The apportionment to the Levites (21:1-42)
1. The summary (21:1-8)
2. The specifics (21:9-40)
a. The assignment to Kohath (21:9-26)
b. The assignment to Gershon (21:27-33)
c. The assignment to Merari(21:34-40)
3. The conclusion (21:41-42)
F. The summary (21:43-45)
A Closer Look
- Who was a fugitive supposed to talk to when he came to a city of refuge?
- Why was it important to establish cities of refuge for the Children of Israel?
- What can you do to make your church a place where people can find refuge in the Lord?
The Lord delights in blessing His children, and if we follow His instructions, His promises are sure. What a wonderful heritage we have! There is value in rehearsing how God has fulfilled His promises for you.