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A Place for the Priests

Words of Faith Final

A Place for the Priests

Words of Faith 10-2-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 21

[1]  Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel [2]  at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, "The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock." [3]  So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance: [4]  The first lot came out for the Kohathites, clan by clan. The Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin.


        The allotment of land was just about concluded. There was a gathering at Shiloh, which was the new religious and political center for the Israelites at this time. There was one last act of land distribution that remained.

        The leaders of the tribe of Levi stepped forward and laid claim to the towns which had been promised to them by Moses in Numbers 35:1-8.  48 towns with pasturelands, including the 6 towns of refuge, were assigned to the Levites. The vocation of the Levites was to serve as priests in the Tabernacle.

        The land had been apportioned to the various tribes. It is generally believed that the Levites had the right to live in these towns without actually owning them. It is stated repeatedly that the Levites' inheritance would not be land but the service of God (Joshua 14:4). Land used and occupied by the Levites was not passed within the family as a physical inheritance. But the priesthood itself continued to be passed through the family of Levites.

       The Levites may have lived in these towns side by side with members of the particular tribe from whose territory the town had been selected. Some towns were assigned to the Levites even though they were still held by the Canaanites. Joshua assigned many portions of the land that had not yet been conquered. He was confident that God would give Israel possession of these areas, also.

       Though Levitical towns were selected from every tribe, they were not evenly distributed throughout the land. They seem to have been clustered on the frontiers and in other endangered areas. The Levitical priesthood would serve within the Tabernacle and later the Temple on a schedule that called them to present prayers and sacrifices.

       At this time in history, there were no synagogues and no Rabbis in the towns. Rabbinic Judaism was not formalized until the first century.  Synagogue study formed out of times of dispersion when the Temple was not available to the people. These local priests lived among the people and probably served to minister among them. They were forerunners to the local Rabbi and may have overseen some rites and rituals. Still, their primary service was in the Tabernacle.

      As believers in Christ, we know that we have one high priest, Christ Himself (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus is our only intermediary. He has completed the sacrificial requirements of the Law on our behalf. He intercedes on our behalf.  

      But it is helpful and necessary to have spiritual counselors and leaders among us. Our New Testament model speaks of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers raised up within the Body of Christ to serve. Another way to phrase this is that Missionaries, Preachers, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers of the Word are vital to our spiritual health. 

       These leaders are not sequestered to a holy building. They live and walk among us in our towns where we do life. We should be grateful for those that God raises up and places in our midst to minister the Word and care of the Lord.  


        Lord God, thank You for those You have called to serve among your people. Thank You for the missionaries and evangelists seeking to bring the Gospel into our world. Thank You for the Preachers and Teachers that make the Word clear to us and apply it in our day. Thank You for those You have raised up to care for us in the difficult times of life. In Jesus' Name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.