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Pastor's Corner: Inheritance

Receiving an inheritance was a big deal in the Old Testament. People set their hearts on entering into their inheritance, and were serious about maintaining that inheritance and passing it on to their own children.

They had a great reason for that. God had promised to give them an inheritance, which we often call “the Promised Land.” We call it that just because God had promised it to them.

God enacted special legislation to preserve that land as an inheritance. For instance, in order to prevent land passing from one tribe to another, God told the Israelites that when daughters inherited property they had to marry somebody from their same tribe. That would keep land within the borders of the tribe.

But one of the tribes of Israel did not receive a land inheritance: the tribe of Levi. Instead of having farmland or forest, they got 48 cities with a little bit of land around them. This meant that they could do some amount of subsistence farming, but bigger operations were closed to them.

God had a good reason for that. The Levites had an inheritance of a different kind. Numbers 18:20 says: [BEGIN ITAL]”Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”[END ITAL]

That meant that their lives would not be like everyone else’s (Numbers 18:23–24). It includes that the Levites received the tithes from the other tribes to meet their needs (Numbers 18:21). As others were given the work of cultivating the land, they were given the work of offering sacrifice (Joshua 13:14), and therefore they ate part of the animal sacrifices made to the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:1).

The distinct lifestyle, the receiving of contributions, and the special work to do were all parts of the main thought. [BEGIN ITAL]“But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.[END ITAL] (Joshua 13:33). The Levites had something that more than made up for all they missed out on, in the special closeness they had to God Himself. For our own day it remains true that following Christ is not missing out.

[BEGIN ITAL]Rev. Ruben Zartman has been the pastor at Ebenezer Reformed Church in Shafter since 2017.


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