Summary: Are "priests" still needed today?
We will read today how God provided towns for the priests to live in the Promised Land. Let’s remind ourselves who the priests were and how they came about. Basically, priests were called by God to serve and help people get closer to God.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 14….. we note the first priest in v17-20….
The first priest called by God was Melchizedek in Genesis 14.
Remember that Abram was the first person called by God and was given a promise of land. Abram’s descendants grew and became Israel, but because of their sins, they became slaves to Egypt. God of course keeps His promises and led Israel out of Egypt. The life of freedom from the bondage of slavery is written in the Book of Exodus; and in Exodus 28 we note that Aaron, Moses’ brother was called by God to be a priest to serve the people for God.
In the Book of Leviticus, we note Aaron’s sons became priests for God.
In the books of Numbers and Deutoronomy we can note that the Tribe of Levi were called to be priests, which leads to the book of Joshua with Israel claiming the Promised land.
Again, basically, Old Testament priests were called by God to serve and help people to get closer to God.
Please open your Bibles to Joshua 21….. read along with me….
Look back briefly with me to Joshua 19:49-51….
God gave the Promised Land; all the Tribes were given their land; Joshua and the Leaders got their land, Cities of Refuge were provided for those wrongly accused and finally, The priests of Israel were given towns to live in.
Now, the priests were called by God and were important to the spirituality of the Nation of Israel, why were the priests given towns to live in after everyone else was settled?? I think there are several reasons to consider, why do you think God did that??
1. Over and over again, God stated that the service to God was the priest’s inheritance (i.e. it didn’t really matter where they lived just as long as they served God!)
2. Societies had to be established first (i.e. Priests serve where there are people!)
3. The priesthood is a calling from God (i.e. Priests get what they are given, not forced!)
4. Priests are to be patient and humble before the Lord.
Now, what can we note from v1? We note that the priests approached the existing leadership (there was the high priest Eleazar, the godly leader Joshua, and the leaders of the Tribes). And so, Before the priests were called to serve in society, God already had other leaders! God will always call leaders here on earth!
And what can we note from v2? The priests patiently waited but when it was the right time they took action and asked for their inheritance!
Priests are to grow in contentment with physical provisions but it does not mean laziness!
V3-40: the towns given to the priests were listed.
V41: 48 towns with pastureland were given to the priests. Why were there pasturelands??
Pasturelands were provided to the priests for their ministerial duties and for their own sustenance.